Improving Queensland speed zoning practices

Williams, Alexander (2016) Improving Queensland speed zoning practices. [USQ Project]

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Queensland speed limits are assessed against the guidelines outlined within Part 4 of the Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD Part 4), which is maintained by the Queensland Department of Transport and Main Roads. This project was undertaken in order to develop recommendations for improvements in future revisions of MUTCD Part 4 that meet the needs of local government and industry users.

The current framework outlined within MUTCD Part 4 can be difficult for practitioners to follow and often adds unnecessary cost and complexity to speed zoning processes. Results between different users may be inconsistent as a result. It is also structured towards application on State roads, which means that it does not consistently align with local government needs regarding transport planning and traffic operations. It is believed that amendments to particular elements of the guidelines will increase practicality in application and ensure consistent speed zoning in Queensland.

Local and international guidelines for speed zoning were reviewed to understand the processes undertaken by other road authorities. The possibilities of using speed measuring technology and risk assessment tools to analyse speed limits were also considered.

Interviews were conducted to identify stakeholder issues with MUTCD Part 4, and to assist in making informed recommendations for future revisions. Additionally, case studies were conducted using different speed zoning processes on a sample of roads to identify the strengths and weaknesses of processes used by other state and international road authorities. These results were compared to those obtained using MUTCD Part 4.

Project tasks highlighted numerous aspects of MUTCD Part 4 that could be improved and provided a basis for recommendations to be considered in future revisions of the guidelines. Suggested recommendations include amendments to road function classification, criteria-based speed limits for all speed limits, flowchart mapping of processes for clarity, inclusion of design guidance to effect speed reductions and updates to the online assessment tool, QLIMITS.

If adopted by the Department of Transport and Main Roads, future amendments to MUTCD Part 4 may result in more consistency in speed zoning practise and provide a document that will be practical for transport planning purposes. The suggested recommendations may also contribute to improving community understanding and acceptance of Speed Zoning procedures.

Further work after completion of this project involves approaching The Department of Transport and Main Roads to discuss the project and suggested recommendations for consideration in future amendments to MUTCD Part 4.

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Item Type: USQ Project
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) Major Civil Engineering project
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Historic - Faculty of Health, Engineering and Sciences - School of Civil Engineering and Surveying (1 Jul 2013 - 31 Dec 2021)
Supervisors: Ayers, Ron; Bilton, Peter
Date Deposited: 24 Jul 2017 02:53
Last Modified: 24 Jul 2017 02:53
Uncontrolled Keywords: road safety; Queensland speed zoning practices; speed limits; guidelines; consistent assessment; QLIMITS; MUTCD; risk assessment tools
Fields of Research (2008): 09 Engineering > 0905 Civil Engineering > 090502 Construction Engineering
Fields of Research (2020): 40 ENGINEERING > 4005 Civil engineering > 400504 Construction engineering

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