Speed limit trial to improve safety and congestion

Beginning next week, Melbourne fleets will experience lower speed limits along the M80 Ring Road in a trial to improve safety and reduce congestion.

Over ten days, drivers will need to be aware of changing speeds throughout the day to reflect traffic conditions and safety concerns. As fleets approach Sunshine Avenue towards Greensborough, the speed could be as low as 60 km/h or as high as 100 km/h.

M80 Ring Road Project Director Trevor Boyd explained why this approach was taken and how it should work.

"We have chosen the Sunshine Avenue section of the M80 Ring Road as the trial site as traffic often builds up where it reduces from four to three to two lanes," he said.

"By reducing the speed limit where the congestion occurs and slowing the flow of traffic, we expect this will ease the bottleneck and improve safety where lanes are reduced and merge."

As part of a collaboration between the University of Crete in Greece and VicRoads, the trial aims to see whether authorities can successfully change speeds on live roads to improve safety and free up congestion.

According to Mr Boyd, motorists will see the speeds fluctuating on overhead signs and ramps.

"While it's important to observe the speed limit at all times, we ask drivers to help us collect important information which will help reduce congestion in the future," he said.

In early August, after the trial, the speed limit on the M80 Ring Road will be reinstated. However, motorists should keep in mind that more trial stages are to be carried out in 2015.

One way that businesses can increase safety in their fleets is by introducing fleet management software and conducting regular maintenance.

By installing the software, organisations know the fleet is in good condition before drivers start journeys. Services are also recorded and reminders are emailed to drivers when checks are due.