Pedestrian Priority Precinct a Safe System Approach

Posted on: Tuesday, 16 February 2021 at 12:00:00 AM

The City of Perth, in collaboration with Main Roads WA and the Road Safety Commission, has designed and implemented a roadway redesign project in the City's east which prioritises the movement of vulnerable road users.

The pedestrian priority precinct runs along Hay Street, between Irwin and Pier Streets, and incorporates safe system principles to create an area where all road users can interact safely.

The precinct has prioritised pedestrian movements over vehicles, with a reduced speed limit of 20km/hr. If a pedestrian and a vehicle are involved in an incident at this speed, the likelihood of a pedestrian surviving the crash is much greater. A report by the Monash University Accident Research Centre (MURAC) outlines the risk of death and serious injury in relation to impact speed for pedestrians struck by a car. It is estimated that if a pedestrian was struck by a car travelling at 30km/h, approximately 90% of pedestrians would survive. Conversely, in crashes between pedestrians and vehicles traveling at 50km/h, approximately 20% of pedestrians would survive1.

A reduction in speed limit isn’t the only aspect of this precinct which identifies it as a pedestrian priority area. The infrastructure within the area also plays a role in ensuring vehicles slow down and creates a distinction between the normal road network. Wider footpaths and a narrow road area, delineation in the vehicle path and speed humps have been incorporated as part of the project. The paved road and sidewalks blend together to create an extension of the pedestrian area, acting as a cue for drivers to pay attention in the space.

Along with these elements, the feel of the area is very different to the normal vehicle-focused road network. The precinct creates a space which draws people in, with overhead lighting, outdoor dining and native planting. It creates a more relaxed, liveable space which will encourage people to visit rather than drive through. As more people begin to use the space on foot, the pedestrian priority will become more obvious, and it is likely that less cars will travel through the area.

1Monash University Accident Research Centre, The Impact of Lowered Speed Limits in Urban/Metropolitan Areas, 2008, https://www.monash.edu/__data/assets/pdf_file/0007/216736/The-impact-of-lowered-speed-limits-in-urban-and-metropolitan-areas.pdf. Sighted 4 February 2021.

More information about the pedestrian priority precinct can be found on both the City of Perth and the Visit Perth websites.

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