The first AITPM Victorian seminar for 2020 took place on the 25th of February at Richmond Town Hall. The seminar, generously hosted by the City of Yarra, was focused on the ‘Thanks for 30’ project which involved reducing the speed limit from 40 to 30 km/h in a pocket of Fitzroy and Collingwood. The trial is a partnership between the City of Yarra, the Transport Accident Commission (TAC) and Monash University Accident Research Centre (MUARC).
One of the goals of reducing the speed limit on local streets and roads is to protect vulnerable road users (pedestrians and cyclists). The trial was supported by many advocacy organisations including Bicycle Network and Victoria Walks.
After networking over afternoon tea – generously sponsored by Austraffic - the seminar began with the recognition of the Wurundjeri and Boon Wurrung peoples of the Kulin nation, whose land the meeting and trial took place on.
Principal Policy advisor at Victoria Walks Duane Burtt was the first speaker of the afternoon. Duane offered his insight into a research paper he had recently co-authored on walking in Melbourne’s suburbs. In their research, available online via the following link here, Duane and his colleague Jo Eady analysed various datasets to assess the role of walking in Melbourne’s transport network. They found that almost a quarter of trips in Melbourne involved a substantial portion of walking and that walking is the main way in which people access public transport. They also looked at how the built environment affects access to shopping centres and found that people are much more likely to walk to main street style strip centres than to car-oriented centres. These findings (as well as others presented by Duane), reinforce that walking plays a crucial (and often overlooked) role in our transport network and emphasises the importance of providing attractive, comfortable and safe environments for walking.
Principal Policy advisor at Victoria Walks Duane Burtt
Next to speak was the project manager of the ‘Thanks for 30’ trial Jzanelle Cook. Jzanelle works at the City of Yarra and gave an overview of the trial, including how it was implemented and evaluated. Jzanelle explained how they worked with local ambassadors to engage with the community.
Jzanelle was joined by Ester Hogenhout (also from City of Yarra). Ester explained how the community was informed and surveyed about the trial. This included pre- and post-trial surveying of residents to understand community attitudes. By the end of the trial, residents’ support for the 30km/h limit had increased, while levels of non-support had decreased.