Safety by design

The best way to increase safety, and also useability, for all street users, is by design. A key issue for safety is vehicle speed. In the event of a collision between a vehicle and a person, the person has a better chance of avoiding death or serious injury if the vehicle is travelling at a lower speed. In turn, the vehicle speed can be influenced by the design (or geometry) of a street, to a greater extent than offered by a speed limit sign.

One example of safety by design is reducing the radii of corners. A wide sweeping corner encourages drivers to remain at their original speed, while a tight corner encourages drivers to slow down.

Corner radii influence vehicle speed. Image credit: NACTO.

In Yarra, many intersections can be improved by decreasing the corner radii. An example is the intersection at Cremorne Street and Stephenson Street. The images below show how the radii can be decreased, which can not only encourage drivers to slow down, but can decrease the crossing distance for people walking.

Image credit: Streets Alive Yarra

Council could update their standard drawings to define a standard small radii for intersections of quiet streets within neighbourhoods, and then progressively upgrade the radii of all such intersections as part of Local Area Place Making (LAPM) reviews.

Published on 2nd June 2020.