Smiley-face signs to help combat speeding on Canberra’s problem streets

Glynis Quinlan 2 March 2018 40

Michael Pettersson MLA switched on the first ‘smiley face’ speed detection sign at Abena Avenue in Crace. Photo: Supplied.

‘Smiley-face’ speed detecting signs will pop up in Canberra streets with some of the worst speeding problems over the next 12 months, as the ACT Government trials a new initiative to help combat speeding.

Busy residential streets in Calwell, Crace, Pearce and Weetangera will be the first to get the speed detection signs for a three-month period, with a further seven suburbs to have the portable signs installed during the trial.

Motorists driving along the busy streets will see a ‘smiley face’ if they are travelling within the speed limit or a ‘Slow Down’ message if they are speeding.

Michael Pettersson MLA represented ACT Transport Minister Meegan Fitzharris in switching on the first speed detection sign at Abena Avenue in Crace on Wednesday.

Mr Petterson said that the signs are being placed on streets that are known to have speeding problems or have received a high number of resident complaints.

“We hope this will remind motorists to drive to the speed limit and be careful in some of these busy areas,” Mr Pettersson said.

“The signs are expected to remain at one location for up to three months before being relocated elsewhere.

“We are confident that this period is sufficient to positively influence the behaviour of motorists.”

The other three streets to begin trialling the speed detecting signs this month are Casey Crescent in Calwell, MacFarland Crescent in Pearce and Springvale Drive in Weetangera.

The other streets selected to be included in the 12-month trial are:

  • Stonehaven Crescent, Deakin
  • Kerrigan Street, Dunlop
  • Amy Ackman Street, Forde
  • Jim Pike Avenue, Gordon
  • Ainsworth Street, Mawson
  • Newman-Morris Circuit, Oxley
  • Beasley Street, Torrens.

ACT Road Safety Minister Shane Rattenbury said the signs have been successful in other jurisdictions including Queensland and NSW.

“These new speed detecting signs are not enforcement devices but detect motorist’s speed as they approach the sign,” said Mr Rattenbury.

“The ACT Government hopes these signs will encourage motorists to be mindful of their driving behaviours and I urge all motorists to be safe when travelling on our streets.

“Be aware of speed limits and the road conditions, slow down and drive safely – for all road users.

“There is no excuse for speeding, especially in high-risk areas like school zones where some of our most vulnerable road users are.”

A grant of $40,000 was awarded to the trial in the 2016 round of the ACT Road Safety Fund grants program.

According to Transport Canberra and City Services, the signs will be installed in small concrete footings below the ground on ACT-owned nature strips.

When the signs are removed from each location the footing will be closed with a lid, thereby sitting flush with ground level.

The trial is to be completed early next year with an evaluation of the effectiveness of the signs in reducing travelling speeds to be completed by the end of next year.

Do you think the ‘smiley face’ signs will be effective in reducing speeding problems? Have the best streets been chosen for the trial or are there problem streets which have been missed? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

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40 Responses to Smiley-face signs to help combat speeding on Canberra’s problem streets
GarryB GarryB 3:51 pm 09 Mar 18

I like this idea but, the ‘smiley’ face just makes it a joke. I imagine the public servants who thought of that had a liquid lunch before hand. Instead, the sign could display the speed detected. That would be useful to drivers.

Yes, there are bozos who will not be deterred – they like to drive unlicensed, uninsured, unregistered and some on bail for drink driving. But in a city of 375,000 there just aren’t that many bozos. The rest of the populace do care and do try to do the right thing. Perhaps many like to try out 5kph over the limit but will reduce their speed when reminded by one of these signs. The idea is to change the behaviour of the majority of drivers. That will increase safety. Then, the police can go after the bozos.

The current speed cameras don’t help by sending a pay-up or else demand weeks after the event – my reaction “Blimey – when was that ? I could have sworn I was below the speed limit. Did I miss a speed sign” etc. A sign that says I’m doing 61kph in a 60kph zone will help lighten the foot on the throttle without punishing for what’s probably a minor momentary infraction. Of course, it would be a doddle to put a “smiley” sign on the outside of all radar vans but, I suspect the ACT Revenue Office like to keep us guessing until something arrives in the mail !

John Moulis John Moulis 6:05 am 06 Mar 18

Nice to see the first sign here in Pearce. They moved the signpost for Sheehan St over the road to put it there. Now they can fix the oversight a few metres away up the hill where there is a sign welcoming people to Chifley but there is no sign on the other side for Pearce.

gooterz gooterz 1:43 pm 05 Mar 18

Another distraction to drivers with a human face.

They last 3 months until stolen?

Capital Retro Capital Retro 8:33 am 04 Mar 18

Re Finland, my research indicates that speed limits are fixed at low speeds with 50 kmh inside city limits and 80 kmh outside with occasionally marked increases to 100kmh.
In wintertime maximum speed anywhere is 80 kmh.

If there is some research on why these smiley signs are effective (and why that is surprising given the low aggregate limits there) I would be pleased to read it.

Capital Retro Capital Retro 11:38 am 03 Mar 18

This is a more effective device to stop speeding drivers:

Deb Smith Deb Smith 11:37 am 03 Mar 18

We have them in Brissy they dont deter speeding at all

Annie Wyer Annie Wyer 8:31 am 03 Mar 18

Nothing will deter speeding motorists, sorry. Driving into Canb down towards the tram lines on Tuesday, a large SUV ignored the flashing speed sign, his speed was 92 in a 60 zone and even though the message to slow down flashed, he just kept going....

Only a police presence seems to slow these bozos down (until they drive a safe distance away and they return to their original speed).

A smiley face won’t change anything...

Who comes up with these lame ideas?

Just buy more speed cameras if you’re serious, bill the speedsters triple to pay for them instead of expecting the well behaved drivers to share that cost.

    John White John White 4:52 pm 08 Mar 18

    Nope, unmarked police are the way to go. Speeders simply slow down at speed cameras & speed elsewhere. Unmarked police can find the real dangerous idiots & fine them, often for more than just speeding (eg, speeding, unsafe/neg driving, not indicating etc) if they tail them for a while. That would then hit them hard & hopefully bring about a proper change in their attitude. Perhaps a court enforced job of cleaning up accident sites may also help assist their attitude adjustment.

    John White John White 4:52 pm 08 Mar 18

    Disclaimer - I am not a police officer.

Lauryn Roberts Lauryn Roberts 8:01 am 03 Mar 18

Maby they should just be cameras n send out fines instead... lol

Angela Poole Angela Poole 12:42 am 03 Mar 18

This is actually a really good way of encouraging people to check their speed without a punitive (financial) punishment. It's actually well researched, and I think I read about the concept from memory in Ron Jonsons book called, 'So, you've been publicly shamed.' On average people then hold to the sign posted speed limit for around a further 14 kilometres after seeing these types of signs.

Kristin Lumley Kristin Lumley 11:53 pm 02 Mar 18

I’m pleased to see one outside my children’s school in Calwell.

Kurt Schiffer Kurt Schiffer 11:02 pm 02 Mar 18

Then all they need to do is put speed camera in them and have them change from smiley faces to a laugh face and "GOTCHA"

Robert Knight Robert Knight 10:54 pm 02 Mar 18

I’m tipping there was quite a lot of thought put into this, with quite substantial evidence. Do people really have such low regard for the public servants responsible for this? Don’t you think there is a body of investigation, study and evidence which had to go through the process of approvals prior to being presented to the minister for decision and implementation?

Are people seriously that simple that they can’t appreciate there may be more to it than your own immediate reaction?

    Janet Ilchef Janet Ilchef 11:10 pm 02 Mar 18

    Regarding your first paragraph my short answer is "no". Yet another "oh that could be a good idea" moment

    Matt Donnelly Matt Donnelly 11:20 am 03 Mar 18

    I can’t stop laughing!

Shell Keogh Shell Keogh 9:52 pm 02 Mar 18

Another huge waste of money and very poorly thought out. Visible policing! with the money they spent on this they could have paid for some police presence, time and place which has been researched and assessed as most effective. But nooooo, "we'll put up your smiley faces Mr Manufacturer if you put some more money in our pockets" says the ACT government. Christ, when will they stop this self indulgent thoughtlessness!?

    Robert Knight Robert Knight 10:52 pm 02 Mar 18

    I’m tipping there was quite a lot of thought put into this, with quite substantial evidence.

    Shell Keogh Shell Keogh 12:18 am 03 Mar 18

    Let's see shall we

    Shell Keogh Shell Keogh 12:19 am 03 Mar 18

    Why not present us with the evidence? Maybe then us doubters will shut the eff up.

    Claire Lenehan Claire Lenehan 7:49 am 03 Mar 18

    I mean they mention it's been successful in other jurisdictions

Chester-Dean Diedricks Chester-Dean Diedricks 9:49 pm 02 Mar 18

Another wasteful use of taxpayer monies for what effect? Really?

Kip Deveson Kip Deveson 9:36 pm 02 Mar 18

They need to blow a raspberry if you're over the limit.

Anthony Gordo Anthony Gordo 8:34 pm 02 Mar 18

What about a sign to go in school zones that detects if you are speeding and shoots flouro paint on your car? Not only would it be a great deterrent but then we would all know who the jerks that speed through school zones are.

    Shane Bennett Shane Bennett 11:13 pm 02 Mar 18

    Until it sprays a windshield and the car collides with a person or other vehicle.

    Anthony Gordo Anthony Gordo 11:15 pm 02 Mar 18

    Yeah good point. Back to the drawing board...

    Matt Donnelly Matt Donnelly 11:17 am 03 Mar 18

    Why would you want to know who speeds through school zones?

    Anthony Gordo Anthony Gordo 11:21 am 03 Mar 18

    To harshly judge them.

    Shane Bennett Shane Bennett 12:08 pm 03 Mar 18

    I'm sure they would really care bud.

    John White John White 5:08 pm 08 Mar 18

    Make them assist at school crossings whilst wearing a sandwich board & dunce cap with "Learner" emblazoned on both.

Megan Baker-Goldsmith Megan Baker-Goldsmith 8:24 pm 02 Mar 18

Some people are gonna speed to see if they can make the face go from sad to crying.

Geoffrey John Randal Geoffrey John Randal 8:09 pm 02 Mar 18

As a driver it is really useful to get an evidence based message about the speed I am driving at. More useful than just another sign to slow down.

    Matt Donnelly Matt Donnelly 9:30 pm 02 Mar 18

    Your speedo isn’t enough? You’d like a second opinion before deciding whether to slow down?

    Geoffrey John Randal Geoffrey John Randal 10:10 am 03 Mar 18

    Matt Donnelly Hi Matt, when driving it is easier for me to read a sign within the driver's field of vision than to look down, peer through the steering wheel, adjust my focus and check my speed according to Hyundai. Possibly others can do this trick more efficiently than me.

Jarrod Sean Jarrod Sean 8:00 pm 02 Mar 18

Waste off Money

Lynne Audsley Lynne Audsley 6:21 pm 02 Mar 18

Does anyone really think this will work?? Even kids don't care about smiley faces any more. Canberra drivers who ignore speed limits are only motivated to do the right thing if there is a chance they will be busted.

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