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7.3.3 Implementation in School Zones

The Safe System approach recognises that the chances of incurring serious or fatal injuries in a crash increase dramatically as the impact speed exceeds a certain threshold. For crashes involving pedestrians this threshold is around 30 km/h (ATC 2011).

VSL signs are commonly used in school speed zones, particularly on arterial roads (Figure 7.6). At the current time, general practice is to reduce the speed limit to 40 km/h during designated hours (when activity is highest) on school days only. When the reduced speed limit is in operation it is standard practice for the roundel to flash to indicate a change from normal conditions.  Any flashing of the roundel/annulus needs to conform with regulatory and local jurisdiction requirements.  In Australia, the annulus/roundel operation is typically in accordance with the requirements of Australian Standard 5156: Electronic Speed Limit Signs which requires the outer most pixel ring to remain on while all other pixel rings flash.

Figure 7.6: Variable speed limit sign for a school zone

Higher speed limit – applies outside of designated school zone hoursLower speed limit – applies during designated school zone hours