Brisbane City Council is committed to supporting a safer transport network through innovative road safety initiatives such as the popular Speed Awareness Monitors (SAM) program. The acronym, SAM, is a short, fun and memorable way to encourage motorists to drive ‘Slow for SAM’ across Brisbane suburban streets.
When motorists are travelling at or below the speed limit, SAM will display a smiley face to thank them for doing the right thing. If motorists are travelling above the posted speed limit by up to 9 km/h, SAM will display the vehicle’s speed followed by a ‘slow down’ message, reminding them to reduce their speed and drive safely on our roads. If motorists are travelling 10 km/h or more above the posted speed limit, only a ‘slow down’ message will be displayed.
All monitors are individually solar-powered and fitted with a Doppler radar, with a measuring range of 11 km/h to 255 km/h and an accuracy of +/-3%. They are limited to measuring only a single approaching vehicle at a time within its radar range. This range is up to 300 metres but is dependent on the vertical and horizontal road geometry, plus roadside objects such as trees and parked vehicles, which can limit this distance. Heavy rain also affects the monitor’s measuring distance.
There are more than 250 monitors in use between more than 800 locations across Brisbane. As part of the SAM for Schools program, Council will install an additional 22 permanent SAMs near Brisbane schools for the start of Term 1, 2023. This brings the total number of SAM for Schools installed to 83 across the city.
SAM has been well received by the community and was also recognised with the Road Safety Award at the 2018 Institute of Public Works Engineering Australasia Awards for demonstrating innovation and safety improvements on our roads.
To further promote road safety and encourage motorists to be mindful of their speeds during the holiday seasons, Council will continue to temporarily give SAM a makeover during Christmas, Easter, Halloween, Valentines and other annual events, which receive an overwhelming positive reception from the community.
Since the initiative commenced in 2013, Council’s SAM signs have captured the data of more than 831 million vehicles, such as passing speeds at various days and times. The data captured by SAM highlights the success of the program, showing an average reduction of about 8 km/h by those motorists initially alerted of exceeding the speed limit.
An independent study previously conducted by RACQ showed that approximately 63% of people agreed SAM had a positive impact on speed awareness and believed that the SAM monitors had more impact on motorist behaviour change than other speed signs. In addition, 71% of people also voted they would like to see more Slow for SAM signs in the community.
Other road safety initiatives include
- Wildlife Awareness Monitors (WAM) to alert drivers to the potential presence of wildlife on roads
- Automated Flooded Road Warning Systems (AFRWS) to improve motorist awareness of flooded road conditions during periods of heavy rainfall.