Speed awareness monitors - drive slow for SAM

Brisbane City Council’s Speed Awareness Monitors program is part of Council's commitment to making Brisbane streets safer.

The program also aligns with Council’s Transport Plan for Brisbane – Strategic Directions, by implementing local safety improvements in residential neighbourhoods, school zones and high pedestrian activity areas.

The speed awareness monitors, known as SAM, aim to change motorist behaviour and reduce speeding in our suburbs.

If you are travelling at or below the speed limit, you will receive a smiley face from SAM to thank you for doing the right thing. SAM displays a slow down message if you are speeding to remind you to reduce your speed and drive safely on our roads.

Since the program was launched in November 2013, motorists have reduced their speed by an average of more than 8 kilometres per hour across all sites. There are currently more than 145 monitors in place across Brisbane.

Let’s all work together to reduce our speed, get home safely and keep SAM smiling.

Location selection

Speed awareness monitors are not suitable for all locations within our road network. Local councillors, residents and Council's Transport Planning and Operations (TPO) branch provide feedback for possible speed awareness monitor locations.

When a location is suggested, Council undertakes a site assessment to determine if the location is suitable for a speed awareness monitor. Factors considered in the site assessment process include:

  • visual impact on adjacent residents
  • sufficient vehicle visibility (presence of obstructions such as trees and other traffic signs)
  • clearance from driveways and infrastructure such as power poles and service pits
  • clearance from low-hanging power lines and television cables
  • adequate sunlight for the sign's solar panels
  • separation between other traffic signs to ensure drivers have sufficient time to read messages.

Council installs speed awareness monitors for at least one month before moving to a new location to allow enough time to have a positive impact on motorist behaviour. Monitors may return to a previously installed location if speeding becomes an issue again.

How the monitors work

A radar detects speed as you approach a monitor. One of the following three messages will display:

  • if you are driving at or below the posted speed limit, a smiley face message will display
  • if you are driving above the posted speed limit by up to 9 kilometres per hour, the vehicle's speed will display followed by a ‘slow down’ message
  • if you are driving at 10 kilometres per hour or more above the posted speed limit, only a ‘slow down’ message will display.

The purpose of monitors is to alert you to your speed, not to issue infringement notices.

Impacts during construction

Council makes every effort to minimise disruption to the local community during this work. Local residents will be notified of monitor installation in advance. Installation of the speed awareness monitors involves the construction of a small concrete foundation. This is built below the ground on Council-owned land. The platform has a lid and sits flush with ground level. Once Council removes the monitor, the lid remains to enable the site to be re-used.

Suggest a new location

If you would like to suggest a new location for a speed awareness monitor, contact your local ward office.

More information

If you would like to find out more about the Speed Awareness Monitors program, you can:

  • phone Council on 07 3403 8888
  • email the project team
  • write to:
    Speed Awareness Monitors project
    Transport Planning and Operations
    Brisbane City Council
    GPO Box 1434
    Brisbane Qld 4001
Last updated:2 May 2019
Topics: road