Portable speed warning signs

Brisbane City Council’s Portable Speed Warning Signs project is part of Lord Mayor Graham Quirk’s commitment to making Brisbane’s suburban streets safer.

This initiative aims to promote safety through driver awareness and minimise speeding on neighbourhood roads. This will be achieved through the use of portable speed warning signs at various locations throughout Brisbane.

Signs are anticipated to be in place for at least one month. This timeframe will allow the speed warning signs to operate for a sufficient period so as to provide a positive effect on motorist behaviour.


Address Multiple locations with identified speed issues across Brisbane
Ward All wards
Project outcomes Promote safety through driver awareness and minimise speeding around busy neighbourhood roads.
Latest update Council is continuing to investigate new sites and install new footings across all wards

How locations are selected

Portable speed warning signs are not suitable for all locations within the road network.  A list of possible locations for the speed warning signs are provided by local councillors, resident feedback and Council’s Transport Planning and Strategy (TPS) branch. A site assessment is undertaken to determine if an appropriate physical location can be found. 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.

How the signs work

Council's portable speed warning signs work in the following manner:

  • the default setting for the sign is blank
  • as a motorist approaches the sign, their speed is detected by a radar and one of the following three messages is displayed:
    • if the motorist is driving at or below the posted speed limit, a smiley face message is displayed
    • if the motorist is driving above the posted speed limit by up to 9km/hr, the vehicles speed is displayed below a ‘SLOW DOWN’ message
    • if the motorist is driving 10km/hr or more above the posted speed limit, only a ‘SLOW DOWN’ message is displayed.

The speed readings are not used to issue any infringement notices. The purpose of the speed radar is to enable feedback to motorists of driver speed. 

Speed warning signs are expected to be installed for at least one month before moving to a new location. This time will allow enough time to positively affect motorist behaviour. Signs may return to a previously installed location if speeding becomes an issue again.

Directly affected residents will be notified before each speed warning sign is installed and reinstalled.

Project benefits

The program will increase motorists' awareness of their travelling speed and adhere to the speed limit in locations with identified speed issues across Brisbane. To date the program has shown a marked decrease in the number of motorists travelling over the speed limit after passing the signs. The portable speed warning signs have showed an average speed reduction of more than 9km/hr across all sites since the program began in November 2013.

Impacts during construction

Every effort will be made to minimise disruption to the local community during this work. Local residents will be notified of sign installation in advance. Installation of the portable speed warning signs involves the construction of a small concrete foundation below the ground on Council owned land. The platform has a lid and sits flush with ground level. Once the speed sign is removed, the lid will remain. This means that the site can be used again if speeding at this location becomes an issue.

Suggest a new location

If speeding is an issue in your street and you would like to suggest a new location for a portable speed warning sign, please contact your local ward office.

More information

If you would like to provide comments or ask questions or find out more about the Portable Speed Warning Signs project, you can:

  • phone Council on 07 3403 8888
  • email the project team
  • write to:
    Portable Speed Warning Signs project
    Transport Planning and Strategy
    Brisbane City Council
    GPO Box 1434
    Brisbane Qld 4001
18 January 2017