Speed awareness monitors - drive slow for SAM | Brisbane City Council

Speed awareness monitors - drive slow for SAM


Brisbane City Council’s Speed Awareness Monitors program (previously known as portable speed warning signs) is part of Council's commitment to making Brisbane streets safer.

The program also aligns with Council’s Transport Plan for Brisbane – Strategic Directions. 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.

Motorists travelling at or below the speed limit will receive a smiley face from SAM to thank them for doing the right thing. SAM will display a slow down message for those who are speeding. The message reminds motorists to reduce their speed and drive safely on our roads.

The program launch was in November 2013. Motorists have reduced their speed by an average of more than 8km/hr across all sites. There are currently more than 100 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 the road network. The following areas provide possible locations for the speed awareness monitors:

  • local councillors
  • resident feedback
  • Council’s Transport Planning and Operations (TPO) branch.

Council undertakes a site assessment to determine an appropriate physical location. 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. This will 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 a motorists speed as they approach the monitor. One of the following three messages will display if the motorist is driving:

  • at or below the posted speed limit, a smiley face message will display
  • above the posted speed limit by up to 9km/hr, the vehicle's speed will display followed by a ‘SLOW DOWN’ message
  • 10km/hr or more above the posted speed limit, only a ‘SLOW DOWN’ message will display.

The purpose of the monitor is to alert drivers to their 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 will remain to re-use the site.

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
07 January 2019