Safe Active Streets Pilot Program

We have been working with Western Australian local governments to develop, trial and evaluate ‘safe active streets’ which use local area traffic management treatments to encourage more people to walk, wheel and ride in their communities.

How safe active streets started

The roll out of the Safe Active Streets (SAS) Pilot Program in WA was driven from research which showed a fear of sharing the road with motor vehicles was a key barrier to many people riding more often.

Research findings outlined in the RAC Cycling Survey (2015) and WA Auditor General’s Report Safe and Viable Cycling in the Perth Metropolitan Area (2015) highlighted the need for quieter and more comfortable local bicycle routes to remove barriers to active transport and the perceived lack of safety on local roads.

Committing to providing a safe and connected bicycle network for people of all ages and abilities, the SAS Pilot Program launched in 2015 and ended in 2023, with the evaluation phase ongoing.

The program trialled and adapted common local area traffic management treatments to create 30 km/hr environments and evaluated their performance.

The objectives of the SAS Pilot Program were:

  • reduce vehicle numbers and vehicle speeds along identified routes
  • increase the number of people of all ages and abilities making local trips by riding and walking
  • increase the number of riding and walking trips throughout the week
  • recognise SAS as safe and comfortable places to walk and ride.

Pilot projects for the program were identified through local government bike plans and/or the draft long-term cycle network, typically consisting of bicycle routes on the local street network.

Since the end of the pilot program, all remaining projects have transitioned into the WA Bicycle Network Grants Program.

Local governments can now apply for funding for safe active street projects for up to 50% of the total project cost through the grants program.

What we have achieved so far

Throughout the pilot program we worked with 19 local governments to progress 23 safe active streets, 11 of which have been constructed to date. Total funding from 2016-2022 was $18 million and the total distance constructed was approximately 31 km.

Projects constructed

  • City of Bayswater (Leake Street and May Street) 
  • City of Belmont (Surrey Road, Cohn Street, McGill Street, Jeffery Street) 
  • City of Canning (Gibbs Street)
  • City of Geraldton (Railway Street) 
  • City of Joondalup (Robinson Road Cycleway and Skills track) 
  • City of Melville (Links Road) 
  • City of Nedlands (Elizabeth Street and Jenkins Avenue) 
  • City of Stirling (Moorland Street and Manning Street)
  • City of Vincent (Florence, Strathcona and Golding Streets)
  • City of Vincent (Shakespeare Street, Bourke Street, Scott Street and Richmond Street)
  • Town of Bassendean (Whitfield Street) 
  • Town of Cambridge (Ruislip Street, Northwood Street and Woolwich Street) 

Eight of the above projects (completed by a certain date and providing a variety of design elements) are part of the SAS Pilot Program Evaluation (see below). 

Projects commenced/completed design

  • City of Bunbury (Stirling Street, Austral Parade, Richmond Street and Olive Street)
  • City of South Perth (Godwin Avenue, Davilak Crescent and Pether Road)
  • City of Stirling (Hector Street, French Street, Hodgson Street and Banksia Street) 
  • City of Subiaco (Evans Street, Excelsior Street and Keightley Road)

Projects commenced/completed feasibility

  • City of Cockburn (Coleville Crescent)
  • City of Kalamunda (Kiandra Way)
  • City of Kalamunda (Sussex Street)
  • City of Kalgoorlie/Boulder (north/south corridor)
  • City of Vincent (Norfolk Street) 
  • City of Wanneroo (Madeley Bike Route) 
  • Town of Victoria Park (Rutland Avenue)

The initial pilot projects received up to 100% funding for planning, design, consultation, construction, activation and evaluation.

Subsequent projects now come through the WABN Grants Program based on a 50:50 funding model, with local governments taking on the role of project lead and the Department of Transport providing oversight and guidance.

Traffic management treatments and design elements

The SAS Pilot Program sought to facilitate and demonstrate change with unique designs created that reflect local community needs and context, whilst also complementing each local government’s approach to building an integrated cycling network.

At major entry points to the safe active streets, blue-and-white road patches, 30 km/hr speed limit signs and raised platforms help to slow vehicles and alert people they have entered a space that is welcoming and comfortable for people walking, wheeling or riding.

While the design of each safe active street varies depending on the local context, a range of measures can be incorporated:

  • Single-lane slow points, where approaching vehicles should give way to any car or bike already at, or passing through, the slow point.
  • Raised platforms at intersections.
  • Narrowing street widths by introducing on-street parking and plantings.
  • Change stop/give-way signs to give the safe active street priority.
  • Using traffic islands and medians to restrict car movements at intersections, while allowing movements in all directions for people walking or riding.
  • Introducing new pedestrian or bicycle crossings.
  • Introducing bicycle symbol road markings in the centre of each unmarked lane, to encourage cyclists to take the lane.
  • Lateral shifts in the carriageway to reduce sightlines (swapping formalised on-street parking and new tree planting nibs from one side of the street to the other).
  • Additional tree planting and landscaping to make the safe active streets more attractive places to walk or ride.

A visual cross section diagram of a typical existing street, a safe active street and a slow point of a safe active street helps to demonstrate street design (see document below).

Project evaluation

An evaluation plan was established to assess the SAS Pilot Program, testing the correlation between vehicle speed reduction and increased active transport use. Due to the complexity and differing treatments applied to each of the projects, the evaluation was designed to collect and analyse data on three key components: 

  • design features and treatments applied
  • user behaviour (vehicle volumes, movements, and active transport use tested pre and post)
  • community perceptions about the safe active streets.

The evaluation also considers impacts, cost effectiveness and comparability between projects and is used to guide ongoing design and delivery of future safe active streets.

Early evaluation findings suggest that safer shared street spaces are being achieved through slower speed environments in the redesigned local streets.

Interim evaluation results (see below) are ongoing and available for some projects, with the final evaluation report scheduled for release in 2024. 

Interested in planning a safe active street in your community?

Available funding

With the SAS Pilot Program now complete, local government authorities are now encouraged to apply for funding for safe active streets through the WABN Grants Program. This is based on a 50:50 funding model, with local governments taking on the role of project lead and the Department of Transport providing oversight and guidance.

Planning and design guidance for safe active streets

Key learnings and evaluation outcomes from the SAS Pilot Program will be used to develop safe active street guidelines as part of a suite of planning and design guidance.

The guidelines will provide advice for local governments and practitioners on the implementation of safe active streets in a local context. This resource will assist in delivering a consistent approach to safe active streets across WA. Local governments are asked to contact the Department of Transport in the interim until the guidelines are available.

A key element of planning for development of a safe active street is to plan, budget and program in the collection of baseline data pre and post construction. By capturing this information local governments can gain a better understanding of the impacts of implementing various treatments on local streets, compared to other streets so they can provide feedback and learn from the experience.

Need to know more about safe active streets?

Visit the safe active streets webpage to learn more about what safe active streets are, how to navigate them and see what they look like.

Page last updated: Wed Oct 18 2023 11:11:46 AM