Road Network Policy

VicRoads develops policy relating to road management functions such as the Help Phones, Tree and Roadside memorial policies.

VicRoads develops principles-based policies to enable decisions to be made efficiently with an outcomes focus, rather than applying a strict set of rules.

Below are some recent policies developed by VicRoads. For access to more VicRoads policies and technical documents, please visit the Technical Documents search page. Select any of the links below to read more about each policy.

Use of Bus Lanes by Other Modes Policy

VicRoads developed a policy on the use of bus lanes by other modes following requests from various road user groups for permission to access bus lanes.

The policy permits:

  • bicycles and coaches to travel in all bus lanes unless signed otherwise
  • taxis and private hire vehicles (VHA/B/C number plate vehicles) to continue using select bus lanes in which they are currently permitted.  

The policy does not permit motorcycles and scooters to travel in bus lanes. However, VicRoads has allowed motorcycles to travel in a few key bus lanes where identified motorcycle safety risks can be mitigated.

The policy reinforces the importance of supporting efficient and reliable performance for buses. We will review the Use of Bus Lanes by Other Modes policy if this performance is affected.

View the Use of Bus Lanes by Other Modes policy [DOCX 1.4Mb]

Read the Use of Bus Lanes by Other Modes policy questions and answers here.

For further information on the motorcycles in bus lane trial, go to our motorcycles in bus lane trial page.

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Roadside Memorial Policy

VicRoads has updated the Roadside Memorial Policy in response to feedback from the community.

VicRoads understands that roadside memorials can play an important part in the grieving process for family and friends who have lost a loved one on the roads. 

The policy provides principles to guide decisions regarding roadside memorials to support and respect the needs of all those affected.

VicRoads will only become involved where there is a clear conflict on the placement of a memorial that impacts members of the community.

View the Roadside Memorial Policy 2015 ([PDF 390Kb]

The policy was developed in collaboration with representatives from some municipal Councils, Municipal Association of Victoria (MAV), Road Trauma Support Services Victoria, Road Trauma Families Victoria, Victoria Police, Transport Accident Commission (TAC), Monash University Accident Research Centre, VicRoads and further expertise provided by Rev Andy Calder. The community was invited to contribute to the policy review throughout the process via an online consultation hub. 

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VicRoads Tree Policy

Our tree policy describes our approach to managing and promoting trees and assisting practitioners as part of managing the road network to deliver outcomes for the community.

We aim to support active travel and healthier environments, and facilitate a safe and efficient road network, by promoting trees in the road reserve where possible.

Our Tree Policy 2016 is an update of the Tree Planting Policy 2015, which was reviewed in line with a commitment to our stakeholders.

The intent of Tree Policy 2016 remains unchanged and is based on the same seven principles of the previous policy but provides greater guidance. The key changes are:

  • In addition to considering new tree planting, the policy covers existing trees.
  • Guidance has been expanded to incorporate VicRoads’ Movement and Place Framework as well as to encourage greater engagement with the local community and consideration of local community values.
  • A principle-based decision making template has been developed to assist practitioners in making a site specific tree proposal assessment.
  • Additional guidance in the form of risk profile examples have been compiled to assist practitioners when conducting a risk evaluation of a tree proposal.

The policy was reviewed in consultation with key stakeholders, including Transport Accident Commission (TAC) and Victorian Planning Authority (formally Melbourne Planning Authority), to ensure it is aligned with community and government expectations.

View the VicRoads Tree Policy 2016 [PDF 796Kb]

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Help Phones Policy

VicRoads has developed a Help Phones Policy to assist with managing help phones on the road network. 

Help phones and the road network

Help phones were first installed in the 1970s along major Victorian roads for the public to report road hazards, such as vehicles or debris, and to ask for help if their vehicle had broken down.. 

Help phones are located on strategically important roads such as freeways. Help phones can be used by motorists to notify VicRoads’ Traffic Management Centre of incidents or vehicular breakdowns. 

In addition to help phones, VicRoads uses the following 24/7 methods to detect incidents on freeways:
  • Closed Circuit Televisions (CCTV) across the metropolitan freeway network
  • A dedicated Incident Response Service (IRS) 
  • Freeway Data Stations for traffic data collection able to identify potential traffic issues by recognising changes of traffic flow. 
These methods detect incidents quickly and do not require road users to exit their vehicles.

In the event of a breakdown, people are encouraged to stay in their vehicles and use their mobile phones to call for assistance, which is safer than walking along a freeway to use a help phone.

Current use of help phones

There has been a sharp decline in help phones use, with each phone being used less than once a year to report a hazard or a breakdown. 

We also know that about 92 per cent of people over 18 own a mobile phone, so there is less need for help phones to communicate incidents.

What does the Help Phone Policy do/say?

The Help Phone Policy is based on the idea that where alternative technology is available, help phones are generally considered unnecessary, except in high-risk locations – determined on a case by case basis, in line with the policy. 

There is no intention to review the operation of help phones on rural freeways as these are more isolated, have no CCTV coverage and often patchy mobile phone coverage.  

Help phones in metro tunnels managed by tollway operators will also be exempt from review.

When will the policy be used?

The Help Phones Policy will be used when:
  • Reviewing the need for existing help phones
  • Considering the installation of new help phones
  • Determining the appropriate level of technology upgrade or maintenance for help phones. 

Community consultation about removing help phones 

In June 2015, VicRoads undertook online consultation to seek community feedback on the removal of help phones on metropolitan freeways. Overall positive findings supported the removal of help phones in locations with alternative incident detection technology and mobile phone coverage.

Subsequent trials involving deactivating help phones to test incident response times were conducted on the Eastern Freeway in 2015 and a section of the M80 Ring Road last year. Both trials showed successful results in times taken to respond to incidents.    

What are the next steps for removing help phones?

VicRoads will use the policy to review help phones on inner metropolitan freeways with alternative incident detection technology and mobile phone coverage. 

Progressive removal of these help phones will not be undertaken until funding becomes available.

View the VicRoads Help Phones Policy [PDF 128Kb]

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