Lane and speed management for incidents

Effective incident management requires efficient processes – view our approach

What is incident management?

Incidents and particularly crashes, have a significant impact on travel times and motorway reliability.  

Effective incident management requires efficient processes including:

  • Time to detect and verify an incident. Early detection and verification are essential.  
  • Efficient response to attend the incident site. Prepared response teams ensure a fast response.
  • Effective incident site management. An incident site needs to be safe for workers, incident victims and other traffic. Integrated traffic management includes:
    • warning signs 
    • lane closures
    • speed management
    • traffic diversions. 
  • Actions to assist a return to normal operation. Traffic management and signs (mainline and arterial roads) can divert traffic away from the incident area as well as provide information about the incident and travel time. 

Aims and benefits

  • Early detection and effective incident management is focused on safety and minimising flow disruption. 
  • There are also significant benefits to road users by minimising delays and by returning the motorway to efficient operation as quickly as possible.

Traffic management principles

A Lane Use Management System (LUMS) that includes Variable Speed Limits (VSL) and traveller information signs can be activated quickly when needed.

Two images showing An example of variable speed limit signs in action across multiple lanes - An example of variable speed limit signs being used to direct traffic out of an incident affected lane to maximise traffic flow

What motorists need to know

LUMS and VSL signs are regulatory traffic control devices and motorists must comply with all instructions on the sign. 

  • A red diagonal cross signifies that motorists must not drive in that lane.  
  • A white arrow indicates that motorists must leave the lane as soon as safe to do so, prior to the red cross. The direction of an angled arrow provides guidance for the direction in which a motorist should change lanes or exit.

If there is no emergency lane available, you can:

  • pull over to the side of the road if it is safe or stay where you are
  • switch on hazard lights
  • wait for emergency assistance or call 13 11 70.

Our overhead signs and traffic management will change the traffic to flow around you and get help to you fast.

Further detailed reading is also available in the various Traffic engineering manuals.

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