New data from Intelematics shows that Australians are driving, on average, well under the speed limit.

As speed limits are a regular point of discussion, Intelematics decided to find out just how fast Australians are travelling. The results have surprised many, including 3AW’s talkback host Neil Mitchell, who interviewed Intelematics’ Denise Christie on this very topic.

Intelematics, Australia’s leading telematics company, collects data through thousands of sensors located on roads, in vehicles and infrastructure. This data gives Intelematics visibility into traffic patterns such as traffic flow and congestion, the speed at which vehicles are travelling and the type and severity of a traffic incident.

Intelematics provides this information to businesses and government bodies so that they can map traffic congestion and incidents, and overlay the data with weather patterns, IoT data and live population information, to make informed, data-driven decisions about their cities and suburbs. This new data provides unique insight and context into Australia’s road networks.

Who would have guessed it? We are a nation of very sensible drivers! 

Speed limit Average speed Percentage difference
40 km/h 34 km/h ~15%
50 km/h 32 km/h ~35%
60 km/h 42 km/h ~30%
80 km/h 64 km/h ~20%
100 km/h 90 km/h ~10%

This graph shows the average speed people are travelling, by the speed limit, by the hour. In all time periods, people are travelling under the designated speed limit.

Intelematics’ main finding was that most Australians, on average, drive under the speed limit. However, the amount we drive under each speed limit category varies. The discrepancy can be put down to numerous factors, including congestion and the type of road environment. For example, the widest gap between the speed limit and the average speed occurs during peak periods. The smallest gap occurs on roads designated with a 100 km/h limit where motorists drive on average 10 per cent lower than the limit. This is most likely because 100 km/h roads tend to be grade-separated at intersections, with limited traffic obstacles. Compare this to roads set at 50 km/h we see a whopping 35 per cent difference between the designated speed limit and the average speed at which people are driving.

This may be because 50 km/h streets tend to be in inner-city areas, with high congestion and a more significant number of obstacles such as traffic lights, roundabouts, pedestrian crossings and shared routes. Other modes of transport, such as buses and trams, also reduce the flow of traffic.

Of particular interest is the fact that the average speed driven in 50 km/h zones is slower than 40 km/h zones. Remembering that speed limits are designed to provide speed ‘cap’, this result could suggest that road and planning bodies need to review data like this to ensure their decisions are evidence-based. This, in turn, can assist in a positive outcome for the community.

People are driving, on average, UNDER the speed limit at a national level. If this information is useful to your business, but you need a more localised perspective, be sure to get in touch. Intelematics can provide a real-time and historical view of traffic flow, congestion, and incidents at a state, city, suburb and road level.

To learn more about our traffic data products click here or if you would like to try out our data to see if it works for your business download the free sample below. In it you can view incident type, time (occurance and duration), location (suburb, street and long/lat), streets impacted by an incident and speed in kilometers.