Monday, 16 December 2019 09:40

Austroads clear zones limit tree planting

Arterial road in Western Sydney Arterial road in Western Sydney


In December 2019, number of stakeholders in the local government, health and research sectors came together to discuss how current road design guidelines limit councils’ capacity to deliver street tree plantings across Western Sydney.

Many councils are working to increase street tree plantings for health and cooling benefits however, roadside plantings are proving challenging to implement due to current Austroads guidelines around clear zones.

WSROC CEO, Charles Casuscelli, said “The Austroads clear zone guidelines are designed to provide a clear area around roadsides that reduces the risk of collision when vehicles leave the road corridor. While this is an important consideration for community safety, we believe that there are other factors that need to be taken into account.

“For example, trees can actually have a positive safety impact by providing a physical barrier that protects pedestrians and cyclists from vehicular collisions, as well as providing shading to protect pedestrians and public transport users from heat impacts,” he said.

“Street tree plantings are critically important as they provide the greatest benefits to pedestrians in terms of walkability and deliver significant urban cooling due to their capacity to shade road bitumen and prevent it from heating up,” said Mr Casuscelli.

“Current guidelines make street tree plantings near impossible in some areas, jeopardising our capacity to deliver on the Premier’s Priorities of increasing canopy cover to 40 per cent by 2030.

“We want to see this Premier’s Priority succeed and will be advocating for a review of road design guidelines to improve planting opportunities.


Austroads is the peak organisation of transport and traffic agencies across Australasia, whose purpose is to support an improved road transport network via the provision of nationally consistent guidelines, research, and knowledge sharing between traffic and transport engineers.


Last modified on Thursday, 05 March 2020 13:42