Eastern Distributor

The Eastern Distributor is a 6-kilometre long motorway in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia owned by toll road operator Airport Motorway Limited (AML). Part of the M1, it links the Sydney central business district with the Airport.

Variable speed limits

To improve safety and traffic flow, variable speed limits are now in place on the Eastern Distributor.

Speeds are matched to travel and driving conditions, particularly when there is an incident on the network. Variable speed limits are enforceable and must be obeyed.

The standard speed limit for the Eastern Distributor will remain 80km/h.  The new variable speed limits may see the speed limit changed to 40km/h or 60 km/h for undetermined periods, dependent on traffic conditions.

To ensure motorists are aware of the enforceable speed limit, there has been a substantial increase in the number of speed limit signs.

Variable speed limits already operate in Sydney’s Lane Cove and M5 East Tunnels.

Frequently asked questions

  • Variable speed limits were introduced on the Eastern Distributor from 10 October 2016.
  • New variable speed limits of 40km/h and 60km/h are in place to meet travel and driving conditions, particularly when there is an incident on the road network. Variable speed limits are enforceable and must be obeyed.
  • The standard speed limit for the Eastern Distributor is 80km/h.
  • The new variable speed limits have been introduced to improve safety and traffic flow. The new speed limits will bring the Eastern Distributor in line with the M5 East and Lane Cove tunnels with 19 new southbound and 17 new northbound variable speed limits signs.
  • It is the motorists’ responsibility to ensure that speed limits are adhered to at all times.

    Motorists are advised that speed cameras operate in the Eastern Distributor and that variable speed limits are enforceable.

Travel time information on the Eastern Distributor

Travel time information is now available on the Eastern Distributor, between the Sydney CBD and the Southern Cross Drive.

The travel time system uses overhead electronic message signs to display the estimated length of time it should take to reach upcoming motorway destinations, based on the current traffic flow. Travel time estimates are updated every three minutes to reflect the current travel conditions.

Typical travel time messages will include two upcoming motorway exits with estimated times. For example, the image below shows the estimated time of travel between the electronic message sign to the North Sydney interchange is six minutes, and the estimated time of travel between the electronic message sign to the Falcon street exit as nine minutes.

Example of a travel time message sign for the Eastern Distributor, stating 6min to Nth Syd, 9min to Falcon St.

Frequently asked questions

  • The travel time system displays estimates of how long it should take road users to reach upcoming motorway exits from the electronic message sign, based on the current traffic flow. The estimated times are updated every three minutes to reflect the current traffic conditions and provide the most accurate travel times.
  • Travel times estimates are being obtained under licence from Google Australia, who compute the estimates using GPS data gathered from participating smartphone users.
  • All travel time data retrieved by Roads and Maritime Services is anonymous, and cannot be used to identify any individual road user or vehicle.
  • No. The system is not able to measure speed at any one point, and cannot identify individual road users.
  • No, the Eastern Distributor travel time system exclusively relies on the data obtained under licence from Google Australia, and does not utilise data gathered from electronic tolling tags.
  • Estimated travel times are refreshed and displayed on the electronic message signs every three minutes.
  • The hours of operation of the Eastern Distributor Travel Time system are from 4am to 10pm, seven days a week.
  • Travel times will not be displayed between 10pm and 4am, as this is outside the hours of operation.

    Where there are any incidents which cause a significant impact on traffic flow along the motorway, or in periods of extremely heavy congestion, the electronic message signs will be used to communicate specific information about the incident or current traffic conditions, rather than travel time estimates.

  • The electronic message signs may appear blank during routine maintenance of the signs, or if there has been a power or equipment failure.
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