How roads and bridges are named
Naming a road, bridge or other transport related infrastructure is important—names make it easier for people and emergency services to navigate their way around the community.
A name can promote a sense of community identity by recognising historical, cultural and natural linkages. It is also a great opportunity to honour individuals for their contribution to the community.
What can be named?
We are responsible for naming state-controlled transport infrastructure like:
- walkways and pedestrian overpasses
- rail overpasses
- rest areas
- park 'n' ride facilities
- jetties, pontoons and boat ramps.
A list of infrastructure we do not name can be found in our Naming of Infrastructure Policy.
Selecting a name
When selecting a suitable name, we consider the following principles.
Names must support the community in:
- identifying the infrastructure.
The name selected should consider community expectations and provide a sense of identity. It should also consider equity and diversity, with consideration given to people and groups outside colonial or traditional considerations.
The name should:
- enable the community to identify with the infrastructure through historical, cultural, heritage, environmental or natural linkages
- commemorate an individual or individuals who have made a significant contribution to the local community, be of good character and enjoy broad community support
- be easily written and read across all signs, maps and guides.
A name must not:
- be offensive
- be demeaning
- be harmful to the reputation of individuals or to social, ethnic, religious or other groups
- likely to cause offence generally.
If a name that is currently being used is inappropriate and the community agree, the name may be changed.
A name commemorating a person should not be considered until the person has been deceased for at least 2 years.
Dual or co-naming is not supported.
Knowing a road or bridge by 2 different names goes against the principle of wayfinding, where a single name is encouraged to prevent confusion in navigation and identification.
As an alternative to dual naming using an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander name and the equivalent name in English, preferences should be given to using the Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander name only.
The chosen name must be for a single structure or contiguous length of road.
The name of a road cannot be interrupted with a section that is identified by a different name.
Names that can be confused with or duplicate names within the same area will not be considered.
In order to acquire uniqueness we avoid:
- homographic names (words spelled the same but not necessarily pronounced the same)
- homophonic names (words that sound the same)
- adjectives such as Upper, Lower, Old, New or Little which can result in partially duplicated names (New Cleveland Road and Old Cleveland Road).
A name may appear in a different town if there is no obvious confusion within the community and principle of wayfinding.
Only English and Indigenous language can be used.
We also consider:
- the length of the name
- pronunciation of the name.
We try to avoid:
- hyphenated names
- abbreviations, initials or articles (a and the) unless there is an historical reason.
A name is intended to last the life of the road, bridge or transport related infrastructure, it should have inter-generational significance.
Changing a name may involve considerable cost to the wider community as well as impact the critical function of the name, such as location identification for essential services.
Reasons for a change of name may include:
- a structure is replaced
- an overpass or interchange is upgraded
- to reduce problems associated with a non-unique name
- the name is misspelt
- the name is no longer appropriate or acceptable.
Suggesting a name
From time to time we will ask for your suggestions on a name for a new road, bridge or transport related infrastructure.
All submissions are assessed taking into consideration the naming principles.
For more information contact your local roads office.
Further information on how we name our roads and bridges is provided in our Naming of Infrastructure policy.
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