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Department of Transport and Main Roads

Shade and street trees

Benefits of street trees

The benefits of street trees include:

  • defining a pedestrian zone separated from traffic, providing both real and perceived safety benefits
  • reducing the temperatures of the surfaces they shade by as much as 10-25°C
  • adding significantly to the value of adjacent property, with study findings ranging from 2% to 30%.

The environment and property value benefits have been calculated at $3.81 for every $1 spent on tree planting and maintenance.

Useful resources

Types of shade

Types of shade are:

  • natural shade
  • built shade.

Shade can be a combination of permanent or temporary shade.

TMR endorsed guidance

Other useful resources

Shade in streetscapes

One street tree should be provided every 15m (on average) on both sides of all streets.

In low speed environments (less than 60 km/h), the crash risk to vehicles from street trees is relatively low.

When planting trees in the streetscape, maintain sight lines between pedestrians and vehicles. Ensure that leaf drop does not cause a slip hazard for pedestrians, plants do not create a litter trap and personal security is maintained.

TMR endorsed guidance

Other useful resources

Other useful resources

Shade in public facilities

Shade provision for bikeways/shared pathways (essential):

  • every 15-20m (natural shade)
  • 1-2m from the pathway (natural shade).

Shade provision for car parks:

  • every 10th car park bay (natural shade - essential)
  • every 5th car park bay (natural shade - recommended)
  • walkways to the facility (solid roof - recommended).

Shade provision for public malls:

  • all seating areas (natural or constructed shade - essential)
  • walkways (integrated natural and constructed shade - recommended).

Useful resources

Urban forests and canopy cover

Urban forestry, as distinct from arboriculture and horticulture, considers the cumulative benefits of an entire tree population, as well as other urban greenery across a town or city.

An urban forest comprises all trees and other vegetation within the municipality and the soil and water that supports it. It incorporates vegetation in streets, parks, gardens, plazas, campuses, river and creek embankments, wetlands, railway corridors, community gardens, balconies and roofs.

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Climate and local environmental factors

Local environment factors that impact climate at a given subject site include:

  • topography
  • ground surface conditions
  • existing vegetation
  • infrastructure such as fences, walls and buildings

There are eight climate zones in Australia and four occur in Queensland.

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Minimum canopy clearance heights

Generally, minimum canopy clearance heights within specific road situations are:

  • 2.4m in pedestrian facility environments e.g. footpaths and walkways
  • 2.7m in cyclist facility environments e.g. cycle paths, cycleways, veloways and shared access paths
  • 6.0m where trucks and buses frequently use routes (4.5m at TransLink bus stops).

TMR endorsed guidance

Shade and public transport

At bus stops note that:

  • tree trunks must be clear of vegetation for a minimum of 4.5m from underside of the tree canopy
  • trees are to be set back a minimum 600mm from face of kerb, and clear of the waiting area on both the approach and departure sides of the bus stop (particularly where seating/shelter is provided).

TMR endorsed guidance

  • Public Transport Infrastructure Manual, Table 5.9: TransLink requirements for bus stop components – Landscape treatment and Table 3.6: Design considerations for pedestrian access infrastructure – Landscape Treatment (TransLink, 2020)
  • Road Landscape Manual: Edition 2, Appendix 4 – Vegetation Setbacks and Clearances (Department of Transport and Main Roads, 2013)


Street awnings are important for shelter from sun and rain and should generally be provided to ensure continuous sheltered access in high pedestrian areas (e.g. shopping strips).

Awnings installed by third parties on state-controlled roads:

  • do not require a permit if they meet the criteria in the Transport Infrastructure Act 1994—Notice under Section 50(4)
  • require a ‘Road Corridor Permit’ if these criteria are not met, which provides written approval under section 50 of the Act.

TMR endorsed guidance

Other useful resources

Last updated 27 January 2023