The Road Route Codes are a single preferred system of road direction signing throughout Tasmania. It gives all significant roads a route number so that, with the assistance of route numbered road maps, visitors can easily navigate the State.
In 1979, the Tasmanian Government appointed a Road Direction Signs Advisory Council to assist the former Department of Main Roads in the production of a new, preferred system of road direction signing throughout the State.
The aim of introducing a 'new' signing scheme was twofold:
- to upgrade the destination signing throughout the State, particularly on unclassified roads and
- to give all significant roads a route number so that, with the assistance of route numbered road maps, visitors to an area could navigate their journey with ease by simply following particular route numbers, in addition to the usual destination signs giving directions and distances to the various towns, villages, centres of interest, and so on.
The system chosen was based on a similar scheme implemented in the United Kingdom in 1963, consisting of route identification as well as selected destination name signing. with zones created and routes chosen according to their importance to the motorist. The zones have as their boundaries the major highway network, thereby dividing the State into eight zones. The numbering of the zones has no definite pattern but was chosen from adjacent highway route numbers where possible.
To achieve the desired aims, roads were allocated route numbers which were divided into four designations:
- The National Highway: identified by the National Highway Shield.
- 'A' routes: roads considered to be of the greatest importance as the major arterials. In the main, the 'A' routes comprise the present State Highway Network.
- 'B' routes: the remaining important road networks in each zone, such as sub-arterials or roads strategically located so as to form a connecting link between important roads and/or centres of interest. 'C' routes: minor roads considered to be of sufficient importance to be included in the route coded network.
- In the main, 'C' routes are local roads under the control of municipal councils or other government organisations such as Hydro Tasmania and Forestry Tasmania. Generally, these routes provide access to isolated localities, holiday areas or tourist features.
It should be emphasised that this is basically a route numbering system. Consequently, it is possible that a route with a distinct route number may include several different roads and be a combination of both classified and unclassified roads extending through more than one municipality. A route can also be a combination of sealed and unsealed sections of road.
After extensive consultation, the route code network was reviewed in 2011 by the Road Route Code Advisory Group. The group includes representatives from: Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment; Department of Infrastructure Energy and Resources; Local Government Association of Tasmania; Forestry Tasmania; Hydro Tasmania; and Tourism Tasmania. A few route codes were rescinded, due primarily to changed circumstances regarding public access. Several new routes were proposed and are in the process of being evaluated. A small number were identified for change and are also being evaluated.