Melbourne Pedestrian Wind Comfort Criteria

The Melbourne Pedestrian Wind Criteria is the standard used by the City of Melbourne to assess the impacts of wind and gusting on pedestrian safety and comfort. In general, strong winds and wind gusts may negatively impact the pedestrian experience, and may even pose a safety risk. 

Pedestrian Wind Comfort Criteria aim to classify different areas by the activities pedestrians may tolerate under predicted wind conditions. The Melbourne Criteria characterizes wind conditions for comfort and safety by mean wind speeds (based on a 19-hour daily average of the Summer and Winter months) and 3-second gust speeds, respectively. 

For winds to be considered comfortable, mean wind speeds cannot exceed the specified comfort category threshold more than 20% of the time (see table below).

Importantly, for winds to be considered safe, 3-second wind gusts cannot exceed 20 m/s (72 kph; 44 mph) more than 0.1% of the time (just 9 hours per year). 

Activity Description Mean Wind Speed (mph) Mean Wind Speed (kph) Mean Wind Speed (m/s)
Sitting Calm or light breezes. Ideal for outdoor dining and seating areas where one can read a paper without having it blown away. ≤ 7 ≤ 11 ≤ 3
Standing Gentle breezes. Acceptable for building entrances, bus stops, and other places where pedestrians may linger. ≤ 9 ≤ 14.5 ≤ 4
Walking Moderate winds. Acceptable for window shopping or leisurely strolls across a park or plaza. ≤ 11 ≤ 18 ≤ 5
Uncomfortable for All Activities Strong winds which discourage pedestrian activity. Mitigation is typically recommended. > 11 > 18 > 5
Safety Criterion Description 3-Second Gust Speed (mph) 3-Second Gust Speed (kph) 3-Second Gust Speed (m/s)
Dangerous for All Activities Very strong winds which pose dangers to pedestrians. Mitigation is typically required. 44 72 20

Analysis Criteria – Supplemental Information

  • Hours of the Day (Comfort): 06:00 – 23:00
  • Hours of the Day (Safety): All
  • Seasons (Comfort): May – October (Summer) || November – April (Winter)
  • Seasons (Safety): All
  • Allowed Exceedance (Comfort): 20%
  • Allowed Exceedance (Safety): 0.1%

Want to speak to an Expert Wind Consultant?

Schedule a one-hour consultation session with an expert from RWDI to explore potential mitigation strategies and gain insights in the event the wind speeds at your site deviate from the intended activity.

Please reach out to your Account Manager or email to book your session today!