The Transport Accident Commission push comes after 50 pedestrians were killed in Victoria last year.
John Thompson, senior manager of road safety for the TAC, said reduced speed limits would deliver less casualty crashes in the CBD.
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He said it would also be appropriate to look at speed reductions in some shopping strips.
Eric Howard, a former VicRoads road safety manager, said the state was "dragging its feet" and needed to act.
Slashing speed limits around busy suburban shopping strips and the CBDs of Melbourne, Geelong and Ballarat would save lives, he said.
"We are dragging our feet a bit in Victoria and we could get some easy gains and save some people's lives," said Mr Howard who is now co-chair of the 33,900 Australian Road Safety Collaboration - a reference to the number of people killed and seriously injured across the nation in 2010.
"At 50km/h you will probably be killed by a car, at 40 you probably won't. It must be part of making our urban centres better places."
Dr Bruce Corben, of the Monash University Accident Research Centre, said early indications from research into pedestrian road trauma showed shopping strips were dangerous places.
"Shopping strips especially in the inner-city areas, the likes of Richmond and South Yarra and Collingwood, that's where there seems to be a higher number of pedestrian injury-producing events," he said.
Tram stops, public transport hubs and areas frequented by elderly are also areas he believes "will see increased pedestrian trauma".
The Monash centre is exploring links between location and pedestrian fatalities for the last five years for the Department of Justice, TAC and VicRoads.
A spokeswoman for Roads Minister Terry Mulder said he was considering recommendations from a speed zone review by VicRoads.
The review did not consider blanket speeds of 40km/h for areas where pedestrians and vehicles frequently mix, but a spokesman yesterday indicated more variable speed limits around shopping strips were possible.
Harold Scruby, chairman of the Pedestrian Council, said speed limits should be cut to 30km/h in some spots.
heraldsun.com.au 3 Jan 2012
Another blatant grab for money, which has very little to do with the well being of pedestrians.
There are many shopping strips where there is the 40km/h limit (e.g. Melbournes famous Lygon St.), where the speed limit is constantly being broken by 'hoon' or bikers.
The police do not fine the bikers, but rather issue a fine to a "P" plate driver for not using a turning signal.
There has been no proof provided by any authority that the reduced speed limit will actually save the lives of some pedestrians who break the law whilst crossing.
Another 'business case' put forward by governments to make money, which has nothing to do with saving lives.