Centre for Automotive Safety Research and Pedestrian Council of Australia are among groups pushing for the speed limit on Northbourne Avenue to be dropped when light rail becomes operational.
The centre's director, Jeremy Woolley, wants it to be cut to 30km/h, while the council's chairman Harold Scruby labelled plans to leave it at 60km/h as a farce and utter disgrace.
ACT government data shows Northbourne Avenue has the highest incidence of pedestrian collisions in the ACT. Of the 393 collisions since 2012, 40 pedestrians were hit along the 60 kilometre per hour road, or more than one in 10.
So far this year three pedestrians have been hit along the stretch of road.
But the ACT government has ruled out reducing the speed limit when light rail becomes operational.
Centre for Automotive Safety Research director Jeremy Woolley said it was not appropriate for the speed limit to remain at 60 kilometres per hour.
"Where you’re going to have a lot of pedestrian activity, in an ideal world you’d get it down to 30, that’s probably politically unpalatable," Associate Professor Woolley said.
"But any reduction from 60 would be desirable and I’d suggest 40 would be an initial starting point."
The threshold for pedestrian collisions is 30km/hr, which if exceeded rates of survival begin to decline, Associate Professor Woolley said.
He said other traffic management was also necessary such as raised platforms or crossing points which would force vehicles to slow down and fencing to force pedestrians to cross in specific areas.
He said the traffic lights along Northbourne Avenue could be optimised to work more efficiently at a lower speed limit.
"A lot of the arguments against lower speed limits are actually a furphy, there’s ways to optimise and accommodate it, and of course you create a safer environment for everyone," he said.
"I think there needs to be an acknowledgement we’re expecting legitimate road use by pedestrians along this corridor and you have to respond accordingly. Don’t just follow a motor vehicle paradigm because that’s the way you’ve always done things."
Pedestrian Council of Australia chairman Harold Scruby labelled the plan to leave the speed limit unchanged a farce.
"I would see this as an utter disgrace," Mr Scruby said.
"It will lead to an increase in serious pedestrian trauma.
"A lot of people will cross mid-block and then walk up the median. You can’t assume everyone is going to cross at the pedestrian crossing."
A draft environmental impact statement provided to the government by engineering firm Parsons Brinckerhof in 2015 found that an increase in the number of pedestrians hit by motor vehicles and trams was possible.
"When the project is operational, there is the possibility of new injury risks as a result of the introduction of an unfamiliar transport system," the report read.
"Unlike Sydney and Melbourne, Canberra does not have a history of light rail and so many Canberra residents will be unaware of the risks involved in using or being near light rail."
The report made a number of recommendations to increase pedestrian safety including retaining signalised pedestrian crossings at all stops on medians, signage, tactile warning markers, fencing barriers and a series of awareness campaigns detailing changes and new intersection layouts.
There was no recommendation in relation to speed limits. It labelled the residual risk rating as very high originally which was revised to medium should recommendations be followed.
A Transport Canberra spokeswoman would not answer whether a speed limit reduction had been considered but confirmed it would remain at 60 kilometres per hour on Northbourne Avenue.
"The environmental impact statement reflects the obvious," the spokeswoman said.
"If there are no people, there is no risk of collisions. If there are more people, there is a heightened risk of collisions.
"Our job is to identify risks and to appropriately mitigate them."
She said the light rail design included designated pedestrian paths, signalised crossings to each tram stop and improved lighting to improve pedestrian safety.
She confirmed the speed limit along the Federal Highway, until just north of Flemington Road, would be lowered from 80 kilometres per hour to 70.
The government has also rolled out a safety education campaign for light rail in preparation for the commencement of services.
A Transport for NSW spokesman said the light rail system currently underway in Newcastle would see trams and vehicles along the route restricted to 40 kilometres per hour and six additional pedestrian crossings had been built.
He said the Sydney CBD light rail route under construction had yet to have speed zoning completed.
A spokesman for Queensland Translink, which operates the Gold Coast light rail, said existing road rules were not changed upon the introduction of light rail in 2014.
Trams on the Gold Coast network travel at speeds consistent with the surrounding road.
More information about light rail safety can be found at the Capital Metro website.