Setting Safe Speed Limits on Our Roads

Speed limits are much more than a number on a sign!  But have you ever wondered how that number (the speed limit) is determined?

There are actually a number of factors that go into setting safe speeds on our roads. These factors include the number of people using the road and how they are using the road (for example people, motor vehicles, cyclists etc) and the function (how is the road being used) through to the features of the road and its surrounding environment (what else is going on alongside and inside the road).  All these things help determine what a safe speed should be.

Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency then has to work out the risk of harm on the road and ask how much risk they are willing to accept.

The ultimate purpose of safe speed limits is to improve safety and reduce harm for everyone on our roads. The safe speed limits help to minimise the severity of crashes happening and lower speed limits give road users a second chance to either avoid a crash or at least walk away from one if it happens.  Also, setting safe speeds help improve the wellbeing of communities making it easier to get around and making sure everyone stays safe.

Speed Review Process

Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency follows a set process when reviewing the speed limit for a particular stretch of road. As well as getting feedback from local government partners and key stakeholders, they also allow an opportunity for feedback from all communities in the area of the proposed speed limit change.  As well as technical advice, they factor in local knowledge and experience using the road. 

The Speed Review Process involves five key steps:

  1. Speed Review Begins – this involves a technical assessment (including crash history and key factors outlined above) and this assessment helps to understand whether the current speed limit is safe and appropriate for the road.
  2. Engagement – Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency has conversations with multiple stakeholders to get feedback, local knowledge and hear any concerns.
  3. Formal Consultation – changing a speed limit is a legal process so this formal consultation combines the info from the technical assessment and the engagement to then do consultation with the public and other stakeholders for any additional information that might impact on the final decisions.
  4. Notification of the Speed Limit Change - once the consultation period has ended and a decision has been made, the outcome will be published on Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency’s website.
  5. New Speed Limit Sign Erected – users of the road will then see a new speed limit sign on the road.

Roads Currently Being Reviewed

To find out what roads speed limits are currently being reviewed by Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency, visit their website for up-to-date information.

As a traffic management company, Road Safe’s job is to work out on the roads, and we’ve seen multiple accidents caused by speed that could have been avoidable. Please follow the safe speed limits at all times to keep yourself and other users of the road, safe.