The NZ Transport Agency is encouraging Kiwis to have their say on a new approach for setting speed limits in New Zealand which puts the voice of local communities at the centre of speed management discussions.
NZ Transport Agency Road Safety Director Harry Wilson says the draft Land Transport Rule: Setting of Speed Limits (2017) will introduce a modern, evidence-based approach for calculating speed limits on New Zealand roads, as outlined in the new Speed Management Guide(external link), released in November 2016.
Mr Wilson says that while changes may be appropriate where current travel speeds or speed limits are clearly too low or too high, there are no plans for wholesale changes to speed limits.
'Not all roads have the same risk, and we need to reflect that in the way we manage speed. The priority will be looking at roads where changes to travel speeds will have the greatest impact on safety or economic productivity.'
Speed limits in New Zealand are set by local authorities for local roads, and by the NZ Transport Agency for state highways.
'Local communities have a wealth of experience about how their areas have grown and changed, and the new approach outlined in the draft Rule encourages communities to have more input into speed management,' Mr Wilson says.
The draft Rule will also enable the setting of 110 kilometre per hour speed limits for the first time on selected routes.
'Some stretches of our most modern roads built to a standard that supports higher travel speeds without compromising safety will be considered for 110kmh limits. These roads will need to have at least two lanes in each direction, a median barrier, and no direct access to neighbouring properties,' Mr Wilson says.
'The Tauranga Eastern Link and the Cambridge section of the Waikato Expressway already fit these criteria. Other roads currently under construction, such as Transmission Gully and the Northern and Southern sections of the Christchurch Motorway, may also be considered.'
The draft Rule will give local authorities new powers to quickly set new speed limits following an emergency – like fires, floods or earthquakes.
Consultation on the Land Transport Rule: Setting of Speed Limits 2017 will be open until 5pm Friday, June 16. More information can be found at www.nzta.govt.nz/setting-of-speed-limits-rule(external link)