Our vision

We all deserve a transport system that puts people at the centre – that protects and helps us to get to the places and people important to us, so we can live life to the full.

When our streets are calm and everyone travels at speeds that are appropriate for the road environment, we create inclusive, healthy and people-friendly towns and cities where we can all move around freely, no matter how we choose to travel.

We want our tamariki and future generations to have independence and freedom to thrive. We can do this by designing a transport system that allows young people to get around on their own whether walking, cycling, travelling by scooter or by bus.

This is our vision for Canterbury, and an important part of Road to Zero, Aotearoa New Zealand’s road safety strategy.

Road to Zero, Aotearoa New Zealand’s road safety strategy

Our journey to a safe system

The safe system is the international gold standard in road safety management and is the approach that underpins Road to Zero.

To design transport systems with people at the centre, we need to address every part. We need speeds that suit the road and how we use it, vehicles and roads that are designed to protect people, and drivers with the right behaviours. We work alongside our partners to implement key interventions that strengthen each part of the system.

In the Canterbury region, we’re continuing to invest in transport safety, access and resilience improvements, in public transport and walking and cycling.

Locations where safety improvement work has been completed or underway include:

  • intersection upgrades for SH73 West Melton, SH1 Rolleston, Ashburton, Tinwald and SH76 Brougham Street
  • installation of safety barrier on SH1 between Cam River and Tram Road, and upgrading the Ohoka Road off-ramp
  • planning and design work for shared use paths on SH75 Cooptown and SH8 Pleasant Point, improved on-road cycle infrastructure on SH74 (linking to Christchurch City Council's major cycle routes), roadside shoulder widening for sections of SH8 Tekapo, as well as guardrail along parts of the Hilltop on SH75 to Akaroa.

Work in the pipeline over the next three years includes a range of safety improvements, including on:

  • SH1 Ashley to Belfast, SH1 Templeton to Selwyn River, SH1 Timaru to St Andrews and SH1 Rakaia to Ashburton
  • SH71 Rangiora to SH1
  • SH73 West Melton to Yaldhurst
  • SH75 Little River to Akaroa.

To ensure our state highways remain safe and efficient, 230 lane kilometres of road renewals were completed in the Canterbury region from mid 2021 to mid 2022, and 277.4 lane kilometres are planned as part of the 2022/23 road maintenance programme.

NLTP 2021-24 update for Canterbury

Why are we changing speed limits?

Changing speed limits comes down to what we all value most: protecting the lives of all of us who use our streets and roads.

Speed limits were first set before we knew what was safe and appropriate for our roads. We know this harms people we care about and have a responsibility for.

Appropriate speeds will make Canterbury roads more inclusive, good for our health and the environment by making it easier and more comfortable for people to walk, ride bikes and use scooters, wheelchairs and other mobility aids to get around. It also gives our tamariki the opportunity for safe, active travel to school on their own, with friends or their caregivers.

It’s our responsibility to do better.

We’re taking practical steps to ensure we’re protecting the people and communities we care about - and we welcome you to be part of that journey.

A new approach to managing speeds

Safe speeds around schools

We’re empowering our younger generations to thrive and have the freedom to walk, bus or bike to school by setting new speed limits.

We’re working together with local government on a target of all schools across Aotearoa, including kura kaupapa Māori and Kura ā Iwi, with safe and appropriate speed limits by the end of 2027. That’s approximately 2,500 schools in total, so our future generations can get around safely in ways that are good for their health and the environment.

There are several ways to achieve safe speeds around schools. Some roads may get permanent speed limits and others such as the state highway may use variable speed limits. Our approach considers the surrounding area of a school, to look after tamariki travelling further than the streets outside the front gate.

We aim to deliver safe speed limits to between 80 to 120 schools by mid 2024. The remaining schools will be delivered in our next National Land Transport Programme (NLTP) period (2024–27) because these roading environments are complex and will require longer conversations.

How school zone speed signs work

Intersection speed zones

Intersection speed zones (ISZ) are used to improve safety at rural intersections along high-speed roads. They detect when a driver is approaching on a side road and activate an electronic variable speed sign to temporarily show a lower speed limit on the main road.

The aim is to temporarily slow oncoming traffic to make it easier and safer for people to pull into or out of a side road across a high-speed rural road. This helps takes the pressure off at intersections and protects people in our community by reducing the risk and severity of crashes.

What we know about Canterbury

The different ways our state highways in Canterbury are being used

We’re working hard to ensure the region’s highways are safe, resilient and well maintained to effectively support the agriculture, industry, fishing, forestry and tourism sectors that underpin Canterbury’s economy. These roads enable the safe transportation of the region’s goods and produce to market and are essential economic and social lifelines, particularly for people living in smaller towns and settlements.

  • SH1 is a nationally significant corridor for moving people and goods critical to the social and economic needs of the country, region and communities along it. This is Canterbury’s busiest (high-volume) rural highway passing through many towns and settlements, including past schools and community amenities.  For visitors landing at Christchurch International Airport this is the key route north and south.
  • Also known as our Great Alpine Highway, SH73 is the major transport route linking Christchurch/Canterbury region and the West Coast region. It is a key route for visitors travelling to ski fields, walking trails, campgrounds and tourist destinations in the Southern Alps.
  • SH76 is one of the region’s high volume urban connectors linking, inland and coastal ports, and southern industrial hubs. Brougham Street on SH76 is one of Christchurch’s busiest roads and where we are planning upgrades to make it safer and easier for people to do everyday things like taking children to school, travelling to work or to the shops, moving goods and doing business.

Findings from our analysis

As part of our analysis to determine the appropriate speed for a road, we consider the characteristics and nature of the road and its surrounding environment, how people are using the road, and collective safety risk.

The findings from our analysis around schools on State Highways 1, 7, 73, 74M, 75, 76, 77, 79 and 82 showed: 

  • The roads are used for commuting, moving freight and tourism, and there are also a variety of road users. Lower speeds mean people driving, walking and cycling, including tamariki going to and from school will be safer and more comfortable.  

The findings from our analysis on State Highway 1, 73, 76 and 77 showed: 

  • There have been a number of crashes or near misses at various intersections, including SH73 / Waddington Road and SH73 / Bealey Road / Station Road. These areas would benefit from an intersection speed zone (ISZ).
  • There’s a need to set appropriate speeds limits in and around the Rakaia township where the road is used to access both essential and recreational services. Reducing speed limits help protect everyone, including vulnerable communities such as tamariki, people walking or cycling, and older generations.   

What we’ve heard so far

We’ve had ongoing conversations with a range of partners, organisations and groups that have an interest or would be impacted by our plans to manage speed on our state highways.

Key themes we’ve heard from these conversations:

  • People are reporting near-misses and safety concerns, particularly around schools.
  • People want to see consistency and continuity of speed limits on all Canterbury roads.
  • There’s support for stronger enforcement of speed limits.
  • People want to feel safe on the road, especially when pulling in and out of their driveways, using intersections and travelling by bike.

We’ve considered feedback from these conversations alongside our analysis as factors to develop our draft Interim State Highway Speed Management Plan.

Draft Interim State Highway Speed Management Plan [PDF, 25 MB]

Proposed speed limits in Canterbury

Following our analysis and conversations with partners, interested groups and organisations, we propose the following new speed limits:

Speed limit map

Map showing locations of proposed speed limit changes in Canterbury

View larger map and speed limit tables [PDF, 2.9 MB]

Speed limit tables

  • Speed limits around schools
    State highway School Existing speed limit (km/h) Proposed new speed limit (km/h)
    1 Hāpuku School 100 100/≤60*
    1 St Joseph’s School (Kaikoura) 50 50/30*
    1 Cheviot Area School 50 50/30*
    1 Hornby High School 50 50/30*
    1 Waihī School 80 80/≤60*
    1 Winchester Rural School 50 50/30*
    1 Roncalli College 50 50/30*
    1 Sacred Heart School (Timaru) 50 50/30*
    7 Amuri Area School 50 50/30*
    73 Villa Maria College 60 60/30*
    73 Riccarton High School 50 50/30*
    73 Darfield School 50 50/30*
    74M St Bede’s College 60 60/30*
    75 Hillmorton High School 50 50/30*
    75 Duvauchelle School 60 60/30*
    76 Addington Te Kura Taumatua 60 60/30*
    77 Ashburton Borough School 50 50/30*
    77 Our Lady of the Snows School (Methven) 50 50/30*
    77 Mount Hutt College 50 50/30*
    77 Methven School 50 50/30*
    77 Windwhistle School 100 100/≤60*
    77 Glentunnel School 60 60/30*
    77 Darfield High School 50 50/30*
    79 Geraldine Primary School 50 50/30*
    82 St Patrick’s School (Waimate) 50 50/30*
    82 Waimate Main School 50 50/30*
    82 Waimate High School 50 50/30*
    82 Waihao Downs School 100 100/≤60*
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  • Other speed limits
    State highway Reference number (refer to map) Location Description Existing speed limit (km/h) Proposed new speed limit (km/h)
    1 1 Amberley south From south end of Amberley to near Grays Road 80 60
    1 2 Woodend north From north of Pegasus roundabout to Woodend 70 60
    1 3 Weavers Road to Rakaia From north of Weavers Road to Rakaia township 100 80
    1 4 Weavers Road intersection speed zone (ISZ) On SH1, approaching intersection with Weavers Road 100 80/60*
    1 5 North Rakaia Road intersection speed zone (ISZ) On SH1, approaching intersection with North Rakaia Road 100 80/60*
    1 6 Rakaia township Rakaia township urban area 70 50
    73 1 Yaldhurst Road To align with speed limit at Villa Maria College 60 50
    73 2 Bealey/Station Road intersection speed zone (ISZ) On SH73, approaching intersection with Bealey Road and Station Road 100 100/60*
    73 3 Waddington Road intersection speed zone (ISZ) On SH73, approaching intersection with Waddington Road 100 100/60*
    76 1 Collins Street to west of the Barrington Street interchange To align with Brougham Street upgrade Various 80
    76 2 Barrington Street westbound off-ramp (Jerrold St south) To align with Brougham Street upgrade 60 50
    76 3 Barrington Street eastbound on-ramp (Jerrold St north) To align with Brougham Street upgrade 60 50
    76 4 Barrington Street eastbound off-ramp 80 To align with Brougham Street upgrade 100 80
    76 5 Barrington Street eastbound off-ramp 50 To align with Brougham Street upgrade 60 50
    76 6 Barrington Street westbound on-ramp 50 To align with Brougham Street upgrade 60 50
    76 7 Barrington Street westbound on-ramp 80 To align with Brougham Street upgrade 100 80
    76 8 Waltham Road to Collins Street From west of Waltham Road to Collins Street 60 50
    77 1 Methven township north North of the speed zone past Ōpuke Thermal Pools 100 80
    77 2 Darfield urban Through township, to align with speed limit at Darfield High School 80 50
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We’ll work directly with communities when we begin the implementation phase to finalise speed limit sign locations.

These new speed limits will help us take steps towards a safe system in Canterbury by:

  • ensuring state highways with a school entry point have speeds reduced to care for students travelling to and from school
  • ensuring speed limits on roads in and around townships help protect everyone, including freight, commuters and vulnerable road users
  • reducing the risk of a crash because people will have more time to react to mistakes and avoid collisions, such as at rural intersection ‘hot spots’
  • helping to protect people if a crash does occur, as slower speeds result in lower crash forces
  • setting appropriate speeds in preparation for new infrastructure, such as Brougham Street in Christchurch
  • looking after communities where there is increased housing development, such as Methven and Amberley.

Frequently asked questions

Have your say

Consultation on the Interim State Highway Speed Management Plan closed on 12 December 2022.

When the Plan has been certified by the Director of Land Transport, we’ll provide an update. We anticipate this taking place in mid-2023.

We are striving to work with all of our communities. If you would like to receive this information translated into te reo Māori, please email us: speedmanagement@nzta.govt.nz

Kei te kaha mātou ki te mahi me ō mātou hapori katoa. Ki te hiahia koe i ēnei mōhiohio i whakamāoritia ki te reo Māori, whakapā mai i konei: speedmanagement@nzta.govt.nz