What’s an Interim State Highway Speed Management Plan?

A new Land Transport Rule: Setting of Speed Limits 2022 came into effect in May 2022, requiring road controlling authorities to develop speed management plans every three years, aligning with the National Land Transport Programme (NLTP) cycle.

A speed management plan is a state highway, regional or local (territorial authority) plan that outlines a ten-year vision and a three-year implementation plan for a whole of network approach to speed management. It addresses safe and appropriate speed limits, safety infrastructure, and safety cameras.

As this legislation took effect during the current 2021-24 NLTP period, we’re taking a step towards the new approach by developing an Interim State Highway Speed Management Plan.

An interim plan is designed to allow for speed limit changes along with a small amount of safety infrastructure (if funding is available). The inclusion of proposed infrastructure and safety camera placements in interim plans is optional.

Can you improve the road instead of changing speed limits?

Setting and enforcing appropriate speeds and improving infrastructure are two ways we can create a transport system that enables everyone to get to the people and places important to them. But not all roads can be easily improved – for example, where there are funding constraints, or the surrounding environment limits the options for infrastructure improvements.

In places where infrastructure improvements cannot be made, we’re setting speed limits to better match the design and use of the road and surrounding area. Safety cameras and police enforcement also play a key role in speed management, by reminding and encouraging everyone to drive at the appropriate speed.

Managing speeds so they’re right for how people use our roads and the environment around it is part of delivering Road to Zero, Aotearoa New Zealand’s road safety strategy.

How do you determine what is a 'safe and appropriate speed'?

A safe and appropriate speed limit is a speed limit that is safe according to the survivability threshold set by the safe system approach and appropriate in terms of aligning with community wellbeing objectives as well as with the movement and place function, design and infrastructure of the street or road.

There’s a direct connection between how we use a road or street, and the appropriate speed we should travel at. For example, city centres need to be places where people walking feel comfortable sharing the street with people driving through.

We use the One Network Framework (ONF), our new national classification system to determine both the current and desirable aspirational function of our roads and streets and inform decision making.

ONF street categories such as local streets, urban connectors, city hubs and stopping places outline the safe and appropriate speed limit ranges.

We use this information alongside other factors from our investigation, including local data, collective safety risk, and information on the surrounding environment to determine the safe and appropriate speed limit for each road.

One Network Framework

What is collective safety risk?

Collective safety risk is the level of risk measured by the number of people killed or seriously injured over a distance, for example, number of deaths and serious injuries (DSI) per kilometre or within a set distance of an intersection.

How will you know if the lower speeds are working?

We’ll monitor vehicle speeds following the implementation of the new speed limits to ensure they’re operating as intended.

What’s an intersection speed zone?

Intersection speed zones are speed signs activated when a vehicle on a side road is approaching an intersection with a high-speed road. The aim is to temporarily slow down oncoming vehicles to make it safe for people to turn out of side roads or across a high-speed rural road.

As most rural intersection crashes involve turning and crossing vehicles colliding with high-speed traffic continuing through the road, reducing the speed of those vehicles going through as they approach the intersection can reduce the number and severity of crashes.