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.

In Otago, this could mean you can bike to work efficiently and comfortably. Our elderly can use mobility aids confidently to get to their local shops and medical centres, to access community groups and visit whānau, people, and places they care about. Our parents can have peace of mind when tamariki walk to school because they know those travelling alongside them are doing so within a safe system.

This is our vision for Otago, 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 recent years we’ve completed the following safety improvements in Otago:

  • The One-Way System Separated Cycle Lanes on the north and south section of SH1 through central Dunedin and the Otago University precinct have opened, increasing the number of people cycling on this busy route.
  • Roadside safety barriers, improved road marking and signage were installed on several corridors on SH6.

We have the following safety improvements being planned or implemented:

  • A single lane roundabout is being installed at the SH6/SH8B intersection in Cromwell to improve safety at this high-risk intersection. It will likely be completed by the end of the year.
  • Safety improvements are planned for a 14km section of SH1 between Herbert and Hampden in North Otago. Work is expected to include roadside safety barriers and wide centrelines to help separate traffic.
  • Safety improvements along SH88 between Dunedin and Port Chalmers, including the final 5km section of shared cycling and walking path between St Leonards and Port Chalmers will be ready in mid 2023. This shared path provides a safe alternative for those walking or cycling instead of using SH88, the main road freight route to Port Otago.
  • Other improvements on sections of SH88 between St Leonards and Port Chalmers are expected for completion by mid 2023, including intersection upgrades, improved road markings and roadside safety barrier.
  • A new single-lane roundabout will be built in 2023 at the busy SH6/SH84 intersection near Wanaka.
  • Detailed design work has been completed for safety improvements on a 26km section of SH1 between Hampden and Palmerston in North Otago, with implementation expected during the 2024–27 National Land Transport Programme (NLTP).
  • New dedicated infrastructure to support public transport is on the way to Queenstown in addition to safety improvements across SH6/SH6A.

To ensure our state highways remain safe and efficient, 228.5 lane kilometres of road renewals were completed in the Otago region from mid 2021 to mid 2022, and 293.2 lane kilometres are planned as part of the 2022/23 road maintenance programme.

We’re also working with our local government partners in the region on community road safety programmes, ranging from driver licensing to cycling skills for school children.

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 Otago 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

What we know about Otago

The different ways our state highways in Otago are being used

The focus for Otago is on improving both safety and resilience, while maintaining key road connections and ensuring the right levels of service for everyone who uses the highway network.

Ensuring the region’s roads are safe, resilient, and well-maintained will support the farming, forestry and tourism sectors that underpin the Otago economy. The roads enable access to educational, recreational and work opportunities, the transportation of the region’s goods and produce to market, and are economic and social lifelines to remote communities.

  • SH1 provides a critical freight link between Canterbury and Otago that delivers the goods and services needed for Otago to thrive, and links communities.
  • High growth locations such as Queenstown and Central Otago depend on highways to support the tourism industries that underpin their economies.
  • SH6 and SH94 from Queenstown to Milford Sound carries large numbers of people to and from one of the most iconic visitor destinations in Aotearoa. Improvements on both highways help keep visitors who want to admire the breath-taking scenery much safer.
  • Otago rural highways, such as SH1, SH8 and SH85 in Central Otago, are widely used by large trucks including milk tankers servicing farms and the region’s flourishing forestry industry.
  • The north and southbound legs that carry SH1 through the Dunedin CBD and Otago University campus is used by more than 26,000 vehicles every day. There are also large numbers of people walking and cycling along this route, especially through the university campus.

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, 6, 8, 83, 85, 87 and 90 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 showed:

  • There’s an intersection with safety risk at Hillgrove Road that would benefit from an intersection speed zone (ISZ).

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.

Some key themes we’ve heard from these conversations:

  • There’s support for extending lower speed limits throughout school zones and townships.
  • There’s an appetite among communities and partners for extra speed warning signs in urban areas to support the speed limits. These have been installed in several rural towns.
  • Some intersections, especially those with higher traffic volumes and around schools feel unsafe.

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 Otago

Following our investigation 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 Otago

View larger map and speed limit tables [PDF, 2.3 MB]

Speed limit tables

  • Speed limits around schools
    State highway School Existing speed limit (km/h) Proposed new speed limit (km/h)
    1 Pembroke School 50 50/30*
    1 Waitaki Boys' High School 50 50/30*
    1 Ōamaru Intermediate 50 50/30*
    1 Waitaki Girls' High School 50 50/30*
    1 Totara School 100 100/≤60*
    1 Palmerston School 50 50/30*
    1 East Otago High School 50 50/30*
    1 Waikouaiti School 50 50/30*
    1 George Street Normal School 50 50/30*
    1 Tokomairiro High School 50 50/30*
    1 Clinton School 50 50/30*
    6 Makarora Primary School 80 80/≤60*
    8 Omarama School 50 50/30*
    8 Tarras School 80 80/30*
    8 Alexandra School 50 50/30*
    8 Roxburgh Area School 50 50/30*
    83 Duntroon School 70 70/30*
    83 Papakaio School 100 100/≤60*
    85 Māniototo Area School 50 50/30*
    85 St Gerard's School (Alexandra) 50 50/30*
    87 Strath Taieri School 50 50/30*
    87 Lee Stream School 100 100/≤60*
    87 Amana Christian School 50 50/30*
    90 Blue Mountain College 50 50/30*
    90 Tapanui School 50 50/30*
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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 Hillgrove Road (Moeraki) intersection speed zone (ISZ) On SH1, approaching intersection with Hillgrove Road 100 100/60*
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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 by:

  • ensuring state highways with a school entry point or intersection nearby have speeds reduced to care for children travelling to and from school
  • reducing the risk of a crash because people will have more time to react to mistakes and avoid collisions
  • helping protect people if a crash does occur, as slower speeds result in lower crash forces.

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