Public consultation opens today on an Interim State Highway Speed Management Plan being developed by Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency, aimed at making New Zealand’s highways safer for everyone who uses them
As part of Road to Zero(external link), New Zealand’s road safety strategy, all road controlling authorities are adopting a new approach to speed management. Waka Kotahi is the road controlling authority for New Zealand’s state highways, while councils and Auckland Transport are the road controlling authorities for local roads.
Vanessa Browne, Waka Kotahi National Manager Programme and Standards, says safety is at the heart of the Interim Speed Management Plan, recognising the diverse ways that people use New Zealand’s state highways.
“Good speed management is a fundamental pillar of the ‘safe system’ approach to road safety, which is recognised internationally as the most effective way to reduce deaths and serious injuries. At the same time as we develop the speed management plan, Waka Kotahi is also delivering large programmes of work as part of Road to Zero to support the other safe system pillars – safer roads and roadsides, safer vehicles and safe road user behaviour.”
During the current three year National Land Transport Programme (NLTP) funding period, $2.9 billion is being invested in Road to Zero activities to reduce deaths and serious injuries across New Zealand. This record investment is enabling a range of infrastructure safety improvements such as the installation of life-saving median and roadside barriers, the construction of new roundabouts, intersection safety upgrades and safety improvements to high-risk road corridors, in addition to the introduction of safer speed limits as well as targeted Police enforcement of unsafe driving.
Ms Browne says the speed management plans being developed by Waka Kotahi and local authorities will be aligned with the delivery of the infrastructure safety improvements set out in the NLTP.
“The Interim Speed Management Plan represents a new way for us to plan, manage and deliver speed management activities that are better co-ordinated with the delivery of our other safe system work. The plan we’re currently developing brings together our remaining speed-management activities being delivered through the current 2021-24 NLTP, including new speed limits on some sections of state highway, putting in place more intersection speed zones and lowering speeds around many schools and some marae on state highways.
“This is a stepping stone towards the development of three-yearly speed management planning that will also encompass safety infrastructure and the use safety cameras alongside speed management. We are also heading towards an integrated regional approach, with more co-ordination between Waka Kotahi, regional councils and our local government partners.”
Ms Browne says lowering speeds around schools will make it safer for more children to walk, cycle, scoot or bus to school, and lowering speeds around marae will protect whānau attending hui, tangihanga or other events.
“With more people travelling at speeds that are safe and appropriate for the road environment, we will see more inclusive, safer and more people-friendly towns and cities where we can all move around freely, no matter how we choose to travel.”
Public feedback will be considered by Waka Kotahi alongside its own analysis and feedback from partners, interested groups and organisations, as factors to finalise the Interim State Highway Speed Management Plan. Once the final plan is approved, the speed management activities and other safety improvements will be delivered over the following two years through to mid-2024, and by the end of 2027 for schools
Consultation on our interim plan is open for four weeks, from 14 November to 12 December 2022.
People can access information on the Interim State Highway Speed Management Plan and submit feedback by visiting the Waka Kotahi website: www.nzta.govt.nz/ISMP(external link)