From today Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency will begin actively seeking feedback from communities in Northland and north-west Auckland about the current speeds on their state highways, hear their concerns and tap into local knowledge about how the roads are used.
The public engagement period will run from May 3 to June 14.
Fourteen people have died on Northland roads so far this year, one more than at the same stage of 2020.
“Improving safety on New Zealand roads is a top priority for Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency. Waka Kotahi is committed to Vision Zero, which aspires to a New Zealand where no-one is killed or seriously injured on our roads. We’re working to deliver a safe system which acknowledges that even responsible people can make mistakes on our roads, and that these mistakes should not cost us our lives,” says Waka Kotahi Director of Regional Relationships, Steve Mutton.
“To reduce deaths and serious injuries on our roads we need to take action on several fronts, from speed limits to driver education to improving the safety of roads and vehicles. It’s not a matter of choosing one over the other, but even when speed isn’t the direct cause of a crash, it is the single biggest factor that determines whether a person is killed, seriously injured or walks away from a crash unharmed.”
This year, nine state highways in Northland and two state highways in Auckland are being reviewed after being identified as roads where safer speed limits could make a big difference in preventing deaths and serious injuries.
“We’d like people to tell us about places that are hard to get to or from, how safe they feel crossing the highway or letting their children walk or cycle to school in certain areas, and if there are any other sites or information that we need to be especially aware of,” says Mr Mutton.
This information will feed into the technical reviews of these stretches of state highway to help Waka Kotahi determine where speed limit changes could improve safety, and help shape any new proposed speed limits, which will then be formally consulted on.
The speed of a vehicle at impact is the single biggest factor that determines if you or someone you love, dies, or survives a crash.
You’re around 30% more likely to be in a serious injury crash at 90 km/hr than at 80 km/hr.
In August last year, following an extensive consultation period, Waka Kotahi reduced the speed limit on SH1 between Kawakawa and Moerewa from 100/km to 80km/hr.
Far North District Councillor Kelly Stratford says the new speed limit has made a difference.
“People do feel safer and that’s the most important thing. Raising up your voices together for a collective outcome does work.”
Speed is just one part of the road safety puzzle. Which is why Waka Kotahi delivers a number of driver training and education programmes such as DRIVE and BikeReady and we work with the likes of Students Against Dangerous Driving (SADD) and Northland Road Safety to support community-based road safety initiatives.
Our work towards creating safer roads for all New Zealanders is also evident in the current programme of works for Northland and into Auckland which includes a $792 million dollar four-lane corridor planned between Whangārei and Port Marsden Highway which will significantly improve safety through the inclusion of a continuous centre median barrier, preventing people from crossing the centre line and avoiding a head-on crash.
High-risk intersections are also being upgraded at Kawakawa, Puketona and Rāwene.
The Ara Tūhono – Pūhoi to Warkworth motorway is being built to the highest safety standards and will open in May 2022.
“We’re working toward a future where no-one is killed or seriously injured in road crashes in Aotearoa New Zealand,” says Mr Mutton.
“Lots of change is needed to get us there but there is one thing we can do that will make a huge difference immediately – making speeds safer on our roads.”
Formal consultation about any proposed speed limit changes will be the next part of the process, after engagement feedback is considered.
You can find out more and share your views by:
Pop up events scheduled:
State highways being reviewed:
About Vision Zero
Road to Zero, New Zealand’s road safety strategy, sets out the goal of reducing deaths and serious injuries on our roads by 40 percent over the next decade. This sets an initial target of reducing the number of people killed or seriously injured on New Zealand roads by 40% (compared to 2018 levels) by 2030, as a first step towards a long-term goal of no deaths or serious injuries.
Reaching that initial target would mean reducing annual road deaths to less than 230 and serious injuries to less than 1,700 by 2030. Last year 318 people were killed and more than 2,500 were seriously injured on New Zealand roads.