One of the key action items in the Road to Zero strategy is a move to set safe speed limits around all schools by the end of 2027.

Setting safe speed limits around all schools improves actual and perceived safety to encourage and enable more active travel to and from school which is important for healthy communities. It also reduces the risk to tamariki and whānau of being killed or seriously injured while travelling to or from school.

The Land Transport Rule: Setting of Speed Limits 2022 (the Rule) requires road controlling authorities to use reasonable efforts to have at least 40% of speed limit changes for roads outside schools completed by 30 June 2024, and the remainder must be completed by 31 December 2027, and these changes must be built into speed management plans.

Each school, in conjunction with the road controlling authority, can determine the roads outside that school – it may simply be a single road that runs past the school gate, or (at the other end of the spectrum) a wider area around the school plus roads that have a higher volume of active-mode travel.

Schools will be grouped into two categories to determine the appropriate speed limit for their surrounding roads. The Speed Management Guide: Road to Zero edition provides more guidance on this.

Speed Management Guide: Road to Zero edition

  • Category one. When the Rule came into effect on 19 May 2022 all schools by default became Category one schools. This means that the schools’ areas would have 30 km/h (fixed or variable) speed limits, or 40 km/h limits if these were in place prior to consultation on the new Speed Rule.
    • The 40 km/h limits will need review once after three years. If the 40 km/h speed limits are deemed safe and appropriate after review, the school would be re-categorised as Category two (as outlined below); if not, the speed limit would need to be dropped to 30 km/h.
    • Category one schools are more likely to be in areas with existing 50 km/h speed limits. These areas potentially have high numbers of more vulnerable road users in the vicinity (adult/child pedestrians, cyclists, micro-mobility users) with consequently higher risk. This may be from more housing in the school vicinity, making it more suitable to use active transport modes.
  • Category two school areas would provide for using a maximum of 60 km/h speed limits, with an explanation necessary in the local speed management plan about how Safe System principles will be met.
    • Where these higher speed limits are used (40 km/h, 50 km/h, or 60 km/h) for Category two schools, they would need review once after three years. If, after review, the limits were not assessed as safe and appropriate, these schools would need to be re-categorised as Category one, with a 30 km/h speed limit.
    • Schools in Category two are more likely to be in areas with less comparative risk to vulnerable road users (for example, where pupils are generally driven or bussed to school, as distances make active transport modes less practical, and pick up/drop off space is provided off-road). Existing speed limits may, for example, be 60-80 km/h.
    • This may also include school areas where safety infrastructure will mitigate risk of higher speed roads (for example, there are dedicated cycle lanes or traffic bays off main roads).

A new amendment to the traffic control devices rule (Land Transport Rule: Traffic Control Devices (Kura/School Signs) Amendment 2022) enables road controlling authorities to use new bilingual Kura School signs when replacing or introducing new signs to show speed limits around schools.

Land Transport Rule: Traffic Control Devices (Kura/School Signs) Amendment 2022 [PDF, 292 KB]

Kura School signs consultation

Approved Kura School sign images(external link)