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The Speed management guide: Road to Zero edition (the Guide) empowers and supports regional transport committees (RTCs) and road controlling authorities (RCAs) to develop high-quality speed management plans that will help make informed, accurate and consistent speed management decisions in their communities.

Speed management guide: Road to Zero edition (2022) [PDF, 2.8 MB]

The Guide supports the development of plans to deliver consistent implementation of safe and appropriate speed limits aligned with Road to Zero, Aotearoa New Zealand’s road safety strategy and the Land Transport Rule: Setting of Speed Limits 2022 (the Rule).

This Guide represents a new phase in delivering speed management in New Zealand by being a principles-based approach to setting speed limits and managing speeds. It draws together, into a single planning framework, the requirements under the Rule and the main elements of:

The Guide draws from this framework and international best practice to highlight four key principles for speed management:

  • set speed limits according to the Safe System
  • set speed limits that provide for community wellbeing
  • set speed limits in accordance with the One Network Framework street categories
  • support speed limits with a balanced regulatory approach that encompasses education, engagement and enforcement.

The Guide provides safe speed ranges for each One Network Framework street category and guidance on what infrastructure would need to be present to choose the higher end of the safe speed range.

The safe speed limit ranges associated with the One Network Framework street categories and descriptions of the categories are summarised in the Speed Management Guide section 2.3.

The Guide also aims to provide insights and information for partners and organisations with an interest in road safety and speed management.

Strategic direction

The following make up the foundations for tackling unsafe speeds.

diagram regarding government direction and priorities versus Waka Kotahi strategic direction

Overarching strategic direction for speed management and road safety in Aotearoa New Zealand

Speed management plans

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 should address safe and appropriate speed limits, infrastructure, and speed cameras. 

The Guide provides detailed information on the concept, content, process, and roles and responsibilities for developing a speed management plan in accordance with the Setting of Speed Limits Rule. It also provides a simple template to support the submission of speed management plans for certification.

Guiding principles for speed management

The guiding principles for speed management sum up key concepts to guide the speed management plan process and understand the rationale behind speed limit advice from Waka Kotahi. These principles are drawn from international best practice, and Aotearoa New Zealand policies and strategies.

diagram of speed management principles: safety, system thinking, community wellbeing, movement & place

Guiding principles for speed management

The four principles are designed to be applied together and complement each other. The Safe System approach to road safety, which Road to Zero is based on, promotes the understanding of systemic factors and opportunities across the whole transport system rather than at any one level or part.

In a Safe System, an integrated approach to speed management increases the effectiveness of each measure and prevents gaps in the system that result in poor road safety and community outcomes.  This is particularly relevant when it comes to speed management, which crosscuts the whole land transport system – infrastructure, workplace road safety, vehicle safety, system management and behaviour. 

Safe and appropriate speed limits

A safe and appropriate speed limit is a speed limit that is safe according to standards set by the Safe System 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.

The Setting of Speed Limits Framework provides the rational for assessing and confirming the safe and appropriate speed limits for all streets and roads. The key inputs to assessing a safe and appropriate speed limit are: the Safe System threshold speeds, the One Network Framework street category, and elements of the infrastructure risk rating (IRR) which consider the physical features of the road.  

Safe System threshold speeds are speeds that are well established in evidence to give the best chance of survival without serious injury to anyone involved in a crash. The street categories of the One Network Framework indicate the movement and place function of a street or road, taking into account land use and the types of road users present.  Design and infrastructure criteria that should be taken into account when assessing a safe and appropriate speed limit include the information available in national level datasets, such as the width and alignment of the road, and also information available only at a local level, such as the presence and design of separated cycling infrastructure and pedestrian crossing facilities.  


One Network Framework street categories

Infrastructure risk rating manual: Road to Zero edition (2022) [PDF, 1.6 MB]

Partnership with Māori

The Rule requires engagement with Māori on the development of speed management plans and separate consultation with Māori on draft plans. Elements of the rule also aim to directly improve speed management processes for Māori communities: variable speed limits outside marae do not require Waka Kotahi approval, and variable speed limits outside schools applies to all schools year 1–13, including kura, regardless of roll size. Improving speed management presents a significant opportunity to improve Māori road safety outcomes, and reduce the impacts of unsafe speed limits on Māori communities.

Communications and engagement

Communications and engagement on speed management, as well as a formal consultation process, will build public understanding and awareness of safe and appropriate speed limits, the speed management plan development process, and the finalisation and implementation of plans. The speed management planning process is expected to be transparent and encourage widespread participation in the consultation process, so stakeholders and communities understand the full picture.

Monitoring and evaluation

Regular monitoring, evaluation and reporting are critical for keeping speed management plans on track to achieve local, regional and national outcomes. They inform the allocation of limited resources to achieve the most significant impacts. The Road to Zero Monitoring Framework includes activities for the monitoring and evaluation of speed management interventions, performance and outcomes at a national level, including for speed management. Road controlling authorities are also encouraged to undertake their own monitoring and evaluation at a local level.  



Speed management planning process

Speed management: frequently asked questions – July 2022 [PDF, 786 KB]

One Network Framework street categories 

Contact us

We welcome feedback on any element of the Guide. Send your feedback to