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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

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.

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. 

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.