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Development of the Speed Management Guide: Road to Zero edition

New Zealand has not kept up with changes to speed limits in the rest of the world based on clear evidence of safe and appropriate speed. Speeding – exceeding the legal speed limit – contributes to about 60 percent of fatal crashes in New Zealand, while 71 percent of injury crashes occur at speeds higher than the Waka Kotahi assessment of the safe and appropriate speed for that road.  This is not surprising given that 90 percent of the country’s speed limits are too high.

Speeds set too high for our roads are a significant factor making New Zealand one of the worst performing countries in the OECD in road safety. More than 40,000 people have died on our roads. The effects of traffic crashes cost the economy an estimated 4.6 billion per year.  Adding to these alarming statistics is the over-representation of Māori in our road trauma.

Ensuring our speed limits are aligned to the safety features and use of the road is a proven and effective way to improve safety, save lives and to prevent debilitating injuries. Safe and appropriate speed limits are a key lever in creating a safe transport system that puts all people no matter their mode of transport at its heart. It will also assist Aotearoa in contributing to global sustainability targets by reducing harmful emissions and noise pollution, making communities more attractive for living, working or visiting.

Along with our road controlling partners, Waka Kotahi is responsible for planning, investing, implementing and managing transport corridors that contribute to thriving towns and cities in ways that consider the needs of all users.

Because of the significant strategic and policy changes this edition of the Speed management guide: Road to Zero edition – has been written afresh, and is not a revised version of the previous 2016 guide.  

The development process was as follows: 

  • Waka Kotahi drafted this Road to Zero edition of the Speed Management Guide 
  • an external copy editor reviewed the draft for accessibility and consistency of language, with a focus on plain English 
  • Waka Kotahi engaged with internal and external reference groups through online webinars and workshops, taking deep dives into specific elements of the guide 
  • Waka Kotahi gathered feedback on the appropriateness and clarity of the draft, including the level of detail, coverage of themes and gaps that needed addressing. 

diagram showing step by step process of development the speed management guide

View larger image [PDF, 296 KB]

Following release of the Speed Management Guide further feedback will be gathered and assessed to determine updates for the Guide, appendices, and other supporting information.  

If you have any feedback on the Guide please email