Speed Management Plan

Speed Management Plan review


We’re reviewing speed limits and proposing some work to keep people on our roads safe.

What is a Speed Management Plan?

We’ve collated our speed management initiatives into a draft interim Speed Management Plan for the District. This relates to roads we have control over, which doesn’t include state highways. To develop this interim plan, 106 roads were selected to be considered for change. We selected these roads after considering reports of crashes, roads in the vicinity of schools, and roads that were the topic of customer requests. Each road was reviewed and improvements identified, these include some speed limit reductions, and some areas where work is needed to reduce or support existing travel speeds.

This plan will have a 10 year vision with a 3 year implementation plan and are to be reviewed in line with the National Land Transport Programme funding timelines (every 3 years).

State highways

A separate Speed Management Plan will be developed by Waka Kotahi for all state highways as these are not under our control, so we can’t make changes to their speed limits. Examples of state highways include roads such as Parry Palm Avenue in Waihi, Belmont/Normanby Roads in Paeroa, and Orchard Road in Ngatea.

When Waka Kotahi makes its speed management plan available for comment, we will let our residents know how they can give feedback.

What we’re proposing

As part of our commitment to reducing deaths and serious injury on our roads, we’re proposing a range of initiatives to ensure that vehicle speeds are appropriate for the areas where we live, work and go to school. To view the proposed speed limit changes, click the link to the map below, or view the list of changes in the documents below.

After we consider your feedback, we’ll develop an implementation plan to provide a programme of works and timeline for installation.

Speed limits around schools

We are proposing to reduce speed limits within the vicinity of schools to either 30 km/hr for urban schools or a maximum of 60km/hr for rural schools. This is in line with the NZ Government requirements and should improve safety and accessibility.

Speed limits on rural roads

Rural roads are our highest risk due to the impact forces during a crash which affects the survivability of those involved. We need to carefully balance the costs of improvements to our rural roads, with these risks. We have identified some roads where a lower speed limit is considered to be appropriate for the environment and use of the road.

In other locations improvement works have been recommended to support either the existing speed limit or a lower speed limit. On some roads, we’re proposing to lower the speed limit until the road can be improved, as reducing the speed limit is a lower cost option to improving the road. Funding to improve roads comes from our rates and any significant increase in our road improvement budget will result in an increase in rates. We’d like your feedback on how we should be managing the risk on rural roads: whether we should be reducing the speeds until the road can be improved, or improving the road to reduce the risk.

Speed limits on residential roads

Speed limits in residential areas are currently 50km/hr. Some of these areas typically include short lengths of road with education facilities and local reserves creating opportunities for recreational and sustainable travel modes like walking and cycling. Vehicle speeds are at times quoted as being a barrier to walking or cycling to school. We want to extend the recommended lower speed limits in school areas into the surrounding residential areas to make it safer for pedestrians and cyclists. This would align with how we expect drivers to behave in these areas. Lower speeds also make for a more pleasant living environment with less noise and pollution from passing vehicles. Our initial assessment of these extended areas around the schools suggested lowering the speed limit to 40km/hr in these areas. However we are considering reducing them to 30km/hr to improve the survivability of crash involving a pedestrian or cyclists.

We are interested to know whether you think 40km/hr or 30km/hr is the most appropriate speed limit for the extended residential areas surrounding schools and reserves.

Read the documents | Pānui ngā tuhinga

Further information

Watch: Future New Zealand, Better Together – the Road to Zero – YouTube (Nicole Rosie Waka Kotahi CEO and Dave Cliff CEO of Global Road Safety Partnership)

How to tell us what you think | He aha ōu whakaaro, korero mai

The written feedback period is now closed. You can still contact us to book in to speak to the Council at a hearing on Wednesday, 13 July 2022.

View recorded webinar

If you missed our webinar on 30 May, you can view the recording by clicking the link below:

HDC Speed Management Plan Webinar
Access Passcode: g&tP$44T

Frequently Asked Questions

If you have questions of your own, feel free to contact us or our use the feedback form and we’ll answer them.

The roads selected for review in this interim Speed Management Plan have been identified from the following sources to give us a broad cross section of roads:

  • High priority roads
  • Crash data – roads with two or more fatal or serious crashes in the previous 10 years including at least 1 fatal crash
  • Education (including early childhood) facilities/aged care facility locations
  • Peri-urban locations (roads that transition from rural to urban locations)
  • Customer requests

Research has shown driving at a speed appropriate for the road is likely to only result in a very small increase in travel time. Other factors, such as traffic, topography and intersections have a much greater effect on travel time than the speed limit. Trips reducing the maximum speed from 100km/h to 80km/h on a 10km length of road showed travel time increases ranged from 30-48 seconds. For local trips reducing the maximum speed from 50km/h to 40km/h showed travel time increases ranged from 11-42 seconds. If the maximum speed limit around a typical town is 50km/h, your average journey speed is actually between 26km/h and 33 km/h.

All drivers make mistakes and whether you are at fault or an innocent party, the speed of all parties will determine the outcome of a crash. Any perceived loss of time from a reduced speed limit pales into insignificance when you have a crash. The immediate and lifelong effects of a fatal or serious crash will take a much larger toll on your life than a few additional seconds on your travel time. The on-going mental and physical toll on wellbeing are the true costs of a fatal or serious crash. These effects also ripple far beyond just those directly involved in the crash to other family and friends by either removing a person from their life to changing how they can now interact with you.

The Council does not get any of the money from speeding fines; the money goes directly to the Government. The collection of infringements by NZ Police comes at a much more significant cost to issue notices including police time and energy. The NZ Police would likely be delighted not to have to issue any infringements (as we would too), as this would show everyone was driving safely and not putting themselves or others at risk. This would see deaths and serious injuries on our roads significantly reduced.

Once the speed management plan has been updated with feedback from the consultation and approved by Council (expected 29 July 2022) it will be uploaded into the National Speed Limit Register. After this, we’ll develop an implementation plan to provide a programme of works and timeline for installation. The timing for the speed limits to come into force will depend on how much physical work is required to support the speed limit change. The speed limit is enforceable by the NZ Police once the speed limit signs are installed on the road. We will give you plenty of advance notice as to when and where this will occur on our roads.

While modern cars have better safety equipment, our bodies don’t. A person’s body feels the force of a crash the same way they did when the first car was invented. New Zealand roads are often unforgiving and leave no room for error. Even the best technology won’t stop another car crashing into you, or fully protect you from an impact with a roadside object.

Speed limits and safety work are just part of the picture. We have budgeted $35 million towards sealed road resurfacing and pavement rehabilitation in the next ten years. Smoother roads don’t mean people aren’t going to crash, and it doesn’t mean that when they do, they will survive. It also doesn’t reduce the risk to pedestrians around schools.

The existing speed limit is not always the appropriate speed for the existing environment. This project is about aligning the travel speed with the environment to reduce the risk to all road users. The use and deployment of speed cameras is being reviewed and will become part of the overall strategy for improving safety on our roads.

Due to the distance between Station Road and Miller Avenue school it is not feasible to extend the proposed speed limit change to this area at this stage. Crossing facilities for students will be looked at as part of a safe routes to school project to identify areas where additional safety improvements are required i.e. safe crossing points. Speed limits in the vicinity of childcare centres will be reviewed in more detail at a later date – the current review is just the first step in our speed planning process.

This is a rating given to all of our roads by Waka Kotahi. It’s based on key features that impact on road safety, such as how winding or straight it is, how wide it is, if there are roadside hazards, if it has busy intersections, or lots of traffic. These sorts of factors are considered and combined to give a score, which results in five risk categories: low, low-medium, medium, medium-high and high. The risk rating is just one of the things we looked at when considering whether to change speed limits or carry out safety improvements.

The mean travel speed is calculated from actual vehicle speed data collected by Waka Kotahi using Tom-Tom and/or GPS technology.

We agree, however the speed that a vehicle is traveling at has a direct effect on the severity of the crash as the speed of the vehicle is the difference between a correctable mistake and a fatal error. Higher vehicle speeds also increase the probability of a crash in several ways. By reducing the capacity of a driver/vehicle to stop in time; By reducing manoeuvrability in evading a problem; By making it impossible to negotiate curves and corners at speeds which are too high for the friction available; By reducing the driver’s field of vision; and By causing others to misjudge gaps.

We are trying to create an environment that increases the ability of people to survive crashes.

The New Zealand Government is requiring all Councils to undertake this work as part of their Road to Zero strategy. The process has been set out in the updated Setting of Speed Limits Rule. This is the way we will set our speed limits in the future, and our Speed Limits Bylaw will be revoked.

Lead by example, start the conversation. The more that bad behaviour/driving habits are seen to be socially unacceptable the less likely it is to occur (there will always be speeding drivers but hopefully less of them over time).