Why are we doing this?
The Land Transport Rule; Setting of Speed Limits 2022 sets requirements for Council, as a Road Controlling Authority, to prepare a speed management plan along that sets our proposed speed limit changes and speed management activities.
The rule forms part of the overarching strategic priority of safety set out within the 2021/22 – 2030/31 Government Policy Statement on land transport and Waka Kotahi’s Road to Zero 2020-2030 Road Safety Strategy working towards a New Zealand where no one is killed or seriously injured in road crashes.
The risk of death and serious injury with accidents involving a vulnerable road user, such as pedestrians or cyclists, is heavily dependent on the speed at which the vehicle is travelling at the time of the crash. This risk is illustrated in Figure 1 below, for speeds in our urban areas, where there is a greater presence of vulnerable road users.
When accidents involve other vehicles, which is relevant for both our urban and rural roads, the risk of death and serious injury is also dependent on the speed the vehicles are travelling at. This is demonstrated in Figure 2.
Reducing speed limits around areas such as schools, or in neighbourhoods, is one way we can contribute to a safer road network. When vehicles are travelling slower around areas with higher density of pedestrians, they will feel safer and feel more inclined to walk or cycle. Slower vehicles will also reduce the amount of harm caused when accidents do happen. All these things are in alignment not only with our Council’s strategy for transport, but also with the Government’s road safety strategy. Council currently see this as an important priority.
Road Controlling Authorities must ensure at least 40% of all schools are covered by a slower speed limit by 30 June 2024, transitioning to all schools by 31 December 2027.
Council is using this Speed Management Plan to propose speed limit reductions for all schools within the Southland district, excluding schools within the jurisdiction of Waka Kotahi, earlier than the Government’s target as our children are amongst the most vulnerable.