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Speed management

Project overview

The Waikato was selected to demonstrate the NZ Transport Agency’s Draft Speed Management Guide, which offers a toolbox of different ways to tackle speed management.

The Waikato Regional Transport Committee led project selected several locations in the region to demonstrate the speed management tools in the Guide.

Linking in with the Waikato Regional Road Safety Strategy, the longer term aim is a framework which sees speed managed in a way that is regionally consistent, more effective, and that makes sense to the travelling public.

Running alongside will be work to change the conversation on speed, to build better sector and public understanding of risk, road classification and the necessity of speed management.

Who was involved

The Waikato Speed Management project was led by the Waikato Regional Transport Committee, with support from local councils and the Transport Agency as road controlling authorities, and from road safety partners, including the Police, Automobile Association and Ministry of Transport.

Demonstration sites

As part of the project we worked with a number of local councils and the Transport Agency to look at how speed is managed at selected demonstration sites: 

  • SH3 - SH37 to Waitomo Village – NZ Transport Agency
  • Baird Road, Tokoroa  - South Waikato District
  • Te Awamutu town centre – Waipa District
  • Cambridge Road (formerly SH1), Cambridge – Waipa District
  • Hydro Road, Karapiro – Waipa District
  • Buckland Road, Puketutu Road, Mathieson Road, Karapiro/Matamata – Waipa District and Matamata-Piako District
  • Helenslee Road, Pokeno – Waikato District
  • Tuakau Bridge-Port Waikato Road – Waikato District

Connecting with communities

A key aspect of demonstration of the Guide was robust and early engagement with communities where the demonstration sites are located. This informed council politicians and staff, supporting them in their decision making on whether to progress possible speed management at the demonstration sites. A range of approaches were used to encourage community feedback, including: drop-in sessions, direct mail, social media, advertisements, media stories. An online survey was filled in by over 400 people. 

In depth-community engagement by the Waikato DHB’s Population Health team was also undertaken. A Health Impact Assessment was applied to examine the broader health and wellbeing impacts of how speed is managed in Te Awamutu town centre. View the report here.

Project review - lessons learned

Read a summary of lessons learned and recommendations. [PDF, 51 KB]

Next steps

Results from the feedback combined with technical analysis of the demonstration sites (following guidelines in the national draft Speed Management Guide) was reported back to the respective councils for their consideration. As a result: 

  • An 80km/h speed limit has been introduced at SH37 Waitomo and SH3 Hangatiki and follows community and stakeholder support received by the Transport Agency during formal consultation.  
  • Waipa District Council proceeded to formal speed bylaw consultation at three demonstration sites Te Awamutu town centre, Cambridge Road and Hydro Road, with speed limit changes agreed by council for Cambridge Road and Hydro Road.  
  • Matamata-Piako and Waipa district councils instead agreed to explore changes to signage and markings to address safety issues at Buckland, Puketutu and Mathieson roads. 
  • Waikato District Council chose not to progress speed bylaw consultation at this time, and instead plans to undertake a wider review of speeds in 2017.
  • South Waikato District Council chose not to progress speed bylaw consultation at this time, and is looking to other approaches to address walking and cycling concerns along the route raised during the feedback process.

Supporting information

Contact us 

For further information please contact

Media releases

Safer speed limit for Waitomo and Hangatiki - 28 September 2016

Community views on speed sought - Putaruru and Tokoroa - 15th April 2016

Community views on speed sought – Cambridge, Te Awamutu, Karapiro - 23 March 2016

Community views on speed sought – Port Waikato, Pokeno -  21 March 2016  

Community views on speed sought – Matamata Piako area 18 March 2016  

Waikato regional road toll remains “way too high” 8 March 2016 (192kb)  

Regional speed management approach for safer Waikato roads 30 November 2015 (217kb) 


Issue 4, June 2016

Issue 3, April 2016

Issue 2, March 2016

Issue 1, December 2015

Frequently asked questions

Why the Waikato for the demonstration project?

The Waikato continues to have one of the highest year-to-date road fatality tolls in the country, with 69 deaths on Waikato roads in 2015. These deaths and serious injuries are caused by a range of factors, including alcohol, bad weather, tricky roads, and driving the wrong speed for the road. The Waikato has a diverse range of roads including rural, urban, through to very modern roads such as the Waikato Expressway. Not all roads are created equal – and that’s especially true in the Waikato.

Why ‘speed’ management?

Regardless of what causes a crash, speed plays a part in every crash. Speed multiplies the impact of the crash, and the severity of the injury. Speed multiples the impact of every crash, and people are sometimes driving the wrong speeds for the wrong roads. Speed can be a catalyst for other crash causes: at speed, there is less opportunity to react to someone else’s mistake.

Is this about lowering speed limits?

Speed limit changes are only one tool which may be used, others could include modifying roadside hazards, education, signage, road markings etc.

What’s the long term goal with speed management?

We’re working on a regional framework which would see a more joined up and consistent approach over the long term in how speed is managed on Waikato roads. The focus will be on those roads with the greatest benefit in helping reduce deaths and serious injury.