Fewer people will die or be seriously injured on Auckland’s rural roads and city streets as a result of a new Speed Limits Bylaw to be introduced by Auckland Transport.
After considering nearly 12,000 public submissions and reviewing technical reports, Auckland Transport’s board approved a bylaw today - which will reduce speed limits on around 10% of Auckland’s urban and rural roads.
The greatest impact of the speed-limit reductions will be on high-risk rural roads, town centre streets and Auckland’s central business district.
The changes are in response to an alarming, and growing, trend of deaths and serious injuries (DSI).
Auckland currently has around three times the rate of DSI than other parts of New Zealand – on average two people are killed or seriously injured every day.
The speed limit changes target the highest-risk roads in the region and are expected to stop approximately 87 death or serious injuries over the next five years.
Auckland Transport Chairman Dr Lester Levy says the response to the extensive consultation on the bylaw was clear – Aucklanders want safer roads and streets for all users, especially vulnerable pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists.
“The evidence from our own trials and overseas experience shows that drivers who make mistakes at lower speeds have better outcomes,” Dr Levy says.
“AT and supporters of lower speeds have a message for Auckland drivers: if you value life, reduce your speed.”
The safe-speeds programme is based on the view that drivers in town centres and on rural roads should travel at a speed that is safe and appropriate for the road conditions.
On Queen Street, there’s been 36% reduction in deaths and serious injuries since 30km/h speeds were adopted in 2008.
Auckland Transport recognises that as Auckland has grown and changed and a blanket two-speed limit approach – 50km/h for urban areas and 100km/h for rural roads – no longer suits high-density areas with multiple users and the many hilly and twisty rural roads throughout the region.
Under the new Safe Speed Limits Bylaw, there are three important changes to speed limits:
- Following public feedback, most of Auckland’s city centre will have a speed limit of 30km/h (the current 10km/h combined pedestrian and vehicle zones will remain) apart from Hobson, Fanshawe and Nelson Streets which will be 40km/h with engineering treatments to protect vulnerable road users.
- Fourteen town centres, such as Orewa, Te Atatu South and Westgate, will also have 30km/h speed limits.
- Around 700kms of rural roads across the Auckland region will have new lower speed limits.
The board decided to leave existing speed limits on 20 roads, mostly in rural areas in the south.
In September 2019, Auckland became a Vision Zero region. In the Vision Zero approach to road safety, four areas are equally important: safer roads, vehicles, speeds and people. Improvements in each of these areas such as upgrading high-risk rural roads, adopting safe car systems, setting appropriate speeds for roads and ensuring compliance with road rules – will all contribute to a safer road system and reduce the number of deaths and serious injuries.
While many Auckland rural roads are not suited for high speeds, they are also not engineered in a way to naturally encourage drivers to slow down. As a result, there are high crash risk routes and levels of fatalities and serious injuries that are disproportionate to the volumes of traffic on these routes.
The areas that will benefit most from this programme are Rodney, Upper Harbour, Orakei, Waitakere, Manukau, Manurewa-Papakura, Waitemata and Gulf and Franklin.
Auckland Transport has planned a $700 million road safety programme through to 2028 to deliver major, minor and mass-action safety engineering projects at high risk locations across the network. Funding will come from the Government and Auckland Council, and includes $216 million from the Regional Fuel Tax.
“From safety upgrades, including a $120 million investment in intersections, to a $35 million on safety improvements for pedestrians and people on bikes, we’re creating safer roads for drivers and for those road users who are most vulnerable,” Dr Levy says.
What happens next
- Due to the scale of the change with new road signage and traffic calming measures being installed, the Safe Speeds Bylaw will be introduced in a phased approach.
- Further information on the phasing of the changes will be provided by Auckland Transport as plans are finalised and confirmed.
Option three provides for the proposed changes to speed limits on these 20 roads to be deferred until tranche two to allow for more local engagement. These roads would be subject to regular performance monitoring in the interim.
These roads are:
|Rural||Aka Aka Road||Franklin|
|Rural||Ernest George Drive||Franklin|
|Rural||Hill Top Road||Franklin|
|Rural||Sydney Owen Road||Franklin|
|Rural||Terry Smyth Drive||Rodney|
|Rural||Waitangi Falls Road||Franklin|