Speed limits too high on vast majority of New Zealand roads, NZTA estimates

The Transport Agency (NZTA) has estimated that 87 per cent of speed limits on New Zealand roads are too high.

The agency's online risk assessment tool, Mega Maps, uses a range of factors such as crash history, road conditions, surrounding land use and traffic volumes to calculate an ideal speed.

The NZ Herald reported this morning that Mega Maps suggests only 5 per cent of the open road should have the current 100 kilometre an hour speed limit, and in most cases a speed of 60-80 km/h should apply.

And for most urban areas, Mega Maps suggests the safe and appropriate speed would be 30-40 km/h.

Your playlist will load after this ad

Tamati Rimene-Sproat talked to a man who spent his career investigating serious crashes to get some tips this winter. Source: Seven Sharp

The Mega Maps tool is used by NZTA and councils as a guide for deciding on new speed limits.

Road Transport Forum chief executive Nick Legget said with the government wanting to crack down on the road toll, he's concerned speed limits could drop across the country.

Mr Leggett said that would severely restrict the movement of freight and the productivity of New Zealand's economy, as well as having a major impact on the everyday lives of drivers.

Your playlist will load after this ad

Two motorcyclists and a driver fleeing from police were among those killed in crashes over the long weekend. Source: Breakfast

Last month Transport Minister Julie Anne Genter said the government's Vision Zero road safety plan seeks to drop the number of road deaths by half in the next decade and one tool was to reduce speed limits.

"We wouldn't have a blanket reduction," Ms Genter said.

"What is important is that we're going to focus on the most dangerous roads, revising them to have a safe and appropriate speed limit, and making it easier for local councils to get a safe and appropriate speed limit."

Mr Leggett said the suggestion of lowering speed limits was about slowing New Zealand down and potentially making it a lot less productive.

Your playlist will load after this ad

Julie Anne Genter said they want to “turn around” the high road toll. Source: 1 NEWS

"The speed limit is 90 for trucks, and the worry for us is you make that 60 you are making it much much harder for the New Zealand economy to be productive for people to be able to move their goods around the country - and the economy will suffer."

New Zealand's population was too small to be able to subsidise public transport as other countries do, so it relied on roads.

"What we've seen in the last couple of years is a de-funding of the roading budget," he said.

He said speed was one factor in safety - and backed lowering the limit on dangerous spots - but said New Zealand should prioritise improving the quality of the roads.

Speed camera. Source: