Changing rural speed limits

Glen Koorey presented 'Changing Rural Speed Limits - Learning from the Past' at the 2017 IPENZ Transportation Group Conference. The paper, co-authored by Bill Frith of OPUS, was Highly Commended (runner-up) for Best Research Paper.

The background to the paper is New Zealand's ongoing review of procedures for setting speed limits as part of the "Safer Speeds" component of the national road safety strategy. A big topic for discussion is the planned greater use of speeds limits below the standard 100 km/h rural or "open road" speed limit. Many people (including politicians, transport practitioners, and the general public) remain sceptical that reductions in the posted limit alone can have much effect on driver speeds and safety outcomes.

'Changing Rural Speed Limits - Learning from the Past', draws on earlier studies of two past case studies of NZ speed limit changes, and re-analyses the findings in light of more recent research.

The relationships between speed limits, road environments and speed compliance are compared with observed speed behaviour. The analysis also considers the safety effects of speed and assesses whether the observed changes in crashes, injuries and fatalities follow research findings elsewhere. Finally, the paper reflects on the likely implications of these findings on future changes to rural speed limits.

You can read the paper and view the conference presentation from this page.

Where presented/published

2017 IPENZ Transportation Group Conference