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Last year, 353 people died on our roads, making 2019 the forth deadliest year this decade. 

The Safer Speeds Programme (Safer Speeds) is New Zealand’s new approach to speed management. It fits within the Vision Zero methodology and aims to reduce the number of road deaths to zero.

Auckland Transport, says the programme will apply speed limit reductions to many roads in the Rodney and Franklin districts, in addition to 100 other roads across the Auckland region. Including the inner city. 

Speeds will reduce from 50 – 30 km/h on major CBD roads to improve driver, passenger, cyclist and pedestrian safety. 

WSP experts explore the positive impact the programme will have on our environment, economy and active transportation modes.

ENVIRONMENTAL GAINS

Rowan Dixon, Principal Specialist for Sustainability and Resilience is enthusiastic about the environmental gains that will come from improving Auckland’s speed limits.

“Lowering speed limits – especially in built up CBD areas – has environmental co-benefits.” 

“At 30 KM/h, traffic emits fewer greenhouse gasses and damaging pollutants, like NOx and particulate matter. This improves local air quality and can reduce our impact on climate change by reducing fossil fuel use by about 12%. This is generally because traffic flow in these areas is smoother with less braking and acceleration.” 

The impact of lower-speed limits on traffic flow was examined in a 2017 Barcelona study which found that drivers travelled seamlessly at a lower speed with small spacings while the network achieved a  relatively high and stable throughput.” 

Additional studies have found that aggressive driving at a slower speed limit still produces lower emissions (but higher fuel use) than non-aggressive driving at a higher speed limits (Newman and Kenworthy, 1992: 39-40).