Speed limits (Ongoing)

Do more or fewer speed limits lead to better speed compliance and homogeneity? 

Stage One: Smoothing speed limits

Waka Kotahi-NZ Transport Agency is in favour of using fewer speed limits for simplicity. However, the AA often sees situations where restricting usable limits does not always provide a speed limit that is ideally suited to the road's conditions.

For example, if useable speed limits are restricted to 60km/h or 80km/h, one limit may be too fast for the road but the other too slow. The AA believes there is value in investigating the use of more speed limits to aid compliance.

This research will use a mixed research method where two groups of participants are exposed to different speed limit environments - one with 7 possible speed limits and the other group with 4.

In some cases the speed limits will be shown while in other cases they will not - this latter test will reveal the speed participants choose without the guidance of published limits.

The goal is to determine which conditions result in the best speed limit compliance, which group is closest to the safe and appropriate speed, and which scenario has the lowest variability. 

Why is the AA interested?

The AA regularly engages with Waka Kotahi-NZ Transport Agency on speed limit setting, but does not always agree with the limits set.

This research will provide an evidence base on which the AA can develop a stronger advocacy position.

Research Provider

  • Transport Research Group, Waikato University

Project Manager

  • Dylan Thomsen – AA Research Foundation

Previous related research

The AA Research Foundation has worked with Waikato University's Transport Research Group previously on several projects looking into aspects of driver risk awareness.

Page last updated: May 2022

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