Safer school speed limits are here

At the start of Term two in 2024, the speed limit around all Hamilton primary, intermediate and secondary schools changed to 30km/h.


This change is aimed at helping to ensure safer journeys for students, including those who choose to walk, bike or scooter to school. Reducing speeds to 30km/h around schools aligns with the Hamilton Speed Management Plan 2022 and Council’s Vision Zero goal where there are no serious injuries or deaths on our roads.


A combination of permanent and variable 30km speed limits came into effect around schools from the first day of Term two on 29 April 2024. At the same time, some school zones were also adjusted to better reflect students’ journeys to school.


See the 30km/h safer speed limit areas

Group of school kids riding scooters and skateboards on a footpath

Why are you making this change?  

The purpose is to make the roads around our schools safer for all road users, particularly for our tamariki as they travel to and from school.   

How much safer is it when you travel 30km/h as opposed to 40km/h or 50km/h? 

The relationship between speed and road injuries is well established internationally – research shows that if a pedestrian is hit by a car travelling at 50km/h, they have a 10% chance of survival, whereas the survival rate increases to 90% if the car is travelling 30km/h. By driving at a slower speed, drivers also have more time to react to avoid a collision in the first place.  

Didn’t we already have lower speed limits around schools?

Previously we’ve had 40km/h speed limits in place around schools – these are changing to 30km/h to make these areas even safer for our tamariki. At the same time, we are making some adjustments to the areas covered by the lower speed limits to better reflect the journeys that students take to get to school. Through our School Travel pilot programme over the two years, we have seen a positive uptake in students using more active modes to get to school. We hope that creating safer roads around our schools will encourage more children to choose active modes of transport, like walking, cycling and scootering, which is great for their health and also helps reduce congestion around the school gates. 

What consultation was carried out ahead of this change and what did the public say? 

We have completed full consultation ahead of these changes – both for the development of the city’s Speed Management Plan in April 2019 and also when proposing these specific changes around schools.

For the proposed 30km/h speed limits around schools, consultation with schools began in January 2023, while public consultation took place during September and October 2023. Schools were overwhelmingly in support of the reduced speed limit, while 293 comments from 177 respondents during the public consultation – of these, 63% of comments (186 comments) were supportive of speed reductions around schools, while 19% (55 comments) opposed the changes.  

Some of the feedback received during the consultation led to changes to what was originally proposed, such as adjustments to the streets/areas covered by the 30km/h speed limits.  

What other factors did you look at ahead of making this change? 

We assessed the area around each of Hamilton’s 58 schools individually to ensure the infrastructure supports a permanent or variable (during certain hours) 30km/h speed limit. This work included a safety assessment to evaluate the existing infrastructure and consider whether crossing upgrades or other traffic calming treatments were required. At the same time, we worked with schools to understand routes that students were taking to determine whether adjustments were needed to the school zone to cover additional areas such as a longer section of road or any side streets and back entrances that are frequently used on the journey to school.  


We also considered each of the locations separately to determine whether permanent or variable 30km/h speed limits would be most suitable – on key routes that are important for moving people and freight, variable speed limits will remain in place instead of implementing permanent 30km/h speed limits in these areas. 

What is happening on State Highway roads around schools?

NZ Transport Agency Waka Kotahi are currently working to determine if the speed limits on some sections of State Highways near schools will be lowered and if so, when. Some sections of State Highway have already been approved for 30km/h speed limits which will come into effect on 29 April, while decisions on other locations are still being worked through.  We are working closely with NZTA to ensure that the final rollout makes sense for these locations. 

How much does it cost to install the electronic variable speed signage? 

The cost for a new electronic variable sign is $10,000. With the change of speed limit around schools, we have been able to utilise existing variable speed signage where they no longer required – this helps keep costs down as we haven’t needed to purchase new signage and have only needed to pay for relocation of the signs.

How many crashes are occurring around our schools - is this change really needed?

Between 2014-2023 there have been 967 reported crashes in Hamilton within 200m of a school, with 76 of those involving a pedestrian or cyclist. Of the 76, around two-thirds involved a pedestrian and one-third involved a cyclist – with 14 of the crashes resulting in serious injuries, and 55 in minor injuries. Our statistics show that most crashes within 200m of a school occur around pick-up and drop-off times.

While a change in speed limit from 40km/h to 30km/h around schools only requires drivers to slightly reduce their speed, this change will provide them with more time to react to avoid potential collisions, and also help reduce the severity of injuries if one does occur.

Related pages

Speed management

Find out about our work to make our roads safer for everyone.

Educating schools

Get road safety advice and information on planning school travel.

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Last updated 13 June 2024