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Case study: The Waikato Demonstration Project

The project

Since November 2015, the Waikato Regional Transport Committee (RTC) has been demonstrating the draft national Speed Management Guide(external link). The region was selected for its diverse roads, high road toll and crash history, and a strong regional commitment and partnership approach to road safety.

The RTC has been testing the speed management and engagement tools provided in the Guide with five road controlling authorities (RCAs) at eight demonstration sites. Sites selected took into account a range of road types and uses, and where high benefit could be gained through speed management.

A key priority of demonstrating the Guide has been early and continuous engagement with communities. The objectives of engagement are two-fold:

  • To inform, start a conversation with and understand communities’ views on speed management initiatives
  • To use insights and data collected to support collaborative and informed decision making with local government and stakeholders

Enagaging collateral

A range of collateral* was designed by the RTC to support engagement with communities including:

* Please contact NZ Transport Agency if you would like to replicate any of Waikato’s communications collateral. 

Key Learnings

Key learnings from this engagement include:

  • Connect early with local government and key stakeholders, and ensure they are kept well- informed and equipped with project key messages, communications collateral and key statistics. They are key influencers and decision makers and provide invaluable insights into the community
  • Use a range of communications channels and keep telling the story. Councils know what channels work best to connect with their communities – make use of them, but don’t be afraid to explore new ways to connect
  • Face-to-face engagement is best but takes significant resource. Social media channels allow low cost and wide reach into diverse and sometimes hard-to-reach audiences. Ensure you have sufficient resourcing before you start engagement. If you don’t, you can apply to the Transport Agency for additional funding
  • Connect with media – they are generally keen to come on board and welcome releases, photos, data and access to key spokespeople
  • Use statistics and make it accessible – people are interested in what’s been happening on their roads e.g. crash history and speed data. Consider creative ways to present this information, an infographic for example
  • Be prepared for communities to raise concerns about other speed and road safety concerns in their area. Ensure concerns are answered in a timely fashion and that the right experts attend drop-in sessions
  • Use science but in plain English - ditch the jargon, engineering speak and acronyms

Read Waikato Speed Management Project: summary of lessons learned for RCAs [PDF, 69 KB] for an overview that covers learnings and recommendations for technical, engagement and implementation.

Results to date

As a result of this early engagement two RCAs have proceeded to formal speed bylaw consultation at four of the eight demonstration sites. At another, as a result of engagement, speed was not perceived to be the most significant safety issue and instead changes to signage and markings are being explored to address safety issues. Two other RCAs are choosing not to progress at this time, with one looking to carry out a district-wide review of speed limits, and the other seeking to address walking and cycling concerns raised during the engagement process.

In-depth community engagement via a Health Impact Assessment(external link) was also carried out at one of the demonstration sites by the Population Health team at Waikato District Health Board, and was invaluable in examining the broader health and wellbeing impacts of how speed is managed there. Those views were used to identify key issues for consideration by the local council.

Demonstration of the Guide in the Waikato has shown it to be sound, and learnings to date have been included in the Guide along with case studies. The RTC project’s focus is now on developing a consistent approach to the implementation of the Speed Management Guide(external link) across the Waikato region.