Auckland Transport is weighing up whether to scrap its biggest road safety initiative, the proposed widespread lowering of speed limits across the region.

In the week that the agency released its "Vision Zero" plan to eliminate road deaths and serious injury by 2050, AT said the volume of public submissions on the speed reductions, and the complexity of re-jigging any proposed speed limit reductions, could scuttle the controversial initiative.

"There's always been a possibility it didn't go ahead," Shane Ellison, AT's chief executive, said.

Some Auckland rural roads were proposed to have speed limits cut to 60kmh.

The agency's board will decide the future of the "Safe Speed" initiative, which was revealed by Stuff in June 2018, by the end of next month. 

It proposes to lower speed limits on nearly 800 roads – most of them rural, but some in the central city.

The plan has been touted as having the potential to cut the number of road deaths and injuries by dozens each year.

Auckland Transport received 11,700 submissions on the plan.

It was floated as part of wider-ranging safety initiatives to curb death and serious injury rates, which jumped about 70 per cent between 2014 and 2017.

Sixty-four people died in 2017, up from 36 in 2014, while serious injuries leapt from 447 to 749 over the same three-year period.

Ellison said the changes were to occur in a single by-law at the end of a statutory consultation process.

He could not recall what proportion of the nearly 800 roads had not been submitted on, but thought it could be about 40 percent.

Changes could not be made in stages, and any that did not proceed would  require a full new round of public consultation if they were to be revisited.

He said it was still a case of whether, not when, the speed reduction programme would go ahead.

Ellison said there was "sensitivity" in the community to the proposed changes and there needed to be public support for whatever action was taken.

Under the proposed reductions, most of the city centre would have 30kmh limits, while existing "shared spaces" where cars and pedestrians mix would have 10kmh limits.

Hundreds of 60kmh limits were proposed for roads outside the urban areas, from Leigh in the north, to Waiuku in the south and Kawakawa Bay in the south-east.

Note from Nighthawk.NZ:

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