Speed surveys are conducted at randomly selected sites around New Zealand annually to provide an estimate of the national speed profile. The results are broken down to a regional level and into light and heavy vehicles. This page shows the heavy vehicle speed survey results.

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Prior to 3 May 2004 heavy vehicles towing trailers, other than articulated trailers, were subject to an 80 km/h open road speed limit. For other heavy vehicles the limit was 90km/h. From 3 May 2004 the open road speed limit for all heavy vehicles is 90 km/h.

All heavy vehicles

Open road heavy vehicle speeds
Open Road Heavy Vehicle Speeds
YearMean speed (km/h)85th * percentile (km/h)Percent travelling over 90 km/hNo. of heavy vehicles surveyed
1997 91.6 100 60% 3,414
1998 92.1 101 62% 3,336
1999 92.1 100 63% 2,946
2000 91.5 100 60% 3,483
2001 90.6 98 55% 3,279
2002 89.5 97 49% 2,849
2003 89.3 96 46% 3,084
2004 88.9 96 46% 3,032
2005 88.9 95 46% 2,951
2006 89.3 95 44% 2,560
2007 88.6 94 40% 2,676
2008 89.2 95 46% 2,939
2009 88.9 95 43% 2,888
2010 89.2 95 45% 2,962
2011 88.9 95 44% 2,914
2012 88.6 94 39% 2,468
2013 88.0 93 32% 2,573
2014 87.7 93 31% 2,959
2015 87.9 93 31% 3,117

*85th percentile speed means 15 percent of the vehicles surveyed were travelling faster than this speed.

Urban road heavy vehicle speeds
Urban Road Heavy Vehicle Speeds
YearMean speed (km/h)85th * percentile (km/h)Percent travelling over 50 km/hNo. of heavy vehicles surveyed
1997 54.5 61 74% 1,744
1998 54.1 61 72% 1,736
1999 53.4 60 67% 1,711
2000 53.3 60 67% 1,890
2001 53.4 60 70% 1,482
2002 52.8 60 64% 1,312
2003 52.1 59 62% 1,334
2004 51.5 57 59% 1,251
2005 51.0 57 53% 1,139
2006 51.0 57 51% 960
2007 50.5 56 49% 1,028
2008 50.9 56 55% 903
2009 50.1 55 48% 944
2010 49.7 55 44% 978
2011 50.1 56 47% 911
2012 48.7 54 34% 920
2013 49.1 54 39% 896
2014 48.0 53 30% 812
2015 46.8 52 23% 953

*85th percentile speed means 15 percent of the vehicles surveyed were travelling faster than this speed.

Heavy vehicles with no trailer (rigid trucks and buses)

Open road heavy vehicle speeds - no trailer
Open Road Heavy Vehicle Speeds - no trailer
YearMean speed (km/h)85th * percentile (km/h)Percent travelling over 90 km/hNo. of heavy vehicles surveyed
1997 91.3 100 57% 1,876
1998 91.6 101 59% 1,837
1999 91.9 101 60% 1,631
2000 91.5 100 60% 1,832
2001 90.8 99 57% 1,670
2002 90.1 98 54% 1,409
2003 89.6 97 49% 1,508
2004 88.6 96 44% 1,440
2005 89.0 96 45% 1,416
2006 89.0 96 42% 1,177
2007 88.1 94 37% 1,232
2008 88.4 95 40% 1,295
2009 88.5 95 41% 1,318
2010 88.5 95 39% 1,273
2011 88.4 95 43% 1,310
2012 88.1 94 37% 1,030
2013 87.3 94 32% 1,050
2014 86.7 93 28% 1,128
2015 87.4 93 31% 1,232

*85th percentile speed means 15 percent of the vehicles surveyed were travelling faster than this speed.

Urban road heavy vehicle speeds - no trailer
Urban Road Heavy Vehicle Speeds - no trailer
YearMean speed (km/h)85th * percentile (km/h)Percent travelling over 50 km/hNo. of heavy vehicles surveyed
1997 54.6 61 75% 1,542
1998 54.1 61 72% 1,509
1999 53.5 60 68% 1,503
2000 53.2 60 68% 1,636
2001 53.5 60 70% 1,283
2002 53.0 59 64% 1,136
2003 52.1 58 63% 1,142
2004 51.6 57 59% 1,070
2005 51.0 57 53% 1,019
2006 51.0 57 51% 830
2007 50.5 56 49% 853
2008 50.9 56 55% 788
2009 50.1 55 48% 793
2010 49.8 55 44% 844
2011 50.0 55 45% 810
2012 48.8 54 35% 783
2013 49.1 54 38% 740
2014 48.0 53 30% 671
2015 46.9 52 23% 810

*85th percentile speed means 15 percent of the vehicles surveyed were travelling faster than this speed.

Articulated heavy vehicles (semi-trailers and B-trains)

In the latest year only 53 articulated rigs were surveyed in urban areas. This is too few to provide an estimate of mean speeds.

Open road heavy vehicle speeds - articulated
Open Road Heavy Vehicle Speeds - articulated
YearMean speed (km/h)85th * percentile (km/h)Percent travelling over 90 km/hNo. of heavy vehicles surveyed
1997 94.1 100 73% 640
1998 94.0 101 71% 606
1999 94.1 101 77% 496
2000 93.7 100 75% 592
2001 92.9 98 70% 566
2002 91.4 98 59% 489
2003 91.9 98 66% 510
2004 91.0 96 58% 537
2005 89.9 95 53% 479
2006 89.9 95 49% 470
2007 89.9 95 48% 528
2008 90.3 94 54% 602
2009 89.9 94 47% 515
2010 89.9 94 48% 542
2011 90.1 95 47% 524
2012 89.1 94 40% 430
2013 88.3 93 33% 482
2014 88.7 93 36% 578
2015 88.8 93 33% 579

*85th percentile speed means 15 percent of the vehicles surveyed were travelling faster than this speed.

Heavy vehicles towing trailers, other than articulated (truck and trailer, A-trains)

In the latest year only 90 truck and trailer rigs were surveyed in urban areas. This is too few to provide an estimate of mean speeds.

Open road heavy vehicle speeds - towing trailers other than articulated
Open road heavy vehicle speeds - towing trailers other than articulated
YearMean speed (km/h)85th * percentile (km/h)Percent travelling over 90 km/hNo. of heavy vehicles surveyed
1997 91.1 99 60% 898
1998 91.9 99 62% 893
1999 91.6 99 62% 819
2000 90.4 98 53% 1,059
2001 89.0 96 43% 1,043
2002 88.2 94 36% 951
2003 87.7 94 32% 1,066
2004 88.4 94 40% 1,055
2005 88.5 94 43% 1,056
2006 89.3 94 42% 913
2007 88.7 94 41% 916
2008 89.7 95 48% 1,042
2009 89.0 95 44% 1,055
2010 89.7 95 48% 1,147
2011 89.2 94 44% 1,080
2012 88.9 94 41% 1,008
2013 88.3 93 32% 1,041
2014 88.1 93 31% 1,253
2015 88.1 93 31% 1,306

*85th percentile speed means 15 percent of the vehicles surveyed were travelling faster than this speed.

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