Neighbourhood Speed Limit Reduction

Neighbourhood speed limit reductions are part of the municipality’s ongoing initiatives to improve road safety.

Neighbourhood 40km/h Speed Limit Sign

Neighbourhood 40km/h Speed Limit

Currently, the Province of Nova Scotia sets speed limits on all public roadways using the Nova Scotia Motor Vehicle Act (MVA). The MVA prescribes a default speed limit of 50 km/h within residential areas unless otherwise posted. 50 km/h represents the minimum speed limit allowed to be posted on streets under the jurisdiction of the HRM Traffic Authority.

For HRM to post a speed limit below 50 km/h, an application from the HRM Traffic Authority must be made to the Provincial Traffic Authority. The province will consider neighbourhood applications on a street-by-street basis where streets with similar characteristics and a representative sample are shown to meet the criteria listed below: 

  • The functional classification of the street must be local.
  • The current speed limit on the street must be 50 km/h.
  • A speed study must be completed confirming the 85th percentile speed is close to 40 km/h or plans for physical changes that will limit speeds close to 40 km/h. The 85th percentile speed defines the speed that 85 percent of drivers usually drive at or below under normal conditions.
  • A 40 km/h posted speed limit is recommended by Canadian guidelines for establishing residential speed limits.

Neighbourhoods with data to support applications for a posted speed limit reduction are continuously being reviewed and sent to the Provincial Traffic Authority for approval. For neighbourhoods that do not meet the criteria, alternative options such as physical traffic calming may be considered.

To check the status of your street, visit:

Neighbourhood Speed Limit Reduction App

The following streets are complete or pending completion. Click on the Community name to view a map of the 40 km/h zone.

Community District Year Installed
Community District Year Installed
Lake Charles 1 2021
Erindale Estates 3 2022
Heritage Hills 3 2022
Russell Lake West 3 2020
Dartmouth 5 2022
Harbourview 5 2022
Downtown Dartmouth 5 2024
Locks Rd/Shubie Park 6 2020
Crystal Heights 6 2020
Ocean Breeze Village 6 2024
Belmont on the Arm 7 2021
Creighton-Maynard 8 2021
Uniacke Street Area 8 2021
Northern Peninsular Halifax 8 2024
West End 8/9 2021
Fairmount 9 2019
Armdale 9 2021
Cowie Hill 9 2022
Armcrescent 9 2024
Kearney Lake Beach 10 2021
Central Spryfield 11 2022
Governors Brook 11 2022
Herring Cove Community 11 2023
Beechville 12 2022
Glengarry Estates 12 2020
Greenwood Heights 12 2023
Lower Sackville 15 2021
Eaglewood 16 2022
Oakmount 16 2020
Ridgevale 16 2022

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is reducing the speed limit a priority?

Safety is the priority, and by reducing the speed limit in residential areas, our streets become calmer, quieter, and safer for people no matter which transportation option they choose. This builds community trust and more vibrant, livable neighbourhoods.  

Speed limits are important to road safety because vehicle speed is a significant factor in  the severity of the collision. Slowing down provides more time to react to an unexpected event, reduces unnecessary tragedies, and has very little impact on travel times. Studies show a 40% increase in pedestrian survival rates from two to six out of ten when the travelling speed is reduced from 50 to 40 km/h.

HRM’s approach to road safety is multi-faceted, and reducing residential speeds is only part of the strategy.

Why can’t all neighbourhoods be reduced to 40 km/h?

Under the current Provincial legislation (MVA), the HRM Traffic Authority is not permitted to post a speed limit below 50 km/h without approval from the Provincial Traffic Authority. HRM staff have made several requests to the Province to change the default speed limit from 50 to 40 km/h, however these requests have not been successful in achieving the required legislation changes. Until such time the legislation can be changed, HRM and the Province have developed a process for individual street changes. This also requires individual sign changes which is a very time consuming process. On average, 10 neighbourhoods are installed each year.

Why is the speed limit reduction only from 50 to 40, why not 30?

Currently, only a 40 km/h speed reduction on local residential roads will be considered for approval by the Province. Most jurisdictions across the country have been rolling out similar 40 km/h speed limits. 30 km/h speed limits are less frequent in other jurisdictions and will continue to be applied locally within school zones only. 

How will I know what the speed limit is?

Residential streets with a reduced speed limit will feature a 40 km/h posted speed limit sign at community entrances rather than individual streets. This reduces the amount of sign clutter on our roadways while still enforcing the law. 

For residential communities with no posted speed limit, the default (unposted) speed limit is still 50 km/h, applied to all roadways within residential areas in accordance with the Nova Scotia Motor Vehicle Act.

How much time will this add to my commute?

There is not expected to be any significant impact to travel time as roadways receiving approval to post a 40 km/h speed limit are already operating near this speed. 

How will the speed reduction be enforced?

Based on the approval criteria set by the Province, only residential local streets with a recently conducted speed study confirming that the 85th percentile speed is close to 40 km/h are accepted for the speed reduction. This means the street is already operating at a speed close to 40 km/h, and the reduced speed limit is reaffirming existing patterns.

As for enforcement, if you are observing dangerous driving, including speeding on your street, please contact the non-emergency police dispatch at 902.490.5020 or 902.490.7252 (TTY).

I would like my neighbourhood speed limit reduced. Who should I contact?

Neighbourhoods with data to support applications for a posted speed reduction are continuously being reviewed and sent to the Provincial Traffic Authority for approval. If you would like to make an official request for your neighbourhood, please contact the HRM Citizen Contact Centre.

How long does this process take? 

Reducing a neighbourhood's speed limit varies based on staff availability, data collection, and resources. 

While reviewing communities throughout the Municipality for road safety measures, neighbourhoods that may meet the Province's requirements for a reduced speed limit are identified. If representative streets have existing speed studies that show the 85th percentile speed close to 40 km/h and is recommended to be 40 km/h based on the speed limit guidelines, an application from the HRM Traffic Authority is made to the Provincial Traffic Authority for approval. 
If speed studies have yet to be conducted or are more than three years old, a new speed study is required. Streets with an 85th percentile speed generally greater than 45 km/h will not be approved. 

Once approved by the Province, the HRM Traffic Authority will initiate the installation of signage. When installation resources are available, a public service announcement is issued. The reduced speed limit is enforceable only when the 40 km/h posted signage is installed.