Ontario to extend pilot on increasing 400-series highway speed limits

Ontario has announced it will extend a pilot project studying whether or not to increase the speed limits from 100 km/h to 110 km/h on some 400-series highways. The initial pilot has been running on three sections of highway since 2019, but traffic was diminished due to the Covid-19 pandemic, and so an extension will be granted. “This extension will allow us to collect additional data and better analyze the effects of raising speed limits,” the province said in an update posted online.

(Photo: iStock)

The pilot will now run until 2023.

The initial phase included: Queen Elizabeth Way from Hamilton to St. Catharines; Hwy.

402 from Sarnia to London; and Hwy.

417 from Gloucester to the Ontario/Quebec border. Along with the pilot, the province conducted public consultations and found: 54% of drivers prefer to drive in the lane that best matches their speed; 14% prefer to drive in the middle lane; 14% prefer the right lane; and 8% prefer the lane with the least traffic.

Sixty-one per cent of respondents said they felt comfortable driving at speeds greater than 100 km/h; 29% adjust their speeds to driving conditions; fewer than 10% said they most comfortable driving around the 100 km/h posted limit; and 1% feel most comfortable driving below 100 km/h. Also, 80% of respondents said they felt the 100 km/h speed limit for 400-series highways is too low. Only a third of respondents who support the pilot felt more speed enforcement is needed, but of those who do not support the pilot, 77% felt current enforcement levels are not enough.

Eighty per cent of respondents support the pilot while 82% also felt more sections of 400-series highways should see higher speed limits.