Overview

We are considering raising speed limits from 100 km/h to 110 km/h on appropriate Ontario 400-series highways. The new speed limit would align with other provinces, such as Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Saskatchewan.

As part of the decision-making process, we launched a speed limit pilot on three sections of highway in Ontario. As safety is the government's number one priority, each pilot location was carefully chosen based on several factors, including its ability to accommodate higher speed limits.

From September 24 to November 23, 2019 we undertook a province-wide consultation about increasing speed limits on 400-series highways (freeways) in Ontario. Thanks to everyone who provided feedback. We will use your input to help inform decisions and policy related to the pilot as well as speed limits in general.

About the pilot

On September 26th, 2019 we raised the posted speed limit on three sections of 400-series highways in Southern Ontario to 110 km/h from 100 km/h.
The pilot will run for two years.

The locations of the pilot are:

  • Queen Elizabeth Way from Hamilton to St. Catharines (32 km)
  • Highway 402 from Sarnia to London (90 km)
  • Highway 417 from Gloucester (east of Ottawa) to the Ontario-Quebec border (102 km)

As part of the pilot, we will:

  • monitor its effectiveness
  • consult with the public and our enforcement partners

The Ministry of Transportation is also planning to announce the opening of a fourth pilot location in northern Ontario in late spring 2020.

Road safety and speed enforcement

Public safety on our roads is our number one priority. Each pilot location was carefully chosen based on several factors, including its ability to accommodate higher speed limits.

Increased signage

During these pilots, we are adding extra safety measures, such as increased signage and messaging to make sure that all drivers know where the speed limits changes.

Enforcement

Stunt driving penalties will continue to apply at 150 km/h. This means that in the pilot zones, the stunt driving penalties will apply at 40 km/h over the posted speed limit, not the usual 50 km/h over.

All other speeding penalties (Highway Traffic Act and regulatory requirements) continue to apply.

About the public consultation

From September 24, 2019 to November 23, 2019 we published an online survey about raising speed limits on Ontario highways and the raised speed limit pilot.

Over 8,300 people responded to the survey.

Main themes

Participants responded to 15 questions about the four themes that guide our approach to speed limits on highways across the province. People answered questions about:

  • driving style, including lane choice, comfortable speed and traffic
  • speed limits, including current posted speed limit versus desired posted speed limit, operating speed differences and anticipated operating speeds in pilot areas
  • enforcement, including level required for effective speed limit enforcement
  • support for raised speed limits, including the raised speed limit pilot and raising speed limits on more 400-series highways

What we heard

Driving style

99% of respondents stated that they are licensed to drive on 400-series highways in Ontario.

When we asked which lane respondents prefer to drive in:

  • 54% stated that they prefer to drive in the lane that best matches their speed
  • 14% prefer to drive in the middle lane
  • 14% prefer to drive in the right lane
  • 10% prefer to drive in the left lane
  • 8% prefer to drive in the lane with the least traffic

When it comes to operating speeds:

  • 61% feel comfortable driving at speeds higher than the posted limit of 100 km/h
  • 29% adjust their speed according to the driving conditions
  • fewer than 10% of the respondents declared that they feel most comfortable driving around the posted speed limit of 100 km/h
  • 1% feel most comfortable driving below 100 km/h

Of the respondents that support the two-year pilot, roughly 70% of respondents stated that they feel most comfortable driving at 100 km/h or higher.

Of the respondents who do not support the two-year pilot, 41% stated that they feel most comfortable driving around 100 km/h and 23% stated that they feel most comfortable driving between 100 – 120 km/h.

Also, when it comes to comparing speed differences between respondents and the other drivers in traffic, half of the respondents stated that they must match the speed of traffic to feel comfortable driving on freeways, and over 40% are comfortable driving faster than most other drivers.

Speed limits

When asked about the posted speed of 100 km/h on Ontario’s 400 series highways, almost 80% of the respondents think 100 km/h is too slow.

Most respondents think that drivers exceed speed limits. Almost 50% think that most drivers exceed 100 km/h, and more than 40% think that most drivers regularly operate their vehicles at speeds over 120 km/h on 400-series highways.

When asked about operating speeds in pilot areas, 55% of the respondents think that drivers will not change their speeds in the pilot zones and 44% think that operating speeds will go up in these areas.

When asked about potential changes in operating speeds on highway sections before and after the pilot areas, 66% of the respondents think speeds will not change, and the remaining third believe that drivers will travel faster.

Enforcement

When we asked about the amount of enforcement that is adequate to enforce compliance with the increased speed limit pilot:

  • 52% of the respondents think that the current level of enforcement is adequate
  • 33% of the respondents believe that more enforcement would be necessary

Of the respondents that support the two-year pilot, 65% responded that the current levels of enforcement are enough.

Of the respondents that do not support the two-year pilot, 77% feel that current levels of enforcement are not enough.

We asked about enforcement required if we raised speed limits on all 400-series highways:

  • 50% of the respondents think that no changes in enforcement levels are necessary
  • 25% of the respondents think that more speed enforcement would be required

Support for raised speed limits

Of those who responded, 80% of the people support the raised speed limit pilot.

There is also strong support (82%) for increasing speed limits on more sections of 400-series highways.

Download submission details (CSV)

Updated: May 14, 2021
Published: September 19, 2019