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What is a special vehicle lane?

Special vehicle lanes include transit lanes, high-occupancy lanes, priority bypass lanes and bus lane.

When will electric vehicles be allowed in special vehicle lanes?

The Transport Agency is working with the Ministry of Transport on amending legislation to enable road controlling authorities, such as councils and the Transport Agency, to make bylaws allowing electric vehicles to use special vehicle lanes.

The legislative changes are expected to come into force on 1 July 2017 and involve changing the Land Transport Act 1998, Land Transport (Road User) Rule 2004 and Land Transport Rule: Traffic Control Devices 2004.

Following the changes it will be up to individual road controlling authorities to make bylaws for the lanes that are assessed as viable for electric vehicles to operate in. 

What is the Transport Agency doing to allow electric vehicles in special vehicle lanes?

In anticipation of legislative changes, the Transport Agency is undertaking preparation work to allow electric vehicles access to special vehicle lanes on the state highway network, including considering electric vehicle access in existing and new roading projects, such as motorway corridors and interchanges. The Transport Agency will not be able to enable electric vehicles access to special vehicle lanes until the proposed legislative changes are made.

Will electric vehicles be allowed in bus only lanes?

Following expected legislative changes, it will be up to individual road controlling authorities to make bylaws for the lanes that are assessed as viable for electric vehicles to operate in – including transit lanes, high-occupancy lanes, priority bypass lanes and bus lanes. 

Will single occupancy electric vehicles be allowed to use special vehicle lanes?

Following expected legislative changes, if an individual road controlling authority passes a bylaw allowing electric vehicles access to specific special vehicles lanes, then yes single occupancy vehicles will be allowed.

The purpose of Government’s Electric Vehicle Programme is to increase the uptake of electric vehicles in New Zealand to reduce gas emissions.  Allowing electric vehicles access to viable special vehicle lanes will help encourage New Zealanders to decide that their next car will be an electric vehicle, reducing emissions that come from the country’s vehicle fleet. 

How will allowing electric vehicles access to special vehicles lanes incentivise electric vehicle uptake?

Enabling electric vehicles access to special vehicle lanes may shorten journey time for electric vehicle drivers.

Will electric vehicles still be allowed in viable special vehicle lanes when they outnumber other vehicles?

Road controlling authorities constantly measure the productivity of roads, including congestion.

If a special vehicle lane is considered viable for use by electric vehicles, the Transport Agency will use a set of performance metrics to monitor the lane. These will give us an early indication if the lane or wider network is, or could be, negatively affected, and we will reassess the viability of allowing electric vehicles in that lane. 

How do I find out more?

For more information email evprogramme@nzta.govt.nz.

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