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How state highways can affect communities

The state highway system is an essential part of New Zealand's transport system, providing access to social, educational, employment and recreational opportunities.

However, state highways can create adverse effects on the cohesion of local communities through:

  • the construction and realignment of state highways, which can physically or perceptually sever parts of a community from services such as schools and hospitals, and facilities such as parks and shopping centres
  • the 'barrier effect', which refers to the greater number of vehicles the more delays and discomfort experienced by people walking
  • designations for new or improved transport routes – once a transportation corridor is 'designated,' the residents are placed in a state of uncertainty as the road may not be built for many years. As improvements are not compensated for once a designation is in place, buildings and land will often deteriorate

Our commitment to social responsibility

We are developing social impact assessment guidelines to help us meet our commitments to enhance and contribute to community cohesion.

Research reports

Read the following reports about community severance and connectedness:

Contact us

Email us at to register to receive email notification of environmental updates, or for more information.