Integrated planning for transport land use and investment overview


Transport planning can be defined as ‘planning related to developing and operating multi modal land transport activities, especially infrastructure and services’.

However, both transport and land use are fundamental enablers to help achieve integrated economic, social and environmental outcomes.  The location of transport and land use choices largely determine an area's development pattern (or spatial form), which, in turn, influences economic activity, social interaction and environmental quality. 

To achieve these wider outcomes, it isn’t possible to undertake ‘transport planning’ in isolation. Instead we need to engage in integrated planning from a transport perspective at national, regional and local level, working in partnership with others such as councils and the private sector.

Integrated Planning  

The NZ Transport Agency promotes an integrated planning approach to support (and influence) planning and investment decisions affecting the land transport network. Transport’s role is to support the development of people, the communities they live in and the creation of a more prosperous New Zealand. Transport is an enabler and should not be a barrier to a better New Zealand.

The goal is to “unlock the potential of the network” to deliver an affordable transport system that supports a growing economy, safe and vibrant communities and a healthy environment, now and for the future.

The Transport Agency must pursue value for money from its transport investment on behalf of the government. To do this the Transport Agency engages in planning on a number of levels to ensure it maximises transport investment outcomes around the following:

  • optimising network efficiency
  • achieving value for money
  • maximising achievement of transport (and wider) benefits
  • ensuring a safer transport system

Integrated planning can be viewed as a “three legged stool”.  Each leg is required to ensure the stool stands up.

Planning at various levels (national, regional and local)  

Planning at a national and pan-regional level is required for issues such as freight and tourism which are not constrained by local authority boundaries.

At a regional level, network alignment to manage growth, deliver infrastructure and the provision of services is required. This is especially important in the larger metropolitan areas to achieve one integrated network for transport users.

At a local (district/city) level, planning tends to focus on ad hoc issues and specific investment proposals.  The key urban planning issues tend to centre on the management of residential and business growth, congestion, freight, tourism and safety.  In rural areas the key issues tend to be safety, freight, tourism and route security.

The Transport Agency also works with stakeholders to ensure that land use planning and development does not compromise or reduce the efficiency and effectiveness of the state highway network.

Benefits of integrated planning  

The Transport Agency is working to achieve:

  • Enduring and affordable transport planning and investment decisions at national and regional levels.  Investment decisions are integrated within and across wider government investment, local government, and the private sector.
  • Greatest value from existing transport infrastructure construction and operation, seeking contributions, when appropriate, from users of the system and land developers.
  • Investment certainty by employing a long term and coordinated planning approach to ensure longevity of transport investment, resistant to significant subsequent changes in land use.
  • An integrated and streamlined planning system that enables decisions at the appropriate level, and with the appropriate stakeholders, to minimise churn and re-work (encompassing both local boundaries and vested interests).
  • Improved use of underutilised infrastructure to increase capacity.
  • Future proofing development as it is built, recognising that retrofitting solutions into existing built areas is very expensive.
  • Transport investment and land use integrated to maximise transport benefits, including:
    • reducing average vehicle kilometres travelled (by minimising travel distances and increasing multimodal access)
    • minimising household transport costs
    • minimising greenhouse gas emissions and reduce reliance on oil and oscillations in oil prices
    • other policy aims to achieve wider economic, social and environmental outcomes.
  • Resilient urban form that will enable better adaptation to an increasingly uncertain future.
  • Create better neighbourhoods by emphasising transport’s critical contribution to achieve attractive, liveable and vibrant communities.
  • An integrated national transportation system that can economically move anyone and anything, anywhere, anytime on time.
  • A transportation system without, or with reduced, fatalities and injuries.
  • More travel choice to choose the most appropriate mode for each journey.