Local roads – the roads administered by city and district councils – make up about 80,000 kilometres (88%) of all New Zealand’s roads. These roads are vital to the economic and social wellbeing of communities. We work alongside councils to improve New Zealand’s overall road and transport system and to ensure that the state highway network links seamlessly into local roading networks.  

Planning considerations for local roads

Considerations for local arterials

Arterials are the roads that link districts or urban areas within a region and connect regionally significant facilities such as a port or airport. Although regional arterials are identified in district plans and feature at the top end of hierarchies, they often look and operate just the same as other busy roads. This is why local authorities need to identify and define the expectations of roads that perform a regionally important role.

Considerations for local streets

Local streets provide many social and recreational functions. The planning concept 'living streets' recognises these functions. It encourages the design of streets and speed limits to embrace living and community interaction to achieve a better and safer quality of life. It views streets as spaces shared by pedestrians, cyclists and low-speed vehicles. While cars are not excluded, streets, and the guidelines for their use, are designed so that drivers recognise they are in an area where pedestrians and others users are important.

Neighbourhood accessibility planning

Neighbourhood accessibility planning involves collecting data and consulting with communities to identify safety and access issues (including perceived barriers) in spaces shared by pedestrians, cyclists and vehicles.

The types of solutions developed depend on the issues, facilities and services in the area. However, expected actions would include:

  • improving safety for pedestrians and cyclists
  • improving the environment (including providing greater access) for pedestrians, cyclists and those accessing shared modes of transport
  • increasing the use of active and shared forms of transport in the area.

Community programmes

We provide funds to councils and their communities to undertake activities that encourage transport choices. It includes activities that encourage a voluntary change in travel behaviour by providing consumer information and encouragement. To be eligible for funding, programmes must promote safety and improved travel choices.

Learn more about community programmes:

How local roads are funded

Local roads are funded from several sources:

The funding that a council receives from us is known as the funding assistance rate (FAR). We set this rate under criteria set by the Minister of Transport. The rate is calculated on a needs basis.

Learn more about transport funding

Find out more

For more information and guidance on planning for local roads see:

Neighbourhood accessibility plans (NAP)

Other complementary guideline documents