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Land Transport Rule: Traffic Control Devices 2004

This rule covers requirements for the design, construction, installation, operation and maintenance of traffic control devices, and functions and responsibilities of road controlling authorities.

Rule versions

  • The ‘Current rule’ will give you the most up-to-date version of the Rule and any amendments made to it. We recommend this as your reference point if you want to read the most current information.
  • The ‘Original rule and amendments’ will give you the very first version of the rule (as it was when it was first created) as well as links to all amendments made to it over time. We recommend this page as your reference page if you want to research the history of the rule.

Note: Both of these pages will also provide links to the consultation material – such as summary of submissions and FAQs (questions and answers) – for each version and amendment.

Questions and answers

Questions and answers are provided to accompany a new rule or amendment when they are signed. These and other consultation documents on this page have not been updated to take into account any later rule amendments and are retained for historic interest only.

Land Transport Rule: Traffic Control Devices Amendment 2010

Questions & answers

1. What are traffic control devices?

Traffic control devices are signs, markings, signals, islands and other devices placed on or adjacent to roads, footpaths and cycle paths that are used to instruct, warn, guide or advise road users.

2. What does this amendment Rule do?

The purpose of this amendment Rule is to make changes to Land Transport Rule: Traffic Control Devices 2004 (the Traffic Control Devices Rule or the Rule). The amendment Rule takes account of submissions made in consultation on the draft amendment Rule, which was issued publicly in April 2010.

The Rule sets out the requirements for the installation, operation and maintenance of traffic control devices by road controlling authorities (RCAs). It aims to ensure that traffic control devices are consistent throughout New Zealand, so that road users know what to do in areas which aren't familiar to them. The Rule contributes to the safe and efficient operation of our road network by ensuring traffic control devices:

  • are uniform in their appearance and placement
  • adhere to minimum standards
  • are designed, installed and used by RCAs with regard to safe practice.

3. When will this amendment Rule come into force?

The amendment Rule will come into force on 1 April 2011. Until that date, the existing requirements in the Traffic Control Devices Rule will continue to apply.

4. Why is the amendment Rule needed?

The amendment Rule will allow RCAs to take advantage of a wider range of traffic control devices to implement, improve or maintain safe and efficient traffic management. The changes to the Rule will also ensure that the Traffic Control Devices Rule is consistent with the Land Transport (Road User) Rule 2004 (the Road User Rule) and other legislation, update engineering practice and allow the use of some new technologies.

A Parking Working Group including representatives from the New Zealand Parking Association, RCAs, the Automobile Association, the Ministry of Transport and the NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) considered current issues and advised the NZTA on possible changes. Based on this advice, the NZTA developed the parking proposals contained in the draft amendment Rule.

5. What is the legal basis for the amendment Rule?

Section 157 of the Land Transport Act 1998 provides for the Minister of Transport to make Land Transport Rules that provide for the design, construction, maintenance, and operation of traffic control devices.

6. Who will the changes affect?

The amendment Rule will primarily affect RCAs (ie, mainly local councils) but, to varying degrees, will also affect all road users (motorists, cyclists and pedestrians).

7. What are the specific changes in the amendment Rule?

Most of the changes to the Rule are of a technical nature, and will be mainly of interest to RCAs, but there are some changes that will be of wider, public interest.

They include the changes listed below.

  • A new regime for defining parking zones, and signing and marking the parking restrictions.
  • Changes to the existing descriptions of parking signs. The proposed new format will provide more flexibility and support changes to the new zone parking regime.
  • Replacement of the existing provisions for managing traffic entering a roundabout with traffic signals.
  • Improvements to traffic signalling at multi-laned approaches to areas controlled by traffic signals.
  • Provision for the installation of nearside, mid-block pedestrian traffic signal displays, countdown pedestrian signals and on-roadway warning lights at pedestrian crossings.

New regime for defining parking zones

8. Why is this change needed?

There is considerable pressure to reduce the number of signs required to indicate parking restrictions. This is an issue particularly where Central Business District parking encroaches into residential areas and affects the urban environment. Reducing the number of signs will also reduce costs. Also, within business districts there is an increasing need for a parking space to have multiple uses throughout the week and, for this reason, the change will enable greater flexibility for how parking signs display the relevant information.

9. What are the changes?

Until the amendment Rule comes into force, the Traffic Control Devices Rule requires signs to be installed at entry and exit points of a parking zone and reminder signs at each end of any intervening parking restriction, such as bus stops, and at frequent intervals within the zone. The amendment Rule reduces the frequency at which reminder signs are required.

The amendment Rule also reduces the number of signs needed for parking restrictions, such as loading zones and reserved spaces, provided the RCA marks the road surface. This includes reducing the frequency of repeat signage at intervals along the length of the restricted area.

10. Will a road controlling authority have to establish zone parking in its area?

No. The Rule only prescribes how parking zones shall be defined by appropriate signs and markings, if an RCA decides to establish one.

11. What are the changes to parking areas that are not zone parking areas?

More parking signs will be allowed at any one location to explain the full range of parking restrictions that may apply, provided that the signs conform to the stipulated format.

Also, if a parking area, other than zone parking, has been marked then signs will only be required at one end and at intervals of not more than 200m.

Some additional provisions for defining parking restrictions include:

  • restricting blue marking solely for parking spaces reserved for disabled persons
  • defining the term ‘parking machine’ to cover all types of device by which a person pays for the use of a parking space and require all the conditions (fees and time limits, etc) to be described on the machine
  • providing options to existing markings and introduction of some new forms of marking for special parking areas such as bus stops, taxi stands, loading zones
  • creating a new symbol “P$” to be used on a sign to indicate that a fee is required to park in an area.

12. When will these new parking restrictions come into force?

The changes will apply only to new parking restrictions. Existing signs and markings can still be used as long as they remain in good repair and are safe and adequate for their use. RCAs won't be required to make changes all at once; they will be phased in over time.

13. How will the amendment Rule affect the public?

The amendment Rule changes how some traffic control devices look, and how they are used, as well as introducing some new devices. These changes are consistent with the existing design of traffic control devices, so it is not expected that road users will have trouble adjusting to the new devices.

14. If RCAs use the new parking signs will it still be clear where drivers can park and what parking restrictions are?

The amendment Rule will allow RCAs to reduce the number of signs needed and this should make parking restrictions clearer to drivers. However, RCAs will still need to ensure that the numbers and design of the parking signs used are adequate to clearly inform drivers of the restrictions that apply at any particular site or time.

15. How will the public be made aware when changes are made by RCAs?

As parking signs will be brought in at different times in different regions, the responsibility for promoting changes to the local community lies with the RCAs.

16. The amendment Rule provides for the installation of some new traffic control devices. Who will pay the extra cost?

In most cases, there should be no additional cost. For example, existing markings and signs that are still fit for purpose may continue in use. They will be changed or upgraded to new formats as part of RCAs' normal maintenance schedules.

17. Who can install traffic control devices?

Traffic control devices can only be installed by RCAs or their authorised agents (eg, road construction companies).

18. How will road controlling authorities know how to comply with these new requirements?

The NZTA will provide guidance material for all RCAs.

19. Are there any new offences and penalties proposed?

A time limit has now been placed on the use of manually-operated flashing school bus signs of 20 seconds prior to the bus stopping to pick up or drop off children until 20 seconds after it has recommenced its journey. The operator's obligation to comply will be subject to the same offence provisions applying to the existing use of school bus signs (ie, infringement fee of $150 or maximum penalty on summary conviction of $500).

20. How can I obtain a copy of the amendment Rule?

A copy of the final amendment Rule will be available for purchase from selected bookshops that sell legislation or from Wickliffe Limited, telephone (06) 358 8231. The Rule is available online: Land Transport Rule: Traffic Control Devices Amendment 2010.

21. Where can I get more information?

Further information about the amendment Rule is available from the NZTA Contact Centre, freephone 0800 699 000.