CONTACT CENTRE WAIT TIMES: Our Contact Centre is currently experiencing significant wait times. View frequently asked questions

SCAM ALERTS: Report a phishing scam or learn about the latest phishing emails

ROAD USER CHARGES (RUC) DISCOUNT: Find out more about the temporary RUC reduction scheme

ONLINE SERVICES: We are currently experiencing issues with all our online services at the moment. We are working to resolve the services as soon as possible. We apologise for any inconvenience caused.

COVID-19 SERVICES UPDATE: Information on Waka Kotahi services, extensions and more

ONLINE SERVICES: We currently have an issue with receiving some payments and are working to resolve this issue as quickly as possible. We apologise for any inconvenience.

EASTER WEEKEND – PLAN AHEAD: Heading away for the long weekend? Check our holiday journeys tool(external link)

SCAM ALERTS: Refund email and Vehicle licence (rego) renewal phishing emails


Back to Resources

Traffic control devices manual (TCD manual)

Published: | Category: Signs & markings (permanent & temporary) , Manuals | Audiences: Road controlling authorities, Road traffic engineers & consultants, Roading contractors

The Traffic control devices manual (TCD manual) provides guidance on industry best practice, including, where necessary, practice mandated by law in relation to the use of traffic control devices.

Publication details

  • Author:
  • Published: December 2008

Traffic control devices manual

The planned structure of the Traffic control devices manual comprises 16 documents (three specifications, 10 parts, an addendum, a glossary and a list of references) and is shown in the table below.

Each part will be developed under the guidance of a working group of practitioners experienced in, and having specific knowledge about, the subject. The practitioners will also be representative of the intended users of the documents. Interested practitioners and affected organisations will be given the opportunity to comment on drafts and have their input incorporated appropriately in the final document.

The Traffic control devices manual will be published electronically only.

The following table shows the complete list of parts of the manual. These will be added to this website as soon as they become available.

Part Title Status Latest version

Sign specifications

Detailed descriptions of traffic signs, including dimensions, colour and layout

  Traffic signal specifications Planned  
  Marking specifications Under
1 General requirements for signs Published [PDF, 1.6 MB] Version 1
October 2010
2 Direction, service and general guidance signs Published [PDF, 4.5 MB] Version 1
January 2011

Advertising signs



Published [PDF, 1006 KB] Version 1
January 2011
Addendum: Digital Billboard Guidance Published [PDF, 678 KB] March 2022
4 Traffic control devices for general use – at intersections Under consultation  
5 Traffic control devices for general use – between intersections


Version 1
December 2020
6 Speed management Published as the Speed management guide and Speed management toolbox November 2016
7 (see part 13)    
8 Code of practice for temporary traffic management Published as
9 Level crossings
  • Responsibilities for level crossings
  • Risk assessment (ALCAM)
  • Signs, markings and other design considerations for active or passive controls and for pedestrians, cycles, heavy motor vehicles
Published Version 2 December 2012
10 Motorways and expressways Published as
13 Parking control
  • Legal framework - implications and responsibilities
  • Design considerations and elements
  • Linear and zone parking treatments
  • Parking furniture, eg meters, vending machines
(will be renumbered to Part 7 in next version)
Version 1
December 2007
14 Templates and designs   Updated August 2015
Glossary of terms used throughout the TCD manual
Published Updated December 2008
All documents references throughout the TCD manual
Published Updated December 2008


Relationships with other documents

The Traffic control devices manual will support and reference:

  • New Zealand legislation and, in particular, the Land Transport Act 1998 and rules made pursuant to that act, including the Land Transport (Road User) Rule, the Land Transport Rule: Traffic Control Devices and the Land Transport Rule: Setting of Speed Limits
  • general polices contained in Austroads Guides (in particular, the Guides to Traffic Management, Traffic Design and Road Safety) by providing detailed guidance to meet specific requirements of New Zealand law and practices
  • New Zealand and, as appropriate, Australian standards
  • codes of practice, guidelines and published standards of various authorities.
  • the Speed management guide – a national framework that helps road controlling authorities make informed, accurate and consistent speed management decisions for their communities.

Each part will attempt to provide a broad coverage of the subject but avoid duplicating major elements of referenced documents, preferring to direct readers to the source.

The Traffic control devices manual will, on completion, replace the joint Transit New Zealand and Land Transport NZ publication Manual of traffic signs and markings (MOTSAM). However MOTSAM Part 1 Traffic signs and Part II Markings will continue to be available until their contents have been replaced. Recently approved traffic signs are notified in Traffic notes until these signs have been incorporated into the appropriate part of the TCD manual.