Traffic management involves using technology to provide road users with a safe and efficient state highway network.

State highway traffic management centres in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch use a network of remote cameras and sensors to enable us to monitor traffic flow and respond rapidly to conditions or to incidents that are stopping or slowing traffic. These centres are capable of backing up to the other in the event of power failure or other emergency.

How we’re managing traffic

We apply a number of technological tools to help keep traffic flowing smoothly, as and when traffic volumes and conditions require. The various tools we use around the country include:

  • linked traffic signals controlled by SCATS (Sydney coordinated adaptive traffic systems), which ensures the most efficient movement of traffic across a network of intersections
  • electronically changeable signs (also known as 'variable message signs'), which provide messages about what’s happening ahead and enable drivers to make early decisions on their travel options. This is the most commonly used traffic management tool in New Zealand
  • 'variable mandatory speed control' signs, which aim to reduce traffic speeds before queues start to form. The signs can legally reduce traffic speeds from 100km/h to 60 or 50km/h
  • closed-circuit television cameras, which enable us, the police and emergency services to respond quickly to incidents and events on the state highway network
  • the road conditions website, which provides up-to-date information on conditions on the state highway network. The site is updated every two minutes, providing a useful tool for journey planning
  • underground sensors, which detect the presence and speed of vehicles and activate traffic management tools, including traffic signals
  • the lane-control system on the Auckland Harbour Bridge, which shows lanes that are open (green arrow) and closed (red cross), and whether traffic needs to move from one lane to another (green arrow angled to the left).

New technology is constantly being developed and we work closely with our partners in the public and private sectors to improve the scope and extent of our traffic management techniques and tools.

Other measures

Learn about other measures we use to help keep traffic moving efficiently on our state highways, through: