Download: Aotearoa urban street planning and design guide (amended May 2024)

The Aotearoa urban street planning and design guide (the Street Guide) draws on national and international best-practice to provide a framework for well-functioning urban environments. Urban environments that provide great places for everyone to live, play and work. Where people can move around safely and easily access a variety of transport options. 

This New Zealand-specific guide follows the success of international street design guides, such as the Global Street Design Guide. It provides a timely resource that will set a national baseline for designing streets and public spaces in a rapidly urbanising New Zealand. It brings together key shifts in planning and design thinking to support a more holistic and human-centred approach to urban streets.

The Street Guide gives effect to key New Zealand national transport strategies such as Road to Zero and incorporates tools such as the One Network Framework. It also integrates and builds on a growing suite of Waka Kotahi technical guidance on mode shift, safety, urban development, environment and sustainability.

Streets are complex. This highly visual guide helps people understand the many processes and factors involved in planning and designing Aotearoa streets. It provides a practical toolkit to support anyone involved in the design, planning, construction, operations and maintenance of streets.

Importantly, the Street Guide further supports existing good practice already underway in New Zealand, acknowledging that several local authorities have already produced their own street frameworks and design guides.

The Aotearoa urban street planning and design guide:

  • is Aotearoa-specific, embedding a place-based approach, ‘He Whenua, He Tangata’ (land, people and place) into street planning and design
  • provides a nationally consistent framework to support locally led street guidance and change
  • supports the One Network Framework, and movement and place functions within the transport system
  • provides system level guidance to support the Road to Zero Action plan and safe system approach in urban streets, including safety interventions and speed management
  • integrates with existing Waka Kotahi mode-specific and safety guidance to create a suite of technical guidance addressing urban mobility and adaptive urbanism
  • includes guidance on partnership and engagement, planning and design processes to create great streets, including links to adaptive urbanism, staged and permanent street changes
  • borrows from international best practice for street changes, such as Complete Streets and the Healthy Streets approach

How the Street Guide was developed

The Aotearoa urban street planning and design guide is the result of work over the last 24 months.  The development process included engagement with representatives across local and central government, Māori urban design advisors, sector participants, and international experts. Their input assisted Waka Kotahi to shape the Street Guide and ensure it strikes the right chord in providing national direction.

The Street Guide was piloted as a final draft in September 2021 and was released as a final version in December 2022, amended in April 2023.

Street Guide section by section

Front matter (cover, contents, background) [PDF, 1 MB]

Section 1: Introduction [PDF, 17 MB]

Section 2: Design principles [PDF, 2.1 MB]

Section 3: Planning and processes [PDF, 11 MB]

Section 4: Creating good urban streets [PDF, 31 MB]

Section 5: Putting it into practice [PDF, 16 MB]

Appendices - resources and links [PDF, 1.1 MB]


Global Street Design Guide(external link)

Road to Zero – NZ’s road safety strategy

Multi-modal transport planning and design guidance

One Network Framework

Safe System audit guidelines for transport projects

Speed management guide: Road to Zero edition


Please contact us with any questions on the Aotearoa urban street planning and design guide. Email: