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Key drivers

Additional information on the key drivers that will shape the land transport system is provided below. We will update this section as additional information and research becomes available.

Demographic change

Demographics play an important role in determining travel demand and choice. In many regions, the percentage of our population aged over 65 is projected to be more than 35% by 2043. This will have an impact on the demand and reason for travel.

Projected percentage of people over 65 in 2043 by TA 

The percentage of people that will be over 65 by 2043 is shown by district in this interactive map. These projections are based on 2016 Census data and do not reflect the projected changes of the impacts of COVID-19. 


Growth centre population projections (main urban areas)

Population growth creates an increased number of journeys to access work, education, essential services and social activities. It also results in increased freight movement and business travel.

This interactive map shows forecast population growth in our main urban areas from 2013-2043. These projections are based on 2016 Census data and do not reflect projected changes of the impacts of COVID-19. The different coloured circles represent different decades. The order of the colours indicates whether a centre continues to grow throughout the period, or peaks in a given decade before reducing.



Technological advances are occurring rapidly in the land transport sector and increasingly disrupting the way we use and manage the system.

This paper provides additional information on technology, including data and information, as a driver.

Climate change

Climate change will be one of the most significant drivers influencing the land transport system during the next decade and beyond. Climate change is both a key driver and a step change.

The following information provides an overview of how climate change will impact on New Zealand and a link to our national resilience programme business case which provides an evidence base of the nationally extreme and major risks posed to the New Zealand land transport system from a natural hazards perspective.  

Step changes

As we get a better understanding of the key drivers, we can focus on what we need to do differently to deliver the long-term outcomes for the land transport system. The step changes help us do this. Step changes identify where we consider a change in response is needed, taking into account the current state of the land transport system and the key drivers.

Additional information and resource on the step changes is provided below.

Significantly reduce harm

Significantly reducing harm is a step change in Arataki focused on transitioning to a transport system that is free of deaths and serious injuries and improves public health. Safety in terms of avoiding deaths and serious injuries is only one part -  delivering better health outcomes, particularly the reduction of harmful emissions and noise, is also a key component of this step change. 

Fatal and serious road crashes 2015-19

This interactive map provides an overview of the scale and type of safety risk in each region showing fatal and serious crashes between 2015-2019.

National summary

Rail network

Most of New Zealand’s rail network is used for freight and is effective at moving heavy goods over longer distances. There are commuter rail services in Auckland and Wellington and some inter-regional passenger services.

You can explore New Zealand’s national rail network is in this interactive map.


State Highway one network road classification

The One Network Road Classification (ONRC) is a classification system, which divides New Zealand's roads into six categories based on how busy they are, whether they connect to important destinations, or are the only route available. 

This classification system is shown in this interactive map. 

Regional summaries

The regional summaries include current areas of focus and a description of potential interventions for the following decade to deliver the step changes and maintain a base level of service. The regional summaries should be read in conjunction with the national summary.

Focus of effort map: 2018-21

This interactive map shows what projects are delivered, underway or in the pipeline throughout the country. This maps represents the existing commitments (e.g. the NLTP and NZUP). It has not been updated to include economic stimulus packages which continue to evolve.

Key for focus of effort map symbols


Additional resources, references and footnotes are listed below.