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Mitigation refers to reducing the amount of greenhouse gases emitted into the atmosphere. 

The majority of transport related emissions are generated from vehicles. However, for Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency it is important to understand the impacts from project related greenhouse gas emissions (ie construction and maintenance) in order to identify suitable mitigation measures.

One of the Waka Kotahi efforts to mitigate the effects of climate change primarily relate to investment in infrastructure supporting the use of ‘low emission’ transport choices, facilitating the uptake of new technologies as well as incentivising consideration of emission reduction when planning, delivering and managing infrastructure. 

Resource efficiency

Waka Kotahi is promoting resource efficiency initiatives to become more resource efficient, reducing the consumption of virgin raw materials on our projects and extending the useful life of our roads. We believe that this initiative will not only reduce materials production and freight and shipping related emissions, but will also reduce construction and operational costs. 

Resource efficiency initiatives

Sustainability Rating Scheme Policy

Our Sustainability Rating Scheme Policy aims to drive improved environmental and sustainable outcomes. This helps us recognise successful sustainability performances and ensure these outcomes are incorporated early in the planning phase. Waka Kotahi owned projects with an estimated capital value over $15 million are required to consider the merits of Infrastructure Sustainability Council (ISC) certification, whilst projects of over $100 million capital value are obliged to complete ISC certification unless alignment with the objectives, non-monetised and monetised benefits and a strong value for money case demonstrates that it is not practical. ISC includes project requirements for undertaking carbon and energy footprints.

Sustainability Rating Scheme Policy - September 2020 [PDF, 149 KB]

Walking, cycling and public transport

Promoting and investing in walking, cycling and public transport, investing in urban cycleways and information on cycling resources and research.

Walking, cycling and public transport

Urban cycleways programme

Cycling research

Electric vehicles

Waka Kotahi is part of the Government's work programme to promote the uptake of electric vehicles, for example through enabling the efficient and effective provision of charging infrastructure. 

More information about electric vehicles

New technologies

Waka Kotahi co-invests with councils to accelerate uptake of energy-efficient street lighting. The current Specification and guidelines for road lighting design (M30) requires the use of LED lights as the preferred luminaire, reducing energy requirements by up to 60% compared to conventional lighting. Other lighting technology needs to be confirmed by the road controlling agency before they can be used on Agency projects.

Specification and guidelines for road lighting design (M30) 


We are working with other Transport and Road Controlling Authorities internationally and locally eg Austroads, to understand what best practice climate change mitigation looks like as well as commissioning work in New Zealand to better understand the nature, extent and ways to mitigate the impact of climate change.

Austroads(external link)

Carbon emissions baselines for infrastructure projects

In 2021 Waka Kotahi commissioned a research project to help develop carbon emissions baselines for construction, and operation and maintenance emissions from land-based transport infrastructure.

The aim of the research was to develop baselines that could be used to benchmark projects in the absence of measured data and support understanding of the transport sector’s contribution to emissions.

The results of this study draw on existing carbon footprints from New Zealand and international footprints from land-based transport infrastructure projects in Australia, the United States, Ireland, and the United Kingdom.

Carbon emissions baselines for infrastructure projects [PDF, 325 KB]


For further information contact