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Many of the transport solutions we develop impact the spaces in which New Zealanders live, work and play. As we develop our transport networks, we are working to ensure quality urban design principles and landscape principles inform the planning, design, implementation and management of the network.

Our key urban design principles are:

  • Designing for the context
  • Integrating transport and land use
  • Contributing to good urban form
  • Integrating all modes of movement
  • Supporting community cohesion
  • Maintaining local connectivity
  • Respecting cultural heritage values
  • Designing with nature
  • Creating a positive road user experience
  • Achieving a low maintenance design

Our key landscape principles are:

  • A context sensitive and place based approach
  • Facilitate green infrastructure and landscape integration
  • Understand the physical conditions
  • The right plant in the right place
  • Promote biodiversity and build in resilience
  • Champion low impact design (LID)
  • Deliver a quality user experience
  • Low maintenance and whole of life value
  • Safety in design
  • Facilitate community engagement and a collaborative approach

Our commitment to quality urban design

As a signatory to the New Zealand Urban Design Protocol, we're committed to planning for, developing and promoting quality urban design.


The Transport Agency developed a series of eLearning modules in 2013, which introduces the key concepts of air quality and transport related assessment processes.

The urban design and highway landscaping eLearning modules are available at link).

Note: Please ensure that popups are not blocked to load the eLearning module.

Urban design

Urban design seeks to integrate the economic, engineering, environmental and social activities of state highway activities into the context of the built and natural environment.

Highway landscaping

Highway landscaping plays a role in making state highways safe for the community. There are social, environmental and economic expectations for highway landscaping.

Urban design and landscape standards, guidelines and specifications

These resources demonstrate the Transport Agency’s commitment to urban design and landscape, our concerns for the natural and built environments and impacts of infrastructure on surrounding communities. The links include case studies and lessons learnt aimed at firmly establishing urban design and landscape as a standard working practice for the Agency.

The material should be a source of inspiration, targeted at those tasked with planning, designing, implementing and managing Transport Agency infrastructure projects and for those in the NZ Transport Agency or working/acting on behalf of the Agency whose actions affect urban design outcomes.

For further information contact