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About the programme

The Streets for People programme aims to make it easier and faster to create safer, healthier, and more people-friendly streets. The programme creates opportunities for councils to partner with communities to accelerate street change projects. This will help Aotearoa to achieve its emissions reduction goals faster, while creating vibrant, people-friendly places for thriving communities. 

Streets for People is built on solid learnings and experiences from the Innovating Streets for People programme 2020-21 when councils and community groups across Aotearoa delivered 89km of street changes in 32 towns and cities. These trial changes included cycleways, parklets, low traffic streets, community spaces, and safer school crossings.

Many projects saw great results for towns and cities, like safer streets with fewer vehicles; people driving at slower speeds; more people biking, walking, and scootering; and more people enjoying public spaces. The Innovating Streets for People programme was the first in New Zealand targeted at building capability in the rapid reallocation of street space. It has enabled councils, with the support of Waka Kotahi, to speed up projects that would normally take years to implement.

For the Streets for People programme 2021-24, councils across Aotearoa expressed their interest to apply in February 2022. Waka Kotahi then worked with the shortlisted councils to build capability within their teams before each council presented their proposal to Waka Kotahi. The final list of successful councils and projects for the three-year programme have now been announced and Waka Kotahi will be supporting these councils to implement and learn from these projects.

Why this programme is important

We need to make it safer, quicker, and more attractive for people to walk, bike, ride devices, and take public transport in our towns and cities. Better transport options will reduce emissions, reduce deaths and injuries on our roads, and improve public health and access to opportunities. 

Streets are public places that need to prioritise people, not just vehicles, to make our towns and cities better places to live, play and work in. People live on streets, they shop on streets, they meet friends and family on streets, and they may even play on the street. 

The government’s Emissions Reduction Plan includes actions to accelerate widespread street changes to support public transport, active travel, and placemaking.

Meeting the targets in the government’s Emissions Reduction Plan

There is urgency to rapidly reduce emissions and mode shift is needed to meet the targets set out in the government’s Emissions Reduction Plan.

The plan sets out the actions needed across every sector of the economy to reduce emissions and achieve New Zealand’s first emissions budget and lays the foundations for greater reductions in the future.

And transport has a significant role to play in this, as it calls for a 41 percent reduction in emissions from the transport sector by 2035 (from 2019 levels).

There are three focus areas for reducing transport emissions:

  • reduce reliance on cars and support people to walk, cycle and use public transport – the ERP includes an action to scale up the Innovating Streets for People programme.
  • rapidly adopt low-emissions vehicles
  • begin work now to decarbonise heavy transport and freight. 

Four targets support these focus areas and align with the goal of a 41 percent reduction in transport emissions:

  • Target 1: Reduce total kilometres travelled by the light fleet by 20 percent by 2035 through improved urban form and providing better travel options, particularly in our largest cities.​
  • Target 2: Increase zero-emissions vehicles to 30 percent of the light fleet by 2035.​
  • Target 3: Reduce emissions from freight transport by 35 percent by 2035.
  • Target 4: Reduce the emissions intensity of transport fuel by 10 percent by 2035. 

Streets for People programme 2021-24

Streets for People projects 2021-24

Frequently asked questions [PDF, 447 KB]