Rules, manuals, guidelines and plans

Making changes to a street will usually involve a confusing range of organisations, legislation and documents.

In this section we aim to demystify some of this and help you solve problems, or at least identify where the problem may be, so you can talk to the right person.

At the top level, there are two pieces of legislation that changes in the street may impact on: The Land Transport Rule 2004, and the Local Government Act 1974. However, below each of those are processes that need to comply with, or be consistent with, the legislation.

Land Transport (Road User) Rule 2004

(Latest update, 1 October 2018)

The Road User Rule is the law that controls driver, rider, pedestrian, and any other road user behaviour on streets and roads in New Zealand. If you get a get a ticket for speeding, or not stopping at a STOP sign, you’ve broken a section in this rule.

Land Transport (Road User) Rule 2004

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Traffic Control Devices Manual (TCD Manual)

Compliance with the Traffic Control Device Rule

We hear that an important barrier to Innovating Streets projects is the current application of the Traffic Control Devices Manual (TCD Manual). It currently applies to all streets and roads equally. That means changes to devices that control traffic – which can be any type of colouring or marking in the traffic lanes – is the same in a 100kph state highway as in a city centre laneway.

Traffic Control Devices Manual (TCD Manual)

While the law currently sees all roads the same, there is much less risk in low-speed streets, and this is where there is benefit in trying more innovative treatments. In practice, this means some streets are easier to work in and more easily delivered than others.

The Land Transport Act: Traffic Control Devices Rule (2004) (The Rule) specifies requirements for the design, construction, installation, operation and maintenance of traffic control devices. The Rule also sets out the functions and responsibilities of road controlling authorities in providing traffic control devices to give effect to their decisions on the control of traffic.

Land Transport Act: Traffic Control Devices Rule (2004)

A traffic control device includes all road signs, road markings and traffic signals used in New Zealand. While the term traffic control device also includes traffic calming and delineators (such as planters etc) the Rule is most specific and prescriptive in relation to signs, markings and traffic signals.

The objective of the Rule is to contribute to a safe street environment for all road users by ensuring that traffic is controlled by means of traffic control devices that are safe, appropriate, effective, uniform and consistently applied. The prescription creates a ‘no surprises’ environment for users and also reflects international best practice and standards in traffic control devices.

Beyond the Rule is the TCD Manual which is made up of a set of ‘parts’ that cover the practical use of traffic control devices. The TCD Manual blends best practice advice with what is required by legislation.

Understanding how your project design relates to the Rule and the TCD Manual is important. Also understanding where in the road your proposal is located may influence how the Rule is applied (the ‘road’ consists of the ‘footpath’ and the ‘roadway’).

The TCD Manual is not a Legal Statue, but it is required for the Road User Rule to be enforceable. The TCD Manual establishes which signs, markings, and other devices can be used in the road corridor to give drivers messages. This includes things like yellow no stopping lines, Zebra crossings, traffic signals, and STOP signs.

The TCD Manual is used to create clear, standardised traffic control treatments that can be understood by drivers and is enforceable through the Land Transport Road User Rule.

The requirement of TCD’s to be clear and standardised across the country mean there is a robust process around adding new devices to the manual. A scientific methodology is used and a proposed TCD is trialled at one, or usually multiple, sites around the country. The trial assesses the success and understanding of the proposed TCD across the locations to ensure it is fit for purpose and doesn’t cause any unintended consequences.

The Transport Agency is currently investigating an amendment to remove the requirement to conform to the TCD in some low-risk streets. However, in the meantime, there is plenty that can be done within the road corridor to create safer and more vibrant streets that are consistent with the TCD Rule and don’t need a formal trial.

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Code of Practice for Temporary Traffic Management (CoPTTM)

The Code of Practice for Temporary Traffic Management (CoPTTM) is part of the Traffic Control Devices (TCD) Manual (Part 8). It is a national best-practice guideline for the safe and efficient management and operation of temporary traffic management on all roads and streets in New Zealand. If you’re doing road works, closing a street or dealing with a sudden and unplanned environment change, you should be using and complying with the CoPTTM guidelines.

CoPTTM: Part 8 of the TCD Manual

The code is not a law itself but has been developed to meet regulatory requirements, so if you are following it, you can be confident you’re following an accepted standard operating procedure that will assist you to meet the requirements of the Health and Safety at Work Act and the Traffic Control Devices Rule. At the end of the day, CoPTTM is all about making sure workers, and people using our roads and streets, stay safe.

CoPTTM is an evolving document that has been through several reviews and adaptations in the last 19 years. In low-risk environments, such as small street parties in quiet local streets, issues have been raised about how fit for purpose the code is. The Innovating Streets for People project is working with CoPTTM experts and owners of the code, to investigate how it can be interpreted, or possibly adapted, for these low-risk environments so local government and communities find it easier, quicker, and more affordable to make streets safer and more liveable.

In the meantime, while we develop up some new guidance, if you are looking for some CoPTTM advice for an Innovating Streets type project or event, contact us at and we can put you in touch with one of our CoPTTM gurus.

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Traffic Management Plan

A Traffic Management Plan (TMP) is a site-specific plan that covers the design, implementation, maintenance and removal of temporary traffic management measures while an activity is carried out in the road corridor (e.g. road, footpath or berm). The document is created by the person making the changes in the corridor and is used to show how changes will be made safely.

TMPs are required for almost all activities in the road but are scaled to the level of change and impact. Each Road Controlling Authority may have different requirements for applying for and receiving a TMP before you work in the road corridor. However, any TMP must comply with the Code of Practice for Temporary Traffic Management (CoPTTM).

The plan details how road users - including cyclists and pedestrians - will be directed around a work site, crash, or other temporary road disruption, to minimise inconvenience while providing safe conditions for both the road user and those carrying out the activity.

Planned activities that may not require a TMP include:

Non-competitive activities such as training ride, run or walk where participants are following the road rules and not varying normal operating conditions of the road

Small fun/charity ride, run or walk organised so that the activity does not vary the normal operating conditions of the road.

However, there remains a Duty of Care which includes consideration of the following:

  • A safety plan (risk management)
  • Compliance with road rules
  • Volume of traffic
  • Speed of traffic
  • Width of carriageway
  • Availability of footpaths
  • The use of signalised pedestrian crossings
  • Age and experience of participants.

If in any doubt, the organiser should refer the activity to the road controlling authority’s traffic management coordinator for advice.

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A suite of technical guidances related to land use and transport planning integration, urban form, urban design and street design (including speed management) – all of which have a profound impact on our towns and cities.

The following Waka Kotahi guides may be relevant: