A transit lane can only be used by passenger service vehicles, motor cycles, mopeds, cycles, and motor vehicles carrying a specified minimum number of persons. Transit lanes in New Zealand are generally either T2 or T3 lanes, these being for vehicles with 2 or more people (T2) or 3 or more people (T3), where ‘T’ stands for transit. The lanes operate between certain times of the day. Most transit lanes are located on arterial roads, motorways or expressways. 

From a cycling perspective, transit lanes are similar to bus lanes, but have much higher vehicle volumes. 

With the exception of motorways, transit lanes must be wide enough to accommodate people cycling adjacent to motor traffic. Note that, unlike for general mixed traffic lanes and bus lanes, there is no narrow option for transit lanes due to the higher traffic volumes and the fact that transit lanes are generally part time.


Check whether a transit lane (see Shared roadway section) is a suitable facility for your target users and for the type of road.

  • Legal considerations

    A transit lane is a ‘special vehicle lane’, meaning ‘a lane defined by signs or markings and restricted to a specified class or classes of vehicle; and includes a bus lane, a transit lane, a cycle lane, and a light-rail vehicle lane’ (Traffic Control Devices Rule)

    More specifically a transit lane ‘means a lane reserved for the use of the following (unless specifically excluded by a sign installed at the start of the lane): (a) passenger service vehicles; (b) motor vehicles carrying not less than the number of persons (including the driver) specified on the sign; (c) cycles; (d) motorcycles; (e) mopeds.’ (Land Transport (Road User) Rule, 1.6 Interpretation(external link))

    The rules relating to transit lanes are:

    If defining a part of a road as a special vehicle lane, a road controlling authority must, at the start of the special vehicle lane and after each intersection, along its length:

    (a) mark on the road surface a white symbol, that complies with Schedule 2, defining the class or classes of vehicle for which the lane has been reserved; and

    (b) if for other than a 24-hour restriction, install a special vehicle lane sign that complies with Schedule 1: 26

    (i) defining the class or classes of vehicle for which the lane has been reserved; and

    (ii) stating the periods for which the reservation applies

    A road controlling authority may provide the following traffic control devices to discourage use of a special vehicle lane by other vehicles, or to draw attention to the likely presence of vehicles entitled to the use of the lane:

    (a) additional white special vehicle lane symbols described in 11.2(1)(a) or signs described in 11.2(1)(b) along the length of the lane; or

    (b) if for a 24-hour restriction, special vehicle lane signs; or

    (c) a surface treatment that provides a contrasting colour or texture to that of adjacent lanes used by other vehicles: (i) at locations along the length of the lane; or (ii) along the length of the lane.’ (Traffic Control Devices Rule, Clause 11.2)

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  • Concept design considerations


    The guidance for width of transit lanes is as per the guidance for wide bus lanes.

    TCD Manual Part 5 will provide details regarding the widths required for wide and narrow transit lanes. In the interim, best practice guidance is provided below.

    New Zealand best practice is to provide transit lanes wide enough for cyclists to ride adjacent to motor vehicles, ie 4.2 m or wider.

    Bus stops

    It is unlikely that a bus stop will be located in transit lane, if this is necessary, the guidance for bus stops in bus lanes applies.

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  • Detailed design considerations


    TCD Manual Part 5 will provide details regarding the signs required for Transit lanes. In the interim check for local guidance on signage requirements.


    TCD Manual Part 5 will provide details regarding the markings required for transit lanes. In the interim check for local guidance on marking requirements.

    Side road treatments

    Where there is a transit lane on the main road, a priority control should be considered on the side road, unless a threshold treatment with a raised platform is provided.

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