Regional Land Transport Strategy

The Regional Land Transport Strategy was approved by Council in September 2010.  Download a copy here or request a hard copy by emailing or freephone 0508 800 800.

The Horizons Regional Land Transport Strategy (RLTS) sets the strategic direction for transport in the Region by describing the vision, objectives and outcomes that will guide the development of the Region’s transport network over the next 30 years.  The Strategy covers all forms of land transport, including public transport, local roads, state highways, walking and cycling.

The RLTS looks at what the transport network looks like now, where the Region wants to be in 30 years and how it intends to get there.

The draft RLTS has been developed by the Horizons Regional Transport Committee which is made up of representatives from Horizons Regional Council, all local councils in the region, the New Zealand Transport Agency and individuals representing access and mobility, environmental sustainability, economic development, public health, safety and personal security and cultural interests.

The process for development of this RLTS began in mid-2009 with the release of an issues paper which was publicly consulted on throughout the Region.  As the current RLTS was only developed three years before that, many of the issues from that document were still relevant in the current context and thus formed the basis on the issues paper.  As a result of this consultation, two new challenges for the Region were added – integrating land use and transport planning, and transport contribution to climate change.

While this process was underway, the Region also commenced a joint transportation study of the Palmerston North-Manawatu area, involving Horizons Regional Council, Palmerston North City Council, Manawatu District Council and the New Zealand Transport Agency.  The recommendations from this study have informed the strategy for this area over the lifetime of the RLTS and the executive summary is included as part of the draft RLTS.   A copy of the full study is available on request.

A safe, sustainable and resilient transport system that supports economic development and lifestyle choices, with strong connections to national corridors.


Key transport issues for the Region are:
  • The standard and capacity of State Highway 1 to the south of the Region
  • The need to cater for population and economic growth in the Palmerston North and Manawatu area, and facilitate this area's role in freight distribution
  • Rationalisation of the State Highway 3 route between Mount Stewart and the Manawatu Gorge
  • The need for continued improvements to road safety in the Region
  • Future freight growth and its movement throughout the Region by both road and rail
  • The need to complete improvements to secondary strategic and tourism links (e.g. Pahiatua Track,Napier-Taihape Road, Route 40, Whanganui River Road)
  • Increasing pressures on the Region’s rural roading network
  • Under-utilisation of and the need to retain existing rail infrastructure and services
  • The need to improve the provision and uptake of public transport services in urban areas, particularly for commuter use and between centres of population
  • The need to provide cost effective and appropriate public transport in small towns and rural areas
  • A declining trend of walking and cycling activity
  • Rising oil prices over the lifetime of the RLTS
  • Negative environmental effects of the regional transport system


Some of the key initiatives that will help Horizons achieve the proposed 2040 vision include:
  • Upgrades to the section of State Highway 1 between Levin and Otaki as part of the Government’s strategy to improve the Road of National Significance between Levin and Wellington Airport.
  • Ongoing maintenance and renewal of the regional roading network to ensure no deterioration over time.
  • Roading upgrades to the Palmerston North and Manawatu area strategic network, as identified in a recent transport study of the area
  • Service frequency and coverage improvements to Palmerston North and Wanganui urban bus services
  • Safety improvements to known blackspots on state highways and local roads
  • An ongoing programme of road safety education and enforcement measures to address behavioural causes of crashes
  • Improvements to commuter passenger transport services between major and minor population centres where justified
  • Improvements to community transport services where justified
  • Travel behaviour change measures to increase car-pooling and use of alternative transport modes