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Dunedin City Council – Kaunihera-a-rohe o Otepoti
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The strategic context for Dunedin’s transport system

Several national strategies and policy documents set the broader strategic context for Dunedin transport. There is also a Regional Land Transport Strategy and a range of DCC strategies which provide the main policy context for the Dunedin Integrated Transport Strategy. The most important of these are outlined here.

Where appropriate, the DCC priorities set out in this Strategy will align with central Government direction, but this Strategy will express the DCC’s priorities for Dunedin even if they differ from those of central Government.

1.1 National context

1.1.1 Legislation

The Land Transport Management Act 2003 (LTMA) is the overarching legislation which governs land transport in New Zealand. The aim of the LTMA is to “achieve an affordable, integrated, safe, responsive and sustainable land transport system”. The Government seeks to achieve this aim through the way it invests in the transport sector. Funding for transport is allocated by central Government from the National Land Transport Fund (NLTF) through the National Land Transport Programme (NLTP). Prioritisation for this funding is defined in the Government Policy Statement on Land Transport Funding (section 1.1.3).

1.1.2 Central Government Direction

Connecting New Zealand sets out the Government’s three strategic priority areas for transport – economic growth and productivity, value for money and road safety1. Connecting New Zealand is not a transport strategy, rather it summarises the Government’s broad policy direction for transport for the next 10 years.

Safer Journeys is the Government’s strategy for reducing the number of people killed and seriously injured on New Zealand roads through guiding improvements in road safety over the period 2010–20202. long-term vision for road safety is “A safe road system increasingly free of death and serious injury”.

Safer Journeys adopts a ‘safe system’ approach to road safety which focuses on four ‘pillars’ of a safe transport system: safe roads and roadsides, safe speeds, safe road users and safe vehicles. This whole-system approach acknowledges that humans make mistakes, human bodies can only withstand a certain amount of force, and the transport system needs to account for this so that a human error does not result in a serious injury or fatality. The ‘safe system’ approach also affirms that everybody is jointly responsible for road safety thereby moving away from traditional ‘blame the driver’ approaches.

1.1.3 Government Funding Priorities

The Government Policy Statement on Land Transport Funding 2012/13 – 2021/22 (GPS)

The GPS sets out the Government’s outcomes and priorities for its investment in the land transport sector. It is a key method for achieving the strategic goals set out in Connecting New Zealand and Safer Journeys. The GPS reaffirms the Government’s strong focus on removing key bottlenecks in the land transport network, encouraging economic growth and productivity, obtaining value for money and improving road safety.

Every activity proposed for the NLTP is assessed using criteria under these three factors to form a complete assessment profile. The NZTA then uses this to prioritise activities for programming.

NZTA Statement of Intent 2012 – 2015

The Statement of Intent sets out the five priority areas that the NZTA will focus on over the next three years to achieve the Government’s strategic goals as set out in Connecting New Zealand and the GPS. These five areas are:

  1. Improving customer service while reducing compliance costs
  2. Embedding the safe system approach
  3. Improving freight movement efficiency
  4. Delivering the Roads of National Significance
  5. Improving public transport effectiveness

Each of these priorities also includes a particular focus on achieving value for money from all investment, supporting Canterbury’s economic recovery and growing a high quality transport system for Auckland3.

1.2 Inter-regional context

There are no statutory inter-regional strategies or plans. However, the NZTA is developing a South Island Freight Plan, which will entail a degree of strategic alignment and co-operation between central Government, territorial and regional local authorities and the private sector.

1.3 Regional Context

The Otago Regional Land Transport Strategy (RLTS) sets the strategic direction for transport for the whole Otago region for the next 30 years (2011 – 2041). The RLTS guides the three-yearly production of the regional land transport programme for Otago as well as the long-term plans of the Otago Regional Council (ORC) and each of Otago’s territorial local authorities, including Dunedin. The RLTS covers both road and rail but excludes shipping and air transport.

The goal of the RLTS is “A safe transport system that provides connections between communities, leading to regional prosperity, the creation of wealth and employment, social inclusion and the minimisation of adverse environmental effects”.

The RLTS identifies two transport outcomes as important in reaching this goal:

  • Sustainable, demographically appropriate transport infrastructure and services that serve and link resilient communities
  • The ability of individuals, families, households and businesses to undertake necessary travel and carriage of freight in safe, healthy, convenient and affordable ways, with travel constrained only by the choices that people make (i.e. the realities of residential and business locations)4.

1.4 Local context

There are several DCC strategies with implications for transport and this Integrated Transport Strategy seeks to give effect to these.

1.4.1 The Financial Strategy

The Council’s Financial Strategy aims to help steer a course between the competing tensions of affordability, keeping up and investing for the future. It states the limits to rates and borrowing that the Council has set. For the duration of the Council’s Long Term Plan 2012/13 – 2021/22, the limits on the total percentage rate increases per annum from 2015/16 onwards is 3%.

Some of the projects included in the indicative implementation plan are already included in the Council’s LTP. However some are new projects. Following consultation, the Council will need to review expenditure and make decisions on whether these new projects should be included in the LTP, whether changes should be made to projects already included in the LTP, or whether projects should be delayed or excluded from the LTP altogether.

1.4.2 The Economic Development Strategy (EDS)

The EDS emphasises that the ability of Dunedin businesses to create and capture value in international markets is critical to Dunedin’s economic performance. The Integrated Transport Strategy has a key role to play in supporting the EDS goal of fostering regional linkages, air linkages, and strengthening Dunedin as an urban destination with high amenity, quality design, recreational opportunities and improved walking and cycling infrastructure, all of which have been highlighted as crucial aspects for liveability.

The EDS highlights that the development of a city-wide Energy Plan will help Dunedin reduce its energy needs and find sustainable and local solutions to energy challenges. It also notes that the decarbonisation of the local economy will also open up commercial opportunities for local business. As our transport system is currently highly dependent on imported fossil fuels, it will need to be managed pro-actively and adaptively to ensure the goals of the EDS are realised.

1.4.3 The Social Wellbeing Strategy (SWS)

The SWS presents five strategic directions:

  • Connected people
  • Vibrant and cohesive communities
  • Healthy and safe people
  • A reasonable standard of living for all
  • Affordable and healthy homes

Under each strategic direction, the SWS presents a list of key priorities. Transport has a role to play in supporting many of these priorities. The Integrated Transport Strategy most directly supports the ‘Connected People’ strategic direction, which includes the priority that “Dunedin people are connected to the places they need to go by safe, affordable and user friendly transport options”. However, the Integrated Transport Strategy also has a key role to play in achieving other priorities in the SWS, such as:

  • Dunedin communities are resilient and have good access to information and resources
  • all people have good access to health services
  • there are high levels of participation in recreation and leisure activities
  • people feel safe and are safe in their homes, neighbourhoods and public places
  • Dunedin people can afford to exercise genuine choices

Safety, accessibility, affordability, connectivity and genuine options are all important aspects of any transport system if it is to effectively support the wellbeing of the community it serves.

1.4.4 The Spatial Plan

The Spatial Plan sets out six strategic directions and a vision for ‘what kind of city we want’ and what we need to do to ensure “Dunedin is one of the world’s great small cities”.

  1. A liveable city
  2. An environmentally sustainable and resilient city
  3. A city that enables a prosperous and diverse economy
  4. A memorable and distinctive city
  5. A vibrant and exciting city
  6. An accessible and connected city

It sets the strategic direction for Dunedin’s growth and development for the next 30+ years, with an overall urban form objective of a ‘Compact City with Resilient Townships’. This will be achieved by promoting urban consolidation through intensification of residential development – particularly in areas with high levels of accessibility to larger centres and well-serviced public transport routes – as well as encouraging living in the central city and suburban centres, and maximising use of existing infrastructure to avoid unplanned expansion.

The Spatial Plan sets out a hierarchy of centres, with the central city at the top, which are social and economic hubs for the community with an emphasis upon pedestrian amenity and safety and quality design, both in developments and the public realm.

The Integrated Transport Strategy has a significant role to play in supporting the vision and strategic directions of the Spatial Plan through the integration of land use and transportation planning to achieve an accessible and connected city.

1.4.5 The Long Term Plan

The DCC’s Long Term Plan 2012/13 – 2021/22 sets out 10 community outcomes, identified with the community through the Your City, Our Future consultation in 2011, and adopted by the Council5. These are:

  1. A thriving and diverse economy
  2. A connected community
  3. A safe and healthy city
  4. A distinctive built environment
  5. A valued and protected natural environment
  6. A sustainable and resilient city
  7. A supportive community
  8. A vibrant and creative city
  9. A city of learning
  10. An active city

The community outcomes create a vision of what Dunedin people want for their future economic, environmental, social and cultural wellbeing. The outcomes are defined as “the Council’s contribution to wellbeing” and the DCC has a responsibility to work actively towards achieving them. The DCC has committed to working in key partnerships with other agencies and groups to achieve the outcomes. Transport plays a key role in many aspects of life in Dunedin, including sustainability, safety, the economy, health, and the quality of the city environment. For this reason, the Integrated Transport Strategy contributes in some way to achieving all of the community outcomes, but most directly to the outcome ‘A connected community’. This outcome emphasises the need for Dunedin’s communities to be connected by safe, effective transportation and communications, and linked locally, nationally and internationally.

Figure 1. DCC Sustainable Practice ModelFigure 1. DCC Sustainable Practice Model.

1.4.6 Sustainability Framework

The DCC has also established a set of five sustainable development principles. These work together to guide decision making, ensuring that Dunedin becomes increasingly sustainable. These principles are shown in the DCC’s Sustainable Practice model 6.

The Integrated Transport Strategy reflects the DCC’s commitment to sustainable development, and sets a basis for a transport system that supports the environmental, social, cultural and economic sustainability of Dunedin.

1.4.7 Other Strategies

The DCC has developed a strategic framework which incorporates a vision, eight high-level strategies, including the Integrated Transport Strategy, and action plans and activity plans at a lower level. The Integrated Transport Strategy will form connections with many of the other high level strategies, and help achieve goals in other strategies. This framework is shown in Figure 2.

Figure 2.Figure 2. The DCC’s Strategic Framework incorporates several high-level strategies, including the Transport Strategy. Those strategies that have already been completed are shown in plain text, while those in italics are currently under development.


  1. Connecting New Zealand (2011) p.3. See:
  2. Safer Journeys:
  3. NZTA Statement of Intent 2012 – 2015, pp.16 – 33.
  4. Otago Regional Land Transport Strategy 2011
  5. For a full description of the DCC’s Community Outcomes, see the Dunedin City Council Long Term Plan 2012/13 – 2021/22, pp.21-34.
  6. For more information about the DCC’s commitment to sustainable development and the sustainability framework see the Dunedin City

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