A Smarter Motorway

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Improvements in technology means roads are getting smarter.

The next evolution of roads is coming

As with many things we use in our lives, roads are becoming smarter. NZTA is currently working on a project to make New Zealand’s first smart motorway.

What are the project’s main objectives?

 The project is part of the NZTA’s upgrade of the Ngauranga Gorge to Aotea Quay part of Wellington’s motorway. It aims to: 

  • reduce congestion
  • improve travel times 
  • improve safety. 

What has been the issue?

Ngauranga Gorge to Aotea Quay is the busiest road in the Wellington region. During peak times:

  • travel times are much longer 
  • drivers can count on how long their trip will take them only half of the time.

What will the changes be?

The key changes will be: 

  • introducing the ‘smart motorway’ system which involves improving the ATMS (active traffic management system)
  • adding an extra lane in both directions
  • replacing the median barrier
  • widening the State Highway 2 off-ramp at Ngauranga
  • lengthening the existing sign gantries and adding a number of new ones
  • building a new southbound on-ramp for emergency services at Ngauranga.

Audio Maori keywords: 

  • Samoan keywords

    Samoan keywords: 
     poloka  barrier
     taimi e faimalaga ai   travel time
     tumutumuga  peak, maximum
     magaala   intersection (meeting point)
     auala laupapa  ramp (noun) 
     atamai (poto)   smart (clever, intelligent)
     auala autu  main road, highway
     masini  technology
    magāala  lane, pathway, track
  • Tongan keywords

    Tongan keywords: 
     polokapale'anga  barrier
     taimi folautaimi fononga  travel time
     tumutumu'angatumutu mu, ngata'anga  peak, maximum
     manga fatuu'anga fetaulake, halaanga fehoko'aki
     intersection (meeting point)
     hala hake (sloping up) hala hifo (sloping down)
     ramp (noun) 
     poto  smart (clever, intelligent)
     hala lahi  main road, highway
     misini/tekinolosia  technology
     halanga  lane, pathway, track
  • Cook Islands Māori keywords

    Cook Islands Maori keywords: 
     paruru  barrier
     tuatau tere  travel time
     maata'anga  peak, maximum
     kite pakari  smart (clever, intelligent)
     ara metua  main road, highway
     ara  lane, pathway, track
  • Niuean keywords

    Niuean keywords: 
     pa  barrier
     magaaho fenoga  travel time
     intersection (meeting point)
     hala laupapa
     ramp (noun) 
     lotomatala  smart (clever, intelligent)
     puhala-tu lahi/puhala-tu fakaholo mafiti  main road, highway
     tekenolo  technology
    tau hala o hui  lane, pathway, track

Identify a road near you that could benefit from smart technology. What "smarts" would this road need?

The Problem with Congestion

What is a Smart Motorway?


Ngauranga Gorge to Aotea Quay is the busiest road in the Wellington region. Image: NZTA.

The smart motorway will improve the current ATMS (active traffic management system). Image: LEARNZ.

Replacing the median barrier is also part of the project. Image: NZTA.

Adding new sign gantries is another change being made to this part of the motorway. Image: NZTA.


I wonder where the next smart

I wonder where the next smart motorway will be? Maybe somewhere in Auckland?

I wonder how much congestion

I wonder how much congestion is the trigger for doing something about it?

I wonder what is the cost of

I wonder what is the cost of land so a smart motorway becomes cost-effective. Urban land is more expensive than rural land so maybe smart motorways would never be a solution for rural places.