Why are roads important?
There are many reasons why people need to travel:
- going to and from school or work
- fun and leisure
- taking goods from one place to another.
You can choose to:
- use a motorcycle or car
- use buses and trains
- travel by plane.
Wherever you are going it is likely that you will travel on one of New Zealand’s roads.
Good roads are an important part of society. Our communities work better when:
- it is easy for people to travel
- it is easy to move things around
Roads are a community space. Most of our interactions on the road help keep us safe as we travel.
History of roads
Many roads started out as just tracks that people used to go from one place to another.
The more popular tracks were used by people with their horses and other animals and soon became larger.
In New Zealand many of our roads were once Māori ara or pathways.
What is a road?
A road can be used for different purposes:
- footpaths are for pedestrians
- bridleways (or bridle paths) are for animals
- carriageways are for wheeled vehicles
Types of roads in New Zealand
There are two types of roads in New Zealand;
- state highways (including motorways)
- local roads
- State highways are used to move people and goods nationwide.
- State Highway 1 runs and connects the entire length of New Zealand.
- State highways are managed by the New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA).
- The state highway network has almost 11,000 kilometres of road.
- New Zealand’s state highway network is one of our most valuable assets. It is worth $23 billion.
- About $2.2 billion is spent each year on maintaining these roads.
Local roads are used to move people and goods within regions. They are managed by local councils.
There are 83,000 kilometres of local roads throughout New Zealand. Compared to other countries New Zealand has few people spread over a large area. The length of road per person in New Zealand is one of the highest in the world.
Better roads can improve safety and save time and money. The development of roads is important for economic growth.