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NZTA community

Good engagement can contribute to a more balanced and consistent community conversation where all voices are heard, and perspectives are more informed. Ultimately, this will help you develop and implement speed management measures that are understood and welcomed by your communities.

This section includes:

  • insights into community perspectives and what this means for you
  • seven steps to engaging with communities
  • community engagement case study
  • community engagement tools and resources available to you.

Insights into community perspectives on speed, roads and speed management

Comprehensive community-based research has been carried out by the NZ Transport Agency to understand what communities think about road safety and risk on their roads.
We found around three-quarters of people want to talk about road risk – that is, what can be done to make roads safer and where the trouble spots are:

Communities are ready to engage

  • Around three quarters of people say they would contribute their views about proposed road changes if they were approached by council or community
  • What this means for you

    Engaging with communities is essential – not optional. You need to make it easy for community members by providing a variety of channels through which they can communicate.

    Communities have an important role to play in understanding the risks of their roads, and putting in place accurate and reliable safety measures that reflect the road conditions and help drivers read the road. This will help create a transport system that is safe for all road users. 

Locals know local roads

  • Proposals using clear evidence to explain reasons for change to local roads are valued most by the community
  • What this means for you

    Include evidence in your messaging: locals know their roads and need to see good reasons to support change. Think broadly about how you provide evidence. For example, you could partner with your local health board to conduct a Health Impact Assessment examining the broader health and well-being impacts of speed management in the community. This was done successfully in the Waikato

Focus on the road, not the speed

  • People are not convinced that speed and speed limits are a problem that needs to be fixed, but they do have well-informed views about their local roads. They also think most crashes are caused by individual driver error
  • What this means for you

    Avoid focusing your conversations on speed,  individual drivers or blame. Instead, look for topics everyone can understand and agree on. For example, the nature of the road. Research tells us people know their roads, but also that they welcome help and discussions about how they, and others (for example out-of-towners), can read the road. 

There will be a range of views

  • Within regions, communities can have very different perceptions and priorities when it comes to road safety and speed management. Conversations on road risk can sometimes be uncomfortable, but this doesn’t mean they’re not effective, even if the person you’re speaking with walks away without a resolution. 
  • What this means for you

    Don’t assume you know what people will think – every community is different.  There are different stories in the local media, different community perspectives and different roads – all of which shape local attitudes to speed management. Take time to understand your community’s attitudes towards speed before engaging. Useful steps might include conducting local market research or a media audit, or meeting with key community stakeholders. If you would like some ideas on how to shape your engagement to suit your community’s views, contact the Transport Agency.

 Seven steps to engaging with communities

      1. Understand community perspectives: this could be achieved by conducting your own research, undertaking a local media audit or a meeting with key community stakeholders.

      2. Create your community engagement plan, key messaging, and FAQs: base documents on facts, data, benefits and your understanding of community attitudes.

      3. Create supporting materials: think about what the community needs to know about your initiatives and how you will communicate. Present your information so it is visually appealing and easy to understand, whether a postcard, infographic or newspaper advertisement. 

      4. Determine your spokespeople: who will be speaking on behalf of the initiative? Make sure they are familiar with the messaging, facts and community attitudes. If there are multiple spokespeople ensure they are all "singing from the same song sheet”.

      5. Invite the community to engage: offer opportunities to engage through multiple channels - perhaps an ad in the newspaper, messaging on the local council’s Facebook page, or via a mail-box drop.

      6. Listen and respond accordingly: as you engage, try to ensure you listen to all your channels (face-to-face, written, social media etc). You won’t need to respond to everyone, but if questions are asked, or concerns are raised, it's important that you do. See examples of sample community engagement FAQs in the tools and resources section below.

      7. Keep the community informed and engaged throughout: engagement must happen every step of the way. This continual (and sometimes repetitive) approach to engagement helps ensure your community and stakeholders understand what is happening, and can be a part of the process.

Community engagement tools and resources

Programme toolkit - core story, key messages, myths, principles for conversation and more

Example FAQ for community engagement on speed management [PDF, 254 KB]

Maptionnaire - an online survey tool that facilitates engagement with a diverse range of voices(external link)

Need help engaging with your community? Contact us.