Regional transport roles and responsibilities

The transport system is complex, with responsibility for different aspects shared by different organisations.

Regional, local and national government all have a role to play in ensuring Canterbury's roading networks are well designed and maintained, and that they meet the changing needs of our region.

Our regional responsibilities

As a regional council, Environment Canterbury is responsible for:

  • Environment Canterbury Tuam Street officePlanning and coordination of significant transport investment through the Regional Land Transport Plan, a legislative document that sets out our objectives and policies for the transport network in Canterbury.
  • Advocating regional transport needs at a national level.
  • Planning and delivery of urban public transport services in Christchurch and Timaru through the Regional Public Transport Plan, a legislative document that sets out our objectives and policies for delivering public transport in Canterbury.
  • Supporting multiple regional transport forums, primarily the Canterbury Regional Transport Committee, and the associated groups below.
  • Supporting Total Mobility services and community vehicle trusts.

Our vision: Provide all transport users with sustainable options that move people and freight around and through our region in a safe and efficient way that enables us to be responsive to future challenges.

Canterbury Regional Transport Committee

The Canterbury Regional Transport Committee (RTC) comprises representatives from the region's councils as well as Waka Kotahi. The primary role of the RTC is to develop and implement the Canterbury Regional Land Transport Plan (RLTP).


The RLTP is a legislative document that sets out the current state of our region's transport network, the challenges we face and the priorities for future investment and the policies by which those services will operate by. It also explains how we will work in partnership with operators and territorial authorities in the region. It covers a 10-year period and is updated every three years.

Delivery of the activities included in the RLTP remains the responsibility of the proposing agency, while the Committee monitors implementation.

In addition to producing the RLTP, the Committee advises Environment Canterbury on transport issues and advocates for legislative and policy changes at a national level.

Funding for RLTP programmes and projects is primarily provided from territorial authority rates, direct Crown funding, and the National Land Transport Fund, which is made up of road user charges and fuel taxes. It feeds into the National Land Transport Programme prepared by Waka Kotahi. Environment Canterbury has allocated $11.5 million to the development of the RLTP and the RTC Work Programme over the next 10 years.

The Canterbury Mayoral Forum and Regional Transport Committee's freight tour of Christchurch and Timaru - Feb 2022

The Canterbury Mayoral Forum and Regional Transport Committee's freight tour of Christchurch and Timaru - Feb 2022

Committee member organisations

Under the Terms of Reference, Environment Canterbury appoints two Councillors as Chair and Deputy Chair of the Committee, for a three-year term. Both the Chair and Deputy Chair are also members of the South Island Regional Transport Committee Chairs Group.

ChairCouncillor Peter Scott of Environment Canterbury Regional Council

Deputy Chair – Councillor Grant Edge of Environment Canterbury Regional Council

Canterbury Regional Road Safety Working Group

This Working Group functions as a subcommittee of the Canterbury Regional Transport Committee.

Members share information and provide leadership to promote a road system increasingly free of death and injury.

Working Group member organisations
Key Working Group documents
Meeting minutes are presented at Regional Transport Committee quarterly meetings and are included in the published papers for those meetings.
The working group recently revisited its Strategy and refreshed its Terms of Reference.

Canterbury Transport Officers Group

The Canterbury Transport Officers Group (TOG) is comprised of key transport staff from each partner organisation in the region (noted above under Canterbury Regional Transport Committee member organisations).

It exists as a forum for collaboration and information sharing on transport functions (except for road safety) and to provide advice to the Canterbury Regional Transport Committee.

Key Group documents

South Island Regional Transport Committee Chairs Group

The South Island Regional Transport Committee Chairs Group was established in 2016 for the purpose of significantly improving transport outcomes in the South Island through collaboration and integration.

Environment Canterbury provides secretariat services for the Group, as well as being a member.

Group responsibilities

The current focus of the South Island RTC Chairs is on identifying and facilitating integrated freight and visitor journey improvements in addition to identifying and assessing options for improving the resilience and security of the South Island transport network and linkages to the North Island.

More information about the objectives and working principles of the Chairs Group is available in the South Island Regional Transport Collaboration Charter, which is a living document (below) that we anticipate will evolve over time.

Group member organisations

The Chairs of all Regional Transport Committees in the South Island are members of this Group. Waka Kotahi is an optional attendee.

ChairCouncillor Kate Wilson of Otago Regional Council

Deputy ChairCouncillor Stuart Bryant of Tasman District Council

Environment Canterbury can be contacted as the secretariat for the Chairs Group at or 0800 324 636.


The Crown governs in partnership with mana whenua, and local government also has responsibilities to mana whenua under that relationship, primarily ensuring mana whenua can be effective kaitiaki over their lands and resources.

The work in our region is supported by a number of partner organisations.

Partner organisations

Waka Kotahi is responsible for investing in land transport activities, managing the state highway network and land transport regulatory activities, such as certification, registration and licensing.

Waka Kotahi look after everything related to state highways and have a non-voting staff member on the Regional Transport Committee.

KiwiRail own and operate New Zealand's rail network and the Interislander ferries. Rail is now also funded through the National Land Transport Programme, alongside roads. KiwiRail is not currently a part of the Regional Transport Committee but has an established relationship.

Local councils manage and maintain all roads and transport infrastructure in their respective districts that is not part of the state highway network. There are nine local councils in the Canterbury region and each council appoints one elected member to the Regional Transport Committee.

The Department of Conservation (DOC) is also a road controlling authority in Canterbury as it owns and maintains a number of legal roads and access routes on conservation lands. DOC contributes to the Canterbury Transport Officers Group.

Te Manatū Waka, the Ministry of Transport is the Government's system lead on transport and provides advice and regulatory stewardship over the transport system in Aotearoa.

Key stakeholders

Ultimately, all New Zealanders have a stake in the transport system, however, there are a few groups and stakeholders that we have more established relationships with.