Road crossings

Road crossings need to be safe and easy to use for all users.

Location of road crossings

Road crossing points should be in convenient, logical and expected locations and easy to identify by visual and tactile means.

Wherever possible, crossings should be located on the pedestrian desire line which is the preferred route that pedestrians take to travel. Where this is not possible, or unsafe, cues should guide pedestrians to the appropriate location.

In order to reduce the time that pedestrians are vulnerable, crossings should be located where the road is as narrow as possible.

Design considerations

  • Select the location of road crossings to be as convenient and safe as possible.
  • Provide environmental, visual and tactile cues where guidance to a crossing is necessary.

Building Code requirement

Building Code clause D1 Access routes:

D1.3.5 Vehicle spaces and circulation routes shall have: (d) adequate sight distances.

Design of road crossings

The design of road crossings should allow its safe and easy use by all pedestrians.

The junction between pavements and road crossings needs to be obvious and this should be achieved by visual and tactile means.

Changes in gradient (for instance to accommodate a dished drainage gully) can be difficult to negotiate and hazardous for both wheelchair users and those with balance or vision impairments.

Wheelchair users need dropped kerbs in order to make a safe transition between pavement and road surfaces. If these are not provided at convenient locations, the kerb can form a permanent barrier.

Design considerations

  • Ensure the footpath is clearly delineated from the road surface, the direction to cross is easy to determine and orientation is easy to maintain while crossing.
  • Where possible, road surfaces should be raised at the crossing as this provides a level transition for pedestrians and will help slow down approaching vehicles. Where roads are not raised, the transition should be achieved with shallow gradients. Avoid situations where gradients change or reverse within a short distance.
  • Ensure the crossing surface is smooth, level and as short as possible with the opposite kerb crossing point easy to identify.
  • Locate dropped kerbs perpendicular to the line of travel of a person crossing the road and directly opposite or aligned with a dropped kerb on the other side. 
  • Install tactile ground surface indicators at road crossings for people who are blind or have low vision.

Safe crossing points

Crossing points should be designed and located to be as safe as practical.

Crossing the road is safest if undertaken at a controlled road crossing point. People who are blind or have low vision are particularly at risk when crossing.

Vehicle speeds will affect the actual and perceived safety of crossing points.

Street furniture can cause obstructions near road crossings especially for people who are blind or have low vision.

The location of parking near road crossing points can significantly impact on visual sight lines.

Design considerations

  • Ensure pedestrians are not required to use vehicle routes or cross roads except where road crossing facilities are installed. 
  • Reduce vehicle speeds at crossing points by the use of traffic calming measures such as Zebra Crossings with sufficiently raised platforms, narrowed roads, chicanes, build outs and speed humps.
  • Design in protection by alerting car drivers to the presence of pedestrians.
  • Install tactile ground surface warning indicators to warn those who are blind or have low vision of the presence of the hazard.
  • To help pedestrians determine when it is safe to cross, install measures and designs such as signalised crossings and build outs with excellent sight lines and hearing. 
  • Provide barriers where pedestrian density, site conditions or the exposure of children to traffic could result in injury. Ensure these are designed to be appropriate for the number of pedestrians crossing especially near sports grounds, schools and public transport interchanges. 
  • Locate street furniture and plantings away from crossing points.
  • Ensure that cars are not able to be parked where they would reduce sight lines or block auditory information.

This information is published by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment’s Chief Executive. It is a general guide only and, if used, does not relieve any person of the obligation to consider any matter to which the information relates according to the circumstances of the particular case. Expert advice may be required in specific circumstances. Where this information relates to assisting people: