Have your say

The Transportation Group is developing a position statement on transport. Members were invited to provide comment on the draft principles below in September 2023.

  • We are now considering and integrating this feedback. In the meantime, the survey is still open for members.
  • For other questions about the draft position statement, please email lead author and Central branch chair Peter Cockrem.

Draft position statement


The draft position statement contains a set of principles helping professionals, decision-makers and the public to recognise good practice. This supports our objectives:

  • advance transport knowledge
  • develop good practice
  • improve outcomes
  • and support members


Members have asked us for support in applying professional standards to transportation, such as the Engineering NZ Code of Ethical Conduct. Professional recognition pathways to take this further are described on our Qualifications page.

We hope that developing this clarity at an institutional level will help individual members to explain best practice, and that it will empower the community and decision-makers to engage in transport challenges constructively.


Draft Professional Transport Principles

Professionalism encompasses ethics and competence – in transport as in all professional fields like law, medicine, and structural engineering.

These principles apply to all professional transport work, including design, planning, policy, advice and management.

Ethical transport work considers:

1. Honesty and preservation of health, safety, and the environment: In accordance with ENZ’s code of ethical conduct, ethical transport work must be fair, honest, and comprehensive, putting people’s health, safety, and the environment first.

2. Transport inclusion and engagement: Ethical transport work ensures that the transport system is fair and accessible to everyone, including women, children, older people, and people with diverse backgrounds and abilities. This includes engaging with communities to understand deep underlying values and needs beyond superficial reactions, and ensuring under-represented perspectives are fairly included.

Competent transport work considers:

3. Treaty of Waitangi: Competent transport work for Crown and local government helps them understand and fulfil their responsibility to take appropriate account of the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi – including partnership, active protection, and consultation. Transport practice should recognise the value in a Te Ao Māori perspective, as noted by ENZ.

4. Climate change: Competent transport work understands how transport contributes to climate change, and how transport is exposed to its effects. In line with ENZ’s climate position, transport professionals have a key role in leading climate mitigation and adaptation.

5. Induce demand for efficient modes that use less space, resources and energy:  Competent transport work understands that although a quality driving experience is desirable, an efficient transport system makes walking, biking, scooting and using public transport more attractive for most trips, because these consume less space, resources and energy. Induced demand means transport investment and policy decisions shape the way people want to get around.

6. Induce demand for efficient land use: Competent transport work understands that an effective and efficient transport system makes dense and mixed land use attractive and convenient, because this enhances people’s ability to access essential services and destinations and improves transport efficiency. Prioritising vehicular mobility has the long-term systemic effect of spreading destinations further apart, gradually worsening access. This is important for transport planning – especially in the long run – and should be a key part of all decisions.

7. Value of public space: Competent transport work understands that public space is valuable, considers what transport options are compatible with other community functions of public space, and prioritises these appropriately in different contexts.

8. Intervention hierarchy: Competent transport work considers improving efficiency before increasing capacity, because this is more effective and cost-efficient. The intervention hierarchy starts with reducing the need to travel by changing how land is used, improving the attractiveness of sustainable transport, and managing demand through pricing. Increasing capacity for vehicles should be our last choice after more effective and efficient options have been exhausted.

9. Risk management hierarchy: Like in industrial safety, competent transport safety work prioritises the most effective actions: getting rid of risks, swapping risky things for safer ones, and using engineering to make unavoidable risks safer. In a risk management hierarchy, it’s a last resort to rely on rule compliance and safety equipment. This means focusing on reducing the need to drive; reducing exposure to traffic; improving public transport, walking and cycling; engineering roads and streets to reduce speeds and conflict points; reducing speed limits; and finally improving crash protection for people and vehicles.

10. Resilience takes a long-term system view: Competent transport work considers how the transport system can proactively and reactively adapt to serve people’s needs through a wide range of probable and possible changes. This includes slow and rapid shocks that are social, economic, environmental and geopolitical in nature. Resilience should be improved in ways that are consistent with the other principles, and which increase resilience beyond transport, such as supporting transport modes and land use patterns that reduce dependence on energy and complex supply chains.


Next steps

Member feedback is being considered as part of shaping the position statement.

After a set of principles has been adopted, the Transportation Group will invite members to help develop brief policy positions demonstrating how the principles apply in practice. These will cover different transport modes, spatial contexts, and decision-making domains. For example: public transport, freight, neighbourhood centre, rural, maintenance, and fees.