NZTA – Guidelines for temporary traffic management at events

Temporary traffic management (TTM)

Varying the normal operating conditions of the road

Activities that alter how the road normally operates require TTM.

For example:

  • Pedestrian management may be required where runners in a planned event are using a footpath
  • Cycle or running races which require the normal road user to change their intended travelled path or slow down to avoid the race/event participants
  • Events that are considered off road but contestants may still have to cross a road to complete the approved course/route. In these circumstances organisers need to consider how they will manage these crossing points (eg. Stop/Go where the traffic is stopped to allow competitors to cross the road).

When a traffic management plan (TMP) is required

Where the activity is competitive and participants are unlikely to obey the road rules the organisers would need to consider a TMP.

A TMP is required for planned events that vary the normal operating conditions of the road.

These may include:

  • Race or large fun ride, run or walk
  • Parade
  • Off road activity affecting the road (eg opening of a shopping mall, concerts, large markets)
  • Street fairs.

When a TMP may not be required

Planned activities that may not require a TMP include:

  • Non-competitive activities such as training ride, run or walk where participants are following the road rules and not varying normal operating conditions of the road
  • Small fun/charity ride, run or walk organised so that the activity does not vary the normal operating conditions of the road.

However, there remains a Duty of Care which includes consideration of the following:

  • A safety plan (risk management)
  • Compliance with road rules
  • Volume of traffic
  • Speed of traffic
  • Width of carriageway
  • Availability of footpaths
  • The use of signalised pedestrian crossings
  • Age and experience of participants.

If in any doubt, the organiser should refer the activity to the Road Controlling Authority’s (RCA) Traffic Management Coordinator (TMC) for advice.

For any of the above activities, as detailed in the vehicle lighting rule, organisers may use an amber beacon as well as the appropriate sports sign (eg CYCLISTS AHEAD). These details would be included in the safety plan.

Special planning for events

Events create a set of risks that are different to normal on road activity. These risks can apply to:

  • Participants/contestants
  • Road users (drivers, pedestrians and cyclists)
  • Public and businesses
  • Volunteer or paid organising staff
  • Spectators.

The key people

The following are key personnel for event management:

  • Event organiser
  • Site traffic management supervisor (STMS) in charge of TTM for the event.

Can one person fill both roles?

No, because each role requires action at the same stage of the event (eg Event organiser giving the event briefing at the same time as the STMS is completing the final TTM check of the course).

Event organiser

Under a duty of care to the event, the event organiser has responsibility for planning, risk analysis and risk management. Where a TTM provider is used to manage the TTM, the risk liability remains with the event organiser.

For the purposes of TTM, there has to be good co-ordination between the running of the event and TTM for the event. Therefore, the event organiser must ensure that the STMS is fully briefed about the event and identified risks. The STMS must receive timely updates about any changes that will affect any on road risks so they can make relevant adjustments to the TMP.


The STMS takes charge of the TTM for the event. Their role is to ensure that all identified on road risks are managed. The STMS must ensure that all TTM approvals (eg traffic management plan, approval for road closure) are gained before the event begins.

During the event the STMS must notify the event organiser if a situation develops which compromises safety and if necessary advises the event be cancelled, postponed or modified to manage the risks.

Where the STMS will be unable to visit and monitor sites during the event consideration should be given to using a TC or STMS at key risk sites. At minor sites where there is no qualified person, the Event STMS provides a written brief with key contact numbers.

Planning the TTM for an event

When do you start planning?

Planning needs to be completed well in advance – Road closures require 42 days’ notification and any planning must be done well in advance of those 42 days.

A handy tip: Upon completion of an annual event carry out a debrief very soon after – identify improvements and start your planning process for the next year.

Do I need a TMP? – if in doubt check with the RCA.

How do you plan for the traffic management risks?

The following is a process for analysing a route for hazards. Initially this can be made from a map, but it is important that the route be travelled to discover any hazards that may not be apparent from the map.

Step 1: Select the route, noting that for cyclists left turns are often easier to manage than right turns. So choose an anti-clockwise route, where possible.

For runners, the aim is to prevent them from having to cross the road. If they will be running on the left hand side of the road, try for left hand turns around the route. If they will be running on the right hand side of the road, try for right hand turns around the route.

Step 2: Travel over the route looking for hazards such as:

  • Start/Finish points – is there ample room for participants and spectators to assemble off the road? Think about parking as well.
  • Pedestrians and cyclists not involved in the event are often overlooked
  • Sharp bends – visibility issues
  • Left turns – intersection
  • Right turns – intersection
  • Pedestrian crossings
  • Intersections with or without priority (e.g. Give Way)
  • Road surface problems
  • One-way bridges
  • Narrow roads
  • Schools, churches, shops or other facilities that may attract people
  • Note timings, organise the event to avoid any travel peaks
  • Other.

Step 3: Decide how to handle the identified hazard – it may mean re-routing sections of the course.

It may require some traffic control using cones and signs and therefore a TMP.

It is valuable to enlist the advice of other event managers before finalising your route and/or plan.

Step 4: Once the route has been determined, you have the basis of your plan. If no TTM is required, only develop a safety plan.

If TTM is required arrange for an STMS to develop a TMP which will include:

  • A map showing the overall event route
  • Diagrams showing how and where TTM will be positioned (eg at the start, finish and intersections)

Note: This detail will be used to brief your volunteers/helpers.

Tools to assist

Examples are available on the NZTA website (CoPTTM section I-3 Events):

  • TMPs
  • Safety plans
  • Safety briefings
  • Hazard registers

Overall route plan

The overall route needs to be shown in the TMP and is normally placed before the traffic
management diagrams for the event.

It can be helpful to show the location of each of the TMDs on the route map.

Here is an example:

Traffic management diagram (TMD)

Traffic management diagram (TMD)

A TMD is needed for situations along the route where traffic management measures are required to address safety, or road user needs. A TMD shows the road environment and the placement of cones, marshals, signs etc.

traffic managementA set of example TMDs is available on the NZTA website (CoPTTM section I-3 Events):

The example TMDs cover common situations:

  • Start area (off the carriageway)
  • Finish area (off the carriageway)
  • Event travelling along the route/intersecting side road
  • Right turn at intersection
  • Left turn at intersection
  • Left turn at intersection in a chute
  • Left turn at roundabout
  • Turnaround point.

Site specific TMDs

The STMS for the event may need to develop site specific TMDs for the route. Set out below are example diagrams showing a layout option for these site specific TMDs:

RTB Fun Ride, Tuki Tuki & Raymond Rd, Hawke’s Bay.
RTB Fun Ride, Parkhill & East Roads, Hawke’s Bay

Some general guidelines

Mobile vehicles

If there is likely to be a main group of competitors (eg a peloton), plan for support vehicles to accompany this group.

Start and finish points

Where possible have the start/finish area off the carriageway.
Determine the number of participants, area and width of starting/finishing area/line.
Determine the length of start zone before participants spread out and the transition point into normal road use.

Spectator management

Consider safety fences/barricades/marshals to ensure spectator safety.

Parking management

Arrange alternative off-street parking for participants and spectators whenever possible.

Use parking control measures (No Stopping signs), to ensure road widths are sufficiently wide at strategic points.

Public relations

Contact the RCA to find out any additional requirements.

Plan any required advertising, information signs, or letter drops to inform affected residents/businesses and road users.

Specific guidelines for different types of events


  • A parade is a low speed activity. It normally occupies all lanes of the road while spectators line the footpath.
  • It is normal to organise a full road closure for this type of event. TTM is necessary to close the road and this is normally done with barriers and signs.
  • Safety fences may be required to separate spectators from the parade.
  • It is important to note that most RCAs have a requirement for early notification (application) to enable the public to be adequately notified.
  • Organisers should also have appropriate planning for the forming up and disbanding areas of the parade.

Mass Walk/Run Events, Running Races

  • These events often involve large numbers of people spreading out over the entire road, particularly at the start of the event. At this point a road closure may be the best option.
  • Later as the line of runners and walkers thins out other forms of closure including lane closure may be more appropriate. The entire length of the lane closure must be coned and it may require a detour to be installed.
  • A frequently used method on urban roads is to cone the parking lane and place No Parking signs. An RCA permit will be required.
  • Runners should run on the right hand road shoulder so they can see the oncoming traffic. It is advisable to cone this off, particularly at corners and at the brow of a hill, as motorists do sometimes travel on the sealed shoulder.
  • Crossing points and intersections are another area of risk. At crossing points either, stop the contestants until the way is clear, or stop the traffic while the contestants cross.
  • In both cases there needs to be careful thought, planning and execution to ensure that people stop when they are required to. Positive traffic control is needed.


  • Traffic management for road cycling events will require a number of different TMDs to be included in the TMP.
  • TMDs may be required for the Start and Finish – this would also apply to the transition area in multi-sports.
  • Full road closures are best for criteriums, but with careful planning it is possible prepare a safe course without closing the road completely.
  • A mobile operation can be used for a large tour race i.e. advance pilot, rear pilot with appropriate signs. On the other hand, for a small club race where the bunches are inclined to be small, a brief such as normal road rules apply, some warning signs at critical points, may be all that is required. Consultation with the RCA will be required here.
  • Marshals with stop/go paddles may be required for intersections and pedestrian crossings.
  • Some arrangements may be necessary for spectator and support teams, although these will vary depending on the size and importance of the event.
  • Various cycling events such as the Lake Taupo ride need static sites for start and finish, intersections, and also a cyclist’s brief, which carefully describes the rules that the cyclists must obey.

Event debriefing

  • Following each event, the event manager must hold an event debrief
  • During the debrief, the event STMS notes any traffic safety issues to be rectified before the TMP is used again.


New Zealand Transport Agency is able to offer training for event organisers, and marshals, helpers and participants.

For more information, please contact:

Stuart Fraser
CoPTTM Advisor
New Zealand Transport Agency
Private Bag 6995
Telephone 04 894 5400