Proposed bylaw gives electric vehicles special access to transit lanes

Electric vehicles could get priority access to the motorway under proposed bylaw.

Electric vehicles could get priority access to the motorway under proposed bylaw.

Shorter commute times are being used as an incentive to encourage more New Zealanders to consider driving electric vehicles.

The Government wants 64,000 electric vehicles being driven in New Zealand by the end of 2021, with the aim of helping to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The Ministry of Transport is working on amending legislation to allow electric vehicles to use some high occupancy (T2) lanes and bus lanes, regardless of how many occupants are in the vehicle.

NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) is currently consulting on a bylaw that will allow electric vehicles access to 10 T2 lanes and one bus lane in Auckland for a 12-month trial.

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Of the 11 proposed lanes, three are on Auckland's North Shore. The T2 and truck lane, southbound on-ramp, Constellation Drive; T2 and truck lane, southbound on-ramp, Greville Rd; and the bus lane, northbound on-ramp, Upper Harbour Highway.

The Upper Harbour Highway bus lane is the only bus lane NZTA considered suitable for electric vehicles, at the moment.

In anticipation of the legislative changes, NZTA ran a 14-day trial allowing electric vehicles access to five Auckland on-ramps in March.

NZTA found 78 per cent of electric vehicle drivers who took part in the trial said access to T2 lanes improved their journey time, with 94 per cent stating that if additional special vehicle lanes were made available to electric vehicle drivers they would use them long-term.

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Legislative changes to the Land Transport Act 1998 are expected to come into force on in July, with changes to the Land Transport (Road User) Rule 2004 and Land Transport Rule: Traffic Control Devices 2004 expected in August.

Following the changes it will be up to individual road controlling authorities to make suitable special vehicle lanes available to electric vehicles by making bylaws.

Consultation closes on August 3. Feedback is to be emailed to AEVTbylaw@nzta.govt.nz.

 - Stuff

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