Making our central city easier for people to get to and move around in. Whether by bus, car, cycle or on foot.

Journeys will be more enjoyable and there will be less congestion. It also means that the central city will be easier to access for people who have mobility challenges.

It’s about upgrading the transport system to provide a compact, people-friendly core and about supporting the economic, social and environmental recovery of the central city.


The vision is:

  • Enhance the social, environmental and economic prosperity of the central city by sharing the streets and spaces differently.
  • Create the conditions for a more pedestrian-friendly core. 
  • Provide improved and well-connected walking, cycling and public transport facilities and routes.
  • Create lower speed zones and reduced speed limits on a number of key streets.
  • Redirect traffic without a central city destination along the surrounding avenues.


The aim is to provide a central city travel network that will meet the current and future needs of all inner city travellers across a range of different modes of travel. The transport projects focus on implementing changes to traffic flow and this in turn will open up your travel choices eg by bus, motor vehicle, cycle or on foot.

All of the individual transport projects are dependent on each other to function as an integrated whole and also support and facilitate the key anchor project developments(external link).


The Council isworking on transport projects that look at changes to traffic in the central city as outlined in the Christchurch Central Recovery Plan’s(external link) transport chapter – An Accessible City.

The Recovery Plan(external link) was developed under the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Act 2011. This was published by CERA in October 2013 following consultation in late 2012 and early 2013. However, people initially shared their ideas and viewpoints about transport in the central city through the Council’s 2011 Share an Idea campaign and this feedback was considered as well.

An Accessible City sets the direction and intent of the transport projects to meet the needs of people and businesses. The new road classification, speed zones and road user hierarchy each contribute to the framework for how the streets will be designed and operated.

An Accessible City also underpins the Recovery Plan(external link) – delivering a transport network that enables all of the anchor projects and the new developments across the city to function and be easily accessed. It is part of the $72 million cost sharing agreement(external link) with the Crown, the Council and NZ Transport Agency and is in partnership with Environment Canterbury (ECan) and Te Runanga o Ngāi Tahu.


An Accessible City was developed from community feedback during the 2011 Share an Idea campaign, where people said they wanted...


  • green spaces
  • people-friendly areas for living, working and recreation
  • pedestrian-friendly
  • trees.


  • cars
  • traffic
  • concrete
  • buses.

In November 2012 a draft An Accessible City chapter was released for public consultation, which ran from 15 November 2012 to 1 February 2013. There were 278 thoughtful submissions received, which were collated and summarised for the Minister.

Released on 31 October 2013, the final An Accessible City is now the transport chapter of the Recovery Plan(external link). It has been developed by the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority (CERA) collaborating with the Christchurch City Council, Environment Canterbury and the NZ Transport Agency and incorporates feedback from the public consultation process.

For more information, visit the CERA archive(external link)

How has An Accessible City developed?

AAC Development path

How it happens

An Accessible City is about making our Central City accessible – it’s about upgrading the transport system to provide a compact, people-friendly core and about supporting the economic, social and environmental recovery of the Central City.

An Accessible City is the umbrella these transport projects sit under. The transport projects are being jointly delivered by Council and CCDU.

These projects may be implemented as groups or individually. Consultation on the transport projects will occur progressively and will be dovetailed to align with the opening of key anchor projects such as the Bus Interchange in Tuam Street.

Three separate components need to come together for An Accessible City to happen:

  • The individual transport projects (led by the Christchurch City Council).
  • The Streets and Spaces design guide (formerly the 'Public Realm Network Plan' led by CCDU, this is the framework that ensures the Central City is a place we people want to come together to enjoy and share time and ideas with each other. Thoughtfully designed spaces will create places will provide spaces people want to visit frequently. Further information will be available on this plan later in the year).
  • Draft Christchurch Central Parking Plan (led by Christchurch City Council, this will provide information about availability and timing of parking facilities in the Central City. Further information will be available on this plan later in the year).

The transport projects process

On top of the high level transport consultation that has already taken place with residents, each transport project has it’s own as well.

Once the project has been identified and mapped out, the project goes to Council for approval to be taken to the public for comment and consultation. If approved, consultation with residents takes place. These consultations are publicly notified.

Consultation feedback is collated and further revisions are made to the transport project plan to take into account the feedback, safety and technical advice. The project then goes back to Council to be approved for implementation.

Once approved for implementation, the final design specifications are detailed and the tenders for the project issued. Once a contractor has been approved the on road changes can begin. 


An Accessible City will deliver:

  • A compact core with slow streets and people friendly spaces
  • Separated cycleways on some key routes, complementing the city-wide cycle network
  • Manchester Street will become a boulevard to provide slow green spaces that are pedestrian friendly as well as support key bus routes
  • Enhanced one-ways systems to help you get around the city more efficiently
  • Two-way conversions to better suit inner city living
  • Improved avenues to provide an outer arterial route
  • The introduction of a number of super stop bus facilities (with shelters) at key areas to work in tandem with the new Bus Interchange.


An Accessible City is about making our Central City accessible – it’s about upgrading the transport system to provide a compact, people-friendly core and about supporting the economic, social and environmental recovery of the Central City. As we create exciting new places to live and visit in the Central City, An Accessible City will:

  • create a network which makes it easy, safe and enjoyable to move around
  • avoid congested streets in the future as more people live in and travel to the central city as a destination
  • make sure the areas around the travel networks (roads, footpaths and cycleways) are greener and more enjoyable for people to spend more time in
  • create more options about how people travel whether by car, public transport, cycle or walking while also ensuring we all share the Central City street network
  • prioritise some routes to protect people and cyclists while making it easy for cars and buses to get where they need to go. Some areas will be shared zones.


A number of features of An Accessible City prioritise pedestrians:

  • Wider footpaths will be created in key areas for pedestrians (sometimes these might be shared with cyclists)
  • Slower streets (both 30km/hr and even slower) will be encouraged in the core to make these areas safer for pedestrians
  • Attractive streets will encourage shoppers, residents and visitors into the Central City
    • One example will be Victoria Street and Colombo Street south that will be redeveloped with enhances street-scapes to support the retail precinct 
    • Another will be Oxford Terrace that will become part of the new city promenade developed through the Te Papa Ōtākaro / Avon River Precinct and will be a shared zone
    • Manchester Street will also be redeveloped as a boulevard with enhanced street-scape
  • Shared zones will prioritise pedestrians and in many cases cyclists will be separated out from pedestrians such as along the Avon River Cycle route. 


A number of features of An Accessible City prioritise cyclists:

  • Slower streets (both 30km/hr and even slower) will be encouraged in the core to make these areas safer for cyclists
  • Key cycling routes will be prioritised for cycling and there will be separated paths where possible to provide safe and comfortable routes
  • Where key cycleways cross key roads, where possible cycle-only signals will be in place.
  • Routes for both commuter and recreational cyclists will offer good connections from the wider city into the Central City.

See more information on cycle safety for the major cycle routes. Get information on how to use on-road facilities such as advanced stop boxes, traffic sensors and bus lanes.


The Christchurch City Bus Interchange is the transport hub for the city. An Accessible City makes sure that bus movements to, through and away from the Interchange will be efficient and will minimalise conflict with other forms of travel. The Interchange has been designed to encourage more people to take the bus and is placed in the centre of the city in the block bounded by Tuam, Colombo, Manchester and Lichfield streets. Bikes can be transported on buses(external link) and the Interchange will also have cycle storage facilities.  

There will be two super stops that give passengers high-quality waiting areas and information: one at the Hospital on Tuam Street - so people can get the Health Precinct(external link) and the Metro Sports Facility(external link) - and one on Manchester Street near Worcester Street. Some streets will have dedicated bus-only lanes.

Generally, transport routes to the Bus Interchange will mainly go around the core of the Central City, along Manchester and Tuam / St Asaph streets. With the exception of Tuam and St Asaph streets, buses will generally run on two-way roads. This will mean that stops coming into the city and out from the city will be close to each other, making the routes simple for people to understand and use.


To avoid congestion, and to allow pedestrians and cyclists safer access to the Central City, we need to change the streets we use and sometimes the way we use them. Given the limited road space (most roads are only 20 metres wide), we need to prioritise different types of travel for each street. By changing the directions of some roads, access into and out of some roads, and by sharing the roads more evenly with other modes of travel, we will decrease the amount of traffic travelling through the Central City.

One way we are doing this is we are upgrading the five avenues (Bealey, Harper, Fitzgerald, Deans and Moorhouse) as outer arterial routes and encouraging car traffic to go around the core.

Another way is by providing a new one way system that makes it easier for cars to travel into the Central City and have access to the Central City facilities, wh