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Traffic control devices manual (TCD manual)

Published: | Category: Signs & markings (permanent & temporary) , Manuals | Audiences: Road controlling authorities, Road traffic engineers & consultants, Roading contractors

The Traffic control devices manual (TCD manual) provides guidance on industry best practice, including, where necessary, practice mandated by law in relation to the use of traffic control devices.

Publication details

  • Author:
  • Published: December 2008

Traffic control devices manual

The planned structure of the Traffic control devices manual comprises 16 documents (three specifications, 10 parts, an addendum, a glossary and a list of references) and is shown in the table below.

Each part will be developed under the guidance of a working group of practitioners experienced in, and having specific knowledge about, the subject. The practitioners will also be representative of the intended users of the documents. Interested practitioners and affected organisations will be given the opportunity to comment on drafts and have their input incorporated appropriately in the final document.

The Traffic control devices manual will be published electronically only.

The following table shows the complete list of parts of the manual. These will be added to this website as soon as they become available.

Part Title and outline of content Status Latest version

Sign specifications

Detailed descriptions of traffic signs, including dimensions, colour and layout.

Sign Specifications site

Traffic signal specifications

Detailed descriptions of permitted traffic signal displays and dimensions and colours of signal aspects.


Marking specifications

Detailed description of road markings, including dimensions, colours and layout.


General requirements for signs

  • Purposes of traffic signs and their legal foundation
  • Materials and construction
  • General design principles – size, lettering, legends
  • Installation– location, mounting heights, etc
Published document [PDF, 1.6 MB] Version 1
October 2010

Direction, service and general guidance signs

  • Route signing, including state highways, regional roads, bypasses, detours, scenic routes
  • Street name signing, including design and location
  • Services signing policy, application and design
  • Tourist signing
  • General information signs, eg public amenities, features
Published document [PDF, 4.5 MB] Version 1
January 2011

Advertising signs

  • Design and location principles
  • Policies for billboards and other forms of roadside advertising
Published document [PDF, 1006 KB] Version 1
January 2011
  Addendum: Digital billboard guidance Withdrawn. See Review guidance note [PDF, 39 KB].  

Traffic control devices for general use – at intersections

Treatments at intersections, including options for traffic control, advance warning, etc.

Under consultation  

Traffic control devices for general use – between intersections

Treatments between intersections, including delineation, curves, passing facilities, steep grades, etc.

TCD Part 5 site

Version 1
December 2020

Speed management: Road to Zero edition

  • Safe system approach to speed
  • Signs and markings for speed limits
  • Temporary and variable speed limits
  • Local area traffic management
Published document July 2022
7 (see part 13 Parking control)    

Code of practice for temporary traffic management (COPTTM)

Guidance for how temporary traffic management will be delivered to improve safety for everyone across Aotearoa New Zealand’s roads.


Level crossings

  • Responsibilities for level crossings
  • Risk assessment (ALCAM)
  • Signs, markings and other design considerations for active or passive controls and for pedestrians, cycles, heavy motor vehicles
Published document Version 2 December 2012

Motorways and expressways

Specific signing and marking requirements for motorways and expressways.

Published documents  

Parking control

  • Legal framework - implications and responsibilities
  • Design considerations and elements
  • Linear and zone parking treatments
  • Parking furniture, eg meters, vending machines

Published document

Will be renumbered to Part 7 in next version.

Under consultation

Version 1
December 2007

Templates and designs

Common sign specifications: regulatory, general advisory, permanent warning and temporary warning templates.

Published documents Updated August 2015


Definitions of terms used throughout the TCD manual.

Published page Updated December 2008


All documents referenced throughout the TCD manual.

Published page Updated December 2008


Relationships with other documents

The Traffic control devices manual will support and reference:

  • New Zealand legislation and, in particular, the Land Transport Act 1998 and rules made pursuant to that act, including the Land Transport (Road User) Rule, the Land Transport Rule: Traffic Control Devices and the Land Transport Rule: Setting of Speed Limits
  • general polices contained in Austroads Guides (in particular, the Guides to Traffic Management, Traffic Design and Road Safety) by providing detailed guidance to meet specific requirements of New Zealand law and practices
  • New Zealand and, as appropriate, Australian standards
  • codes of practice, guidelines and published standards of various authorities.
  • the Speed management guide – a national framework that helps road controlling authorities make informed, accurate and consistent speed management decisions for their communities.

Each part will attempt to provide a broad coverage of the subject but avoid duplicating major elements of referenced documents, preferring to direct readers to the source.

The Traffic control devices manual will, on completion, replace the joint Transit New Zealand and Land Transport NZ publication Manual of traffic signs and markings (MOTSAM). However MOTSAM Part 1 Traffic signs and Part II Markings will continue to be available until their contents have been replaced. Recently approved traffic signs are notified in Traffic notes until these signs have been incorporated into the appropriate part of the TCD manual.