Road traffic noise


Joint media release: Standards New Zealand, New Zealand Transport Agency, and Ministry of Transport

10 May 2010

Standards New Zealand has published a new Standard Acoustics – Road traffic noise – New and altered roads NZS 6806:2010.The Standard aims to reduce traffic noise from new and altered roads by providing noise criteria to address the adverse effects of road traffic noise on people.

'The acoustics Standard NZS 6806:2010 will help to achieve faster and more consistent decision-making nationally about road traffic noise,' says Dr Bryan Pidwerbesky, Chair of the committee that developed the Standard. 'I am pleased to see this important Standard published and I look forward to its implementation in upcoming roading projects.'

Standards New Zealand developed the Standard with support from the NZ Transport Agency and the Ministry of Transport. A wider committee was involved in drafting the Standard and included representatives of: Department of Building and Housing, INGENIUM, Local Government New Zealand, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Transport, New Zealand Acoustical Society, New Zealand Institute of Environmental Health Inc., New Zealand Transport Agency, Road Controlling Authorities (NZ) Inc. New Zealand, and Roading New Zealand.

The acoustics Standard NZS 6806:2010 will be used mainly by local authorities and road controlling authorities to manage road traffic noise on new or altered roads, as well as developers who are constructing or altering roads as part of a subdivision or land use development.

The Environment Court and Boards of Inquiry are also likely to take this new acoustics Standard NZS 6806:2010 into account when considering applications for major transport projects. The NZ Transport Agency has already made a resolution to apply the Standard to all relevant state highway projects. The Standard will also be of interest to roading contractors, land use and transport planners, road and traffic engineers, surveyors, urban and landscape designers, environmental managers, and noise professionals.

NZS 6806:2010 will help users to plan for and manage the adverse effects of road traffic noise from new and altered roads with higher traffic volumes by:

  • providing consistent procedures and requirements to measure, predict, assess, and mitigate road traffic noise
  • establishing reasonable criteria for road traffic noise, taking into account health issues associated with noise, the effects of noise levels on people and communities, and the potential benefits of new and altered roads to people and communities.

Helping users to implement the new Standard – guidance and tools

NZ Transport Agency Senior Environmental Specialist Rob Hannaby says a website has been developed to provide supplementary guidance and tools to help people to understand and apply NZS 6806:2010. 'The NZ Transport Agency is also preparing an e-learning package to guide people through NZS 6806:2010 and to help them to understand how to use the Standard on their roading project,' says Rob.

Rob says 'NZS 6806:2010 is intended to be used together with the Resource Management Act 1991. The Quality Planning Website will include model provisions relating to the Standard that local authorities can use when developing their plans and policies.'

To help increase understanding about whether or not alterations to an existing road constitute an altered road as defined in the Standard, the NZ Transport Agency has developed a web-based screening tool. This tool is aimed at 'non-acousticians' and generally takes a few minutes to complete.

Where to get more information

The Standard

Order or download NZS 6806:2010 from (enter keyword '6806' into the search panel), or email, or call 0800 782 632 during business hours.

To preview the Standard, download a PDF of the contents page and scope of NZS 6806:2010 [117 kb PDF].


The NZ Transport Agency is organising workshops to be held around New Zealand in mid-2010. Details will be made available on the acoustics website ( when the workshops are finalised. If you would like to register your interest in attending a workshop please email

Factsheet – including frequently asked questions (FAQs)

Download a factsheet about NZS 6806:2010 [310 kB PDF].


What is the purpose of the new road traffic noise Standard?

Why is the Standard being introduced now?

What noise criteria are included in the Standard?

How do the criteria in NZS 6806:2010 compare to noise criteria set by the World Health Organization?

Who was on the NZS 6808:2010 Standards committee?

Who should use the Standard?

What are the cost implications of the Standard?

What are the proposed benefits of using the Standard?

What about existing roads? How is exposure to elevated levels of road traffic noise from existing roads managed?

Are there any National Environmental Standards or National Policy Statements relating to the management exposure to road traffic noise?

How does NZS 6806:2010 compare with the [Transit] NZ Guidelines for the Management of Road Traffic Noise (Transit Noise Guidelines)?

Will the Standard replace the [Transit] Noise Guidelines?

How does this Standard relate to the content of District Plans?

What approaches are used overseas to address noise from new and altered roads?

Will NZS 6806:2010 help to control ‘peak’ noise events from individual vehicles?

Will this Standard be able to be used to control noise from road construction and maintenance activities?

What metric is used to describe and assess road traffic noise in the Standard?

What does the Standard consider to be a ‘new’ road?

What does the Standard consider to be an ‘altered’ road?

What does the Standard consider to be an ‘existing’ road?

What kind of buildings and land use does the Standard seek to protect from road traffic noise?

What is a New Zealand Standard?

What is the status of a New Zealand Standard?

Related Standards

Order these Standards from (enter the number into the search panel), or email, or call 0800 782 632 during business hours.

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Media enquiries

Standards New Zealand media contact

For enquiries on technical issues about the Standard or the Standards development process contact Jayne McCullum, (04) 498 3989,