The Regulation 2025 project explored both the potential impact of technology on the transport systems, and the degree to which we as a society might be willing to adopt new technology. The project’s key question was whether we could simply adapt the current regulation to meet future needs, or if we would require a new regulatory system to respond to the future transport system. The project looked at ‘regulation’ in its broadest sense, including legislation, rules, education and social norms, and is examining all transport modes (road, rail, aviation, maritime and active transport).

The goal of this work was not to come to a definitive policy position.  Rather, we were exploring the potential opportunities and challenges ahead.  The scenarios canvass these issues. 

On 25 August 2016, the Ministry released a summary of the project’s findings, and the scenarios developed as part of the project.

Key conclusions

The overall conclusion of the project is that the current regulatory framework could be adjusted to deal with the emerging transport technologies.  The existing regulation allows for development to cover new risks and approaches to movement.  Just as we have recently changed the law to accommodate remotely piloted aircraft systems, we could take the same approach for emerging smart and autonomous vehicles, and for the advent of the intelligent transport system. 

While the system can be adjusted we will see the emergence of new risks - and also new tools to manage those risks.  The risks and tools would be relevant across all modes.  A cleaner approach would be to put in place a bespoke set of regulations which would deal with these common intermodal risks, perhaps with the creation of a new regulator for intelligent transport systems across the road, rail, air and sea transport modes.  Taking this approach would avoid the risk that cross system issues slip between the responsibilities of the regulators of different modes.

The new regulatory system would be needed in addition to the existing regulation.  The current regulation would continue to cover the physical aspects of transport while the new regime would cover the regulation of the “intelligent” aspects of the new transport system.

Key principles which would need to underpin the design of the new regulatory system would be to:

  • enable new transport technologies
  • allow for the management of risk from new technologies
  • allow for monitoring and rapid removal of technologies which fail or create unacceptable risks
  • facilitate the development of an integrated transport system
  • provide for the protection and security of personal data and system integrity.

Publications and research

This work reflects our thinking in response to the potential futures ahead, and the documents are designed as think pieces, to stimulate debate as we consider how to position our transport regulation for 2025 and beyond.


Foundation papers

In late 2015, the Ministry released a series of the project's foundation papers, which examine different approaches to regulation and the potential influence of new technologies. These foundation papers were commissioned to generate new thinking and help stimulate debate in the early stages of the project.

The foundation papers are:

Survey at the International Transport Forum Summit 2017

In May and June 2017 the Ministry of Transport surveyed participants at the International Transport Summit in Leipzig, Germany, on the future of transport technologies and society. We were keen to understand how transport experts in jurisdictions beyond New Zealand view the integration of digital technologies for transport in the future, and their society’s responses to these technologies.

Note: The scenarios from the 2025 project were adapted for the survey, to make them more relevant for the intended audience. The survey used the year 2035 (rather than 2025) because people working in the transport field have divergent views on how quickly the transport system could be disrupted and transformed by emerging technologies. The Ministry’s Regulation 2025 project considered challenges and opportunities that regulators could be facing in 2025 to shape regulations for the decade ahead (i.e. to 2035).

These papers are presented not as policy, but with a view to inform and stimulate wider debate.


All reasonable endeavours are made to ensure the accuracy of the information in these reports. However, the information is provided without warranties of any kind including accuracy, completeness, timeliness or fitness for any particular purpose.

The Ministry of Transport excludes liability for any loss, damage or expense, direct or indirect, and however caused, whether through negligence or otherwise, resulting from any person or organisation's use of, or reliance on, the information provided in these reports.

Under the terms of the New Zealand Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 (BY) licence, this document, and the information contained within it, can be copied, distributed, adapted and otherwise used provided that –

  • the Ministry of Transport is attributed as the source of the material
  • the material is not misrepresented or distorted through selective use of the material
  • images contained in the material are not copied.

The terms of the Ministry’s Copyright and disclaimer apply.