Roads needed, no matter the fuel: NZTA head

New Zealand's roading network will continue to play an essential part in transportation, no matter what lies in store for the world's oil supply, the head of the New Zealand Transport Agency says.

NZTA chief executive Geoff Dangerfield was in Dunedin this week, with members of the agency's board and management team, meeting stakeholders including local government representatives, transport users, cartage and trucking firms, public transport and walking and cycling interests, as well as Port Otago representatives.

Mr Dangerfield was ''touching base'' as the financial year ended, and the NZTA began to consider its next three-year land transport programme.

Asked about its longer-term vision for the country's network, he said the agency was ''building systems that are going to last 50 to 100 years''.

The organisation was concerned about what transport systems would look like at that time, when issues such as peak oil become more apparent.

But New Zealand would need transport systems ''regardless of what particular type of engines you've got in vehicles'', Mr Dangerfield said.

''In a 50-year time frame, we may well see the uptake of a whole lot of different sorts of technologies that drive vehicles.

''We've seen an uptake in different parts of the world, and slowly an uptake in New Zealand, of electric technologies,'' he said.

''But you need infrastructure, whether a car runs on electricity or petrol,'' Mr Dangerfield observed.

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