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Roads & Traffic Authority

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Roads & Traffic Authority
RTA logo from 1989 until 2009
Statutory authority overview
Formed16 January 1989
Preceding agencies
Dissolved31 October 2011
Superseding agency
JurisdictionNew South Wales
Employees7.523 (June 2011)
Annual budgetA$4.8 billion (2011)
Statutory authority executive
  • Michael Bushby, CEO
Key document
Logo used by RTA between 2009 and 2011, which includes the NSW government's Waratah emblem

The Roads & Traffic Authority (RTA) was an agency of the Government of New South Wales responsible for major road infrastructure, licensing of drivers, and registration of motor vehicles. The RTA directly managed state roads and provided funding to local councils for regional and local roads. In addition, with assistance from the federal government, the RTA also managed the NSW national highway system. The agency was abolished in 2011 and replaced by Roads & Maritime Services.


The Department of Main Roads (DMR) was established in November 1932, and undertook works across New South Wales, including maintenance of all major roads into Sydney and programs of road reconstruction, construction, upgrading and rerouting. The DMR was also responsible for many ferries and bridges in New South Wales.[1]

On 16 January 1989, the Department of Main Roads, Department of Motor Transport, and the Traffic Authority were amalgamated to form the Roads & Traffic Authority under the Transport Administration Act, No. 109, 1988 (NSW).

On 1 November 2011, the Roads & Traffic Authority merged with NSW Maritime to become Roads & Maritime Services (RMS).[2] Planning and co-ordination functions were transferred to Transport for NSW. On 1 December 2019 the RMS was dissolved by act of parliament and merged with Transport for NSW.

Regions of the RTA[edit]

RTA South West Region offices in Wagga Wagga

The Roads & Traffic Authority was divided into six regions:


The Roads & Traffic Authority had managed 4,787 bridges and 17,623 km (10,950 mi) of state roads and highways, including 3,105 km (1,929 mi) of national highways, and employed 6,900 staff in more than 180 offices throughout NSW, including 129 Motor Registries Offices.

Vehicle registration[edit]

RTA Motor Registry Office in Wagga Wagga

The RTA was responsible for the registration of vehicles (including the issuing of registration plates) and the issuing of drivers licences in New South Wales, including testing and administering of licences. Additionally, the RTA produced photo cards for identification of non-drivers and issued photographic firearms licences for the New South Wales Police Firearms Registry, security licences for the New South Wales Police, Commercial Agents & Private Inquiry Agents cards and mobility parking permits.

Major incident response[edit]

Within NSW, the Transport Management Centre was responsible for managing special events and unplanned incidents and disseminating information to motorists. It is the central point for identifying and directing the response to incidents such as crashes, breakdowns and spills. It passes on information to the public through the media, the RTA call centre and variable message signs along routes.[3]

In 1999 the NSW Transport Management Centre (TMC) established Traffic Commander and Traffic Emergency Patrol (TEP) services throughout the Greater Urban Area of Sydney to provide 24-hour 365-day-a-year coverage to "Manage the traffic arrangements around an incident scene and return the road to normal operating conditions with the utmost urgency."[4]

Traffic commanders took command of traffic management arrangements at an incident (such as a motor vehicle collision) and liaise with other response agencies such as the police, and assist in clearing the road and minimising the effects and disruption to traffic.[5] Traffic Emergency Patrols vans patrolled major road routes and respond to unplanned incidents with the aim of returning the road to normal operating conditions as soon as possible.[4] Both traffic commanders and TEP units carry a wide array of traffic management devices such as traffic cones, barrier boards and road signage.[6] Both also are permitted to use and display red and blue emergency lighting and are designated as 'emergency vehicles'.[7]

Completed projects[edit]

Ferry services[edit]

Wisemans Ferry

The RTA was responsible for the provision of several car ferries, all of which were toll-free, including:[9][10]


  1. ^ "Dudley Parker Paintings, Parkes". Heritage and conservation register. Roads & Traffic Authority. 30 March 2004. Archived from the original on 25 August 2006. Retrieved 9 September 2008.
  2. ^ "New Roads and Maritime Services Chief Executive" (PDF). Minister for Roads and Ports, Duncan Gay. New South Wales Department of Transport. 14 October 2011. Retrieved 17 October 2011.[permanent dead link]
  3. ^ "Annual Report 2002" (PDF). Roads & Traffic Authority.
  4. ^ a b "Re: Dedicated Major Incident Response Team". National Transportation Operations Coalition. 10 September 2001. Archived from the original on 2 September 2005. Retrieved 21 January 2008.
  5. ^ Up for the challenge|Sydney traffic commander Shane Bentley| RTA Archived 9 September 2011 at the Wayback Machine. News.drive.com.au (2010-05-07). Retrieved on 2013-09-07.
  6. ^ Traffic incident response < F3 Freeway < Using roads < Roads and Maritime Services. Rta.nsw.gov.au (3 Novwember 2011). Retrieved on 7 September 2013.
  7. ^ Vehicle standards information 24 November 2010 RTA
  8. ^ "Great Western Highway". Archived from the original on 2 July 2015. Retrieved 3 August 2015.
  9. ^ "Vehicle ferries". Roads & Traffic Authority. Archived from the original on 6 June 2011. Retrieved 18 November 2008.
  10. ^ "Contract Notice RTA.07.2547.0089". Roads & Traffic Authority. Archived from the original on 31 March 2011. Retrieved 27 December 2008.


  1. Great Western Highway
  2. Sydney to Melbourne strategy
  3. Hume Highway duplication package
  4. Coolac Bypass
  5. Pacific Highway
  6. Princes Highway strategy.
  7. More completed projects from the RTA

External links[edit]

Media related to Roads and Traffic Authority at Wikimedia Commons