Factors affecting charge transport through ZnO nanowire mat films were studied by aligning ZnO nanowires on substrates and coupling experimental measurements with 2D nanowire network simulations. Gallium doped ZnO nanowires were aligned on thermally oxidized silicon wafer by shearing a nanowire dispersion in ethanol. Sheet resistances of nanowire thin films that had current flowing parallel to nanowire alignment direction were compared to thin films that had current flowing perpendicular to nanowire alignment direction. Perpendicular devices showed ∼5 fold greater sheet resistance than parallel devices supporting the hypothesis that aligning nanowires would increase conductivity of ZnO nanowire electrodes. 2-D nanowire network simulations of thin films showed that the device sheet resistance was dominated by inter-wire contact resistance. For a given resistivity of ZnO nanowires, the thin film electrodes would have the lowest possible sheet resistance if the inter-wire contact resistance was one order of magnitude lower than the single nanowire resistance. Simulations suggest that the conductivity of such thin film devices could be further enhanced by using longer nanowires. Solution processed Gallium doped ZnO nanowires are aligned on substrates using an innovative shear coating technique. Nanowire alignment has shown improvement in ZnO nanowire transparent electrode conductivity. 2D network simulations in conjunction with electrical measurements have revealed different regimes of operation of nanowire thin films and provided a guideline for improving electrical performance of nanowire electrodes. Copyright © 2011 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim.