The Government Policy Statement on land transport calls for a land transport system that provides increased access to economic and social opportunities and enables transport choice and access.
Not everyone in New Zealand has easy access to affordable and multimodal transport choices and to services such as driver licensing. This leads to over-reliance on private vehicles, avoidable safety issues, reduced social cohesion and rising costs in our cities and regions. People living in poverty or who are otherwise disadvantaged feel these impacts most powerfully.
Too often, transport investment is sought to deliver transport-specific benefits ahead of contributing to a shared and long-term vision of accessible, attractive and efficient communities that people want to call home. Increasingly, unaffordable housing and transport costs, social and economic dislocation, and unsustainable land use patterns are the price New Zealand communities pay for inconsistent and fragmented planning.
For the first time, we are reporting on transport access to destinations such as jobs, schools, health care and essential shopping. Driving is the main way people connect to important social and economic opportunities. Fewer people have easy access to key destinations using public transport, walking or cycling.
This measure shows the proportion of New Zealanders that can reach important destinations in a reasonable time.
This measure shows the proportion of jobs across New Zealand that can be reached in a reasonable time.
The mode share results from the Household Travel Survey provide a valuable view on people’s transport choices. Most trips are undertaken by car or van, with pedestrian trips being the next most common.
Over time, we expect to see a larger proportion of trips by public transport and active modes such as walking and cycling as mode shift and travel demand management embed.
* ‘Other travel mode’ includes aircraft, boats (excluding ferry trips), mobility scooters and other modes like horse riding. Skateboarders and children in pushchairs are included with pedestrians.
A critical part of our work to improve accessibility is to encourage people to make greater use of public transport and to walk and cycle more by making those modes of transport more attractive and affordable than using a private car. In high-growth urban areas, only 19 percent of trips are on public transport or walking and cycling.
This year, we prepared a national plan to accelerate mode shift directly or in partnership with others, and we worked with our Auckland Transport Alignment Project partners to develop a mode shift plan for Auckland. Development of regional plans for Hamilton, Tauranga, Wellington, Christchurch and Queenstown is under way in alignment with regional spatial planning.
We also re-set existing and developed new partnerships with local government and wider central government in key high-growth areas to establish planning processes that will support multimodal transport choices: the Hamilton–Auckland Corridor Partnership, the Urban Form and Transport Initiative for the Western Bay of Plenty, and the Queenstown Spatial Plan. These partnerships align the area’s strategic direction for growth to also support multimodal transport choices.
Over time, investment through the National Land Transport Fund can increase the use of public transport, walking and cycling. A total of 104.8 network kilometres of walking and cycling facilities were delivered this year.
A snapshot of the number of cycling trips through a specific area in three central business districts (a cordon count) saw trips continue to increase with 6238 this year, up from 5605 last year. Wellington recorded a 4 percent increase (to 2360 trips), Christchurch a 34 percent increase (to 1869 trips) and Auckland a 3 percent increase (to 2009 trips).
Use of urban public transport grew strongly this year with a national average of 6 percent growth in the number of passenger boardings across bus, rail and ferry services. The number of passengers reached 168 million, an increase of 10 million on last year. We funded 15.7 million trips through the SuperGold cardholders’ scheme, an increase of nearly 12 percent from last year.
We are working with our partners and co-investors to better understand the barriers to access for people experiencing transport disadvantage.
To build a shared understanding and shared investment approaches with central and local government partners, we worked with the Ministry of Transport to investigate the development of a Green Card that would subsidise the cost of public transport for low-income earners and their dependants. We also worked with the Office for Disability Issues to include in the Disabled Action Plan 2019–2022 actions we can contribute to that will improve accessibility for disabled people.
We have started reviewing quality standards for urban buses. This review will benefit the most vulnerable users of urban buses because vehicles will be expected to better cater for their needs. Regional councils and Auckland Transport must use these standards in their urban bus contracts if they want to receive Transport Agency investment in these services.
To develop a shared understanding with the regions of the most important transport accessibility needs for freight and tourism, we produced a map showing priority journeys with their associated access problems and potential responses.
We prepared regional summaries for each Provincial Growth Fund surge region (Te Tai Tokerau/ Northland, Bay of Plenty, Tairāwhiti/East Coast, Hawke’s Bay, Manawatū–Whanganui and West Coast) that describe existing levels of access to essential services; that is, to services critical for supporting the liveability of communities. These summaries provide a consistent, system-level assessment of access across the regions to identify those areas facing the most significant access barriers.
We are working to further integrate ‘placemaking’ in transport solutions by developing places and spaces alongside transport facilities. This year, through a community of practice and draft guidance for Innovating Streets for People, we supported our council partners to use interim treatments to quickly make streets safer and more liveable; for example, by reducing vehicle speeds and creating more space for people. Next year, the treatments will be assessed and the findings will inform changes to the draft guidance.
We changed the Traffic Control Devices Rule to permit placemaking interventions on low-risk streets, and we are leading an AustRoads research project to investigate the best approach to classify, value and measure the ‘place’ function of roads and streets. The results will help us and our partners to better account for placemaking through our classification framework for New Zealand roads and better understand where investment is needed.