Submission by LSH on Sustainable Transport 2008

Sustainable Transport – Update of the New Zealand Transport Strategy

Discussion paper


Please fill in your details so that we can acknowledge receipt of your submission. Details provided will only be used for consultation on Sustainable Transport – Update of the New Zealand Transport Strategy.

Your name:  Judith Clare McDonald

Are you submitting on behalf of an organisation? Yes

Name of organisation: Living Streets Hamilton (a branch of Living Streets Aotearoa)

What is your position within the organisation you are representing? Coordinator

Postal address: 29 Claude St, Hamilton


Phone: 07 8552019

Work phone: 07 8552019

Mobile: 0274 239191

Please indicate how you wish to be contacted: E-mail or phone


Please write below or attach your comments on Sustainable Transport – Update of the New Zealand Transport Strategy. Copies of this document are available to view at your city/district or regional council, the principal library in your region or the Ministry of Transport’s website



a) In addition to the NZTS objectives and the targets, do you agree with the guiding concepts outlined in the discussion paper on page 21.  Basically, yes

1. Assisting economic development

a) Are our high-level targets appropriate – are there other approaches we could take?

The focus on speed of travel seems inappropriate. Avoiding congestion is less significant than avoiding injury and accident, which cost a fortune. There is also little mention of the potential changes in fuel availability and cost, which may have a massive impact on lifestyle over the next thirty years. By 2040 “congestion” may be a laughing matter because only a few percent of the population may be able to afford to run a private vehicle.

B )Are additional targets needed?

Safety targets, to reduce accident costs. The losses to the country from an annual 200 deaths along with 4000 hospitalisations and subsequent rehabilitations are huge.

C ) Are our targets achievable given the necessary investment and behaviour change needed to reach them?

Probably not, given the national petrol-head mentality which is unlikely to change unless driven by external factors like fuel costs. People have to have very good reasons to change a comfortable lifestyle.

d) How can we best achieve the substantial increases in mode share suggested for domestic sea freight and rail freight?

Make road travel a lot more expensive! Raise the road-user and fuel costs to a point at which the alternatives (road and rail) are worth looking at. The money raised in the interim can be used to help redevelop our sadly neglected rail and shipping facilities.

2. Assisting safety and personal security

a) Is our high-level target appropriate – are there other approaches we could take?

If best practice means 200 deaths and 4000 injuries a year, it isn’t very good. Surely we can put more attention and money into providing the infrastructures which keep people out of harm’s way: separate cycle and walkways which do not intersect with vehicular traffic; traffic calming facilities to reduce speeds in dangerous areas; improved traffic control systems; improved traffic monitoring so the red light runners and urban speeders don’t just keep getting away with it.

b) Are additional targets needed, for example, around security or perceptions of safety?

Aim at the education of local bodies so that they can see the point in looking at traffic solutions other than merely building bigger and wider roads which cut their communities into pieces.

c) Are our targets achievable given the necessary investment and behaviour change needed to reach them?

They seem to be set too low. With some imagination and diversion of funding in the appropriate directions, we ought to be able to do better than this.

d) Should we, for example, develop initiatives to ensure turnover in our vehicle fleet is higher, to allow faster adoption of new safety technology?

This also seems like pouring a lot of funds into the wrong bucket. Generally, it’s not the vehicle that is unsafe; it’s the proverbial nut behind the wheel, combined with urban design that allows the vulnerable into the path of the inattentive. The money would be better spent on improved infrastructure and mandatory driver training to a much higher level than we presently have.

3. Improving access and mobility

a) Are our high-level targets appropriate – are there other approaches we could take?

It seems unreasonable to attempt to make all travel times by all modes predictable. Public transport and freight deliveries do need to be reliable. Walking and cycling are highly predictable anyway, providing the roads are not clogged with cars. With better public transport, the timing problems may evaporate anyway.

b) Are additional targets needed, for example, one around urban design?

Yes. Redesign cities to minimise transport needs, so that there are local nodes providing essential services: ie the village shops. There are still good examples of these ancient phenomena. I live near one in Hamilton, where we have a small block of shops comprising a perfectly adequate supermarket, a fruit and vege shop, a dairy, a pharmacy, a small medical centre, a lunch bar, a fish and meat store just opening, and a café, all within a ten minute walk from home. We used to have a bank and a post office as well, before the government thought better of such things.

c) Are our targets achievable given the necessary investment and behaviour change needed to reach them?

If public transport can be made regular and reliable, and if cities can be retrofitted to provide more blocks of basic service shops, we should be able to exceed them.

d) Are we satisfied with 2007 travel times as the baseline to aim for in the future?

Timing may not really be an issue, except for public transport (see 1(a))

e) How will our aim of reducing travel time on all modes (including road) affect our aim of increasing public transport?

It might be counterproductive. If you build lots of roads, you get lots of cars on them, increasing the possibilities for congestion. If you aim primarily at public transport, with the aim of reducing the need for private cars, more might be achieved.

f) Are our intermediate public transport targets appropriate and achievable?

Should be – other countries have already achieved them!

g) Should we develop a target for public transport in rural areas?

Yes! At present most rural residents are forced to use private cars because of woefully inadequate public transport. In many cases there are two runs a day – one in the morning and one in the evening, which allows no flexibility at all, and has the nasty prospect of people being caught miles from home because they missed the only bus.

4. Protecting and promoting public health

a) Are our high-level targets appropriate – are there other approaches we could take?

Prhaps a useful approach would be to combine reductions in emissions with an overall reduction in numbers of private vehicles.

b) Are additional targets needed?

Reducing stress caused by vehicle noise might be more important to many than emissions reductions. Perhaps people living in unavoidably busy areas could be offered assistance with noise reduction such as double-glazing,

c) Are our targets achievable given the necessary investment and behaviour change needed to reach them?

They seem reasonable.

d) Is our intermediate walking and cycling target appropriate and achievable?

It could probably be raised above the 30% suggested in urban areas if city design was developed to provide local services within walking distance of most people.

e) How can we best achieve the substantial increase in mode share suggested for walking and cycling?

By providing improved safety and better environments: off-road paths; safe road crossings; lower vehicle speeds in urban areas (some areas of the UK are recommending speeds of 30kph in residential streets); better traffic calming systems to control speeding. Provide basic facilities within walking/cycling distance. No matter how nice the environment, people cannot be expected to walk or cycle to the shops if it’s an hour’s journey each way!

f) Should we develop initiatives to ensure turnover of our vehicle fleet is higher, to allow improved exhaust emission technology, for example, to be adopted more quickly?

This is very wasteful of resources. Maybe retrofit where possible to improve emissions, and mostly provide viable alternatives to using so many vehicles.

5. Ensuring environmental sustainability

a) Are our intermediate or detailed targets appropriate – are there other approaches we could take?

They may not be appropriate. There does not seem to be allowance made for the likely exponential increase in fuel prices over the next few years. This will not be corrected for by biofuels, which are already being recognised as disastrous in many respects, both in terms of human impact by removal of food crops, and environmental impact in terms of the amount of energy required to produce them.

b) Are additional targets needed, for example, one around engine size?

Tax large capacity engines in domestic vehicles heavily. Provide incentives to owners of large vehicles (buses, trucks etc) for improving energy efficiency.

c) Are our targets achievable given the necessary investment and behaviour change needed to reach them?

Could be very difficult to do unless financial forces become very significant – eg fuel at $10 per litre or more.

d) How can the reduction in single occupancy vehicle travel best be achieved?

Provide better, more regular, more reliable public transport. Provide local facilities that reduce the need for travel other than on foot or by cycle.

e) Should we develop initiatives to ensure turnover of our vehicle fleet is higher, to allow faster adoption of electric vehicles, for example?

This just creates waste vehicles. Better to aim for reducing the need for them, and improving efficiency where possible in those that are needed.

6. Making Progress towards all the NZTS objectives

a) What pathways allow New Zealand’s sustainability to be reached while also making good progress against all the NZTS objectives

Put maximum effort into urban design that allows safe and convenient walking and cycling. Focus on large-scale transport being done wherever possible by rail and ship

b) Do you agree with the measures and targets suggested in this paper?


c) Are there other measures and targets you believe should be considered?


d) If so, what are they, and how would they help achieve the objectives of the NZTS?

Shift the focus to heavily subsidised public transport and make this the major investment rather than the incessant construction of new roads. These are very expensive, and are themselves very costly in terms of oil reserves to build.

7. Transport choices

a) Is this an accurate summary of the transport choices facing New Zealand in the foreseeable future?

Partly, though there is still too heavy an emphasis on private vehicle use. There is a need to forcibly shift the emphasis to public transport, active transport modes, and freight transport by rail or ship. This will not happen easily, because we are all far too comfortable with our current car-based independence.

b) Do you agree that transport problems cannot always be solved with transport solutions? If so what ideas do you have for new ways of working to solve transport issues?

Yes, there are other things to be considered. We need an urban design focus to produce sustainable communities within larger cities. There also needs to be more emphasis on the possibilities of working from home, at least partially, and the better use of telecommunications to minimise conference-going and other activities that consume large quantities of fuel.

c) In particular, how do you see transport planning and land use working together?

As in (b) above, we need to focus on more self-contained villages, possibly incorporating higher-density housing in urban environments. This minimises the need for major roads to accommodate commuters doing short trips.

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About Us

Living Streets Aotearoa is the New Zealand organisation for people on foot, promoting walking-friendly communities. We are a nationwide organisation with local branches and affiliates throughout New Zealand.

We want more people walking and enjoying public spaces be they young or old, fast or slow, whether walking, sitting, commuting, shopping, between appointments, or out on the streets for exercise, for leisure or for pleasure.

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