Accessibility in Aotearoa: A Mixed-Methods Study of Low-Emissions Transport Demand in the Greater Wellington Region
Like many nations, Aotearoa New Zealand’s land-use and transport development has prioritised planning for mobility, movement, over accessibility, access. This has contributed to an auto-centric transportation system and a high national road emissions profile. In light of the imminent threat of catastrophic climate change, a low-emissions transport sector transition is needed. Understanding how and why people travel is a critical prerequisite for achieving this shift. Planners and policymakers increasingly recognise that transport demand is fundamentally influenced by the desire for access over movement. An accessibility-based framework aligns with this interpretation and supports analysing personal and contextual drivers of transport demand. Policymakers tasked with promoting a low-emissions transport sector transition are seeking to identify existing low-emissions transport uptake constraints and potential avenues for their improvement. Using a mixed-methods approach, this thesis addresses an existing gap in the literature by analysing low-emissions transport demand in the Greater Wellington Region (GWR), informed by an accessibility-based framework. Survey responses supplied quantitative data on user-based needs, abilities, and attitudes towards GWR low-emissions transport options. Practicality – the degree to which a transport option facilitates access in reasonable time, at reasonable cost, and with reasonable ease – was found to be the strongest predictor of ability to use low-emissions transport. Qualitative data was also collated from stakeholders knowledgeable of transport policy and planning at the local, regional, and central government level. This provided insight into GWR low-emissions transport supply and oversight, as well as the impact of land-use policies, transport policy and funding structures, and governance agendas and capabilities. These findings support augmenting low-emissions transport with an accessibility orientation, but also reveal the challenges of doing so within current governance structures.