Open Access Te Herenga Waka-Victoria University of Wellington
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Accessibility in Aotearoa: A Mixed-Methods Study of Low-Emissions Transport Demand in the Greater Wellington Region

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posted on 2021-12-09, 06:05 authored by Petredean, Han Ling

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.


Copyright Date


Date of Award



Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Rights License

Author Retains Copyright

Degree Discipline

Environmental Studies

Degree Grantor

Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Degree Level


Degree Name

Master of Environmental Studies

ANZSRC Type Of Activity code


Victoria University of Wellington Item Type

Awarded Research Masters Thesis



Victoria University of Wellington School

School of Geography, Environment and Earth Sciences


Chapman, Ralph