Exploring the potential for shared transport services in non-metropolitan cities of New Zealand

Document Type

Conference Paper

Publication Date


Subject Area

mode - subway/metro


The goal of increasing economic growth and productivity has been made a priority for the government's investment in land transport as indicated in the May 2009 Government Policy Statement (GPS) on Land Transport Funding. The GPS seeks to reflect existing modal choices “realistically available to New Zealanders”. Essentially this means investment in roads for private vehicles. Previous targets for reductions in single occupant vehicle (SOV) trips have been replaced by a series of "impacts‟ that the government wishes to achieve via the new guidance and funding framework. Investment in public transport for the population outside of the metropolitan areas of Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch will be somewhat more constrained. However, research shows that many groups in the population in non-metropolitan areas do not have the choice of private vehicles and alternatives in the form of shared or public transport will be vital for economic and social well-being. Moreover, a reduction in SOV trips will remain important to achieving New Zealand's international obligations in relation climate change commitments.

This paper presents data from research on shared (or flexible) transport in New Zealand's non-metropolitan areas. The aim of the research is to complement existing research in the international arena about shared transport and to consider the potential for increasing transport choices for residents in non-metropolitan New Zealand through shared transport services. Demand responsive transport has been widely used in Australia and the UK, in particular, to provide transport choices and achieve a modal shift including in areas of low population density. First, options for transport in non-metropolitan areas are reviewed. Second, Census data is presented on shifts in population in three non-metropolitan regions in New Zealand (Taranaki, Hawkes Bay and Manawatu-Wanganui), highlighting some implications for transport planning. Findings from interviews and a survey of residents in these regions about their travel and views about FTS are also discussed. The paper concludes with some reflections on the potential for FTS to increase transport choices for people throughout non-metropolitan New Zealand and how land use and transport planning may include FTS in the sustainable land transport mix.