Auditing public transport accessibility in New Zealand

Document Type


Publication Date


Subject Area

mode - bus, mode - rail, place - australasia, planning - signage/information, policy - fares


accessibility, audit, best practice, bus, guide, New Zealand, public transport, rail, regional council, report card, train, whole of journey


This research project, conducted in 2007 2009, reviewed international best practice for auditing public transport (PT) accessibility, and developed and piloted a New Zealand-specific PT accessibility audit methodology. The accessibility audit and report card takes a 'whole-of-journey' approach to accessibility, thus including: service coverage, accessing information about the services; getting to the service; paying for the service; getting on board; enjoying the ride; getting to the final destination (where people want to go, when they want to get there); and making the return trip. Affordability of the service has been excluded from the current audit and report card. The audit uses a simple yes/no checklist to assess accessibility factors and summarises these in a report card which tallies the number of 'Barriers to access' rated as 'severe' (3), 'moderate' (2) and 'slight' (1) on the route/corridor for each of six PT user categories. The audit and report card were piloted on three routes in Greater Wellington. The audit and report card are supplemented with a best practice guide to the factors that contribute to making a PT journey accessible to any or all categories of PT user. Possible future improvements include developing a web-based assessment tool; including ferry, total mobility and long distance services; and exploring other rating scales and options.