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The MRCagney Blog

Transport 2035: Insights from a transport planner

Wed, November 9, 2022  |  Climate Change and Emissions Reduction  

This article from Rachel Lees-Green, a Sustainable Transport Consultant at MRCagney, was originally published on Linkedin.

Transport 2035 was developed by MRCagney and Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency. It’s a tool to help people understand the range of options we have for slashing transport emissions in Aotearoa New Zealand.

Three things came to mind when I had a go with the tool:

  • We’ll need to pull different levers to reduce transport emissions in different regions of the motu
  • Understanding the local context in each region is critical
  • We all need to pull together

I live in Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland. Much of my work is focused on the transport system in my home city. In our urban context, making it easier for people to walk, bike or bus for everyday trips will play a huge role in reducing transport emissions.

Using Transport 2035 made me think about how the transition to a low-carbon transport system will look different in different regions of Aotearoa.

In regions that are largely rural, the smaller populations and greater distances involved mean many trips may continue to rely on private motor vehicles. In the next decade, the greatest opportunities appear to lie in transitioning to less polluting vehicles, including smaller, more fuel-efficient vehicles as well as electric vehicles. Finding ways to help people share trips or to travel less often could also play an important role.

More importantly, as a transport planner based in Tāmaki Makaurau, I can't make recommendations about what can or should change in other regions if I don’t understand the local context. Measures to reduce transport emissions should be informed by local views on what is needed, what is realistic, and what aspirations they have.

Transport 2035 could help with these discussions by providing information about travel patterns in each region of Aotearoa. For example, projected walking mode share in 2035 varies from around ten percent in Te Tai o Poutini West Coast and Murihiku Southland to 24 percent in Tūranga-nui-a-Kiwa Gisborne (surpassed only by Te Whanganui-a-Tara Wellington with a walking mode share of 28 percent). Unpicking the reasons behind regional differences could lead to insights into where opportunities lie and what lessons can be applied from other regions.

But the tool doesn’t just show how regions differ. It also reveals how the measures taken to reduce emissions in each region add up towards the national emissions reduction target for Aotearoa. As I worked through the options in each region, seeing the impact on national emissions highlighted how we all need to work together to achieve the task at hand.

What do you think of Transport 2035? What are the greatest opportunities to reduce emissions in your region?