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Transport and roads

Buses from Bluff

Although the town of Bluff occupies a solitary position at the southernmost point of the South Island, it is still part of Invercargill City. Bluff residents rely on the transport services provided by Invercargill, and they often take the 25-minute drive to the city centre.

Knowing that many residents travel long distances by private car, the council regularly reviews public transportation coverage for the city and wider communities. Results from the 2006 Census showed that 14.6 percent of Bluff households did not have access to a car. This compared with 9.5 percent for Invercargill City and 8.1 percent of households nationally.

In response to the 2006 Census figures, the Bluff Community Board approached the council for assistance in giving Bluff locals a cheap and environment-friendly option for making the trip to Invercargill and back. The council is now exploring options, including the possibility of adults using the existing school bus service or the introduction of a new public bus service.


Commuting from the countryside

The Pohangina Valley, north of Palmerston North in the Manawatu, is an area of great natural beauty and biodiversity. The valley is handy to Palmerston North: it is surrounded by farm and wetlands, with a population of just over 1,000.

While the total population of Pohangina has remained relatively steady over the last 20 years, changes in employment patterns have contributed to an increase in the number of workers who make the daily commute out of the valley. At the time of the 1996 Census, 207 people or 42 percent of employed Pohangina residents, worked outside the valley. In 2006, the number had increased to 291 people (or 54 percent). This increase means more people use the access roads, which lead to wear and tear, and higher maintenance costs.

The Pohangina community used trends from the census to support the council's application for road improvement. As a result, the main road leading into Pohangina Valley was upgraded in early 2007. Locals and visitors now benefit from smoother and safer access to and from the valley.


Franklin encourages cycling to work and play

Franklin shares many of the same traffic congestion issues as their neighbours in Auckland. One way the Franklin District Council is trying to improve the situation is by encouraging locals to use foot or pedal power for short journeys.

Information from the 2006 Census showed that 51 percent of Franklin district workers drove a private motor vehicle to work on census day, compared with only 0.4 percent who travelled by bicycle. This is less than one-quarter of the national average. The council saw plenty of scope for increasing the number of residents that could cycle to work or on other short journeys.

In early 2008, the council hired a road safety travel planner to visit schools in the area. The hope is to encourage children and their parents to walk to school, ride a bike, or take the bus. By 2009, the district will have a new network of bicycle lanes and footpaths placed along popular routes. The community will benefit from reduced traffic congestion as well as improved health and well-being.


Predicting road use in Pukekohe

Auckland City’s traffic problems are well known. At peak times, its road networks can easily become overwhelmed by the volume of traffic.

The Franklin District Council is planning ahead by updating the Pukekohe transportation model. The model is used to predict where improvements to road networks can be made.

Through 2006 Census information, the council found that 23 percent of Franklin households have access to three or more cars, compared with a national average of 16 percent. Looking at these figures and at population projections, the council saw that the future capacity of the district’s roads would need to be increased.

Information from the census identified the need for intersection improvements, including new traffic signals along Manukau Road. Projections also showed the need for an eastern arterial road, which has been included in the council's long-term community plan for 2009 and beyond.

By updating the Pukekohe transportation model, anyone using the roads within Pukekohe will benefit from a well-planned network in the future, with potentially freer-flowing traffic, reduced congestion and travel times. All this means increased safety for travellers in the area.


Travel in the Wellington region

Wellington occupies a small area of flat land, with most of the suburbs on hillsides or tucked into valleys leading into the city. This creates a funnelling effect, and many of the main road networks can become clogged, especially at rush hour.

The Greater Wellington Regional Council is responsible for developing transport strategies that assist economic and regional development; protect public health, safety and personal security; improve access and mobility; and ensure environmental sustainability. One focus is on ways to encourage walking, cycling, and passenger transport use.

The council has been reviewing 2006 Census information about the Wellington region, including household access to cars, where people live and where they work, and how they travel to work. Eleven percent of households have access to three or more cars, which is less than the national average. However, trends suggest that this proportion is rising.

The council has been using this information to update its regional transport model, which is currently being used on the Ngauranga to Airport Corridor study.

With good quality information and tools informing strategy development, residents and visitors to the Wellington region can enjoy a cleaner, greener, safer, and more efficient transport network in the future.


Walking and cycling in Southland

Because Invercargill is spread out over a large flat area, Environment Southland saw the opportunity to encourage locals to walk and cycle. To do this, the available network of walkways and cycling routes had to be extended and improved. Concerns for the safety and convenience of pedestrians and cyclists were also considered.

Information from the 2006 Census is being used by the Southland District Council to support applications for funding from Land Transport New Zealand and the Department of Conservation. Figures from the census show that 17 percent of Southland region's households have access to three or more vehicles, which is above the national average. The proportion for households with access to two vehicles is also above average. The greater the access to motor vehicles, the greater the potential of conflict between vehicles and cyclists and pedestrians, particularly along main routes such as State Highway Six.

Working with the local council, Environment Southland has already constructed 2.8km of walkways along the Waihopai River in Invercargill and will be extending these in the future. These walkways are encouraging locals to cycle and walk more, whether for exercise and recreation (like at the annual Wai Tri triathlon that uses the pathways), or simply as a shortcut route.

Residents and visitors are already enjoying the benefits of the walking and cycling strategy and can look forward to further upgrades, and new cycle and walkway routes in the future.


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