Supporting efforts to decarbonise transport in the Western Bay

Aotearoa needs to drastically reduce its carbon emissions from transport over the next 8 years to achieve the Government’s Emissions Reduction Plan goals.  For the Western Bay, which has some of the highest levels of car commuting in the country, changing how we travel is key to this.

Louise Baker, Technical Director has been supporting Bay of Plenty Regional Council to co-design a travel demand management (TDM) programme to influence travel choices. The programme seeks to win hearts and minds to encourage behaviour change by people living, working or visiting the sub-region. It will complement planned improvements to walking, cycling and public transport infrastructure and build on TDM initiatives already in place like:

  • the Tauranga City Council’s Travel Safe programme which encourages active and sustainable travel to schools and workplaces
  • The Wednesday Challenge- a new and pioneering mode shift ‘movement’ which encourages people in Tauranga to change the way they travel- from driving to a more sustainable choice- one day a week
  • The Tauranga Travel Pledge: a group of like-minded organisations that have come together to pledge for change and work towards solutions for travel and transport
  • Bay of Plenty Tourism’s work to promote walking and cycling holidays and attract tourists who will tread lightly.

Some key findings of the study were that it’s confusing for the community to understand where and how to find out about their travel choices; residents are worried about rapidly growing congestion; and earlier surveys had shown there’s a huge public appetite for better buses and greater access to safe walking and cycling routes. What’s been missing is a comprehensive scope, effective coordination of efforts to optimise the impact, and an action plan to mobilise the resources, secure funding, deliver the programme and measure the benefits and outcomes.

The action plan proposed a suite of TDM interventions and estimated the funding required to deliver these over the coming years.  Key aspects included:

  • An umbrella brand to bring existing campaigns and programmes together
  • Creating a one-stop-shop website for travel information
  • Continuing the conversation with the community to co-design interventions
  • Embedding a science-based approach to behaviour change throughout the programme
  • Boosting the Travel Safe programme to increase its impact
  • Supporting travel plans at key trip generators: Tauranga Hospital; Tauranga Airport; and popular visitor destinations
  • Expanding e-scooter share and introducing bikeshare to support first/ last leg trips to public transport or greater use of active modes for local trips
  • Improving end-of-trip facilities for people using active transport.

The programme should be eligible for funding from various government sources. There is also potential to raise money through voluntary measures such as facilitating a joint fund, sponsorship, fees to join a Transport Management Association or regulatory mechanisms such as developer contributions, targeted rates or a commuter parking levy.

We delivered our final report in July and it was well-received by our client: “Thank you.. The investigation was thorough, and reports have been produced to a high standard.”

Vitruvius was supported by ViaStrada as a sub-consultant.