I was recently looking at the Wikipedia page for transport modal share, and found out we’re listed as the number one mid-sized city in the world for driving.
Yay for us. The average city has around 55% of its trips made in vehicles and 45% made by walking, cycling and public transport.
Our split is 87/13%.
You might argue that it’s a New Zealand thing and most of the cities with different mode shares are European. Except for the fact Wellington is in there, sitting not far off the average at 62%.
Getting our mode share to the same as Wellington over the next eight years is roughly what is needed to meet our climate change targets. Do you think we’ll do it?
The optimist in me says we can. There’s nothing technically difficult about it, just politically difficult. If people collectively want to do it then we will. But if we do, I think our mode split will be different to Wellington.
Cycling is our biggest strength down here, and I suspect we will see that increase into the twenties, like it is in a lot of European cities (and used to be here).
The explosion of new technology is helping with this: e-bikes, e-scooters, e-skateboards, and e-unicycles are becoming a regular sight on our cycleways.
There is scope for walking to become a strength too for similar reasons to cycling – the city is flat, compact and has the perfect climate for walking – hardly any rain, and lots of days that are sunny whilst not overly hot. The main thing we need for this is increased density: more stuff available within a reasonable walk of home.
I expect public transport mode share to rise but we’re starting from such a low base it’s hard to see it getting up to Wellington levels in just 8 years, particularly without an established rail network. I’m ever hopeful on that front, but even if we went out and built Rapid Transit tomorrow, it would still take a long time for adjacent land-use to reshape itself to the point where it’s having the same sort of impact that Wellington’s network has.
Here’s hoping we can make like the Black Caps and plummet from that number one spot to the bottom half of the table as quickly as possible!