Plan to reduce single-occupant vehicle trips

Early morning traffic on Moorhouse Ave. Photo: Geoff Sloan
Early morning traffic on Moorhouse Ave. Photo: Geoff Sloan
Several organisations are collaborating on a transport plan in the Greater Christchurch area that aims to reduce the number of single-occupant vehicles on the road.

The plan aims to "provide a clear and succinct case for further transport investment in Greater Christchurch to support mode shift".

Mode shift means encouraging people to move from single-occupancy vehicle use to alternative modes of transport.

The Greater Christchurch Partnership Committee is in the process of creating a draft of the plan.

The committee is made up of of representatives from Environment Canterbury, Selwyn District Council, Waimakariri District Council, Ngai Tahu, Canterbury District Health Board, New Zealand Transport Agency, Christchurch City Council, Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, and Regenerate Christchurch.

Said NZTA director of regional relationships Jim Harland: “It [the plan] will look to come up with a way to see how we can get more people out of cars and on to public transport and walking and biking.”

He said the plan could educate people around alternative modes of transport.

About 83 per cent of all vehicle trips in the Greater Christchurch area are made by single occupants.

City councillor and chairman of the urban development and transport committee, Mike Davidson, thought the plan was important to prevent Christchurch from turning into Auckland.

"I think as we move forward and Greater Christchurch grows, if you don’t cater for some kind of shift in transport, we are going to see congestion similar to what Auckland has," he said. 

"We can’t afford to do that, this is a good opportunity to get everything together and make sure we are moving in the right direction."

A report outlining the draft plan states Greater Christchurch’s current level of single-occupancy vehicle use has implications for the efficiency of the transport network, impacts on the environment and increases the transport sector’s share of total carbon emissions.

In 2016/17, the transport sector was the largest contributor to Christchurch’s carbon emissions, accounting for 53 per cent of the city’s carbon footprint.

In total, Christchurch emitted an estimated 2,485,335 gross tonnes of carbon dioxide. That equates to 6.6 tonnes of carbon dioxide per person.

A key objective of the mode shift plan is to support the Government’s goal of being carbon neutral by 2050. The city council is also aiming to reduce its carbon emissions by 50 per cent by 2030.

 

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