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Massey University Travel Survey Starts

Massey University travel survey starts
October 17, 2003


The first step towards developing a plan to manage travel to Albany's Massey University is under way.

The North Shore City Council is assisting the university to develop a 'travel plan' which will encourage more walking, cycling, tele-working, use of public transport and car pooling by students, staff and visitors.

Following on from its success with its pilot primary school 'travel plans', the council is using pupils of Northcross Intermediate School to help complete travel surveys of students, staff and visitors to the fast-growing university site. Around 60 students have interviewed over 500 people at Massey as part of a classroom statistics exercise.

North Shore City's transport planning manager, Howerd Booth, says travel survey information will be used to develop a travel plan aimed at reducing growing traffic numbers and the demand for car parking at the university site. "This is a first for a New Zealand university," he says.

Mr Booth says that over 40 per cent of peak time traffic in the Auckland region is education related and the council is investing a lot of resources in taking its travel plan approach out to schools and other educational institutions in an effort to reduce peak time congestion and growing traffic.

"Travel plans are a common approach in the UK to managing traffic growth and have proven successful, with best practice plans reducing single occupant car travel by around 14 per cent. It's great to see the university supporting us in taking a proactive approach to managing its transport and access issues. We want to use this travel plan method to encourage people to consider the alternatives to travelling in their car on their own to the site," says Mr Booth.

Massey University has approaching 6000 students and a staff in excess of 350. The university's roll is expected to grow by an additional 500 plus students per annum in the foreseeable future. A new Massey University bus station is planned to open on site in 2005 as part of North Shore City's new bus system and the development of the first phase of a new Park and Ride station at Albany .

Massey University's regional facilities manager, Chris Lambert, says the university is keen to encourage staff and students to be a part of the solution to the Auckland region's transport problems. "We want to help people make sensible choices for their travel. Having our own bus station will be a big step forward, but we want to do what we can now to help reduce car traffic," he says.

Mr Booth says the travel plan will come up with a package of actions developed in consultation with staff and students. "The approach works because it is based on research into what the people travelling to the site tell us are the issues for changing their travel choices. We work out how to address them in partnership with the university and all of us take responsibility for taking different actions."

He says there are lots of benefits to putting in measures and incentives to encourage people to make other travel choices. "You can get people using more active transport methods to keep them fitter and healthier and you reduce the effects of traffic and pollution on the site."

He added that a travel plan also helps to retain and recruit staff because people like to have a variety of choices available as to how they can get to work or lectures.

"A lot of students can't afford cars or would rather not have the expense of running one so we need to make the alternatives available and affordable. Staff also benefit if their household can run without the need for owning more and more cars to enable them to get around," Mr Booth says.

(ends)


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