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Launch Of Sustainable Transport

Transport Minister Annette King has launched Sustainable Transport, a draft Update of the New Zealand Transport Strategy that outlines a vision for a sustainable transport future.

Ms King released the document in Wellington as the first step toward updating the Government's 2002 New Zealand Transport Strategy.

"Five years ago this Government put in place a transport strategy that described how an integrated transport sector, should contribute to New Zealand's broader social, economic and environmental needs. It recognised that transport decisions impact every dimension of our lives --- the economy, the way society functions and our environment --- and stated, as an aspiration, that New Zealand should have 'an affordable, integrated, safe, responsive and sustainable transport system'.

"Much has since been done to move us closer to our vision, but given the high priority now placed on sustainability, we need to re-examine the objectives of the 2002 Strategy to provide a framework for transport planning and spending over the next 30 years," Ms King said.

"The Government has already announced that by 2040 we want to halve per capita domestic greenhouse gas transport emissions from 2007 levels, and to be one of the first countries in the world to widely use electric vehicles.

"In this discussion paper we propose further targets, including a focus on improving vehicle safety standards, increasing public transport use rail and shipping's share of freight movement, and reducing carbon dioxide emissions from the vehicle fleet. Each is challenging and none will be achieved without acceptance that change is necessary and a willingness to make different transport choices.

"Sustainable Transport is an opportunity for the public to have their say on the targets we have set."

Submissions on Sustainable Transport close Friday 15 February 2008. For further information and a copy of Sustainable Transport, please visit www.transport.govt.nz.

Questions and answers

What is the Update of the New Zealand Transport Strategy (UNZTS)?
The UNZTS updates the New Zealand Transport Strategy and will be published in 2008. The update will:
provide direction for the transport sector until 2040 in the context of the Government's sustainability agenda and other government strategies in the areas of energy and energy efficiency
translate that direction into high level targets for the transport sector and intermediate targets for sub-sectors (air, sea, road, vehicle fleet, rail, freight, public transport, walking and cycling) to help to achieve the high level targets
provide clearer guidelines for decisions about funding allocations
contain an action plan, including accountabilities for actions, that will reflect how we intend to reach the transport targets.

What about the vision in the NZTS: By 2010 New Zealand will have an "affordable, integrated, safe, responsive and sustainable transport system"?
The vision in the 2002 NZTS is an aspiration and a great deal of effort has been directed to reaching it. Five years on, we are reviewing our position and we need to decide how to allocate resources in the future. We have a better understanding of the relationships between our transport objectives and more experience of the significant challenges they represent. While our aspirations and objectives do not change, we are likely to change our priorities and make different choices. To help the Government determine those priorities and choices, your input is invited.

For inter-regional freight, is it realistic to expect 30 percent to be carried by coastal shipping and 25 percent by rail (by 2040)?
The cost of fossil fuel will undoubtedly increase in real terms over the next few decades. The use of rail and sea services will allow transport of goods at a much lower energy cost. Demand for coastal shipping may also increase as bigger international ships lead to fewer ports of call and more domestic freight trips to service the emerging hub ports. Moreover, provided the interchange mechanisms are effective in our towns and ports, we consider that freight forwarders will find it attractive to use frequent rail services, and frequent coastal shipping services. Coastal shipping is already a dominant mode for inter-regional freight movement in Norway, and rail provides the dominant freight services in Canada. Achieving these targets for sea and rail assumes there will be some changes within the overall transport sector. An action plan for achieving the coastal shipping target is set out in the draft domestic sea freight strategy Sea Change.

What is the outlook for the New Zealand trucking industry?
Climate change is generating some very real challenges for New Zealand and the world. We clearly need to respond and some aspects of the way we do business will undoubtedly need to change, including the current dominance of trucks for long distance freight movement in New Zealand. However, we still expect overall freight volumes to grow, and there will still be a very strong role for truck and van transport in moving freight in urban areas. A recent study by the Auckland Regional Council indicated that the number of tonne kilometres of freight moved within Auckland was a significantly larger figure than the number of tonne kilometres moved to and from the Auckland region.

Why is the proposed overall increase in public transport mode share apparently so modest (from two to three percent to seven percent)?
More than doubling the public transport mode share is not a modest target. The primary focus of increasing public transport usage is to reduce congestion in our major cities and towns, especially at peak periods for Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch. The percentage increases in public transport use in these three centres will need to be very substantial over the next thirty years. To achieve this increase, we will rely on a major investment in improved services in the cities, especially focussing on rapid transit services. An overall increase in public transport services will also improve access for those who don't or can't drive a car and will help us tackle the climate change challenge. However, when we measure "mode-shift" from car usage to passenger transport over the whole country, and over 24 hours, 7 days per week, we believe that the target of doubling the public transport share is realistic over the next 30 years. If we take an even longer term view, urban conso
lidation, and development of housing and work opportunities around transport modes will further increase public transport usage, and bring us more into line with European level of public transport usage, but this sort of urban change does not occur quickly.

How was the road safety target of no more than 200 fatalities a year by 2040 arrived at?
New Zealand has already made giant strides in road safety. In 1973 our road toll was at its highest at 843 deaths. Last year the road toll was 391 the lowest in 46 years. We want to try to halve this again by 2040. We believe that further steady improvements will occur in road infrastructure, education and driver behaviour and vehicle technologies, and if these improvements are coupled with continuing enforcement programmes then we have grounds for believing a further reduction in the road toll is genuinely achievable. A figure of 200 deaths per year at 2040 will equate to around 4.5 deaths per 100,000 people. A few countries are already achieving similar results, such as the Netherlands and Sweden.

How was the target to halve transport CO2 emissions per capita by 2040 arrived at?
For New Zealand to become a truly sustainable nation, it needs to address the high proportion of greenhouse gas emissions for which the transport sector is responsible. To determine what a realistic saving might be, a scenario was established under which a halving of the greenhouse gas emissions from transport was shown to be credible using a combination of changes to travel modes used, vehicle efficiency and changes to fuel types and sources.

How will we meet the CO2 emissions target?
To halve transport CO2 emissions per capita will require a mix of initiatives, such as managing demand for travel, encouraging the use of more efficient modes of transport for people and freight, improving fuel efficiency, and using more renewable fuels like biofuels and electricity. We will all need to change our travel behaviour if real progress is to be made towards this target, by sharing cars, taking the train or bus, or walking or cycling to work. To achieve this, choices need to be made readily available and more attractive than the alternatives.

What is the UNZTS discussion paper's position on road pricing?
Given the degree of behaviour change required to achieve many of the targets proposed in the UNZTS discussion paper, such as halving transport CO2 emissions and reducing travel times for identified critical intra and inter-regional connections, it is likely that road pricing will be required in the long-term. Overseas a variety of options have been employed to secure additional funding and help manage demand. Congestion pricing has been introduced in cities such as Singapore and Stockholm, and toll rings in Trondheim, Oslo and Bergen in Norway, with positive results. Road pricing is planned for implementation in cities such as Copenhagen by 2009 and Cardiff (Wales), Prague (Czech Republic) and Shanghai (China) by 2010. On a larger scale, the Netherland is planning to implement a road pricing scheme across the country by 2012. Options such as tolls and road pricing, or alternative funding mechanisms, such as debt financing, must be explored further in New Zealand to help ma
nage demand and ensure we meet our targets.

How will congestion in Auckland be addressed?
Severe congestion can adversely affect economic activity and creates more greenhouse gas emissions. Despite heavy investment in Auckland roads and public transport, traffic congestion remains a major problem. Realistically we can expect some levels of congestion to remain in Auckland but we need to ensure these levels are acceptable given the importance of an efficient transport system for New Zealand's small, open economy, distant from world markets. Addressing congestion in Auckland will require the aggregate of many future initiatives to absorb expected growth - integration of land use and transport planning, significant travel demand management measures, considerable increases in public transport usage, walking and cycling, targeted road expansion and some form of road pricing, such as congestion charging. We have also proposed a target to put effective real-time information systems in place to enable road users to plan their journeys to avoid congestion, thereby minimi
sing delay and fuel wastage, by 2015.

Will the UNZTS advocate no more road capacity improvements?
The discussion paper includes a number of guiding concepts to help develop transport in New Zealand, including getting best value from transport assets, making the most of pre-existing transport assets, including transport corridors, and key transport nodes (including ports and airports) in the first instance, because establishing new transport corridors or nodes can be extremely time-consuming and contentious. In other words, a range of approaches to increasing infrastructure capacity is needed, starting with improving the efficiency of existing infrastructure through, for instance, effective traffic management, along with parallel initiatives to influence the mobility choices people make (through travel demand management) and implementing selected capacity improvements where these measures are insufficient. Road transport will inevitably remain as a key mode of transport in New Zealand for people and freight. Increases in population and economic growth will continue to inc
rease demand for travel and road capacity improvements will undoubtedly still be needed in future.

Who will be responsible for the implementing the UNZTS?
Implementing and meeting the targets proposed in the UNZTS will require a combination of actions by central government, local government, business and industry, and individuals. An action plan, including accountabilities for actions, will be included in the UNZTS.

How will regional targets be set?
Regional targets will be developed in discussion with each region.

Will there be sufficient funding to implement the UNZTS?
The Next Steps in the Land Transport Sector review recommended more explicit guidance on the Government's funding priorities for land transport over the medium and longer term. A Government Policy Statement (GPS) is expected to provide some of that guidance, with a six-year outlook and a three yearly update process. The review also recommended full hypothecation, meaning that every dollar charged to motorists in fuel excise duties, road user charges and motor vehicle licence fees is reinvested back into transport. Road pricing may also be explored in future to as an additional source of funding for necessary infrastructure and service improvements.

How will the UNZTS discussion paper be consulted on?
The Ministry of Transport is arranging a number of regional consultation meetings before Christmas and in early 2008 to brief key stakeholders and answer questions. We will also respond as far as possible to invitations. For more information or to make a submission, visit www.transport.govt.nz


ends

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