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More People Walking

More People Walking

More people are walking to work, but walking remains the "invisible mode" of transport.

"Over two and a half thousand more people walked or jogged to work in 2006 then in 2001, according to the census" says Liz Thomas, Director of Living Streets Aotearoa.

"However, the question in the census asks for the main way of travel to work. Most people using public transport also walk at one or both ends of their trip, but this is not counted. When I travel to work, the longest distance is by bus, but I spend longer walking than on the bus."

"The figures show that walking as the main mode of travel to work declined by .1%. But if you added on the 12,000 extra people who used trains and buses, and walked to the station or bus stop, the picture would be very different."

"Walking to work is a great way to start the day, is good for one’s health and helps to cut down the number of cars on the road, and the resulting pollution. Less cars on the road benefits everyone."

Last year Land Transport New Zealand published a national strategy aimed at getting more people to use active modes – walking and cycling – for shorter journeys. The plan is now being implemented, but needs to be funded adequately. Only 1% of transport funding is spent on walking and cycling at present.

"It doesn’t make sense to be spending more and more money building roads each year, with the rising cost of fuel, and concern about climate change caused by greenhouse gases," says Thomas. "One third of trips are 2 kilometers or less, and if we could get people to leave their cars at home and walk these trips, it would be a great investment in future proofing the New Zealand economy."


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