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Cost at issue when young people choose transport

Cost at issue when young people choose transport: study suggests

Monday 13 August 2012

A new study suggests that young people who do not drive cars choose buses, trains, cycling and walking because they are more affordable and convenient transport options.

The study is a joint project between the University of Otago, Auckland Transport, Pasifika Injury Prevention Aukilana and Auckland Council.

The qualitative study of nine Pacific, Maori and Asian youth from Auckland also explored ways that public and other means of transport such as cycling and walking could be made easier and more attractive to young people. The purpose of the project was to create discussion about transport issues that was generated by the participants themselves.

The study participants took photographs as a way to communicate their experiences. While some of those depicted aspects that need improvement, overall the photographs portrayed positive themes. The themes that emerged included the ease of using public transport, reasons why public or active transport is a better alternative to driving, as well as pride and beauty in their neighbourhoods.

Study lead author, Aimee Ward with the Adolescent Mobility Health Consortium at the University of Otago, says the participants found buses and trains clean and convenient, but saw room for improvement, such as the need for more shelters and more frequent services on public holidays.

“The issue of bike racks also came up frequently - that they are rarely sheltered, and do not seem 'valued', either on campuses or in town,” she says.

“Many participants mentioned that this project 'opened their eyes' to both the positive and negative aspects of their daily commute.”

“Young Auckland males, in particular Maori & Pacific males, have a higher crash risk. The potential benefits of this project include promoting safer travel choices for these groups. We hope to learn from all participants about their experiences as non-drivers, and apply this knowledge to future interventions focused on delayed or reduced driving in order to keep the young people of New Zealand safer and healthier,” says Ms Ward.

Tomorrow (14 August), a selection of photos taken by the study group will be exhibited at an invitation-only kick-off event at the Avondale Community Library in Auckland. The exhibit will then remain on display to the public until mid-September.

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