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The need
for change

PART 1

Focussing on transport is important for reasons that may be more dynamic than they first appear. Rowan Dixon, WSP’s Principal Specialist Sustainability and Resilience explores the mindset shift required to make significant change. 

We know transport is a significant emissions challenge for Aotearoa, and for many of us who want to effect change, the sheer scale of the problem can feel overwhelming. However, as we find our feet in a post COVID world, we know we have the boldness to address the previously unimaginable.  

Although it may feel like our traffic went from all to nothing and back, the data suggests otherwise. The graph  above charts the impact the various alert levels had on the Auckland Motorway Network and shows that current Alert Level 1 demand on the network is still less than pre-COVID. We’ve changed. I’m reminded of the powerful words in the poem for Papatūānuku – Mother Earth by Ngāti Hine/Ngāpuhi writer Nadine Anne Hura.

By: Rowan Dixon

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Lockdown in Aotearoa made clear to us the available potential and was an active experiment in the possible. According to this international study, New Zealand's daily carbon dioxide emissions fell up to 41% during the alert Level 4 lockdown.

NIWA air quality scientist Dr Ian Longley analysed data from the third week of lockdown and found levels of nitrogen oxides, mostly caused by vehicle exhaust, fell between 83 and 91% of normal at most monitoring sites. NIWA advised that unless the way we work and travel changes, it is likely that it will be at least 15-20 years before New Zealanders experience the same levels of clean air as those achieved during lockdown. 

We have the blueprint  

When it comes to transport, it’s not really about transport. It’s much more about the assemblage of social and cultural support systems that we (individuals, collectives, and market systems) bring about. Specifically, land use and built form: what we do where, for how long, and how these activities can adapt to inevitable motion and change across the short and long term. Transport included.

In the context of the current challenges in Aotearoa, this demands rapid implementation of the spatial and strategic, carbon and climate planning outlined by the Resource Management Review Panel.  

Redefining mobility 

Auckland Motorway Network: Demand – Delay Curve
Lost customer hours (LCH)

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for Papatūānuku
Nadine Anne Hura

“People always said it wasn’t possible. To ground flights and stay home and stop our habits of consumption.

But it was. It always was.
We were just afraid of how much
it was going to hurt.”

visual_1.png

URBAN GROWTH

Urban areas are struggling to keep pace with population growth: poorly managed urban growth has led to increasing difficulty in providing affordable housing, worsening traffic congestion, greater pollution, and reduced productivity.

Climate change

An urgent need to reduce carbon emissions and adapt to climate change: the impacts of climate change are already affecting where people live and how we use our environment. Our land and resource use patterns need to change to mitigate and adapt to the effects of climate change, and we need a resource management system that supports New Zealand’s commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. 

key concerns

The key concerns the review seeks to address that pertain to transport emissions include:

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for Papatūānuku
Nadine Anne Hura

“So be still now. Wrap your hills around our absence. Loosen the concrete belt cinched tight at your waist.

Rest. Breathe. Recover.
Heal – And we will do the same.”

visual2.png

Essentially our built form needs to drastically reduce vehicle movements. It demands the down-scaled vehicle fleet is electrified, and internal combustion engines are rapidly phased out.

We’ve largely sleepwalked ourselves  into the current high-carbon, mobile-energy system, but it’s not looking like the same laissez-faire approach will get us out. Perhaps by reflecting on lessons from lockdown and thinking systemically across the many moving parts in our towns and cities, we might emerge into a more stable, slower, urban model deliberately designed to fit the planet.

rowan.png
logo_white_small.png

Rowan Dixon

WSP’s Principal Specialist - Sustainability and Resilience
As Principal of Sustainability and Resilience, Dr Rowan Dixon leads WSP’s sustainability insight and expertise. His experience spans international trade, environment and climate negotiations, policy development and implementation, including carbon, biodiversity and community development and conservation projects, and the valuation of natural and social capital offsets.

icon_mail.png icon_mail.png (copy)

This is a condensed version of our insights. Download the full version with additional research and materials. 

FULL INSIGHTS

photo1b.jpg

The need
for change

PART 1

Focussing on transport is important for reasons that may be more dynamic than they first appear. Rowan Dixon, WSP’s Principal Specialist Sustainability and Resilience explores the mindset shift required to make significant change. 

By: Rowan Dixon

We know transport is a significant emissions challenge for Aotearoa, and for many of us who want to effect change, the sheer scale of the problem can feel overwhelming. However, as we find our feet in a post COVID world, we know we have the boldness to address the previously unimaginable.  

photo2.jpg

We have the blueprint  

Lockdown in Aotearoa made clear to us the available potential and was an active experiment in the possible. According to this international study, New Zealand's daily carbon dioxide emissions fell up to 41% during the alert Level 4 lockdown.

NIWA air quality scientist Dr Ian Longley analysed data from the third week of lockdown and found levels of nitrogen oxides, mostly caused by vehicle exhaust, fell between 83 and 91% of normal at most monitoring sites. NIWA advised that unless the way we work and travel changes, it is likely that it will be at least 15-20 years before New Zealanders experience the same levels of clean air as those achieved during lockdown. 

Auckland Motorway Network: Demand – Delay Curve
Lost customer hours (LCH)

graph.png

Although it may feel like our traffic went from all to nothing and back, the data suggests otherwise. The graph  above charts the impact the various alert levels had on the Auckland Motorway Network and shows that current Alert Level 1 demand on the network is still less than pre-COVID. We’ve changed. I’m reminded of the powerful words in the poem for Papatūānuku – Mother Earth by Ngāti Hine/Ngāpuhi writer Nadine Anne Hura.

shade1.png
s_small.png

“People always said it wasn’t possible. To ground flights and stay home and stop our habits of consumption.

But it was. It always was.
We were just afraid of how much
it was going to hurt.”

for Papatūānuku
Nadine Anne Hura

Redefining mobility 

When it comes to transport, it’s not really about transport. It’s much more about the assemblage of social and cultural support systems that we (individuals, collectives, and market systems) bring about. Specifically, land use and built form: what we do where, for how long, and how these activities can adapt to inevitable motion and change across the short and long term. Transport included.

In the context of the current challenges in Aotearoa, this demands rapid implementation of the spatial and strategic, carbon and climate planning outlined by the Resource Management Review Panel.  

visual_1.png

key concerns

The key concerns the review seeks to address that pertain to transport emissions include:

icon1.png

URBAN GROWTH

Urban areas are struggling to keep pace with population growth: poorly managed urban growth has led to increasing difficulty in providing affordable housing, worsening traffic congestion, greater pollution, and reduced productivity.

Climate change

An urgent need to reduce carbon emissions and adapt to climate change: the impacts of climate change are already affecting where people live and how we use our environment. Our land and resource use patterns need to change to mitigate and adapt to the effects of climate change, and we need a resource management system that supports New Zealand’s commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. 

icon2.png

Essentially our built form needs to drastically reduce vehicle movements. It demands the down-scaled vehicle fleet is electrified, and internal combustion engines are rapidly phased out.

We’ve largely sleepwalked ourselves  into the current high-carbon, mobile-energy system, but it’s not looking like the same laissez-faire approach will get us out. Perhaps by reflecting on lessons from lockdown and thinking systemically across the many moving parts in our towns and cities, we might emerge into a more stable, slower, urban model deliberately designed to fit the planet.

shade_with_s.svg

for Papatūānuku
Nadine Anne Hura

“So be still now. Wrap your hills around our absence. Loosen the concrete belt cinched tight at your waist.

Rest. Breathe. Recover.
Heal – And we will do the same.”

visual2.png

This is a condensed version of our insights. Download the full version with additional research and materials. 

FULL INSIGHTS

logo_white_small.png

Rowan Dixon

WSP’s Principal Specialist - Sustainability and Resilience
As Principal of Sustainability and Resilience, Dr Rowan Dixon leads WSP’s sustainability insight and expertise. His experience spans international trade, environment and climate negotiations, policy development and implementation, including carbon, biodiversity and community development and conservation projects, and the valuation of natural and social capital offsets.

icon_mail.png icon_mail.png (copy)
rowan.png