Development of sustainable urban transport energy policy : transport and land use planning implications
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameDoctor of Philosophy
The intent of this research was to investigate sustainable transport energy policy at a regional level. Transport energy use in the Canterbury region and Urban Christchurch provides the focus but a global context enables more far reaching conclusions. The research focuses on regional and district level policy influences affecting transport energy use, cutting across a number of academic disciplines. The analysis suggests that well meaning independent land use and transport planning processes may be producing synergistic and unintended systemic outcomes leading to increasing transport energy use. The holistic approach adopted in this thesis develops an important tenet: unless means and ways are developed which provide balancing feedback to increasing car use - these unintended outcomes will continue. Energy survey results for Canterbury and Urban Christchurch show that transport energy consumption is by far the fastest growing and largest sector. Mode split affects transport energy consumption as does trip length. In Christchurch car use dominates mode split. Cycling, public transport and walking are all declining in use while car trips are significantly increasing. Land use and transport planning policy factors are evaluated which affect transport energy use. A new series of data for New Zealand's main urban areas, Christchurch, Wellington and Auckland are collected. The data include a detailed review of urban land use activities and transport network efficiencies, as well as data on economic and environmental implications of New Zealand's transport choices. This land use, transport, economic and environmental city data are compared to similar data collected for over 46 international cities. Analysis of the data reveals key insights into urban and transport planning policy effects on transport energy use, including many unexpected linkages between key parameters. Utilising insights from the local planning process, literature on transport policy, and urban land use and transport indicators from a global survey, a systems modelling approach is utilised to identify and qualitatively assess feedback mechanisms affecting transport energy consumption. A number of positive feedbacks are found (resulting from planning policies) which support current transport energy trends. Policies are identified for further investigation to reduce these positive feedbacks, including the need to provide more support for sustainable transport modes and reduce both car use and trip length. Key policy areas to investigate include the size of the urban area, population density and urban planning, the process of infill development, accessibility guidelines, traffic demand management measures, transport project improvement criteria (including road building), safety for slow modes, and transport funding.