Household travel time by mode of transport

This section presents statistics on the percentage of household travel time spent travelling by mode of transport.

Motorised forms of transport (eg cars, vans, trucks and motorcycles) contribute to air pollution, noise pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. 

Active transport (eg walking and cycling) has a range of benefits: it increases physical activity, improves mental health, and reduces the risk of a number of diseases. Public transport has environmental benefits through reduced harmful emissions, and can increase physical activity.  

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Most travel time is spent in motor vehicles
Little change over time in transport mode use 
Younger and older people use active/public transport more
Large regional differences in travel modes use

Most travel time is spent in motor vehicles

In 2011–14, New Zealanders spent 1,257 million hours travelling in motor vehicles (cars, vans or motorcycles). This is about 79% of the total hours spent travelling (Figure 1).

About 15% of total travel time was spent using active transport (walking or cycling). A further 4% was spent on public transport (public bus, train or ferry).

Figure 1

Little change over time in transport mode use

There has been little change in travel time by mode of transport from 2003–06 to 2011–14 (Figure 2).  

Figure 2

Younger and older people use active/public transport more

In 2011–14, people aged 5–24 years and 75+ years spent the highest percentage of travel time using active transport, at about 20% (Figure 3). Young people aged 5–24 years spent 8–10% of their travel time on public transport.

By contrast, adults aged 25–64 years spent the smallest percentage of total travel time using active transport (11–13%) or public transport (2–3%). 

Figure 3

Large regional differences in travel modes used

Active transport (walking or cycling) was used the most by people living in the following regions (Figure 4):
- Otago (17%)
- Gisborne (16%)
- Wellington (16%)
- Nelson/Marlborough/Tasman (16%).

By contrast, people in the following regions used active transport the least: Southland (8%), Waikato (9%), Bay of Plenty (10%) and Northland (11%).

Public transport had the highest use in Wellington (7% of total travel time), Auckland (5%) and Southland (5%). 

Figure 4

Information about the data

Household travel time by mode of transport

Source: New Zealand Household Travel Survey, Ministry of Transport

Definition: The amount of household travel time spent travelling by transport mode, as a percentage of total household travel time (in hours) spent travelling per year, for the population aged 5+ years. For this indicator, household travel excludes professional driver trips, that is, those trips done to transport goods or people as a professional driver. 

For more information, visit the Ministry of Transport's webpage on the New Zealand Household Travel Survey.

For access to the data, visit Statistics New Zealand's NZ.Stat website, and look under the 'Transport' section.