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 (e.g. cars, vans, trucks and motorcycles) contribute to air pollution, noise pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. 

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

Surveillance Reports and Metadata

Surveillance Report: Household travel time by mode of transport (Oct 2023) Download report PDF
Metadata: Household travel time by mode of transport Download report PDF

Most travel time is spent in motor vehicles

In 2019–22, New Zealanders spent an average of 1,400 million hours each year travelling in motor vehicles (cars, vans or motorcycles). This is equal to 82.0% of the total hours spent travelling.

Meanwhile, 12.3% of all travel time was spent using active transport (walking or cycling). A further 4.8% was spent on public transport (public bus, train or ferry).

Large regional differences in travel modes used

The use of active transport and public transport can be limited by several barriers, including concerns about road safety, a lack of safe places to travel and poor urban design. In smaller towns and rural areas, public transport is often not available.

In 2019–22, public and active transport made up a particularly high percentage of travel time for people in the Wellington region (29.5%), compared to the national average of 17%. Much of this is due to the amount of time spent walking, which was nearly double the national average. People in Nelson Marlborough (21.4%) and Auckland (19.5%) regions were also high users of public and active transport.


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 this indicator, household travel excludes professional driver trips, that is, those trips done to transport goods or people as a professional driver or for commercial purposes. 

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


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