Reducing car use by morning commuters

General results of the 1998/2000 survey of those who drive their cars to work / place of study before 10 a.m. on weekdays, or their children to school, in the three New Zealand urban areas: Auckland, Wellington, and Christchurch.

Contextual and Demographic Data Collected in Car Driver Survey

Perceptual Barriers to Using Passenger Transport

Contextual and Demographic Data Collected in Car Driver Survey

In the initial multinomial logit modelling of the combined Auckland and Wellington data for the car driver survey, it became apparent that modelling for the two cities was better done separately due to the significantly varying nature of the population. Christchurch is somewhat unique again, thus we present the database description for the three cities individually. The discussion of the database information is quite detailed because, as may be expected, the characteristics of the respondents in our sample give some indication of how they are likely to respond to the scenarios presented to them in the survey.
We compared the demographic and other contextual data from our database with that of the Land Transport Safety Authority’s 1998/99 Household Travel Survey (HTS) to ascertain the validity of our sample. Aside from some differences in coding in responses, we found our sample to be quite similar in composition to that of the HTS.

In the car driver survey, we collected the following information:

  • Household composition
  • Age (of respondent)
  • Gender
  • Employment status
  • Household and personal income (Christchurch only)
  • Frequency of driving car to work
  • Ownership of vehicle driven
  • Parking at work or place of study
  • Amount paid for parking
  • Use of car during work hours for work-related business
  • Trip-making habits (number of stops before work, number and purpose of trips during day, whether or not they crossed the “cordon” / toll line we had put in place)
  • Where they lived and worked
  • Driving children to school

A detailed database description can be found in the pdf file: Description and attitudes of sample population.

Perceptual Barriers to Using Passenger Transport


In order to understand how we are analysing the perceptual barriers car drivers have to using passenger transport, it is necessary to know something about the structure of the survey.

In the car driver survey, respondents were presented with nine scenarios which had at least one change in either the costs or ease of driving their car to work/ place of study or in the provision or costs of bus / train / ferry services. In some scenarios, there could have been multiple changes to the current driving environment. Where the cost of driving was affected, it was always an increased cost while passenger transport changes were designed to make it cheaper or more convenient to use.

After looking the scenario over, respondents were asked to visualize that the scenario was in place on the day in question (based on the day for which a trip diary was created) and to say how they would have travelled to their work or place of study. When a respondent said that they would not have used their car to travel on that day, we asked them what element of the scenario had caused them to say they would change how they travelled. The first time that a respondent said they would probably continue to drive their car, we asked them why it was unlikely they would use passenger transport if faced with higher car driving costs or the potential for better passenger transport services. We asked respondents to identify all reasons as well as their main reason for not choosing passenger transport. The same process was followed for the remaining 8 scenarios.

Sources of attitudinal information

In addition to the open-ended question about why they were unlikely to use passenger transport even if car driving costs were increased or passenger transport services were improved, we also sought respondents’ replies to several attitudinal statements, namely:

  • I feel it is safe to ride on PT.
  • Even if buses or trains were free, I wouldn’t use them.
  • I feel it is safe to wait at a bus stop/train or ferry station during the day.
  • If someone could organise it, I would be happy to share a ride with other people who work near me.
  • I value the convenience of driving my car – I can do what I want, when I want.
  • I’d use PT more if I could be sure it would arrive at my destination on time.
  • I’d bike to work or study at least once a week if: all traffic on those roads was restricted to 30 km/h. (Christchurch only)
  • I’d bike to work or study at least once a week if: I had a good bike, and there were good cycle lanes off the road all along my route to work / study, and there was a secure place to lock up my bike at work / study. (Christchurch only)

Respondents were asked to rate their responses on a 5-point Likert scale. We found that 77% of all respondents felt safe either waiting for or riding on passenger transport services. Not surprisingly, perhaps, women felt a little less safe, although the gender differences were not large.

There appears to be a “hard core” of drivers (19%) who are unlikely to use passenger transport even it is free to ride. However, over one-half (54%) of the respondents stated that they would be happy to share a ride to and from work if someone could organise it.

People who drive company cars, are self-employed, or use their car during the day for work-related business are much less likely to choose to use passenger transport or to ride-share.

Further results and analysis of the attitudinal statements can be found in the pdf file: Description and attitudes of sample population

Further analysis of perceptual barriers to using passenger transport will be available during 2002.