Understanding and managing weekend traffic congestion

Weekend traffic congestion in the major urban centres in New Zealand has increased to the point where it is viewed as rivalling the weekday peak period commuting times. Regional and local government policy makers and planners are considering what action should be taken to manage weekend traffic. However, apart from alcohol and crash data analysis, very little study has been done internationally or in New Zealand to understand weekend travel behaviour and how to manage it.

In this initial investigation, we have analysed data from the 1997/98 New Zealand Household Travel Survey for the three main urban centres (Auckland, Wellington, and Christchurch) to identify the characteristics of weekend travel patterns compared with weekday travel behaviour. The variables considered include age, gender, mode, journey purpose, household characteristics, and vehicle occupancy, among others.

Based on the characteristics of weekend travel patterns and other research efforts, we discuss how managing weekend traffic congestion may differ from managing weekday traffic congestion and assess several possible policy tools for their suitability to address weekend congestion.


The paper was presented at the Australasian Transport Research Forum 2003 in Wellington, New Zealand. The working paper is available as a pdf document:

Weekend congestion working paper (revised 28 August 2003)