This section provides information on the transport sector’s progress against the government’s four long-term outcomes for transport using a series of headline indicators.

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Long-term outcome A – an efficient transport system that supports high levels of economic productivity, provides strong international connections for freight, business and tourism, and meets international obligations.

Ministry actions over 2011/12 that contribute to this outcome include:

  • releasing the Government Policy Statement on Land Transport Funding 2012
  • providing advice on proposed Clifford Bay ferry terminal
  • developing and implementing the Freight Information Gathering System
  • reviewing international air transport policy
  • increasing access to and the choices of international air services
  • providing advice on Wellington and Auckland metro rail funding
  • developing the legislation required to implement the new operating model for public transport operators and councils

Headline indicator 1: Increasing productivity in the transport and storage sectors, measured in labour, capital and multifactor[1] terms.

Figure 1 shows the rapid growth in productivity in the transport and storage sector after 1983 that coincided with government actions that included major regulatory reform and investment in transport infrastructure. The impact of these changes began to level off by the late 1990s.

The graph shows that productivity has fallen since 2008. Transport productivity can be significantly influenced by events and trends outside government control, which since 2008 have included the economic downturn, increasing fuel prices and the impact of the exchange rate on trade. The Ministry is only one of many institutions, both public and private, whose actions might impact on these trends.

Transport and storage productivity indexes

Figure 1: Transport and storage productivity indexes

Headline indicator 2: Decreasing network congestion in the five largest metropolitan areas.

Figure 2 shows significant changes in network congestion in the five largest metropolitan areas for the morning (A.M.) peak period. The most notable change is as anticipated, the impact on congestion in Auckland of the completion of key roading projects. Auckland congestion levels will continue to decrease over the next few years as more projects are completed. Congestion levels continue to fluctuate in Tauranga, Wellington, Christchurch and Hamilton, but these will also be impacted by investment in infrastructure.

AM peak congestion

Figure 2: AM peak congestion

Long-term outcome B – a sustainable funding basis for transport infrastructure investment and use.

Efficient funding is vital to the effectiveness of New Zealand’s transport system, and needs to align with the realities of how people travel and how goods are transported.

Ministry actions over 2011/12 that contribute to this outcome include:

  • reviewing and amending road user charges legislation and regulations
  • adjustments made to the level of fuel excise duty and road user charges

Headline indicator 1: Growth in revenue (in real terms) remaining stable in relation to growth in traffic volume.

Figures 3 and 4 below show the revenue levels from fuel excise duty, light road user charges and heavy road user charges (charge rate adjusted), compared to vehicle kilometres travelled. The growth in the level of light-vehicle revenue was broadly in line with the growth in light-vehicle travel.

Once the effect of increases in heavy-vehicle road user charges rates is accounted for, there is steady growth in heavy-vehicle road user charges revenue, consistent with the steady upward trend in heavy vehicle tonne per kilometre. The gap between these has been widening in past years. This may be a result of more weight being carried per heavy vehicle on the roads, resulting in greater tonnes-km carried, but lower revenue increases.

Growth in fuel excise duty and light road user charges revenue

Figure 3 — Growth in fuel excise duty and light road user charges revenue (charge rate adjusted) relative to growth in traffic volume

Grwoth in heavy road user charges revenue

Figure 4: Growth in heavy road user charges revenue (charge rate adjusted) relative to growth in traffice volume

Long-term outcome C – a high-quality transport system for Auckland, the nation’s largest economic hub

Auckland is the ‘gateway’ to New Zealand for most visitors and for a significant proportion of international freight. It is vital for New Zealand’s economic growth potential that Auckland’s road congestion is managed effectively, and wise decisions are made about transport infrastructure and services.

Ministry actions over 2011/12 that contribute to this outcome include:

  • providing advice on Auckland metro rail infrastructure funding
  • developing a new operating model for public transport operators and councils
  • engaging with Auckland Council and Auckland Transport in the development of a high quality transport system

Headline indicator 1: Stable or decreasing congestion in Auckland, measured by delay in minutes per kilometre travelled.
Even though not yet completed, the investments in transport infrastructure and services have had the effect of significantly lowering congestion levels in the A.M. peak period and to a lesser extent in the interpeak period. The trend of increasing congestion in the P.M. peak has also begun to reverse.

Auckland congestion

Figure 5: Auckland congestion

Long-term outcome D – an accessible and safe transport system that contributes positively to the nation’s economic, social and environmental welfare.

Accessible and safe transport systems are fundamental to improving the quality of life for New Zealanders. People have greater mobility than in the past, are travelling further on New Zealand’s roads, using public transport in higher volumes (a 30 percent increase during the last decade), and travelling by air more often. The Ministry provides policy advice on legislative and regulatory change to improve the safety of our roads and reduce the road toll. The headline indicator is also influenced by the work of the NZTA, local authorities, the Police and ACC.

Ministry actions over 2011/12 that contribute to this outcome include implementing actions arising from the first Safer Journeys Action Plan.

Headline indicator 1: Reducing the number of deaths on roads per 100 million vehicle kilometres travelled.

Figure 6 shows a reduction in road deaths over the last 11 years. The road toll dropped to a record low level in 2011 (284 deaths compared with 375 the year before) and was low for all four quarters of the year. There have been pronounced drops for a single quarter before, but they did not endure for an entire year. It is likely that economic factors, fuel prices, legislation, safety improvements and road policing have all been influences on the toll. Road safety has also had a high profile in recent times. Public debate around various road safety initiatives has resulted in heightened media interest, and the potential of increased public awareness of road safety.

 Figure 6 - Deaths per 100 million kilometers of travel

Figure 6: Deaths per 100 million kilometres of travel

Headline indicator 2: Decreasing amounts of carbon dioxide emitted from domestic transport per kilometre travelled.

Figure 7 shows that the level of carbon dioxide emitted from domestic transport per kilometre travelled has increased slightly from 300 to 313 grams over the last 10 years. Data for 2011 is not yet available. The Ministry will publish this data on its website when it is available late in 2012.

Figure 7 - Grams of carbon dioxide emissions

Figure 7: Grams of carbon dioxide emissions (CO2-e) per kilometre of road travel


1 Multifactor productivity measures the productivity of a combination of labour and capital inputs used in the production process.

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