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Research Report 656 Evidential basis for community response to land transport noise

Published: | Category: Environmental sustainability , Research programme , Research & reports | Audience: General

Environmental noise caused by road and rail traffic can cause a range of disturbance and annoyance reactions amongst local communities. The threshold at which individuals will be annoyed by these sources of noise will vary depending on the expectations of the respondent and their sensitivity to noise. A community noise annoyance study was performed in Auckland, New Zealand to determine the noise dose-response relationship based on a comparison of short-term changes in noise compared with existing steady-state conditions. Due to limitations, a revised study design was implemented and three study areas were selected:

subject to transportation noise from an existing state highway
a newly constructed but un-opened road
an existing rail line. A social survey of community response was undertaken within the three study areas.

Research Report 658 Testing New Zealand vehicles to measure real-world fuel use and exhaust emissions

Published: | Category: Environmental sustainability , Research programme , Research & reports | Audience: General

The purpose of the research was to better understand real-world fuel consumption and vehicle exhaust emissions from the New Zealand fleet and use this knowledge to improve the ability of the Transport Agency’s Vehicle Emissions Prediction Model (VEPM) to predict actual emissions.  

A portable emissions monitoring system (PEMS) was developed to measure real-world emissions from a range of typical New Zealand vehicles on a route typical of New Zealand conditions. Testing was undertaken in Auckland between January and May 2018 on six light duty petrol vehicles, 20 light duty diesel vehicles and six heavy duty diesel vehicles, including New Zealand-new and Japanese-used imported vehicles manufactured between 1996 and 2014.  

As expected, our testing found that real-world emissions of most pollutants were higher than regulated standards (up to eight times). The real-world NOX results were comparable to real-world emissions from Europe and Australia for similar vehicles.

Research Report 640 Understanding the value of meeting the requirements of environmental legislation

Published: | Category: Environmental sustainability , Research programme , Research & reports | Audience: General

This research developed a framework to enable roading authorities to understand the value of meeting the requirements of environmental legislation for roading improvement projects. The Resource Management Act 1991 (RMA) is New Zealand’s main piece of legislation that determines how the environment is managed and was the focus of this research. Government and roading authorities are seeking an understanding of the costs and benefits of environmental mitigation in particular, which meant this research sought to understand the outcomes of the ‘avoid, remedy, mitigate’ process set out in section 5 of the RMA.  

Value was determined to be the difference between costs and benefits. The research recognised that not all benefits can be adequately monetised at this point in time, so the framework captures qualitative information, quantitative information and monetary measures.

Research Report 673 A review of variability in environmental regulatory requirements for roading construction projects across New Zealand

Published: | Category: Environmental sustainability , Research programme , Research & reports | Audience: General

Anecdotal evidence from recent transport projects suggests that resource consenting processes and resulting environmental requirements can vary from project to project. Ideally, stronger guiding principles would ensure processes were streamlined and provide more certainty for all. Overall there is reasonable consistency between projects, especially in the areas of the application of technical methodologies to address stormwater and erosion and sediment control aspects. However, there are inconsistencies elsewhere, such as in approaches to ecology. Findings and recommendations from this review will be published and promulgated widely, to indicate how environmental outcomes are being addressed in transport projects under the current consenting regime and to identify areas where greater consistency could be achieved across consent conditions or management requirements. Keywords: construction, ecology, environmental impact, erosion control, infrastructure, noise, planning, resource consent, resource management, sediment control, stormwater, transport, vibration.

Research Note 004 Evaluating the greenhouse gas emission reduction benefits from land transport mode shift programmes and projects

Published: | Category: Environmental sustainability , Research programme , Research & reports | Audience: General

This research note identifies a variety of land transport mode shift programmes that have demonstrated reductions in greenhouse gas emissions (GHG), primarily through changes in vehicle kilometres travelled (VKT). Many interrelated factors influence GHG emissions including the level of active mode or public transport infrastructure, land use planning, government policies, parking management, public transport pricing, and urban logistics. New Zealand can learn from these international programmes in terms of policy, implementation and measurement. The most immediate applications include mode-shift plans for New Zealand cities, environmental impact modelling, and developing emission reduction plans. Keywords: greenhouse gas, emissions, transport, vehicle kilometres travelled, measurement, mode shift