In this research project we used a combination of a literature review; an analysis of secondary data and accessibility indices; and an online survey of inner city and non-inner city residents in Auckland and Wellington to examine the impact of urban intensification on people's travel behaviour, mode choice and household vehicle ownership.
A core finding was that inner city residents were more likely to walk and less likely to drive, for any trip purpose, than residents living elsewhere in Auckland/Wellington cities and metropolitan areas. Inner city residents also had demonstrably fewer vehicles per adult in the household.
Our analysis of 2006 Census data indicated that, on their own, neither the population nor employment density of major New Zealand cities appeared directly correlated with the choice of mode for the journey to work. Rather, our review and primary data analysis determined that density worked in conjunction with the mix of activities/destinations in an area and destination accessibility to affect travel patterns and vehicle ownership. In addition, we found that attitudes and neighbourhood preferences (self-selection) were important determinants of mode use, rather than the built environment, although the built environment facilitated residents to actively demonstrate their favoured travel and vehicle ownership behaviours.