Posted on: November 26, 2018 at 8:31 AM    

Stacy Rendall, Abley's Principal Developer & Research Specialist, recently attended the Transport Research Colloquium and the fifth annual Transport Knowledge Conference, held in Wellington on 14th and 15th November.

The Transport Research Colloquium brought together transport researchers and policy-makers to explore ways to connect them better. The colloquium involved around 60 attendees/presenters from universities, consultancies and various government departments, including Ministry of Transport (MoT), Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, and the New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA). The centrepiece of the discussion was the recently-released transport outcomes framework, with an aim to identify research gaps within the framework.

 MoT Transport Outcomes

 MoT’s Transport Outcomes Framework

Researchers from around the country described work currently being undertaken at their institutions, which highlighted some very interesting research topics coming out of Otago, Auckland and Lincoln Universities.

Dr Simon Kingham (University of Canterbury), who was recently appointed Chief Science Adviser to the Ministry of Transport, described what his new role entails.  This included the challenges he is looking to solve going forward, as he works to better connect researchers and policy-makers. Improved connection means that researchers are able to identify the research that policy-makers require, and that policy people can access and understand research that is relevant to them.

An interesting learning from the colloquium is that NZ Transport Agency is looking to start conducting research via agile methodologies, which struck a chord with me as our developer team is currently in the process of adopting agile more comprehensively.

The Transport Knowledge Conference started the following day with an attendance of over 250 delegates.  It also had a strong focus on the MoT’s outcomes framework. My highlights from the keynotes included:

  • NZ Transport Agency introducing their forthcoming Long-Term View modelling (which will appear as an interactive website rather than report)
  • Announcement of the release of PT 2045 – a modelling piece looking at a number of forward scenarios for public transport, including Mobility as a Service and how new travel paradigms can increase the connectivity of rapid transit.

 IMG 20181115 101802100

The PT 2045 work asks some interesting questions – autonomous vehicles, for example, are unlikely to solve transport problems such as congestion, but will form an integral part of wider PT system.

Ian Binnie (NZ Transport Agency) and Stacy presented on the recent accessibility trial studies, where Ian also outlined the wider strategic direction of the NZTA’s approach to accessibility and other studies that are underway.

The conference featured a good selection of parallel sessions, each categorised within an arm of the outcomes framework. A couple of interesting presentations I saw included:

  • Using traffic cameras with computer vision to identify cyclist near misses at intersections (allowing a human reviewer to save time by only looking at relevant footage) – Simon Douglas, New Zealand Automobile Association
  • Analysis of traffic and crash patterns before and after the 30km/hr speed limit reduction in central Christchurch– Dr Glen Koorey, ViaStrada Ltd
  • Aggregate telematics data analysis of speeding vehicles around Auckland, which identified that for 99.6 of trips speeding had no positive benefit – Gareth Robins, EROAD Ltd
  • Update from Ministry of Transport about lessons learned from changing the New Zealand Household Travel Survey from a two-day travel diary to seven-day online format - Jennifer McSaveney, Ministry of Transport

Overall the conference and colloquium were very interesting and refreshing - the future of transport research in New Zealand is looking quite exciting! To be notified of future events and to receive the Transport Intelligence Digest, make sure to sign up for the Transport Knowledge Hub at

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