Better ways to move around the city

Almost 60% of our carbon emissions are from the way we move about. A large portion of that comes from the airport. When broken down, road transport makes up about a third of the city’s emissions. A key outcome of our next ten years needs to be a significant shift away from moving about in petrol driven cars. Walking, bikes, buses, trains and hot new technologies all have a role to play. Given the urgency we need an all of the above approach. 

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Keystone project: Let’s Get Wellington Moving

This joint initiative between Wellington City Council, Greater Wellington Regional Council, and the New Zealand Transport Agency offers a serious chance to improve this particularly for the city centre, and the south and east. The project aims to integrate all modes of transport in a holistic way while improving liveability in the central city. The scale of investment for LGWM is unprecedented in Wellington – it presents a once in a generation opportunity to create the transport system needed to support a zero carbon future.

The south and east are only part of the city. The north is where most carbon comes from, and the west is where most of the congestion growth is. As a result, once Let’s Get Wellington Moving is underway the Council will need to start focussing on transport the north and west.

Visit the Let's Get Wellington Moving website

Key considerations
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Supporting active transport across the City


Cycling improvements enhance opportunities for the 76% of Wellingtonians who’ve said they are willing to give biking a try in a safe environment. Additionally, walking facilities give the whole population a chance to have a more pleasant experience.

Upgrading public transport across the city.


  • Let’s Get Wellington Moving, creates an opportunity to improve the public transport service in the central city, south and east.

  • The north and west could be enhanced with bus lanes and other improvements tailored to address their daily congestion.

  • Public transport affordability should be evaluated in this process. 

Public and active transport targets


The Council will develop strong targets in time for the next Long Term Plan to increase public and active transport use. There are many opportunities for more people to walk, bike and use public transport for work and play.

Sending signals about road use


To limit congestion and signal the true cost of driving user charges are a powerful tool. Not only do they help optimise the road use between modes, but charges help a city manage demand when there is no more room to build road capacity.

Development around public transport


Transit Oriented Development is an opportunity to build more livable, connected, and vibrant town centres around mass transit stations.

Decarbonise the vehicle fleet


There are multiple types of Zero-Emissions Vehicles (ZEVs): hydrogen, biofuel, but the most common is electric.  There is still a great deal of driving in Wellington, and as we go to Zero Carbon those cars need to change to ZEVs, and soon. Kiwis keep their cars longer than any country in the developed world, so what we’re buying now is critical. 

Other transport initiatives

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Car Sharing


Car sharing has seen a massive growth in popularity since the passing of the Low Carbon Capital plan and Car Share Policy that set aside on-street space for the use of car sharing firms. Thousands of Wellingtonians now use car sharing services, with 38 cars circulating.  We will further explore supporting this essential service, including removing restrictions to its growth such as removing the cap on the number of available car parks open to these schemes, and encouraging the use of such schemes in larger apartment complexes. 

Electric Vehicle Charging


EV charging is growing quickly in Wellington. We’ve installed three slower chargers at Zealandia, three fast chargers in the CBD thanks to Contact Energy and ChargeNet New Zealand, one slower charger on Bond Street, and have fifty slow residential chargers in progress. In the end, the quarter of Wellingtonians without access to off-street charging should remain the focus as the lack of ability to charge at home is a barrier to owning an EV. 

Dynamic Shuttles


Shuttles that pick you up from home and are controlled by an app on your phone, integrating with the public transport system or to parts of the city that would allow more effective active transport have been rising in popularity throughout the world. With our partners we will look to see point to point transport options included in the mix for development as we aim to increase convenience while supporting public transport.

Bike sharing & Scooter Sharing


The trials of bike and scooter sharing in Wellington present an opportunity to understand if these modes belong in Wellington. Tens of thousands of bikeshare rides later, the key outcome achieved has been introducing new people to biking, and generally shifting the conversation towards enjoyable modes of shared transport, balanced with the need to protect pedestrians.

Changing travel to work and school


We will establish a travel behaviour change programme for businesses much like the one for schools. In other New Zealand cities, advisors coming to the office helping staff on a one-to-one basis has been effective at shifting local business employees from cars to sustainable transport.  We will also expand support for our schools travel programme.

Create more people friendly spaces


In conjunction with communities that are interested, the Council will seek areas in the CBD and Town Centres where pedestrianising streets, detuning or converting to shared spaces and implementing safer speeds will support the vitality and livability of those areas.

User charges and access


The prospect of user charges to decongest the road network could also incentivise use of zero emissions vehicles early on and control of other kinds of vehicles later on in the transition to zero carbon. Exempting zero emissions vehicles from paying the charge until they comprise a certain percentage of the fleet might be a sensible approach.  In 2035 we will consider creating a fossil-free CBD using these tools.

Parking pricing adjustments


One of the key services the Council provides to the community is parking throughout the city. Whether for residential, coupon or short stay parking, we will explore a long term plan for tolling higher emissions vehicles via parking charges towards the end of the transition. This may require the assistance of Central Government.

Building a citywide cycleway network


Ensuring access to safe cycling options across the city will be good for all road users. Taking cars off the road decongests the route for drivers, provides health benefit for new and existing riders, and encourages people to shop locally.