Data availability in New Zealand

The current supply of relevant data falls significantly short of the ideal levels required for accessibility assessment. However commercial mapping approaches such as Google and Bing Maps include a wide range of commercially available data on roads and land uses. As public transport data has become more widely available in other countries Google Transit[6] has also allowed mapping of access to services from any point location. However data for public and private public transport services, in a standard format and at affordable cost, is not available in New Zealand’s major cities and the lack of data for towns and rural locations may result in reduced quality of accessibility assessments until this shortfall is rectified.

The desired data and the most likely data source, as well as other possible sources of data are listed in table 10.3. It should be noted that some of this data is not available or varies in quality depending on the source; local councils, in particular, have data at different levels of detail and quality.

Table 10.3    Data requirements and sources


Primary source

Other sources

Parcel boundaries

LINZ CRS via Terralink


Neighbourhood boundaries

Statistics NZ meshblock or area units

Terralink community boundaries

Land use or planning zones

Local councils


Land activity locations

Local councils/Ministry of Transport/ existing research

Critchlow, Terralink, LINZ, Zenbu

Road network


Local and regional councils. RAMM

Compiled road network



Cycling network

Local councils

Regional councils

Walking network

Local councils

Regional council

Public transport data

Regional councils

Local councils

Existing household travel data

Ministry of Transport


Demographic data

Statistics New Zealand


Hours of activity operation

Local councils

Local business organisations

Quality of active mode networks

Local councils

Key stakeholders, eg Living Streets Aotearoa

Other key deterrence factors

Ministry of Transport



The lack of immediately available data suggests data will need to be collected in order for the successful development and implementation of accessibility planning tools in New Zealand. The collection of new datasets is often a significant project in its own right and therefore collecting all missing data is not immediately feasible. It is important during the early stages of accessibility planning that priorities are set for data collection and communication of intentions are broadcast to other entities that may benefit from the planned collection of any such data. Forming partnerships for data collection can often be beneficial both economically and strategically for all parties.

The format of public transport and journey data is also an issue for accessibility assessment. The UK has several data exchange standards such as TransXchange and RTIG-XML. No such standards exist in New Zealand for the exchange of data. A customised accessibility assessment tool will require a standardised input for public transport and journey data exchange and this project could be the catalyst for the development of a New Zealand standard.