Recommendations

This research provides a methodology that documents how to develop an accessibility assessment tool that has geospatial outputs. The sector may now wish to determine how it might utilise this tool, including how it would be best to roll it out to other potential users and whether to undertake further research to assist the tool to develop.

In terms of management and delivery of the accessibility methodology, accessibility tool and accessibility planning techniques, Abley Transportation Consultants recommends the sector considers the following:

1      Nurture the development and maturity of accessibility modelling with the anticipation of forming an industry management group consisting of relevant NZTA staff, other agency and/or government staff (who are interested in accessibility mapping outcomes) and external technical expertise. This two-part approach would assist in cementing the immediate 'intellectual high ground' and, after suitable maturity and proven usefulness, the latter part would cement the 'technical high ground' with the wider transportation planning industry.

2      Instigate a review to consider how the accessibility modelling tool might be delivered to the wider transportation planning profession. This would include the advantages and disadvantages of the centrally controlled approach, eg the MoT's Crash Analysis System (CAS) versus a decentralised yet still governed role, eg road assessment and maintenance management (RAMM), versus a fragmented approach, eg existing transportation modelling. It is the opinion of Abley Transportation Consultants that a decentralised yet still governed approach provides the best balance for central government investment, quality of assessment and providing for innovation.

3      Increase the role and relevance of the New Zealand Geospatial Office (NZGO) for transportation (and indirectly accessibility modelling) by becoming a partner organisation of the Geospatial Executives Group (already actioned by NZTA). This is expected to increase the ease of data sharing and data enhancement across government. The addition of a representative from the NZGO onto the industry management group would be a natural extension of the increasing relevance of the NZGO.

4      Undertake a number of accessibility assessments that would test various approaches and develop linkages with other assessment techniques and processes such as the NZTA's Economic evaluation manual (NZTA 2010) neighbourhood accessibility plans, integrated transportation assessments (Abley et al 2010), network plan development, regional land transport plans project prioritisation, and to inform other integrated planning projects. These applications would refine the methodology, provide examples for how the methodology is best used in practice and ultimately inform the wider transportation planning industry of the usefulness of accessibility planning.

5      Task the industry management group (when set up) to consider issues such as management of the accessibility methodology and promotion of the field of accessibility planning including education at academia, and local and regional government as well as private interests and the wider transportation profession. Suitable linkages to the profession could be through supporting organisations such as the New Zealand Planning Institute, Institution of Professional Engineers New Zealand, Local Government New Zealand and the Ministry for Environment.

In terms of development and refinement of the accessibility methodology and accessibility planning techniques, Abley Transportation Consultants recommends the following:

1      Commission further work immediately to develop data input standards regarding metadata and network coding to assist the transportation community to conform to a best practice code. This will lessen the amount of rework regarding network creation, editing, updating and aid knowledge growth and transfer within the profession. A standardised New Zealand public transport coding system that requires or incentivises operators to supply public transport data when registering routes as per the Public Transport Management Act 2008 would be particularly useful.

2      Develop indicators for how accessibility measurements can be interpreted including a methodology that explains how threshold and continuous indicators are best used in practice, their calculation methodology and the reasons why certain values are appropriate. Composite indicators which are a combination of indicators, such as the comprehensive accessibility score that has been developed as part of this research, can be developed later.

3      Create a national accessibility transportation model to benchmark and potentially track trends in accessibility for different local and regional authorities. This would help inform the setting of specified levels of accessibility 'success' by mode and activity and help inform the development of accessibility indicators. The outputs from the work would also assist to inform the Ministry of Transport's Transport Monitoring Indicator Framework.

4      Support the further research identified in Part 3 of this report, identifying high-priority and complementary research first, and commission all or parts of this research as funds or support in kind allows. This would lessen the risk of the accessibility methodology fragmenting into different approaches.