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Transport Research Network (TRN) is a broad interdisciplinary network of researchers from the University of Otago who work with national and international collaborators.

About our Transport Research Network

A University of Otago Research Theme

TRN has been active in supporting research activities, such as symposia and research seminars, and facilitating networking and research dissemination to stakeholders since 2016.

Our vision is to become New Zealand's leading interdisciplinary and cross-sector transport research network.

Goals of the Transport Research Network Research Theme include:

  • Establishing a strong national hub of cross-sectoral and interdisciplinary transport-related research
  • Building transport research capacity and capability within the University of Otago
  • Creating a hub that connects University of Otago researchers and transport sector practitioners
  • Becoming the key provider of research that informs evidence-based policy development in the transport sector

More about Our people

Contact us

Anyone with an interest in transport research is welcome to join our network:
Membership sign-up TRN membership form

Research interests

City street scene graphic showing a model of integrated traffic, cycling and pedestrian pathways 882
Dr Vanessa Beanland's presentation on integrated safe roadways for cities from the 2021 TRN Symposium.

Transport Research Network researchers have a strong research record:

Activities and support

Transport symposium attendeesOur Transport Research Network delivers many activities in support of our goals:

  • Hosting research seminars and symposia with local and international speakers
  • Hosting visits from government transport agencies
  • Running workshops for emerging transport researchers
  • Providing research support grants and summer scholarships
  • Providing funding to attend transport research conferences and events

Events open to the public are advertised on the  TRN Facebook page, and by email to our members.

Recorded seminars

TRN research support grants

TRN offers research support grants of up to $5,000 to support transport-related research projects that are:

  • Led by University of Otago academic staff who are TRN members, or
  • For students with at least one supervisor who is a TRN member employed at the University of Otago.

If you are interested in moving into transport research new members are welcome to join and apply for grants:
TRN membership form

Grant applications are sought twice a year and notices are circulated to members.

All enquiries to:

Applicants can apply for assistance with:

  • Research assistant salaries
  • Summer scholarships for students
  • Project costs
  • Cost of field data collection
  • Research-related travel costs
  • Rewards for participants

Research support grants have strict short-term timeframes (3-9 months). No funding extensions are possible.

TRN recent Seed Grant funded research

  • 2022: Dr Inga Smith, Department of Physics: COVID-19 impacts on New Zealand's international air transport connections: implications for greenhouse gas emissions.
  • 2022: Professor James Higham, Department of Tourism: Conference timing: Optimising for targeted impact.
  • 2020: Dr Vanessa Beanland, Department of Psychology: Why do Dunedinites like electric vehicles so much?
  • 2020: Hsueh Yu, Tseng, Department of Tourism: Reducing academic dependence on air transportation.

TRN conference funding eligibility

Applications are open to TRN members who are University of Otago academic staff, early career researchers, or postgraduate students.

Applicants can apply for support with:

  • Conference registration
  • Airfares
  • Accommodation

Conference funding is for attendance between specific academic periods and applications must be received at least two weeks prior to the actual conference-related travel.

TRN Summer Scholarships eligibility

We offer one summer scholarship per year to a University of Otago student who has at least one supervisor who is University of Otago staff and a TRN member.

Applications can be made for a $5,000 scholarship towards transportation research that aligns with TRN research areas of strength and long-term goals.

Summer scholarships are for projects between academic years (over summer break) and applicant's projects must be completed within the set timeframe. No funding extensions are possible.

TRN recent Summer Scholarships

  • 2022-23: Caitlin Smith, Sustainability Office: Commuting Habits of the University of Otago Staff: The potential for mode shift.
  • 2022-23: Toby McLean, Sustainability Office: Insights and Recommendations from the 2022 University of Otago Staff Travel Survey.
  • 2021–22: Sioned Nugent, Department of Preventive and Social Medicine: Safety at the Street-Scale Post Neighbourhood Street Retrofit Intervention.
  • 2020–21: Molly Hartley, Department of Population Health: GIS Based Primary Healthcare accessibility via Public Transit in Christchurch, New Zealand.
  • 2020–21: Finnbar Grieve, Department of Preventive and Social Medicine: Analysing media representation of bike lanes in New Zealand.

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Participant experiences driving simulator as part of road safety research at the Department of Psychology.

Our people

Steering and Advisory members of TRN image
From left, back row: Associate Professor Rebecca McLean, Dr Roselle Thoreau, Professor Simon Kingham, front row: Dr Vanessa Beanland, Mrs Kimberley King, Dr James Berghan.

Steering group

Advisory board members

  • Cr Alexa Forbes, Otago Regional Council, Dunedin
  • Andrew Jackson, Consulting Jackson Ltd., Wellington
  • Steve Riley, Ministry of Transport, Wellington
  • Professor Simon Kingham, University of Canterbury, Christchurch
  • Roselle Thoreau, Ministry of Transport, Wellington

University of  Otago members

  • Dr Vanessa Beanland, Department of Psychology, University of Otago, Dunedin
  • Dr James Berghan, School of Surveying, University of Otago, Dunedin
  • Dr Angela Curl, Department of Population Health, University of Otago, Christchurch
  • Associate Professor Christina Ergler, School of Geography, University of Otago, Dunedin
  • Dr Helen Fitt, Department of Population Health, University of Otago, Christchurch
  • Dr James Higham, Department of Tourism, University of Otago, Dunedin
  • Professor Michael Keall, Department of Public Health, University of Otago, Wellington
  • Dr Alexandra Macmillan, Department of Preventive and Social Medicine, University of Otago, Dunedin
  • Dr Rebecca McLean, Department of Population Health, University of Otago, Christchurch
  • Associate Professor Caroline Shaw, Department of Public Health, University of Otago, Wellington
  • Associate Professor Lincoln Wood, Department of Marketing, University of Otago, Dunedin

New Zealand collaborators

  • Dr James Berghan, Victoria University of Wellington
  • Professor Samuel Charlton, University of Waikato
  • Professor Sue Crengle, University of Otago
  • Professor Emeritus Jennie Connor, University of Otago
  • Dr Dan Exeter, University of Auckland
  • Professor Ngaire Kerse, University of Auckland
  • Professor Simon Kingham, University of Canterbury
  • Adjunct Professor Sandy Mandic, Auckland University of Technology
  • Christina McKerchar, University of Otago
  • Professor Melody Smith, University of Auckland
  • Associate Professor Joanne Taylor, Massey University
  • Dr Trudie Walters, University of Otago
  • Dr Janine Winters, University of Otago
  • Professor Karen Witten, Massey University

International collaborators

  • Professor Jennifer Mindell, UCL (University College London), United Kingdom
  • Associate Professor Charles Musselwhite, Swansea University, United Kingdom
  • Professor Emeritus Jean Shope, University of Michigan, United States
  • Anna-Lena van der Vlugt, Research Institute for Regional and Urban Development, Dortmund, Germany

Research student

  • Nicki Williams, University of Otago, Christchurch


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