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Contact Details

+64 3 364 3656
Associate Professor and Head of Department
Department of Population Health (Christchurch)
PGDipArts MA PhD (Otago)
Research summary
Transport and Licensing Policy; Road Safety and Accessibility; Injury Epidemiology


Rebecca is an Associate Professor in the Department of Population Health and has a PhD (Public Health) and MA (Psychology) from the University of Otago. Associate Professor McLean previously held a postdoctoral fellowship (Division of Health Sciences Postdoctoral Fellowship Award 2013-2015).

Rebecca leads the Transport, Mobility and Health Research Group. Her research uses epidemiological methods, primarily cohort study methodology, to inform policy and programmes to improve public health through the provision of accessible, safe, and sustainable transport.

She has led two Health Research Council of NZ (HRC) funded projects, investigating self-regulation and driving cessation among older drivers (NZPATHS: New Zealand Prospective Older Adult Transport and Health Study, 2015-2022). She was a co-investigator on the New Zealand Drivers Study, a prospective cohort study of 3992 young drivers, which has informed graduating driver licensing (GDL) policy nationally and internationally. She is also an investigator on several young driver projects: GDL compliance and policing theory in Australia; Evaluation of NZ Police licensing programme for young offenders; and the Australian DRIVE project, a cohort study of 20,822 young drivers.

Rebecca is on the Governing Council and Vice President (Finance and Administration) for the Australasian College of Road Safety and is the Co-Chair of the NZ Chapter. She is on the management board for two University of Otago Research Themes (CARE, TRN) and is on the editorial board for leading international journals: Journal of Safety Research and Journal of Road Safety.

Postgraduate research opportunities

Several project opportunities exist with the Transport, Mobility and Health Research Group.

Current and past student projects

  • Reducing Road Offending Behaviour Using an Integrated Deterrence-based Model (E Hassan)
  • A descriptive analysis of driving and transportation planning for rural and urban older drivers in New Zealand (C Sreng)
  • Driving to the Conditions: Driver Behaviour in Youths (L Kettle)
  • Analysing Media Representation of Bike Lanes in New Zealand (F Grieve)
  • A Smartphone Course: A Way to Improve Elderly Digital Literacy (J Lin)

Current projects

  • Principal Investigator, Predictors and impact of driving cessation on older adults and whānau/families (2018-2022, funded by HRC: NZ PATHS)

Past projects

  • Associate Investigator, Young Adult Compliance (YAC) Project: The road to compliance: Integrating three theories to better understand provisional drivers’ compliance behaviour (2018–2021, funded by an Australian Research Council Discovery Early Career Research Award to Dr Lyndel Bates, Griffith University)
  • Associate Investigator, Young Driver DRIVE Cohort Re-linkage Project (2017-2021, funded by NRMA-ACT Road Safety Trust, Australia)
  • Co-Principal Investigator, Evaluation of the Dunedin Community Driving Programme, (2016-2018, funded by DSM)
  • Principal Investigator, Older drivers, families and GPs: Navigating the path between mobility and safety (2015-2018, funded by HRC)
  • Principal Investigator, Testing risk segmentation model for young drivers (2014, funded by New Zealand Transport Agency)
  • Co-investigator, New Zealand Drivers Study: A follow-up of newly licensed drivers (2005-2013, funded by HRC, ACC, Road Safety Trust)
  • Co-investigator, Liquor Licensing Support Officer Trial Evaluation (2005, funded by NZ Police)
  • Co-investigator, Monitoring the ACC Stop Bus Programme (2002-2005, funded by ACC).

Additional details

  • Awarded a 2018 HRC Project Grant 18/345
  • Awarded a 2015 HRC Project Grant 15/261
  • Awarded a Griffith Criminology Institute and School of Criminology and Criminal Justice Visiting Scholars Award (2018)
  • Awarded invitation to the Commonwealth Science Conference, Bangalore, India, November 2014. Invited by the Royal Society (London) and the Science Advisory Council to the Prime Minister of India.
  • Awarded a University of Otago Division of Health Sciences Career Development Programme Postdoctoral Fellowship (2013–2015)


Bates, L., Alexander, M., Seccombe, J., & McLean, R. (2024). Driver thrill seeking mediates the effect of gender on traffic offending for young drivers. Transportation Research Part F, 102, 233-240. doi: 10.1016/j.trf.2024.03.002 Journal - Research Article

McLean, R. (2023, September). Findings from NZ Prospective Older Adult Transport and Health Study. Verbal presentation at the Australasian Road Safety Conference (ARSC): Safe Travel for All, [Hybrid]. Conference Contribution - Verbal presentation and other Conference outputs

Senserrick, T., Möller, H., Boufous, S., Stevenson, M., Williamson, A., Patton, G., McLean, R., … Ivers, R. (2023). Learning with a supervisor who has traffic offences and young driver crashes: The DRIVE study 13-year follow-up. Journal of Adolescent Health. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1016/j.jadohealth.2023.06.018 Journal - Research Article

McLean, R., Colhoun, S., & Widyastuti, N. (2023, May). Older drivers, transport and health. Verbal presentation at the Connect with Transport Research Symposium, Christchurch, New Zealand. Conference Contribution - Verbal presentation and other Conference outputs

McLean, R. (2023, March). NZPATHS: What, why and how. Verbal presentation at the New Zealand Prospective Older Adult Transport and Health Study (PATHS) Project Symposium, Wellington, New Zealand. Conference Contribution - Verbal presentation and other Conference outputs

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