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About this research project

The transport system is one of Aotearoa New Zealand's most significant sources of greenhouse gas emissions. Radical reductions in emissions are needed to meet climate targets. There are various approaches to how we might reduce emissions in the transport sector, each resulting in differing health, transport and equity outcomes while achieving climate goals.

This project explores a range of scenarios for a low-carbon transport system for NZ (with particular focus on electric car uptake; a transport system that aims to maximise health in the population; and a transport system that achieves the aspirations of Māori). It will determine the packages of policies needed to implement each scenario (such as policies to promote cycling or increase public transport). Finally, using a macro simulation model it will estimate the transport, economic, health and equity outcomes of each scenario out to 2070.

The results from this research will allow us to compare the health gains or losses across the important health impacts of the transport system (air pollution, injury; physical activity and noise), equity impacts and cost-effectiveness of the different low-carbon transport system scenarios.

This project is funded by an HRC project grant (20/151) and has ethical approval from the University of Otago Human Ethics Committee (HD20/081).

Our people

The team that work on this project are:


The final results from the study are not due until 2023, however the team have already started disseminating the work from this project in a range of ways.


Shaw C, Tiatia-Seath J. Travel inequities experienced by Pacific peoples in Aotearoa/New Zealand. Journal of Transport Geography. 2022;99:103305.

Technical reports



Shaw, C. Mizdrak, A, Gage, R. More than 147km – the transformative potential of the Wellington bike network plan. Public Health Expert 24 November 2021
Woodward, A. Wild, K., Jones, R. Climate policy that relies on a shift to electric cars risks entrenching existing inequities. The Conversation 27 May 2021
Shaw, C. NZ's smoking rates dropped dramatically thanks to a hard-hitting campaign. Could we do the same to bring emissions down? The Conversation 23 February 2021
Shaw, C. Mizdrak, A. E-bikes are the new cars- why don't transport policy makers treat them seriously?Public Health Expert, 4 August 2020.


Mizdrak, A. Seeking the transport sweet spot health, equity and zero carbon. Transport Knowledge Conference. Wellington, 1 December 2021
Shaw, C. Rethinking transport in the 21st century. Presentation to the Sustainable Healthcare and Climate Health Aotearoa Conference. Wellington, 22 June 2021


In 2020 we hosted two summer students who researched international exemplars of active transport and electric car policy. As part of the studentship they produced posters summarizing their findings.
E-Car Policy poster (PDF)
Cycling Policy poster (PDF)

Caroline Shaw was interviewed on Nine to Noon on Radio New Zealand about ebike policy on 11 September 2020.

Team members have contributed to a range of submissions in relevant policy areas. These include submissions on the Government Emissions Reduction Plan (November 2021), Hīkina te Kohupara – Kia mauri ora ai te iwi Transport Emissions: Pathways to Net Zero by 2050 (May 2021) and He Pou a Rangi/Climate Change Commission 2021 Draft Advice for Consultation (February 2021).

Contact us

If you have further questions about the project, please contact:

Associate Professor Caroline Shaw

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