Commuting to Work

The Statistics Department has just given us the figures for how people commute to work. They gave percentages of people who drive, walk, cycle or take public transport to work. These figures come from the census in 2006. Every five years, we have a census when we fill in a lot of information about ourselves and our families. The Statistics Department then uses this information to tell us things like the number and ages of people living in different parts of the country.

The information about commuting to work is interesting because most people do not commute long distances in New Zealand. Even in our biggest city, Auckland which has more than a million people, the median distance that people travel to work is only 6km. More people now drive to work than 10 years ago. In Auckland, only 4% use public transport and in Christchurch, only 1% and those are mostly women. Wellington is unusual because 25% use public transport. The geography of Wellington is different from Auckland. Many people live north of the city near a rail line which is very convenient for them. There is only one motorway in Wellington from Lower Hutt into the city. Christchurch is flat so it is more attractive for cyclists, but only 6% cycle to work and most of those are men. 4% walk or jog to work.

In the ten years between 1996 and 2006, there has been a 21% increase in the number of workers in the cities but a 14% increase in population. More people now live on the edge of the cities in smaller towns.

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