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Published: 2008-04-22 00:00:00

The largest ever traffic survey in the Waikato has been completed with more than 47,000 drivers surveyed at various sites around the region during February and March.

The surveys involved 17000 roadside interviews at 12 state highways sites and 30,000 postal surveys sent out to people who crossed the six bridges in Hamilton City. Some 12,200 responses were received from the postal survey representing a very healthy 40 per cent response rate.

“We’d like to thank Waikato motorists and drivers from other areas who cooperated patiently with the roadside surveys, and those who took the time to post us information,” said the survey’s project manager James Bevan. “Congratulations to Colin Young who was the winner of the $500 cash prize draw. Colin’s vehicle was snapped crossing one of the Hamilton City bridges and he returned his survey form very promptly”.

“We’ll now be carefully analysing the information gathered to build a picture of travel patterns within and through the Waikato. This will help determine how $4.4 billion worth of transport funds will be invested in the region over the next decade.

“The information gathered is of both national and regional significance, given the very high traffic volumes that flow through and within the Waikato,” said Mr Bevan.

The survey has so far involved:

  • roadside interviews with motorists at the twelve sites
  • videoing of licence plates of vehicles passing six of Hamilton’s bridges at different times over one day, with follow-up survey forms sent to drivers’ homes.

This data collection will be followed by a household interview survey involving 2000 households next month, and interviews with public transport users later in the year

Data gathered will help support the delivery of major state highway projects, assist local councils and Transit New Zealand to manage their existing infrastructure, and in the planning of public transport in and around Hamilton City.

“The Waikato region is part of a growth triangle that includes Auckland and Bay of Plenty, and is a powerhouse of population and economic growth in the North Island. Over half of the nation’s road and rail freight is in this triangle so then region needs a very clear picture of vehicle movements to help set priorities,” said Mr Bevan.

The survey project is being led by Environment Waikato, Transit New Zealand and Hamilton City Council with contributions from the Waikato, Waipa, Matamata-Piako, Taupo and Thames Coromandel district Councils. Land Transport NZ is supporting this project, with over 70 per cent of the project costs coming from central government.