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Chapter 7 Institutions, Path Dependency and Public Transport

DOI: 10.23912/978-1-910158-64-7-3298

ISBN: 978-1-910158-64-7

Published: November 2016

Component type: chapter

Published in: Low Carbon Mobility Transitions

Parent DOI: 10.23912/978-1-910158-64-7-2847



Political institutions, their visions, and policies have influenced urban transport policies in New Zealand. The aim of this chapter is to provide a historical overview of urban transport policies in Auckland, New Zealand to investigate the nature of institutional barriers and opportunities for change. This chapter uses path dependence and development as a theoretical framework providing a structured approach with which to explain the nature of transport planning and policies in Auckland. The research finds that events such as replacement of trams with buses and policy directions such as selection of motorway projects over the rapid rail in the mid-1950s to mid-1960s locked Auckland’s transport policies into a road-based paradigm. However, this road-based transport policy paradigm has been challenged since the early 2000s, with subsequent events, policies and institutional restructuring all shaping a new critical juncture in favour of sustainable transport. In spite of this emerging critical juncture, transport policies to deliver greater sustainable transport outcomes have largely been placed on hold due to resistance from path-dependent transport policies that promote investment in motorways. The more convincing institutional change will occur if local political leadership generate constructive debate in resisting carbon-intensive policies, develop a clear plan for the low carbon mobility future, get public transport funding autonomy and national level policy guidelines to integrate land use and transport.

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  • Muhammad Imran, School of People, Environment and Planning, Massey University, New Zealand. (Author)
  • Jane Pearce, Department of Geography, University of Canterbury, New Zealand (Author)

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Imran & Pearce, 2016

Imran, M. & Pearce, J. (2016) "Chapter 7 Institutions, Path Dependency and Public Transport" In: Hopkins, D. & Higham, J. (ed) . Oxford: Goodfellow Publishers http://dx.doi.org/10.23912/978-1-910158-64-7-3298


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