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Tamaki Makaurau – Reducing car use is the biggest thing Kiwis can do to reduce emissions, even just for one trip a week.

New Zealanders spend 146 million hours getting to work every year. Most of that in cars alone. More New Zealanders need to switch their commute and make it low emissions, low cost and low stress.

Before covid around two-thirds of people driving to work would be by themselves in their cars, which is 5.5 million empty seats travelling every day. Emissions from transport make up over one-fifth of the country’s overall emissions and road transport emissions have doubled since 1990 making it a huge opportunity in tackling climate change.

If a fifth of those who usually travel to work by car chose to work at home at least one day a week, Aotearoa could avoid 84,000 tonnes of carbon emissions each year. A total of 66 percent of commuters have no passengers.

Research shows that around a third of New Zealanders already report driving less in order to reduce their emissions, which is fantastic. But people still tend to default to cars to get around. Even in areas where there’s good public transport and active transport infrastructure, the vast majority still commute by car.

Waka Kotahi (NZ Transport Agency) data shows 78 percent of commutes are by car. The biggest perceived advantage of driving is a quick journey, but the biggest disadvantage noted is that traffic is too slow. The data is really clear that driving stresses people out and it’s expensive, but it’s still the default.

Now is the perfect time for Kiwis to rethink their commutes. People are about to head back to their workplaces for the new year – for a big part of the population, it might be the first time they’ve had to commute in months. It’s summer, it’s light in the evenings and it’s a new year: this is the ideal time to rethink how you do it.

Whether it’s walking, biking, or catching the bus, kick off the new year with a lower carbon commute – even just for a couple of trips a week.

Transport is responsible for more than 48 percent of energy-related emissions in Aotearoa New Zealand. By changing how to get from A to B, people can make a real difference to climate change.

Switching from driving to a commute by bus, train, walking or cycling would cut emissions significantly, even if was for just for a couple of trips a week. And people would also be spending less time stressed out in traffic.