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The Future of Transport

Moving Freight
New Zealand Transport

Being able to travel easily is important to everyone. Rail can help make travel easier by reducing the amount traffic on our roads.

As the number of people living in New Zealand increases traffic on our roads will also increase. To reduce road traffic more people will need to use public transport both on the road and by rail.

Self-driving trains

Automatic train operation (ATO) is a safety device. ATO can be used at different levels of automation up to level 4, where a computer controls the train. This system is now used in many places across the world. A train driver stays onboard to react to any failures or emergencies.

Self-driving vehicles

Self-driving vehicles drive themselves. They sense what is around them and use technology to find their way. They use sensors and software to control, navigate, and drive the vehicle. Self-driving vehicles use tools such as:

  • radar
  • laser light (LiDAR)
  • GPS
  • automatic emergency braking
  • odometry
  • computer vision (cameras).

Carbon emissions

Transport is mainly powered by the burning of fossil fuels such as petrol and diesel. This produces green house gases such as carbon dioxide. Increases in carbon dioxide contribute to climate change.

The benefits of rail

Rail transport can help lower the number of vehicles on the road. This can:

  • reduce road congestion
  • reduce road accidents
  • reduce greenhouse gas emissions
  • improve safety on our roads
  • lower spending on road maintenance and upgrades.

According to an NZTA report:

  • Without rail there would be an extra 100,000 daily car trips on our roads each year.
  • Rail also means trucks are on the roads for 11 million fewer hours each year. 
  • Using rail cuts New Zealand’s carbon emissions by 488,000 tonnes a year. This is the same as taking 87,000 cars off the road, saving millions of dollars.
  • Rail freight has 66% fewer carbon emissions than heavy road freight.
  • Moving more freight by rail can help New Zealand reach its climate change targets.

What can you do?

To help reduce air pollution and traffic on our roads you can:

  • Sometimes walk or ride a bike instead of using the car.
  • Car pool - travel with others.
  • Use public transport - catch the train or bus.

Ready for a quiz? Try the 'Future of Transport' activity.

Audio Māori keywords: 

What do you think are the advantages and disadvantages of using cars less often?

Rail will form an important part of our transport system in the future because it can help reduce our dependence on road vehicles. Image: TrackSAFE.

Electric commuter trains in Auckland are helping to reduce the amount of traffic on the roads. Image: TrackSAFE.

Self driving cars and trains may help make our transport system more efficient in the future. Image: Ohmio.

Satellite navigation technology such as GPS is helping to make self-driving vehicles possible. Image: NASA.

Moving Freight
New Zealand Transport