Let’s Get Oamaruving!

Published on 14 October 2021

poster roading survey.PNG

The government has just released a plan[1] to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. It includes reducing vehicle kilometres travelled by 20%. Ways to do this include “making school travel greener and healthier” and “investigating the potential for public transport, walking and cycling in rural and provincial areas”.

What can we do in Oamaru?

Two local tertiary students, Alyssa and Breanna Greaney, want to find out. Alyssa is a second-year Bachelor of Arts student, majoring in Geography and Japanese. Breanna is a second-year Bachelor of Science student, majoring in Geography and Environmental Science with a minor in Political Science.

Alyssa and Breanna Greaney grew up in Oamaru, attending St Joseph’s School and Oamaru Intermediate School then graduated from Waitaki Girls’ High School in 2019. The siblings are passionate about how transport can affect greenhouse gas emissions and the role government and council plays in reducing emissions. 

This summer, they are going home to investigate how primary, intermediate, and high school-aged students travel to and from school. Working with the Waitaki District Council and the University of Canterbury, the “Let’s Get Oamaruving!” team is looking to identify barriers students might face with different transport modes and to enable people to use lower-carbon modes.

Other members of the team include:  

  • Mike Harrison, the Waitaki District Council Roading Manager.
  • Dr Lindsey Conrow, a Lecturer in Geography at the University of Canterbury.
  • Professor Simon Kingham, a Professor of Geography at the University of Canterbury who is also seconded to the Ministry of Transport as their Chief Science Advisor, where he tries to ensure transport policy is evidence-based.

Waitaki District Council Roading Manager Mike Harrison said, “the research will be used by Council to make changes that suit the community’s needs, making it easier to use different travel modes and plan for a more sustainable future.”

Dr Lindsey Conrow said, “This is an exciting project because there’s a great deal we don’t know about transport solutions in smaller towns and regions, and the Ministry of Transport has a keen interest in research that can feed into national transport policy decisions.” 

Part of the project includes an online survey that is going out to all Oamaru schools this week. Anyone who participates will have the chance to enter to win one of two prizes, which have been kindly supplied by the PeterPan Bakery and Martyn Cycles. 

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