Research

Barclay Traffic Planning has an active programme of research into technical and policy issues, to complement and support its service to clients. Recent research projects include:

Resource Management Act reform In February 2013 the Government published a discussion paper outlining proposals for improving the Resource Management Act 1991. Bill Barclay has made a submission on the paper, commenting in particular on the implications for effects-based planning, and expressing concern about the additional procedural complexity some of the reforms would involve. 

A quantum theory of hierarchies An opinion article in which Bill Barclay observes that modes of transport or types of roading tend to be hierarchical in nature, with quantum leaps from one level to another. Methodology based on these hierarchies will be a more rational means of planning transport investment than apparent "green" credentials of a mode or the short-term economic return. The article was published in the March 2013 issue of Roundabout, newsletter of the Institution of Professional Engineers New Zealand Transportation Group.

New Zealand Planning Institute Conference 2003 In May 2003 Bill Barclay presented a paper on transportation planning to the New Zealand Planning Institute annual conference in Hamilton. 2003 was the 50th anniversary of the enactment of the Town and Country Planning Act 1953 which can be regarded as the foundation of modern town planning. To mark the occasion the conference adopted the theme “50/50 Vision”. Bill’s paper focussed on demographic, economic and technological changes since 1953, and their implications for transportation planning. Rapid growth in travel demand has been fuelled by changes in the work force and a major expansion in the volume of freight. In terms of energy efficiency, road transport is now competitive with rail for both freight and passenger transport. The paper proposes a hierarchy of transport modes, in which the most economical and flexible modes such as walking, cycling and road transport are exploited first, before resorting to more expensive modes such as rail.

A graph  in the Planning Institute paper compared trends in petrol prices and energy use over a period of 30 years. At the time of the conference in 2003 petrol prices in real terms were very low, in fact at about the same level as in 1971 prior to the first oil crisis in 1973. Since 2003 there have been sharp increases in fuel prices, and an updated version of the graph below shows the trends to 2008. The graph does not show reductions in price during the last months of 2008.

 

 

There has been a sharp increase in fuel prices but real cost is still well below the peaks of the mid-1980s. There are signs of some moderation in the growth of energy use, but higher prices have not prevented a continued upward trend.

 

Information on these research topics is available on request.