Opus Central Laboratories

New Zealand

Opus Central Laboratories

New Zealand
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Walton D.,Health Sponsorship Council of New Zealand | Thomas J.,Opus Central Laboratories | Mora K.,Opus Central Laboratories | Lamb S.,University of Western Sydney | Murray S.,Health Sponsorship Council
Road and Transport Research | Year: 2012

505 vehicle owners responded to a structured questionnaire to examine the mechanisms that lead consumers to want larger vehicles and resist downsizing. An experimental within-subjects manipulation hypothetically replaced a driver's current vehicle with a vehicle that was either higher or lower in design capability, and measured perceived lifestyle consequences. In baseline conditions drivers consistently regard their main vehicle as ideal for their lifestyle across all vehicle types, except in multiple-vehicle households where capability deficits of a main vehicle are offset by retaining an alternative vehicle. Participants considered the influence of a replacement vehicle on 12 trip types that require higher demands on vehicle capability but make minor contributions to annual vehicle travel, influencing only 2.5% of annual trips. Participants were found to adjust their perceived lifestyle expectations to match any increase in their vehicle resource by increasing the likelihood of undertaking rare trip events (such as going off-road). Conversely, participants were found to be loss-averse to a decrease in design capability, albeit for trips that they report they rarely undertake. These two key mechanisms operate together to promote an increase in average vehicle size and produce a resistance for consumers downsizing vehicles.

Murray S.J.,Health Sponsorship Council | Walton D.,Health Sponsorship Council | Walton D.,University of Canterbury | Thomas J.A.,Opus Central Laboratories
Transportation | Year: 2010

Attitudes towards public transport (PT) in New Zealand's three largest cities (Auckland, Wellington, and Christchurch) were examined in a cross-sectional survey of drivers. A measure of prejudice to PT was developed to assess the strength and nature of attitudinal differences. Auckland residents had the highest levels of PT prejudice while Wellington residents had the lowest, and these differences were not related to demographic differences between the samples. Direct contact with PT was associated with reduced levels of PT prejudice, but measures of indirect contact, beliefs about using PT, and environmental attitudes were stronger predictors of PT prejudice scores. Controlling for these variables resulted in the difference in PT prejudice levels between Wellington and Christchurch becoming non-significant, while the differences between Auckland and the other two cities remained. This suggests that the difference between Wellington and Christchurch was primarily based on social norms regarding PT prejudice, while quality of service was a factor in the difference between Auckland and the other two cities. It is suggested that campaigns promoting PT ridership should focus both on the quality of service and on presenting PT usage as socially normal. © 2010 Springer Science+Business Media, LLC.

Fourie M.,University of Canterbury | Fourie M.,Opus Central Laboratories | Walton D.,University of Canterbury | Thomas J.A.,Opus Central Laboratories
Transportation Research Part F: Traffic Psychology and Behaviour | Year: 2011

Drivers' hands position have been shown to vary with traffic speed and complexity of the driving environment, such that drivers are more likely to place two hands on the top half of the steering wheel as the supposed driving difficulty increases (Walton, D. & Thomas, J. A. [2005]. Naturalistic observations of driver hand positions. Transportation Research Part F, 8, 229-238). This research evaluates drivers' hands positions, examining the reliability of the measure and the relationship between the positions of the driver's hands, vehicle speed, vehicle headway and driver sex. The findings show that the observed positions of drivers' hands have good inter-rater reliability and demonstrate both temporal and contextual reliability. The positions of drivers' hands are related to other measures, such that drivers with lower-ranked positions of hands are more likely to travel at higher speeds and accept shorter headways. Female drivers are found to be 2.87 times more likely than males to place two hands rather than one hand on the top half of the steering wheel. © 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Lamb S.,University of Western Sydney | Walton D.,Health Promotion Agency | Walton D.,University of Canterbury | Mora K.,Opus Central Laboratories | Thomas J.,Opus Central Laboratories
Natural Hazards Review | Year: 2012

This study examines the factors influencing shadow evacuation. A mock television evacuation order was used to experimentally manipulate the presenter level of authority and message script. The dependent measures were the judged likelihood of evacuation and the judgments of message and presenter characteristics. The participants were 186 members of the general public from Lower Hutt, New Zealand. Thirty-three percent of the participants (14% knowingly) outside the evacuation zone reported they were likely to evacuate; therefore, they were classified as shadow evacuees. Nearly three-quarters of the shadow evacuation was the result of participants incorrectly including themselves in the evacuation zone. The remaining quarter reported higher levels of concern about their safety, property, and their ability to travel as a result of flooding and traffic blocking roads, relative to others outside the zone who chose to shelter in place. The presenter's level of authority and the message script did not significantly affect the reported likelihood of evacuation; however, the perceptions of trust, clarity, and message authority increased with higher levels of presenter authority. The participants indicated they would place the greatest trust in evacuation information from the highest role within Civil Defense and Emergency Management followed by local police. Effective evacuation messages should accurately and simply convey which areas are included in the evacuation zone, and provide appropriate information to those who are not at risk to minimize unnecessary travel. Official evacuation messages should be delivered by a person in the highest role appropriate to increase trust in these messages. © 2012 American Society of Civil Engineers.

Lamb S.,Opus Central Laboratories | Mora K.,Opus Central Laboratories | Walton D.,Opus Central Laboratories | Walton D.,University of Canterbury
Road and Transport Research | Year: 2010

This study analyses travel survey data from 1989 to 2006 to determine whether SUV use in New Zealand has become more 'car-like' and less commercial. The New Zealand Household Travel Survey of 1989/1990, 1997/1998 and 2003-2006 was the primary data source. Information on vehicle make and model was used to create a consistent SUV category across all years, which was compared with a sample of cars matched by owner age, gender and income, to control for confounding influences on use. The proportion of SUVs to cars in the New Zealand vehicle fleet increased by 7.3% from 1990 to 2006. The additional utility SUVs are perceived to provide did not differentiate their pattern of use from that of cars. Privately owned SUVs are used as a substitute for cars. Lower vehicle occupancy and similar proportions of recreational trips for SUVs and cars contradict reported reasons for SUV purchases. The extra utility SUVs provide appears to be utilised by a sub-group of traditional SUVs that continue to be used for commercial purposes.

Dravitzki V.,Opus Central Laboratories | Lester T.,Opus Central Laboratories | Walton D.,Opus Central Laboratories
Road and Transport Research | Year: 2010

This paper discusses a travel purpose that shouldbe the focus of efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from transport. For many years, travel management has focussed on the 'to work' travel purpose so as to maximise the efficiency of the transport network during this peak travel period. This 'to work' focus has been transferred as the focus of greenhouse gas emission reduction strategies, as shown by work travel plans and the like. This paper discusses how social/recreational trips should be a major focus for reducing greenhouse gas emissions; not just because social/recreational travel is at least an equivalent contributor to total vehicle kilometres travelled compared to the 'to work' trip, but also because of very strong linkages between social/recreational travel and other key transport behaviours. From New Zealand evidence, it appears that the impetus to make social/ recreational trips has always been strong; thatsocial/recreational trips were the dominant factor in the New Zealand uptake of private vehicles and that social/recreational trips have a strong influence on the size of vehicle purchased. A recent New Zealand study confirms that, although social/ recreational trips that require a larger-than-regular vehicle, such as holiday trips, are infrequent, these trips strongly influence the type of vehicle purchased. Social/recreational travel has a symbiotic relationship with urban form; with vehicle uptake often initially being for social/recreational travel then high rates of vehicle access allowing settlement growth of low density urban forms; then this urban form making extended S/R travel necessary to enable families and friends to reconnect throughout these dispersed settlements.

Powell F.,Opus Central Laboratories | Harding A.,Opus Central Laboratories | Dravitzki V.,Opus Central Laboratories
9th US National and 10th Canadian Conference on Earthquake Engineering 2010, Including Papers from the 4th International Tsunami Symposium | Year: 2010

Using quantitative and qualitative techniques, the recovery of business following a moderate earthquake in Gisborne, New Zealand, is investigated. In a city that is remote from other places, community support was important to recovery. Business owners have learned from the earthquake, but it is not certain that this will result in better hazard preparation or alter their behaviour after another earthquake event. Owners of some of the worst affected businesses did not take responsibility for decisions that increased their losses due to a natural disaster, blaming other organisations for their slow return to normal operations.

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