Life in Christchurch transport survey results.

Over 4700 people responded to the survey in 2022.

Travel by car continues to be the most commonly used mode of transport. Overall, travel by cycling, public transport and walking were all down on previous years.

Safety concerns relating to active and public transport were raised by respondents.

2022 results

Travel by car

Travel by car remains high amongst respondents at 96%, although 23% report using it less often now compared to 12 months ago.

Of the 58% of respondents who travel to work by car at least once a week, 32% travel to work by car 5 or more times a week.

47% of respondents find it easy or very easy to travel by car in Christchurch. This is a considerable decrease from previous years, down from 60% in 2021.

The road layout, availability of parking, speed limits, narrowed lanes and roadworks were all leading factors that make it difficult to travel by car.

16% of respondents regularly use an electric or hybrid car, and 18% of those respondents report driving more often than they did previously.

What you told us

  • "We use car travel as it is easier. Christchurch is very spread out and to have several buses is not convenient."
  • "Travel at peak times is not easy, travel outside of peak times is OK."


Travel by bicycle

34% of respondents reported travelling by bicycle at least once a month. This is a slight decrease from 2021 and 2020. 

Of those who travel by bike, 35% travel by e-bike more often than once a month, marking a considerable increase from 2021 at 26%.

Feelings of safety while biking have decreased to 37%, down from 46% in 2021. Inconsiderate and dangerous behaviour from other road users and sharing the road with cars were the main reasons respondents found it difficult to bike.

The majority of respondents who travel by bike find it easy or very easy (62%).

What you told us

  • "Please continue to give us safe cycleways! The way of the future for environment, health and affordability."
  • "Some bike lanes are full of debris and potholes - causes bikes to swerve into traffic."
  • "Finish the cycleways so they are linked up and useful."


Travel by public transport

25% of respondents have travelled by public transport more than once a month in the past 12 months. This is a slight increase from 24% in 2021. 

More direct routes and more frequent services remain the top factors that would encourage respondents to travel by public transport.

30% of those who use public transport say they use it more often now compared to 12 months prior.

What you told us

  • "Increased reliability of bus arrivals would give me more incentive to use them to visit the central city. I'd be more likely to use them if I knew they would reliably turn up at the scheduled time."
  • "I would very much LIKE to use it more. But safety and convenience are big issues that prevent this."


55% of respondents walk more than once a month to various activities. This is a decrease from 62% in 2021.

The majority of respondents who regularly walk find it easy or very easy (76%). The quality of footpaths and the location and quality of pedestrian crossings were the top factors that make walking difficult for respondents.

What you told us

  • "There are some places where it is a pleasure to walk - where there are trees and good footpaths etc. But walking on footpaths next to roads with 3+ lanes of traffic is awful."
  • "Keep building the cycleways and improving pedestrian spaces! They're making a real difference to how I get about and for so many others too."

Our Strategic Transport Plan is a 30-year vision for transport within the city. The strategy has four key goals, all of which aim to improve ease of travel throughout the city and ensure that residents feel safe when they are travelling in Christchurch.

Our Community Outcomes echo this, acknowledging that Christchurch needs an efficient, integrated transport system that offers a range of choices for everyone. A well connected and accessible city will offer an excellent quality of life and help us compete internationally with other cities.

Results from this survey feed into the ongoing Community Outcomes monitoring programme and also help us understand how we are tracking to meet the goals in our Strategic Transport Plan. More information about the results can be found in the full summary of the results [PDF, 735 KB].

2017 results

More than 4500 people responded to the survey. Although there are still some areas where improvements are required, overall people are reasonably satisfied with their travel in the city. The shift that can be seen towards active modes is promising, and indicates that the investment the Council is making in active modes is beginning to pay off.

2017 results

Travel by car

Over 90% of respondents have travelled by car in the past 12 months, with 78% using their car to travel to work at least once a week.

The survey revealed a third of respondents think it is difficult to travel by car in Christchurch, however a third also think it is easy to get around. The common reason for respondents saying it's difficult to get around is due to roadworks and road closures.

In addition, more than 70% of respondents said the availability of car parking was an issue, while 64% indicated the quality of the roads was a factor.

"I am looking forward with hopeful expectation to use the new inner city road networks when they and the building projects are complete. Still significant readjustment required to how we do travel so that environments become safer and more community focused."

Public Transport

Around 30 per cent of respondents had travelled by public transport in the past 12 months; around half of respondents think it is easy to travel by public transport in Christchurch.

When asked why they thought it was difficult to travel by public transport, the majority said the routes and connections are not direct enough. Others indicated the service is not frequent enough, it doesn't always turn up on time, and road congestion and journey times were also factors mentioned.

More than half of respondents thought they may use public transport if there were more direct routes and connections, while 36 per cent indicated a more frequent service was required and 29 per cent thought a reduction in fares would help.

"In larger cities there are free circular routes around the main parts of the city, which encourages the use of public transport in general. This would be great to see. The main issue for me is it takes me about twice as long to get home on public transport as it does biking or driving."

Travel by Bicycle

More than a third of respondents had travelled by bicycle in Christchurch City in the past 12 months; around 30 per cent reported that they had travelled by bicycle more than they did 12 months ago.

Over the past year, 35 per cent of respondents said they had used a bicycle to get to work more than five times per week, with 32 per cent using a bicycle two to four times per week. 

More than half of respondents said it was easy to travel by bicycle in Christchurch. Only 22 per cent said they felt it was difficult to travel by bicycle, the majority of these indicated the main reasons for this viewpoint was sharing the roads with heavy vehicles, buses and cars, as well as inconsiderate and dangerous driving by other road users.

Around 70 per cent of respondents who had cycled in the past 12 months had used the new major cycle routes.

"Keep faith in the accessible city vision as the best future for the city.  I am seeing more and more use of the cycling facilities even in winter.  I have just come back from Europe where even Moscow is making their center city walking and cycling friendly, narrowing roads to do it."

"I now feel safe biking to and from my job in the central city for the first time. I also bike more on winter evenings as I feel safer too."

Travelling with Disabilities

Around 6 per cent of all respondents have a long term disability that prevents them from doing everyday things that other people can do.

Around 40 per cent of respondents with long term disabilities find that the roads and footpaths make it difficult for them to travel in the city.

Around 30 per cent feel that public transport is hard for them to access, making it difficult for them to travel.

A large number of respondents with disabilities commented on the impacts that the new major cycleways infrastructure is having on their ability to travel. The raised curbs on the cycleways and around the new central bus exchange are causing difficulties for those with vision impairment in particular.

“The bloody concrete barriers created for the cycle lanes which prevent me from getting from my car to the footpath.  I am completely gutted that the Council has chosen to provide expensive facilities for the able bodied community at the expense of less able people to be able to access their local community facilities.”


2018 results

This year’s survey was done in August 2018, with around 3250 responses from a range of people and communities throughout the city.

  • The number of respondents who find it easy to travel by car has improved by 11% on the 2017 result, up to 45% in 2018.
  • In 2017 70% of respondents identified the availability of parking as an issue that makes it difficult to travel in Christchurch; in 2018 this has decreased to 62%.
  • The proportion of respondents who feel safe from crime and anti-social behaviour when on the bus and waiting at bus stops has increased by 8%, up to 65% in 2018.
  • More cyclists are feeling safe when travelling by bike in Christchurch, up to 36% in 2018. An improvement of 11% on the 2017 result.
  • Cyclist are also finding it easier to travel by bike in Christchurch. Sixty three percent reported that it was easy in 2018, compared to 54% in 2017.
  • Those who choose to walk to a range of activities are feeling safer when they are walking on our streets; 74% reported feeling safe in 2018 compared to 69% in 2017.
  • 17% of respondents reported that they travel by car less often than they did 12 months ago; 14% reported travelling by bicycle more often, 16% reported walking places more often, and 11% reported that they use public transport more often than they did 12 months ago.

2019 results

3500 people responded to the survey in 2019. The results indicated that although we still have some work to do on improving satisfaction with the condition of our transport infrastructure, generally there have been improvements in how easy and safe it is to travel by a range of modes in Christchurch.

2019 Results

Travel by car

Travel by car remains the most common mode of transport in Christchurch, with 96% reporting travelling by car in the last 12 months.

However, we are using our cars less; 27% reported travelling by less now compared to 12 months ago

Forty six per cent find it easy to travel by car in Christchurch. For those who find it difficult to travel by car, ongoing patch repairs and potholes remain the leading causes.

What you told us

“Cars are grossly over rated, but in the absence of buses going where I need to go, they are by far and away the best mode of transport."

“Road condition is poor in a lot of areas with potholes, asphalt patches, depressions in the road surface. I find I often have to weave through the lane in order to avoid jarring impact."

"Christchurch drivers do not have a good understanding of the road rules. I would feel safer if more people knew how to indicate properly, drove and the speed limit, and showed courtesy to their fellow drivers. I find driving in Christchurch quite stressful as you never know what other drivers are going to do."

Travel by bike

Close to 40% of respondents have regularly travelled by bike in Christchurch city in the past 12 months; 42% reported travelling more by bike now compared to 12 months ago.

Around 60% of those who regularly travel by bike find it easy to travel; 65% are satisfied with their journey by bike. 

Eighteen per cent of those who travel by bike had travelled by e-bike in the past 12 months. 

What you told us

"I really appreciate the effort Council is putting into improving our cycling infrastructure. Thanks very much, please keep in happening as it makes such a positive difference when there is more protection or even better, a separate cycle lane or separate path"

 "The major difference between here and Europe is the attitude (aggressive) of the drivers."

"The new dedicated cycle lanes are fantastic! Thank you, they make me feel much safer. I just hope we can get more of them so I can travel through out the city on them. Right now it is just very limited and not on my common routes, but I guess this is just the beginning of the change."

"The new cycle paths are making cycling in Christchurch safer and more pleasant for me and my family. I particularly value them for my children, aged 4 to 9."


Travel by e-scooter

Around 20% of respondents had travelled by rental e-scooter more than once a month in the past 12 months; 2% of respondents own a personal e-scooter.

Seventy six percent of those who had travelled by e-scooter find it easy; and 65% are satisfied with their journey by e-scooter.

What you told us

“I enjoyed it so much I purchased my own and use it as a bicycle replacement."

"E-scooters are great! Just need some good guidelines on use (I.e peds have priority, should be able to use cycle lanes!)"

"E-scooters are my favourite form of transport. I've never liked cycling to work but knew I wasn't being eco friendly. I like being able to use a scooter instead of a bike. I never used public transport before I got my scooter. I am more likely to take public transport now because I know I can bus to central city and get around easily with my scooter."

Travel by public transport

The proportion of respondents who have travelled by bus in the last 12 months increased from 29% in 2018, to 32% in 2019; 27% of participants who have used public transport in the last 12 months report using it more now than previously.

Sixty one per cent of those who travel by public transport find it easy.

Fifty-five per cent are satisfied with their journeys by public transport. 

The top three reasons respondents find it difficult to travel by public transport are: the routes and connections are not direct enough, the service is not frequent enough and the bus doesn't always turn up on time. 


What you told us

 "Fantastic on trips to the hospital as you have no parking fuss and are dropped at the door almost."

"Buses need to be electric vehicles as fast as possible. They greatly contribute to noise and air pollution. A bigger, more frequent electric public transport fleet would greatly improve life in Christchurch."

"Often seems like bus doesnt turn up, very unreliable. Cost is now more than a car to use, would choose to walk over bus if less than 4km."

"Buses are useless at peak times as they get stuck in traffic with all cars. Frequency and reliability plus lack of shelter makes it very unattractive compared to car or bike."

Our transport infrastructure

Twenty four per cent of participants are satisfied or very satisfied with the condition of the roads, while 51% are dissatisfied or very dissatisfied. 

Forty per cent of respondents are satisfied or very satisfied with the condition of footpaths.

The main reasons for dissatisfaction with the quality of roads in Christchurch are: ongoing patch repairs to roads, potholes in the roads, the road surfaces are not smooth. 

The main reasons for dissatisfaction with the quality of footpaths in Christchurch are: the footpaths are uneven, there are trip hazards, the footpaths are not smooth. 


What you told us

 "Roadworks are taking too long. Work is not being completed correctly which means it needs to be redone again e.g. dug up, road block off and costing more money. Pot holes keep appearing even when they have previously been 'fixed'."

"Seen people in wheel chairs and mobility scooters getting stuck far too often; vision impaired people would find uneven footpaths dangerous."

"There are still so many road works (which I fully understand there needs to be) and still some bad roads with pot holes. I had to replace a flat tyre recently that the tyre company said had blown from a pot hole."

"But of course some roads could be better... And many footpaths could be better. There are footpaths that are broken, uneven, etc, and not just because of the earthquakes but because of tree roots..."

2020 results

Around 3600 people responded to the survey.

Overall the results are positive, with improvements seen in perceptions of cycle safety from the previous year with many commenting that this is due to cycle lanes.

There has also been further uptake of electric cars and electric bikes.

Consistent with previous years, there is still improvement needed for roads, particularly concerning potholes, road surfaces and ongoing roadworks.

More information can be found in the full summary of the results [PDF, 151 KB].

2021 results

3300 people responded to the survey in 2021.

Overall, there were some positive results with the perception of cycling safety improving year-on-year, and road and footpath satisfaction both increasing.

Public transport is an area that needs improvement, with the proportion of respondents using public transport decreasing slightly each year.

More information can be found in the full summary of the results [PDF, 757 KB].