What time of a day is the traffic most annoying? Which road has the most serious problem in those times you chose? How long do you spend on road everyday to the nearest 10 mins? Introduction: I conducted an exploratory market research on the traffic problems of Auckland CBD and surrounding suburbs. In order to do so, I sent out questionnaires to 18 students and 2 staff in the University of Auckland, and interviewed three students about Auckland’s traffic condition.
After analyzing the data collected, I found out that among the five possible problem areas, namely Auckland CBD traffic, Motorways around the CBD, Motorways in Auckland’s suburbs, Main roads in Auckland’s suburbs and rural areas, motorways around the CBD causes the most people trouble and need to be fixed above all. And I have found out that the public transportation if improved can ease the traffic problem. Problem identification: Increasing people are complaining to the city council about Auckland’s traffic. The problem we should be solving is how we can minimize the complaints from the road users.
This can be divided into several problems. First of all, the traffic problem is partially caused by the incompetent road system. However, the council does not have enough money to fix the whole road system in Auckland. Therefore the first problem can be defined as in which area the improvement in the road system can benefit most people. Another problem is that too many people are gathering in a small number of places at one time, this is probably due to Auckland’s bad city planning and demographic structure. In the long run, the council may be able to restructure the business areas and distribute the people to other places.
However, in the short run, the problem lies on how the government can make some policies to distribute the peak-time commuters to other periods of time. The traffic congestion not only affects our transportation, but also makes some social services harder to work properly. For example, sometimes the fire engines and the ambulances cannot reach a destination fast enough because of traffic congestion. That is because there are no emergency measures on the road. In other words, the traffic is not flexible enough. The problem is that how the council can take some actions to make the traffic more flexible.
Furthermore, the traffic problem results from the fact that too many commuters are traveling in cars. Traveling in cars makes the road usage less efficient than traveling in public transportations. A car usually carries 1-2 people at a time, whereas a bus can carry up to 40 people at a time. Reducing the car users is another means to solve the traffic problem. Auckland’s city council should persuade the car users to switch their main transportation to public transportation. Therefore, the problem lies on detecting the problems in the public transportation system and improving it to attract more car users.
Research plan and Sources of Information: In order to find out which area concern most people, I conducted an exploratory research by asking the university students and staff to rate the areas on a one to five scale so that I can compare the average score among the areas. I also asked them about what their usual transportation is. By doing so, I can calculate the proportion of each transportation. And I also asked them about other things to see if there are some other variables that may affect the traffic problem.
I also did personal interview with three people to find out what they think about Auckland’s public transportation, their opinions to a new time arrangement and their suggestions to improve Auckland’s traffic and public transportation system. Then I asked them what they think of having a policeman directing the traffic at peak time on several main roads to see if this is a good idea to ease the traffic problem. I do not have any secondary data. I have to go out and collect primary data. The university students and staff are all Auckland’s road users.
They use the roads frequently and therefore can represent the population of the road users in Auckland. Data collection Design: Questionnaires are less time-consuming. Also, it is cheap to conduct. It is very useful when collecting quantitative data. Therefore, if it is well designed, it can provide us with a lot of useful information. In this case, it can provide us with the average scores, the relationship between some of the variables and the peak traffic times. However, subjective questions always take more words to answer; therefore the respondents may be very reluctant in answering those questions in a questionnaire.
And it involves very little communication between me and the respondents. In order to get some qualitative data and ask the respondents some subjective questions, I chose personal interview. Personal interview takes longer time, but we can ask them some subjective questions. When we are able to get their time, they are willing to tell us a lot more information on what they really think. Data collection: Some of the respondents are walking to the university. The traffic problems probably do not concern them very much. However, when they are filling the survey, they may feel some social expectations.
That is they may feel that as a citizen, they should be concerned with the traffic problem. Therefore they imagined how they are concerned about the traffic in the five areas. This makes the data not so reliable. And some of the respondents answer the questions carelessly. Therefore, the data I got contain some errors. For example, somebody wrote 0 minutes as the time he spends on road. Moreover, the data are collected among the university people; they may not reflect other people’s opinions.
Data analysis and Results: According to the data collected, the motorways around the CBD have the highest average score (4.05), followed closely by Auckland CBD’s traffic (3. 7), motorways in Auckland’s suburbs (2. 95), Main roads in Auckland’s suburbs (3. 45) and rural areas (2. 7) have relatively low average scores. The higher the average score, the more people are concerned with the area’s traffic. This indicates that the motorways around the CBD are the area we have been looking for. Most people seem to be very concerned with this area’s traffic. The correlation between motorways around CBD and Auckland CBD (0. 53) and between motorways around CBD and Main roads in Auckland’s suburbs (0. 51) are positive and relatively high.
This indicates that there is strong positive linear association between motorways around CBD and Auckland CBD and between motorways around CBD and Main roads in Auckland’s suburbs, which means the more motorways around CBD traffic concerns people, the more Auckland CBD traffic concerns people; the more motorways around CBD traffic concerns people, the more Main roads in Auckland’s suburbs traffic concerns people. The correlation between Auckland CBD and rural roads is also high (-0. 57) but negative. This indicates that the more people are concerned with Auckland CBD’s traffic, the less they are concerned with rural roads traffic.
85% of the respondents consider the peak time to be between 7am and 9am and between 4pm and 6pm. However, none of the three people being interviewed believed that their company would change their time arrangement. 35% of the respondents are taking public transportation to the university. 20% of the respondents are driving cars to the university. 30% of the respondents are sometimes driving cars and taking public transportation in rest of the time. The rest of the respondents are traveling in other means. We can see that at least 30% may be easily persuaded to take public transportation if the service is improved.
Furthermore, all the three people being interviewed consider that sometimes they are waiting in the red light when no cars are coming on the other road. They think that having a policeman directing the traffic will help ease the traffic problem in the peak times. One of them suggested that increasing the parking fees would reduce the cars on road. The reasons that car users do not like taking bus are that the bus is not so punctual, and at peak times they are very likely to be full. Recommendations: The top priority is to improve the road system in motorways around Auckland CBD.
It not only has the highest average score for people’s concern, but also has positive association with those who are concerned with the traffic in Auckland CBD and Main roads in Auckland’s suburbs. Therefore, if it is improved, it also partially satisfies the needs of the people who are concerned with the traffic in Auckland CBD and Main roads in Auckland’s suburbs. It can best relief the pressure from numerous parties for the city council. To persuade car users to take public transportation, the council can put a price floor on the parking prices in the major business areas and universities.
This would make those people who are both driving cars and taking public transportation more inclined to take public transportation. To improve the service, the public transportation company should make more reliable timetables and strictly follow the time constraints. Also, at peak times, they should send more buses on road to make sure that the service is available to everyone. The council should ask the police to help ease the traffic problem rather than improving the road system in main roads in surrounding suburbs. The policemen can direct the traffic and make the traffic more flexible.
That is at the traffic lights when there is no cars passing by on one road, the cars on the other road do not need to wait for the green light. Moreover, this could help with the emergency measures. When the fire engines and ambulances pass by, the policeman can order the cars on the other road to stop. However, because the data are all collected in the university, it has very limited scope on investigating the whole population. It can only represent the students and the university staff’s view on the traffic problem. Secondly, the sample size (20) is really small.
Therefore we may not be able to rely on the results of the data analysis. Conclusions: In conclusion, this exploratory research indicates that the road system of the motorways in the surrounding suburbs needs to be improved very quickly. The public transportation has a lot of problems in its service quality. However, if it is improved, it can largely ease Auckland’s traffic problem. And during the peak times, the council may ask the police to aid in the traffic at the traffic lights. Though the council cannot do anything to change the original city planning in the short term, it can gradually improve the city planning in the long run.