Horse and cart – and jetpack optional

An article in the NZ Herald on Wednesday looked at the need for a change in vision regarding New Zealand’s transport planning.

Mr Gunstan, a commercial manager for the Marsden Pt oil refinery before becoming a fulltime “futurist strategist”, advised planners to break free of incremental thinking wedded to the more recent past.

He said much of New Zealand’s roading infrastructure harked back to horse and cart tracks built 100 years ago, and was totally unsuitable for modern society.

Showing a slide of a motorway jammed with 10 lanes of bumper-to-bumper traffic, he said too much planning involved “more of the same with just some slight variation – maybe a few more intelligent traffic signs”.

“It doesn’t actually conceive that life would ever be different. It maybe takes advantage of some new technologies, but when we build it, it’s for incredibly long time periods – it’s still around when we’re six foot under the ground.”

But as a former oil importer, he was acutely aware of depleting fuel supplies, and expected New Zealand would have no more bitumen in 20 years for maintaining roads.

“So what are we going to build our roads out of – what sort of planning are we doing to maintain and build our roading for the future?” he said.

For the full article, click here.

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