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The 2002 New Zealand Transport Strategy states that in the long run, economic development and transport activity need not be directly related. This implies that a degree of „decoupling‟ is required – that economic development needs to occur without similar growth in transport. Before evaluating the possible impacts of policies that may be introduced to achieve decoupling, it is vital to consider what might happen to the relationship between economic development and transport over the next 50 or 100 years. Two key factors that are likely to impact upon this relationship in the future are demographic change and structural change. This paper suggests that in the absence of any policy change, some decoupling of economic development and transport may take place as a result of these two factors. However, income growth and transport demand from the rapidly growing tourism sector may push total transport growth use up.


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