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Terms used when looking at the New Zealand Household Travel Survey


Excludes activities taking place outside the road or footpath environment, such as mountain biking.


Includes all drivers of private light 4 wheeled vehicles such as cars, utes, vans, and SUVs.


Group of people living at the same address, sharing facilities but not necessarily financially interdependent. May be an individual, couple, family, flatmates or a combination of these (for example, family plus boarder).

Main urban area

A very large urban area centred on a city or major urban centre. This uses the historical StatsNZ criteria of an urban centre with a population of 30 000 or more and includes satellite areas for example, Kapiti, Cambridge.


Passenger in a light 4-wheeled private vehicle (car, van, ute or SUV). Passengers in buses and trains are coded under the 'PT' category (if local). Taxi, aircraft and boat passengers are included in the ‘Other’ category.

Professional driver

Someone who is employed to transport goods or people, including couriers, truck drivers, bus and taxi drivers. Trips by professional drivers in the course of their work are excluded. Other travel by professional drivers (including travel from home to work) is included. If a person drives a lot for work, but this is not the primary purpose of the job (for example, a plumber, real estate agent, district nurse), then all trips by this person are recorded.

Public transport (PT)

Passenger in local bus, train or ferry. Distances are currently only available for bus and train trips. Local bus and train trips have been defined to be 60 km or less, local ferry 1 hour or less. Bus/train/ferry trips of longer than this distance/duration have been coded to ‘other household travel’.


Sports utility vehicle. Used in this report to refer to light passenger vehicle with high wheel base and distinctive body shape. Normally, but not always, four wheel drive.

Secondary urban and rural areas

This uses the historical StatsNZ criteria of a secondary urban centre of between 10, 000–29,999 or a rural area with a population of less than 10,000, including satellite areas.


Includes all on-road travel by any mode; any walk along a public footpath or road; cycling on a public road or footpath; some air and sea travel. Excludes off-road activities such as tramping, mountain biking, walking around a farm.

Travel mode

The method of travel. Includes vehicle driver, vehicle passenger, pedestrian, cyclist, motorcycle rider or passenger, bus or train passenger, ferry or aeroplane passenger.

Trip distance

Surface distance travelled, based on Google distances. Google shortest route via road used where GPS points not available, based on start and end points from participant.

Trip leg 

A single leg of a journey, with no stops or changes in travel mode. For example, driving from home to work with a stop at a shop, is two trip legs; one ending at the shop and one ending at work. This does not include trips on private property that start and end at the same place without crossing a road, and off-road round trips.

Trip purposes / destinations

Home includes any trip to the home address or any trip returning to the place they are going to spend the night.

Went to work includes travel to main place of work and travel to any other jobs.

Made a trip for work: includes work-related travel other than to and from work (for example, travelling to meetings or clients).

Completed study/education is for travel by students only and includes institutions such as primary and secondary schools, and universities. It will also include travel to preschool education such as kindergarten, play centre, crèche, kōhanga reo etc.

Shopping is entering any premises that sells goods or hires them for money. A purchase need not be made.

Social visit/entertainment includes entertainment in a public or private place for example, eating out at a restaurant or food court, picnics.

Sport and exercise includes active or passive participation in sporting activities and travel for which the main goal is exercise.

Personal business includes stops made to transact personal business where no goods were involved.   This includes stops made for medical or dental needs and for dealing with government agencies involved with social welfare.

Accompany someone covers when the reason of the travel is to go somewhere for someone else’s purpose.

Dropped someone off/picked someone up

Pick up/drop off something

Change mode of travel covers when the purpose of the stop was only to change to another mode of transport .


Includes walkers, joggers, skateboarders, users of mobility scooters and children on tricycles.


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