Inter-regional ground travel data has historically been a gap in New Zealand’s transport statistics. Data is available on local travel from the New Zealand Household Travel Survey and additional regional surveys sponsored by regional government.

Data is also available on inter-regional air travel from the Transport Outlook OD-Based Domestic Air Passenger Model. However, little data has been available on inter-regional ground travel.

"Big data”, based on the movements of mobile phones and other connected devices, provides a potential new source of data on inter-regional travel. The Ministry of Transport, therefore, contracted with Qrious to provide prototype datasets for the calendar year 2017 showing travel between regions and territorial authorities in New Zealand. Qrious is a subsidiary of Spark, a major New Zealand mobile telecommunications provider, which had access to records for data from Spark’s two mobile phone networks, Spark and Skinny.

These prototype datasets provide data on relative levels of ground travel between New Zealand regions and territorial authorities in calendar year 2017. The data is broken out two ways: between travel by international visitors and travel by New Zealand residents; and between travel by day travellers (those who returned to their starting location at the end of the day) and overnight travellers (who ended their day at a different location from where they began). For international visitors, breakouts are provided by home country or global region. For New Zealand residents, breakouts are provided by home region.

Qrious and Spark are committed to protecting the privacy of their customers. Therefore, all of the data that Qrious provided to the Ministry of Transport were in the form of highly aggregated statistics, from which it is not possible to infer anything about the movements of individual people or their devices.

Three datasets are available in Excel format:

Qrious inter-regional ground travel residents 20180801 [XLSX, 805 KB] – This file shows travel by New Zealand residents only.

Qrious inter-regional ground travel international visitors 20180801 [XLSX, 614 KB] – This file shows travel by international visitors only.

Qrious inter-regional ground travel residents+international visitors 20180801 [XLSX, 68 KB] – This file shows the sum of the two.

Complete documentation on the model is available here:

Qrious Inter-Regional Ground Travel Data Documentation 20190611 [PDF, 587 KB].

Qrious has provided additional technical documentation on the methodologies used to obtain the data:

Qrious_MOT_Data_Methods 20180906. [PDF, 4 MB]

For questions about the data, please contact transportoutlook@transport.govt.nz