Transport research results in scholarship for master’s student

Tuesday 27 February 2024

Master of Resource and Environmental Planning student Anamaria Rodriguez Mora has been awarded a 2024 Transport Research Scholarship.

Anamaria Rodriguez Mora.

What factors lead women to change from using low-carbon transport options when living overseas to private vehicles when they immigrate to Aotearoa New Zealand? That’s the question Master of Resource and Environmental Planning (MRP) student Anamaria Rodriguez Mora wants to answer with research that was recently awarded a 2024 Transport Research Scholarship by Te Pōkai Tara Universities New Zealand.

Anamaria’s research is looking specifically at the factors that influence this ‘Reverse Mode Shift’ (RMS) for Latin American women who have moved to Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland.

As this RMS is contrary to the desired mode shift outlined in the New Zealand Government’s policy statement on land transport, her research will provide insights that can help policy makers take action to encourage the transition towards sustainable and safer modes of transport.

“In a car-dependent city like Auckland, a better understanding of the mobility experiences of immigrant women could provide insights on how to effectively encourage them to shift towards low-carbon forms of transport, and how to prevent future immigrant women from embracing or reverting to carbon-intensive transport modes,” Anamaria says.

As a Latin American woman, planning student and urban economist, Anamaria has a particular interest in improving New Zealand’s transport from a more inclusive lens.

“My passion for transport and environmental planning started back in Bogota, Colombia, when I was studying towards an undergraduate degree in economics. Bogota is one of the world’s major cities, with a population exceeding seven million, and is characterised by vast urban sprawl and numerous urban challenges. Living in Bogota motivated me to question how to create better urban spaces and to conduct my undergraduate thesis on the impact of urbanisation on productive agricultural land.”

Anamaria’s research experience led to a position as an Auckland-based urban and spatial economist when she arrived in New Zealand. While she initially chose to study an MRP to broaden her understanding of how she could make a meaningful contribution to the creation of sustainable cities, living in our largest city and witnessing the challenges faced by immigrant women regarding mobility, led her to realise the importance of planning from a gendered and ethnic perspective.

“My personal experiences, coupled with the knowledge acquired from my master’s courses, has expanded my interests and prompted me to contemplate how planners can deliver sustainable cities that are truly inclusive.”

This research is particularly important given the expected increase in migration to New Zealand in the coming decades.

Anamaria’s scholarship was jointly established by Waka Kotahi New Zealand Transport Agency and Te Manatū Waka Ministry of Transport with the aim to support students undertaking postgraduate research focusing on transport and its role and impact on New Zealand society. The scholarship is awarded annually and can be worth up to $15,000 per year. It is administered by Te Pōkai Tara Universities New Zealand.

Anamaria says she’s excited that the scholarship offers her the opportunity to collaborate with Waka Kotahi on her research.

“This scholarship means that I will have the opportunity to work with Waka Kotahi staff that are working in the area of my research. I look forward to working with them to pursue the Government policy statement on land transport strategic priorities and create better urban space in Aotearoa.”

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