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Freight Transport Mode Choice and Mode Shift in New Zealand: Findings of a Revealed Preference Survey

Sustainable Logistics

ISBN: 978-1-78441-062-9, eISBN: 978-1-78441-061-2

Publication date: 4 December 2014



This study aims to identify the determinants of transport mode choice and the constraints on shifting freight in New Zealand (NZ) from road to rail and/or coastal shipping, and to quantify the trade-off between factors affecting shippers’ perceptions, to assist in increasing the share of freight moved by non-road transport modes.


A revealed preference survey of 183 freight shippers, including small and medium enterprises and freight agents in NZ, is used to investigate whether freight shippers’ characteristics affect their ranked preference for attributes related to mode choice and modal shift. Additionally, a rank-ordered logistic (ROL) model is estimated using the ranking data.


The results reveal several distinct types of transport mode choice behaviour within the sample and show how the preferences for timeliness, cost, accessibility, damage and loss, customer service, and suitability vary between industry groups and business types. Also, the ROL method allows us to identify heterogeneity in preferences for mode choice and mode shift factors for freight within NZ.

The results imply that NZ shippers ranked transport time as the most significant constraint upon distributing goods by rail, while accessibility and load size were the most significant constraints upon using coastal shipping. The study also identifies how NZ shippers’ modal shift constraints vary according to the firm’s individual or logistical characteristics.

Research implications

This study informs freight transport policy makers about the needs of NZ shippers by providing quantitative measures of the intensity of preference for the various mode choice factors.

Practical implications

Those involved in freight transport have a better basis for formulating transport policy.



Kim, H.-C., Nicholson, A. and Kusumastuti, D. (2014), "Freight Transport Mode Choice and Mode Shift in New Zealand: Findings of a Revealed Preference Survey", Sustainable Logistics (Transport and Sustainability, Vol. 6), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 165-192.



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