Research

We provide a broad range of high quality research, specialist consultancy and laboratory services to improve the design and performance of infrastructure for commercial and government clients. 

At WSP Research we are committed to making the world work better

We have a proud history dating back more than 50 years to the New Zealand Ministry of Works when we provided experimental research that informed the design and construction of major national infrastructure projects, such as hydroelectric power schemes and state highways.

Today our researchers work in multi-disciplinary teams to address challenges as diverse as transportation safety, road performance, and the resilience of communities and businesses to major natural hazards.

We also provide specialist consultancy services and materials testing and analysis for engineering construction materials. Our management and operating practices are accredited to the International Quality Management System ISO 9001, and many of our laboratory services have ISO 17025 accreditation. Our team includes engineers, chemists, physicists, materials scientists, environmental scientists, geographers and behavioural scientists.

Resilience to natural hazards

How do we prepare for a future where people are more frequently affected by natural disasters?

Hundreds of natural disasters happen around the world each year. New Zealand’s geographic positioning and general isolation means that we are more vulnerable than most to potential events.

The 2010 and 2011 Canterbury Earthquakes cost New Zealand $30 billion, equaling 20% of our countries GDP. Cyclone Gita and Fehi caused over $81 million  of destruction during their six-week siege of New Zealand’s west coast. And, the Pigeon Valley Wildfire lasted three weeks and burned through thousands of hectares of land.

In most instances, we cannot foresee natural disasters. However, we can prepare our infrastructure and built spaces to ensure that damage and civilian safety is controlled.

The design of infrastructure to withstand earthquake forces is one area in which we have research competence and specialist equipment.

Human resilience is another and our work within the Natural Hazards Research Platform investigates the behaviours and social economics of how New Zealand communities respond to and recover from the impacts of a natural disaster, including the use of social media in emergency management.

In this field we work with emergency managers, planners, policy makers, business and community organisations, and infrastructure owners.

Research Design and Evaluation

History tells us, that decision-making without detailed, conclusive research is a recipe for disaster.

With over a century's worth of specialist advisory experience in both the public and private sector, we are able to equip our clients with the tools, information and reassurance needed to carry-out robust decision making.

With growing constraints on resources, its becoming increasingly challenging to deliver infrastructure improvements.

WSP's research and planning team offer detailed research design and evaluation services that can support robust decision making, leadership, policy guidance and innovation.

We have the capabilities to work independently or alongside other partner operations. To do that, we draw on many research techniques and tools, including reviews, interviews, observation, data and trend analysis and statistical modelling.

Our clients partner with us because of our wealth of subject matter expertise, research capabilities and technology deployment specialists to:

  • Develop market/sector knowledge and innovation in New Zealand
  • Anticipate and adapt to change and risk that comes with future trends and forecasts
  • Package and deploy knowledge and technology-based solutions and;
  • Develop policy and implementation frameworks that advance practice and process.
     

For more information, contact:
Sheryl Tank
Strategic Planning & Commercialisation Manager
+64 4 472 6126
Sheryl.Tank@wsp.com

Mitigating Environmental Effects

Our research tells us that in New Zealand noise, ground vibration and emissions into the air are the three top environmental side effects that are a matter of concern to our communities.

Managing them requires in-depth knowledge and experience of five key, interlinked factors:

  • how the activity generates noise, ground vibrations, or air emissions;
  • how to effectively measure the noise, ground vibrations or air emissions;
  • how the transmission of noise, ground vibrations, or air emissions effects the adjacent community;
  • how the community responds to these effects and;
  • how the effects can be meaningfully mitigated, as well as the benefits and costs of that mitigation.

WSP Research's team brings all these factors together. For example, we have undertaken the following tests and research for our clients:

  • the potential impact of ground vibration; understanding the risk of harsh vibrations on people’s health and on adjacent structures.
  • The potential impact of odour emissions from agricultural activities and advising on how to minimise their effect on nearby communities
  • The potential impact of traffic noise on communities and advising on road surfaces that can reduce noise levels.Understanding the level and type of road signage that best engages drivers

 

Our research provides a strong technical base for providing environmental assessments of specific projects such as new roads or the construction of major infrastructure. As part of these assessments, we regularly provide independent expert evidence to councils, Board of Inquiry or Environment Court hearings.

Future Infrastructure Solutions

Our team can assess what the future is likely to demand of infrastructure assets. We can look at infrastructure solutions across a range of topics – from transport to urban planning, housing to resilience to natural hazards so our clients can develop the most resilient and effective solutions.

We have developed effective tools for use in hypothetical scenarios to build a robust and sophisticated understanding of likely future behaviour. This creates the opportunity to test innovative but potentially higher risk interventions.

Realistic situations and solutions are developed through close collaboration with clients and stakeholders.

Environmental Research Solutions

Our work in this area includes research to better quantify environmental impacts, relating to noise, ground vibrations, and emissions into the air.

We assess the likely impacts resulting from wind on buildings and other structures.

For infrastructure developments we are called on to identify and assess the environmental effects across the project and how they can be mitigated where necessary. Our clients include transport planners and operators, building developers and managers, as well as central and local government agencies.

Measurement and instrumentation

Our engineers are skilled in applying technology to any measurement problem

We have particular expertise in designing, developing, operating and repairing measurement and control systems. Through software development, we can also assist in extending, improving and streamlining existing data measurement, collection and analysis systems.

We can provide:

  • Electronic and software design and development
  • Refurbishment, repair, and upgrading of existing instruments
  • Automated laboratory equipment and processes
  • Data acquisition
  • Signal processing
  • Data analysis
  • Technical evaluation of new technologies
  • Compliance testing against New Zealand or international standards and specifications
  • Instrument calibration
     

For more information, contact:
Wendy Turvey
Manager WSP Research
+64 4 587 0678
wendy.turvey@wsp.com

Society and Business

We work with government, businesses and communities to build resilience to natural hazards and improve the liveability of cities

We assist our clients in developing their long-term infrastructure strategies and plans, as well as helping to review the effectiveness of their existing policies and strategies.

Our applied social researchers examine public attitudes, behaviour and decision making in relation to complex social and economic problems. The results of this work underpin business cases, policy direction, design interventions and targeted social marketing campaigns.

Improving Built Environment

We challenge the design of New Zealand’s built environment to help you build spaces that allow communities and businesses to thrive.

WSP provides research into human-centred design solutions for New Zealand’s built environments to ensure infrastructure plans will enhance economic growth, social progress and environmental protection now and into the future.

What does ‘good design’ mean for today’s evolving landscape?

The purpose of good design is to create sustainable foundations for built environments that connect people with place and nature with the built form. It’s about ensuring that our built surroundings are adding to happiness, health and standard of living, not deter from it.

Our research tells us that human-centred design in planning can help our communities to thrive.  For example, our research has proved that road surfaces can be designed to decrease road-noise, dramatically affecting community satisfaction.

How do we design our built environments to meet the demands of our communities now and into the future?

Let us help you:

Our technical experts and strategic advisors, including researchers, engineers, and technicians, are dedicated to identifying future trends and researching impacts on humans and society.

We can:

    Understand public behaviour and provide the strategic case for human-centred design solutions using socio-economic and behavioural research.

    Transport Safety and Efficiency

    How can we connect people and place through safe, efficient transport infrastructure design and solutions?

    WSP's research provides a wide range of research and services in all areas of transportation. This includes research around making roads safer, encouraging public transport use, shared-mobility systems and active transport modes such as walking and cycling.

    Our research tells us that compared to other countries, New Zealand scores below average for transportation and mobility infrastructure. In WSP's Global City Index, Auckland - our countries most progressive city for transport - scored low for several mobility metrics.

    How do we raise the bar?

    Our team of researchers, engineers and technicians help government transport authorities, planning agencies, private developers and transport operators to get the most from transport infrastructure projects.

    We provide testing and advisory services to all areas of transport, including rail and ports. Out team can help you understand the impact of transport infrastructure and how people interact with it.

    For example, we undertake studies of behavioural responses to proposed safety measures such as:

    • Virtual reality simulations of driver responses and road signage
    • Assessing cycling lanes by cyclists responses to passing traffic
    • Assessing road lighting and its effect on driving behaviour and outcomes

    Human Centred Design

    By adopting a human-centric approach, a new structure or infrastructure –  whether it’s a bridge, playground, park, or reservoir – isn’t simply a physical object consisting of raw materials and labour. Instead, it’s the manifestation of community aspirations. It’s a carefully considered design brought to life. It’s a way to solve underlying issues and make lives better. That’s because human-centric design places people firmly at the heart of projects.

    What is human-centric design?

    Human-centric design represents a shift in the way that people approach projects. Rather than focusing solely on the material benefits to clients, it involves taking a more holistic approach that meets the needs of the project’s end users. By doing this, the overall social, environmental and economic outcomes for the project area are often higher (e.g. building a project quicker is more expensive, but has less economic impact through reduced traffic delays). It’s reframing our clients’ issues in human-centred terms

    Imagine you’re redesigning a congested stretch of motorway where commuters are spending their time stuck in slow-moving traffic jams, getting increasingly frustrated. A human-centric design approach to solving this issue focuses on the commuters and the issues they’re facing.

    It’s not solely the fact that they’re wasting time in traffic. It’s the ramifications of this fact. A slow commute means they’re late to the office, which means they need to work extra time to make up their lost hours. This could be difficult to achieve if they have commitments, such as picking up their child from daycare before it closes for the day. Which then means they need to spend their evenings making up for the time they lost in the office – due to their slow commute – and losing out on valuable family or recreational time.

    A human-centric design approach puts the end users of clients at the heart of the solution. It’s less about clients, and more about humans and how smart design can solve their problems.

    Achieving human-centric design

    To be truly successful in creating human-centric design, humans need to be a central part of the design process. At WSP-Opus, this not only means involving clients and project partners at every project stage, from inception workshops to align our ideas through to project close-out, but also the wider community, including local Iwi. This is predominantly achieved through public consultation sessions, and having dedicated Iwi liaison staff.

    Like for Auckland Council’s Kahawairahi Reserve community engagement day where we developed a range of engaging kids’ collateral, such as an innovative co-branded ‘Let’s play today’ ‘Thinking Cap’. This was a two-sided, colour, A3 sheet illustrated with graphics on stickers. By following instructions on the internal brim, kids could fold and make their ‘cap’ before writing about their community and what they’d like to see in their park. This was supported by a feedback sheet inviting kids to share their thoughts, and stickers as a small thank you gift. On the open day, there was a higher than usual turnout, despite poor weather. Our engaging and different collateral attracted people’s feedback, as Catherine Hamilton, Principal Landscape Architect explains: “A number of people were so enthused they returned and brought friends and family to share their ideas for the park’s development.”

    By involving humans fully in the design process, we can ensure any design, technology or process inherently meets the needs of the user – us humans.

    Human-centric design in action

    Miasteczko Wilanow, Warsaw

    In Warsaw, there’s a stunning example of human-centric design. It’s a 450-hectare housing development, Miasteczko Wilanow, the largest urban development in Europe this century which holds 10,000 people per square kilometre. Yet despite this investor-pleasing high density, this is a development with people and their wellbeing firmly at its heart.

    To create a human-scale, intimate suburban feel, an architectural policy enforced a maximum building height (five storeys). Natural features abound, including green belts and water features. Fitness is embedded into residents’ lifestyles with numerous recreational opportunities – jogging tracks and cycle paths snake through the development. To create a human-focused city, rather than a car-focused city, underground car parks allowed the developer to use the smallest legally-permitted street dimensions.

    Removing the need for a car or reliance on public transport, everything the community needs is within walking distance – shops, cafes, restaurants, schools, churches, a jogging track. Ensuring the environment suits the needs of children, playgrounds are within 70 metres of every single apartment. This suitability for children is reinforced by the five-storey policy, which is less of a barrier for getting outside and playing than living 20 storeys up in the air. The creation of a diverse community has been supported by the range of apartments available, with 30m2 studios on offer alongside top floor penthouses.

    These features combined help to create a community-filled, family-friendly environment with a vibrant and well-used retail, commercial and hospitality scene coexisting peacefully next to residential living.

    Northern Corridor Improvements project, Auckland

    When it came to our design approach for the Northern Corridor Improvements (NCI) project, the impact on the project’s end users (i.e. Kiwi drivers) played a central role in our decision-making process. We employed a “ghost-busters” strategy that aimed to reduce the ‘ghost’ markings that occur during temporary traffic management. ‘Ghost’ markings are faint outlines showing where lanes had previously sat and can distract and confuse drivers, creating an unsafe driving environment. To ensure all Kiwi drivers using NCI could make it to work or home safely, our “ghost-busters” strategy involved designing traffic switches (i.e. when a lane of traffic is moved to the other side of the carriageway) so they stayed on the permanent lanes. This meant only one width of lanes was moved at a time, reducing the number of traffic switches and ‘ghost’ markings. While the construction costs were slightly higher, considering the whole outcomes for the end user meant that this solution was preferred, even in a competitive tender environment.

    We also focused on minimising the impact on the busway to avoid disruption to bus users, not just drivers. We designed the construction programme to avoid severing existing dedicated busway lanes until alternative dedicated lanes are constructed.

    The benefits

    So why does human-centric design matter? There are many intangible benefits. Engaging humans in the design process means there’s an increased likelihood of creating a solution that will be used and enjoyed by humans, now and into the future. Additionally, increased human participation in the design process means more creative and innovative solutions.

    There are happier, more satisfied and engaged employees in a thoughtfully-designed workplace. Calmer drivers enjoying more reliable, safer journeys. A more connected community centred around a facility – a playground, a swimming pool, a community centre – that they played an integral role in designing and developing. Broadly speaking, human-centric design also tends to incorporate more of a focus on sustainability which can contribute to better social and environmental outcomes.

    But research is also showing more tangible benefits, including economic, by boosting employee productivity which can contribute to a country’s higher GDP. A recent study by researchers from Imperial College London suggested that creating the right working environment can have a material impact on staff productivity, and contribute up to GBP 20bn to UK GDP.

    As the modern world becomes more automated, from self-driving cars to chatbots on websites, human-centric design is more important than ever, helping to create a world in which humans can thrive in a safe, sustainable and enjoyable environment.

    Monitoring at-risk assets

    We assist asset owners and infrastructure managers by providing rich data and information from which they can assess the safety and integrity of their structures while sitting at their computer.

    Our services integrates electronic sensors with processing, transmission, and visualization technologies and can be used to capture information from locations across New Zealand, including the most remote sites.

    Technology is allowing us to gather information on structures on a continuous basis. For example, we can analyse the effect of temperature on structural cracking, or the effect heavy vehicles are having on bridges.

    We can test the effect of design or other interventions on building environments by measuring light, sound, CO2, humidity and temperature over time.

    In Canterbury, we saved a client over $10m in unnecessary strengthening by demonstrating thorough continuous and ongoing monitoring, using sensors with our proprietary low power datalogger. The technology won the prestigious 2017 ACENZ Silver Award for Excellence.

    Some of the services include (but are not limited to):

    • Providing advice on the appropriate IoT customised solution, including procurement and set-up
    • Collecting and providing data from the continuous monitoring of structural movement in remote locations (and non-remote)
    • Collecting and providing data from the continuous monitoring of crack movements over time and temperatures
    • Collecting data on cycle ways using a bike instrumented with video, LiDARGPC positioning and rider feedback technology
    • Monitoring building environments on parameters such as light, sound, CO2, humidity and temperature.

    Materials testing and analysis

    It is critical to ensure that the materials used during construction meet industry standards, not only to secure approvals but to ensure performance and life cycle maintenance meets expectations.

    Our team can assist with improving the performance of infrastructure via thorough material testing capabilities and technologies.

    Our management and operating practices are accredited to the International Quality Management System (ISO 9001) and many of our laboratory services have ISO 17025 accreditation. In addition we have nationally recognised material specialists working in our team.

    Why should you test your materials?

    The likelihood of sourcing non-standard materials in construction is high. The use of alternative, cheaper and non-standard products in New Zealand can lead to significant loss further down the projects life-cycle line.

    How do we test materials?

    Our research offices and laboratories across the country provides the specialist equipment and know-how to carry out specalist advisory and consultancy services for the following materials:

    Soils

    Our comprehensive soil and aggregate testing laboratory offers a wide range of tests so that geotechnical and pavement engineers can define the engineering properties required to design pavements and foundations for a variety of structures. The testing ensures that the pavement and foundations perform as expected and meet the asset owners design life requirements.

    Bituminous materials

    We have an extensive testing laboratory with experience in the assessment and testing of a wide range of bitumen-based materials. We perform the full suite of tests required by the NZTA in their M1 specification on roading bitumen's. We can also test asphaltic concrete to ensure it complies with NZTA's M10 specification including onsite removal of cores to determine density and compaction.

    Concrete

    Concrete testing is carried out in accordance with a variety of New Zealand, Australian and other international standards to determine fresh or hardened concrete properties, concrete, stone and clay paver performance, and cement quality.

    Structures

    We operate a structural testing laboratory based around a range of loading, measurement and data logging equipment with the capability to test a variety of materials and components under simulated load. The laboratory has a strong floor that allows virtually any material or structure to be tested. Dynamic testing may be used to simulate seismic or cyclic loading using a range of servo-controlled test machines and actuators with capacities ranging from five tonnes to 200 tonnes. A shake table is used to test the earthquake resilience of a variety of materials and components. Static testing may be carried out on the strong floor using jacks and calibrated load cells or using a range of universal test machines with capacities between one tonne and 100 tonnes.

    Wind engineering and Industrial Aerodynamics

    Because wind and airflow can directly impact building performance, and urban environment safety and comfort, they are important considerations in building design, which require specialist equipment and knowledge to test.

    WSP's Research team covers all disciplines required for full-scale and model studies of wind and air flows, including instrumentation technology, aerodynamics and fluid mechanics, vibration and structural dynamics, and wind tunnel testing.

    These services are highly valued for a wide range of applications, including:

    • Wind tunnel testing of buildings and structures at model scale
    • Measurement of wind forces on buildings and structures
    • Design of structures for wind effects
    • The response of structures to wind
    • Wind effects on pedestrians
    • Wind speed over hills
    • Air pollution
    • Full-scale testing of wind effects on structures and components
    • Product evaluation - performance relating to air flow
    • On-site wind speed measurements
    • Vibration monitoring
    • Wind energy

    We work closely with architects and engineers throughout the design phase and recommend mitigation strategies where the wind effects are too great. The level of infrastructure growth in New Zealand, especially in Auckland, means the wind tunnel is in constant use. The tunnel has also been used for unique projects such as:  assessing the strength of novel umbrella designs; and in-field assessments of issues such as jet engine wash at airports.

    The team is part of the New Zealand Wind Engineering Research Consortium, which has gained national and international recognition for their efforts in undertaking field studies of wind speeds over complex topography and the monitoring of wind-induced motion of buildings and other wind-sensitive structures. They have presented to numerous international conferences.

    Socio-economic research and evaluation

    How is socio-economic research helping us in design? Infrastructure design has many socio-economic complexities that make it difficult to establish the priority of projects to best address the needs of the community. 

    We have research methodologies and techniques that allow us to examine public attitudes, behaviour and decision making in relation to these complex social and economic problems to ensure our clients make decisions that provide the best outcomes for their stakeholders.

    As just one example, our virtual reality simulations provided our client with research and evaluation of signage that saved them $2m.

    The results of our socio-economic research and evaluation work underpins business cases, policy direction, design interventions and targeted social marketing campaigns.

    After decades of research, we have learned that behaviours are unpredictable, and targeted research can assist in achieving the right outcome.

    Our scope of services includes:

    • Prioritising behaviour change interventions
    • Community based social marketing
    • Programme evaluation
    • Developing indicators of social and economic performance
    • Economic analysis, including willingness to pay for studies
    • Geographic impact evaluation, using Geographic Information System Mapping
    • Monitoring customer satisfaction
    • Identifying impacts of environmental factors, including social and health outcomes.




    News


    Resilience to natural hazards

    How do we prepare for a future where people are more frequently affected by natural disasters?

    Hundreds of natural disasters happen around the world each year. New Zealand’s geographic positioning and general isolation means that we are more vulnerable than most to potential events.

    The 2010 and 2011 Canterbury Earthquakes cost New Zealand $30 billion, equaling 20% of our countries GDP. Cyclone Gita and Fehi caused over $81 million  of destruction during their six-week siege of New Zealand’s west coast. And, the Pigeon Valley Wildfire lasted three weeks and burned through thousands of hectares of land.

    In most instances, we cannot foresee natural disasters. However, we can prepare our infrastructure and built spaces to ensure that damage and civilian safety is controlled.

    The design of infrastructure to withstand earthquake forces is one area in which we have research competence and specialist equipment.

    Human resilience is another and our work within the Natural Hazards Research Platform investigates the behaviours and social economics of how New Zealand communities respond to and recover from the impacts of a natural disaster, including the use of social media in emergency management.

    In this field we work with emergency managers, planners, policy makers, business and community organisations, and infrastructure owners.

    Research Design and Evaluation

    History tells us, that decision-making without detailed, conclusive research is a recipe for disaster.

    With over a century's worth of specialist advisory experience in both the public and private sector, we are able to equip our clients with the tools, information and reassurance needed to carry-out robust decision making.

    With growing constraints on resources, its becoming increasingly challenging to deliver infrastructure improvements.

    WSP's research and planning team offer detailed research design and evaluation services that can support robust decision making, leadership, policy guidance and innovation.

    We have the capabilities to work independently or alongside other partner operations. To do that, we draw on many research techniques and tools, including reviews, interviews, observation, data and trend analysis and statistical modelling.

    Our clients partner with us because of our wealth of subject matter expertise, research capabilities and technology deployment specialists to:

    • Develop market/sector knowledge and innovation in New Zealand
    • Anticipate and adapt to change and risk that comes with future trends and forecasts
    • Package and deploy knowledge and technology-based solutions and;
    • Develop policy and implementation frameworks that advance practice and process.
       

    For more information, contact:
    Sheryl Tank
    Strategic Planning & Commercialisation Manager
    +64 4 472 6126
    Sheryl.Tank@wsp.com

    Mitigating Environmental Effects

    Our research tells us that in New Zealand noise, ground vibration and emissions into the air are the three top environmental side effects that are a matter of concern to our communities.

    Managing them requires in-depth knowledge and experience of five key, interlinked factors:

    • how the activity generates noise, ground vibrations, or air emissions;
    • how to effectively measure the noise, ground vibrations or air emissions;
    • how the transmission of noise, ground vibrations, or air emissions effects the adjacent community;
    • how the community responds to these effects and;
    • how the effects can be meaningfully mitigated, as well as the benefits and costs of that mitigation.

    WSP Research's team brings all these factors together. For example, we have undertaken the following tests and research for our clients:

    • the potential impact of ground vibration; understanding the risk of harsh vibrations on people’s health and on adjacent structures.
    • The potential impact of odour emissions from agricultural activities and advising on how to minimise their effect on nearby communities
    • The potential impact of traffic noise on communities and advising on road surfaces that can reduce noise levels.Understanding the level and type of road signage that best engages drivers

     

    Our research provides a strong technical base for providing environmental assessments of specific projects such as new roads or the construction of major infrastructure. As part of these assessments, we regularly provide independent expert evidence to councils, Board of Inquiry or Environment Court hearings.

    Future Infrastructure Solutions

    Our team can assess what the future is likely to demand of infrastructure assets. We can look at infrastructure solutions across a range of topics – from transport to urban planning, housing to resilience to natural hazards so our clients can develop the most resilient and effective solutions.

    We have developed effective tools for use in hypothetical scenarios to build a robust and sophisticated understanding of likely future behaviour. This creates the opportunity to test innovative but potentially higher risk interventions.

    Realistic situations and solutions are developed through close collaboration with clients and stakeholders.

    Environmental Research Solutions

    Our work in this area includes research to better quantify environmental impacts, relating to noise, ground vibrations, and emissions into the air.

    We assess the likely impacts resulting from wind on buildings and other structures.

    For infrastructure developments we are called on to identify and assess the environmental effects across the project and how they can be mitigated where necessary. Our clients include transport planners and operators, building developers and managers, as well as central and local government agencies.

    Measurement and instrumentation

    Our engineers are skilled in applying technology to any measurement problem

    We have particular expertise in designing, developing, operating and repairing measurement and control systems. Through software development, we can also assist in extending, improving and streamlining existing data measurement, collection and analysis systems.

    We can provide:

    • Electronic and software design and development
    • Refurbishment, repair, and upgrading of existing instruments
    • Automated laboratory equipment and processes
    • Data acquisition
    • Signal processing
    • Data analysis
    • Technical evaluation of new technologies
    • Compliance testing against New Zealand or international standards and specifications
    • Instrument calibration
       

    For more information, contact:
    Wendy Turvey
    Manager WSP Research
    +64 4 587 0678
    wendy.turvey@wsp.com

    Society and Business

    We work with government, businesses and communities to build resilience to natural hazards and improve the liveability of cities

    We assist our clients in developing their long-term infrastructure strategies and plans, as well as helping to review the effectiveness of their existing policies and strategies.

    Our applied social researchers examine public attitudes, behaviour and decision making in relation to complex social and economic problems. The results of this work underpin business cases, policy direction, design interventions and targeted social marketing campaigns.

    Improving Built Environment

    We challenge the design of New Zealand’s built environment to help you build spaces that allow communities and businesses to thrive.

    WSP provides research into human-centred design solutions for New Zealand’s built environments to ensure infrastructure plans will enhance economic growth, social progress and environmental protection now and into the future.

    What does ‘good design’ mean for today’s evolving landscape?

    The purpose of good design is to create sustainable foundations for built environments that connect people with place and nature with the built form. It’s about ensuring that our built surroundings are adding to happiness, health and standard of living, not deter from it.

    Our research tells us that human-centred design in planning can help our communities to thrive.  For example, our research has proved that road surfaces can be designed to decrease road-noise, dramatically affecting community satisfaction.

    How do we design our built environments to meet the demands of our communities now and into the future?

    Let us help you:

    Our technical experts and strategic advisors, including researchers, engineers, and technicians, are dedicated to identifying future trends and researching impacts on humans and society.

    We can:

      Understand public behaviour and provide the strategic case for human-centred design solutions using socio-economic and behavioural research.

      Transport Safety and Efficiency

      How can we connect people and place through safe, efficient transport infrastructure design and solutions?

      WSP's research provides a wide range of research and services in all areas of transportation. This includes research around making roads safer, encouraging public transport use, shared-mobility systems and active transport modes such as walking and cycling.

      Our research tells us that compared to other countries, New Zealand scores below average for transportation and mobility infrastructure. In WSP's Global City Index, Auckland - our countries most progressive city for transport - scored low for several mobility metrics.

      How do we raise the bar?

      Our team of researchers, engineers and technicians help government transport authorities, planning agencies, private developers and transport operators to get the most from transport infrastructure projects.

      We provide testing and advisory services to all areas of transport, including rail and ports. Out team can help you understand the impact of transport infrastructure and how people interact with it.

      For example, we undertake studies of behavioural responses to proposed safety measures such as:

      • Virtual reality simulations of driver responses and road signage
      • Assessing cycling lanes by cyclists responses to passing traffic
      • Assessing road lighting and its effect on driving behaviour and outcomes