As seen in the Top 10 lists, “compactness” and “ease of getting around” were very strong themes across all of the surveys when it comes to what respondents like most about Wellington. The high accessibility of all of the things that Wellington has to offer commercially, socially, and culturally appears to be a strong element in people’s overall enjoyment of the city. Preserving this “feel” and maintaining and improving ease of access looks to be a major driver in the demand for improved transport options.
Strong public transport themes were evident across all surveys – particularly calls for its improvement. The frequency of public transport services, perceptions of high cost, and journey time predictability were especially prevalent themes. While many respondents appear to think that Wellington has a fairly good public transport system already (and particularly compared to other New Zealand centres) a large number believe there is significant room for improvement, and see investment as an important element in helping address their frustration with traffic.
Congestion and traffic were amongst the biggest frustrations respondents expressed. Though when queried in one survey about how bad this problem was compared to Auckland or to what extent congestion would be expected in a similarly vibrant city, respondents tended to be more charitable towards Wellington. Nevertheless their frustration with traffic and congestion was highly consistent across all surveys, with many expressing a preference for a central city less dominated by cars.
Walking is a popular way to get around Wellington and the opportunity to do so is valued by respondents across the surveys. Linked to the lower priority given to "more cars" it appears to be the view that private motor vehicles are largely responsible for much of the noise and pollution that decreases the enjoyment of walking.
The natural environment, particularly the waterfront and harbour, were prominent in the lists of things that people liked and valued about Wellington. The value is both intrinsic and extrinsic: people talked of their “connection” to the environment and also the things they enjoy doing in it: running, walking, cycling, tramping, sailing and so on. The built environment, including the heritage value of parts of Wellington featured as well, though considerably further down most lists.