A short drive over the foggy tops brought me into Hamilton (or Hamiltron – City of the Future, as its known here). The University of Waikato enrols around 12,000 students a year and sits on a pretty campus around three lakes. There I met with Bridgett Burdett (who was a visiting research in our group some years ago) and Sam Charlton. Sam is very active in the field of road engineering and driver behaviour.
I provided a seminar to his group, and took the opportunity to outline the ITS project ecoDriver (http://www.ecodriver-project.eu/) and presented our preliminary results entitled “Can we encourage ecodriving without compromising safety?”. Following that, it was good to catch up with Sam on the current research topics in New Zealand. They have recently complete some intensive work on alcohol impairment and driving, specifically looking at the merits of lowered the current limits (in NZ the current limit is the same as in the UK – 0.08, but there is zero tolerance for those under 20). As in the UK, there have been discussions about lowering the general limit to 0.05, will they take the plunge?
A short walk round the lake ensued (l-r Me, Sam Charlton, Bridgett Burdett) before heading off the airport to catch a flight to (windy) Wellington…..hope its not too bumpy a landing!