Tauranga roading authorities have been given a huge fail mark on their efforts to wean people off using their cars to get around.

Eighty per cent of the 2300 people who completed an online survey on the Tauranga Transport Programme said authorities had performed badly or very badly to reduce Tauranga's reliance on cars.

The survey gauged community support for key targets in the draft plan, which has been under development by the Tauranga City Council, the New Zealand Transport Agency, the Bay of Plenty Regional Council and the Western Bay of Plenty District Council, and measured how well people thought the targets were being met.

Eighty-four per cent said it was important growth supported public transport, cycling and walking but 61 per cent rated how the target had been achieved as bad or very bad.

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A total of 80 per cent of respondents said it was important to improve travel times on main roads.

Three-quarters of people wanted a higher priority given to public transport, with nearly 50 per cent saying authorities had performed badly or very badly in delivering bus services, a report to yesterday's council transport committee said.

Tauranga mayor Greg Brownless said there were no easy answers.

''Many of the buses are running around empty. People have to do more than pay lip service to wanting to improve public transport by actually using what is there, even if it isn't perfect.''

Brownless said traffic improved in school holidays, with parents travelling across town because they did not want to send their children to the nearest school.

''If the regional council could do something about this, that would be great.''

More than two-thirds of people who filled in the survey identified eight of the nine issues as being important or very important. Sixty-six per cent saw reducing emissions as important.

Nearly 70 per cent wanted to reduce Tauranga's reliance on cars, with 80 per cent saying authorities had performed badly on the issue.

The final shape of the transport plan would help the city council decide its transport priorities for the 2018-28 Long Term Plan, with $95.6 million earmarked for a big range of projects for the first three years.

Tauranga optometrist Devon Palairet, who cycles to work every day, said there was a perception of safety issues with cycling. He understood how difficult it was for the council to fund cycleways because of the city's geographic spread.

He said half of Tauranga's traffic congestion problems were mums dropping and picking up their children from school.

''If we are going to change the culture, we have got to start with young people ... I'd love to send my kid on a bike to school.''

Aspirations of Tauranga's transport planners
- A transport network that achieves a liveable city
- A transport network that better manages economic and urban growth
- A transport network that allows people to make safer and healthier travel choices.