The aim of this article is to identify how residential location affects travel patterns, and specifically how peripheral residential relocation impacts on individual travel patterns. The current research presents findings from a case study of Northwood, the largest new peripheral residential development located on the northern rural/urban fringe of Christchurch, New Zealand. During the 1990s a large amount of rural land was rezoned for urban development in Christchurch, the environmental consequences of which have led to continued political conflict particularly between regional and local tiers of government. In the light of such conflict we investigate how new residential developments, such as Northwood, have influenced changes in modal choice and distances travelled for employment and other purposes. Overall results show a minimal change in travel mode, which remained heavily dominated by the car. However, there was a substantial lengthening of travel distances after residential relocation, although this was found to vary by the purpose of the trip.