Amidst spending zillions of dollars on motorways over the next few years, NZTA’s National Land Transport Programme also established the “Public Transport Leadership Forum”. This is what’s said about that forum in the NLTP:
Meanwhile, an NZTA programme will take a longer-term view of public transport investment while seeking to make decision-making processes more robust. We will convene a public transport sector leadership forum, with one of its first tasks being to develop an action plan to improve the effectiveness of public transport in New Zealand.
It may not seem like particularly much, but I think that there are likely to be some very useful results coming from simply getting together a pile of people who know what they’re talking about when it comes to public transport, and thrashing out some ways to improve public transport nationwide. The forum held its first meeting in September last year, and is holding another meeting in a couple of days time.
A progress report on what was achieved at that first meeting, and a series of next steps to take makes for quite interesting reading actually – and suggest that this might actually achieve something, rather than simply being a talkfest designed to distract us from NZTA’s potentially disastrous farebox recovery policy that is being developed.
The forum considered a number of aspects of public transport, including its wider context. Their findings on this matter are summarised below: That seems to cover pretty much everything. I’m particularly glad that parking policies, peak oil and the ability of public transport to help achieve growth strategies has been mentioned. These three issues are often overlooked.
A number of reports were put together by various transport experts – including Russel Turnbull from Parsons Brinkerhoff, Dr Peter Stoveken from Stoveken Consulting, and Ian Wallis from Ian Wallis Associates (I must say it’s nice to learn that we actually have public transport experts in Auckland). Various long-term strategies and plans were discussed, but perhaps what I found most interesting were the identified “low hanging fruit” – or relatively easy to implement improvements in the next five years that could make a big difference:
Improving real-time travel information, creating a full integrated ticketing system and looking to create incentives so that employers provide staff with free public transport (instead of free parking) look to me as three steps forward in particular that could make a very positive difference.
There’s quite a bit of other information I have, which can be read from the links below:
- NZTA Powerpoint Presentation – Improving Public Transport Effectiveness
- Planner/Funder Breakout Group Notes
- Operators Breakout Group Notes
- Users Breakout Group Notes
Of course who knows whether all of this will actually achieve anything, but it’s certainly good to know that some serious thinking is going on to improve public transport. Hopefully all parties involved in the forum have read Paul Mees’s excellent book: Transport for Suburbia. It will answer most of their questions I would imagine.