Small-steps towards a Northwest Busway

Last week the Regional Transport Committee confirmed the final form of the 2010 Regional Land Transport Strategy – the culmination of a couple of years’ work in creating Auckland a guiding 30 year transport document. As I have said before, the strategy is an overall excellent document, and really shifts Auckland’s transport thinking in the right direction – to a more balanced and sustainable future. One alteration to the RLTS that I strongly pushed for, the inclusion of provision for a Northwest Busway along State Highway 16, was specifically mentioned in the minutes of the RTC meeting – and although it hasn’t been added as a part of the Rapid-Transit …
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Quote of the Day

Like a gambling addict, Auckland fools itself into thinking it doesn’t have a problem. “Just one more bet or win and then I can finally quit.” “Just one more motorway will relieve congestion and then we can stop building them.” But one motorway leads to another, then another, until you’re building motorways to fix the problems caused by other motorways. This is from Green MP Gareth Hughes’s excellent article on Auckland’s transport situation in Auckland University student magazine Craccum. Mr Hughes is exactly right that our continuing focus on building motorways to fix congestion is like a gambling addiction – that although we know it didn’t work last time (or …
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MAXX website bizarreness

About a month ago I posted about the completely nonsensical results that the new MAXX website was giving to me when trying to make what seemed to be relatively obvious and simple journeys. On that occasion, somehow one of the suggested options included three different Link Bus trips for a simple “Herne Bay to CBD” trip. But that’s nothing compared to the bizarreness of trying to get MAXX to tell you how to get from Hauraki, near Takapuna, to Ponsonby. Now I realise that’s a somewhat unusual trip, but not impossible to come up with an option would would think. Here’s the approximate trip we’re looking at here: A pretty …
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The magic one-hour travel limit

Following somewhat from the discussion on slow transit and travel times, I coincidentally happened to read a paper today that sheds some light onto the ‘magic one hour limit’. This idea that people are willing to travel up to an hour each way to work is more or less considered a fact in transport planning literature, but why is this so, and has it always been that way? The paper I read was entitled “Anthropological Invariants in Travel Behaviour”, written by an anthropologist named Marchetti almost two decades ago. Marchetti claims that travel patterns are determined by basic animal instincts, innate behaviours of survival and prosperity-seeking that have remained constant …
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Applying the “Network Effect” to the Auckland isthmus

A few days ago Nick R wrote an excellent post in which he applied Paul Mees’s “network theory” of bus routes to Auckland’s North Shore, to come up with a basic “grid” structure that could serve the whole area effectively, and potentially in a way that would use the same or less resources than are currently required. There have been enough posts about the network effect recently that I probably don’t have to explain the idea too much, other than to reiterate that it’s based around transfers between routes, simple route structures and high-frequencies – to create a system that can actively compete against the car for speed, cost and …
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Changes to “Auckland Transport”?

On May 24th (delayed from an original report back date of May 4th) the select committee analysing submissions on the Local Government (Auckland Law Reform) Bill, more commonly known as “the 3rd Super City bill” will report back to parliament, with any suggested alterations that have arisen from the submissions process. Given the extremely negative public response that the bill has generally had, particularly on the subject of “Council Controlled Organisations”, it would be surprising if there weren’t some fairly substantial changes made to the bill. This was hinted at in a NZ Herald article last week, which said this: Concerns that council accountability and transparency will be reduced in …
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Could slow PT be good?

A recent post on humantransit.org ponders an argument, put by Professor Patrick M. Condon of the University of British Columbia (UBC), that public transport doesn’t actually need to be “fast”, and in actual fact there are some benefits from it being slow. Sounds strange when you first consider it, but here’s how it’s explained by Professor Condon: The question of operational speed conjures up a larger issue: who exactly are the intended beneficiaries of enhanced mobility? A high speed system is best if the main intention is to move riders quickly from one side of the region to the other. Lower operational speeds are better if your intention is to …
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Regenerating Auckland

In late January, the government announced it would be establishing a group to look into housing affordability and the Metropolitan Urban Limits (MULs) in Auckland. The basic argument is that houses cost too much, so allowing sprawl will reduce house prices Auckland wide. But what is driving up house prices? Why isn’t intensification happening? Is allowing sprawl a good idea? The basic answer is that sprawl is undesirable due to economic and environmental factors (which are covered later in the post) and we should try everything in our power to limit it until we have sensible district plans and parking requirements that will allow intensification to happen in an affordable …
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Transport Blogosphere Roundup

Who’s talking about what in the amazing world of the Transport Blogoshpere? New Green MP Gareth Hughes has hit the ground running and has indicated he will be doing a series of posts on Auckland’s public transport system on Frogblog On Auckland Trains, AKT, Jon C has reported that motorcyclists will have to pay the same toll as cars to use the Northern Gateway, between this and ACC motorcyclists can’t catch a break Jarrett from humantransit.org has a guest post by Samual Scheib about not only the high cost of free parking but also about how the location of the parking on a piece of land has encouraged car dependence, …
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Early Link Buses

A rather odd bus experience going on at the moment. Usually I catch the 004/005 bus to work, but today I was already in Ponsonby for breakfast so the Link Bus was the next one into town. While I waited forever at traffic lights to cross College Hill I noticed a Link Bus sitting at its stop for a good 3-4 minutes with the driver outside having a smoke. I figured the bus must have broken down and asked him that question, although it seemed odd as people were still on the bus. He replied that they were running “early”. Cue another couple of minutes while he finished the cigarette, …
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