A pretty strong criticism of the Auckland Plan’s transport chapter, even in its updated version post submissions, was that it’s not transformational. That critique was touched on in this previous post in particular – highlighting that when you compare the funding split between roads, public transport and walking and cycling, the Auckland Plan actually shifts the focus back towards road expenditure – when compared to the 2010 Regional Land Transport Strategy.

Hidden in the minutes to last Tuesday’s meeting of the Council’s Auckland Plan Committee, who are making final changes to the plan before it gets formally adopted later this month, are a few slides that give an update on further changes being made to the transport chapter. I get the feeling that it is responding to feedback that that transport section is not “transformational enough”. It seems like the Council didn’t quite get around to considering the changes, as transport issues are a matter up for discussion at Thursday’s meeting, but the slides give us a clue about what these further changes might be:

I think that it is crucial that we have some meaningful targets for transport in the Auckland Plan and he council has come up with  two key ones. A shorter term raw patronage number that can hopefully hammer home the point that this is one of the council’s main transport focus areas over the next decade, but also longer term target that give us a clue about what transport might be like in a truly “transformed” city – what achieving our vision of becoming the World’s Most Liveable City might be like. The 10 year target is also quite a bit more than what is forecast in the draft long term plan. A further slide gives us a clue about the level of patronage growth required to meet the patronage targets – and how that compares to historical trends:

As you can see it is quite a change and I think it’s fair to say that if we were to reach the 2040 target, then public transport use in Auckland would have truly gone through a “transformation”. But how realistic is it to expect Auckland’s per capita use of public transport to increase so dramatically over the next 3o years? Well the next slide gives us a nice comparison similar cities throughout Australia and Canada in particular and it seems like at 100 trips per person we’d really be doing “pretty well”, rather than our current level which is pretty horrific: Of course it’s all nice and well for the Auckland Plan to be full of pretty words and nice sounding targets, but the real crunch comes down to how much money gets spent on what projects and so far the draft long term plan is far from ideal. It will be interesting to see whether any other last minute changes to the Auckland Plan have resolved the glaring hypocrisy between the pretty words and the increasingly optimistic targets on the one hand, and the huge amount of money that is being planned to be poured into roading projects on the other hand.

I guess that matter will be in the hands of the Council on Thursday but I will definitely be keeping an eye on it.

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  1. Hey Matt did AC have a per capita version of that second to last one? That would be interesting, or scary? 100m trips in the 1940s… even accounting for the visiting Marines there weren’t that many Aucklanders then.

  2. I think targets are a bit iffy.

    Why not release a Frequent Network plan instead? With a frequent network map?
    The Auckland B line buses are good, but what is the reason for them not being frequent on the weekend? There has been much success with Brisbane’s BUZ routes (bog standard buses which run at 15 minute or better frequency, 7 days a week between 6 am – 11.30 pm), and this would be the cheapest, fastest thing to fix up in Auckland. Start with bus services on the fast arterial roads…

    Too often long term plans are purely about more concrete, more infrastructure – it is like the concrete:service ratio is waaay out of whack. Concrete (infrastructure) is only useful when there is FREQUENT SERVICE running on it. Often you can have the frequent service without the concrete in place.

    Auckland should focus on aggressively expanding the B-Line network and include late evenings and all weekends into the concept. Failure to do this is like having a motorway that is only open until 7pm on weekdays and is closed all weekend.


  3. Targets for 2040 and 2022 are “large improvements, not in my term of office” which sound great but will have been long forgotten when the time comes so they need to be coupled with a set of short term targets like “at a rate of between x and y per annum for the next 3 years.”

  4. Having lived in both Brisbane and Auckland, I couldn’t agree more. The BUZ routes are frequent enough to make a timetable redundant. This makes it much more convenient for passengers to turn up and go. There are plenty of routes in Auckland which can realistically be upgraded to B line services.

  5. Patrick, BrisUrbane – agree completely; the cheapest and most straightforward fix for public transport is hike the frequencies, especially the nonpeak ones. I would aim for a seven-to-eight services per hour frequency, if I could find a way to pay for it.

    BTW is anyone here following the review, by Jarrett Walker no less, of the Wellington city bus network? I know it’s not quite the focus of this board, but there may be lessons in it for Auckland.

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