Yesterday I posed the question of which piece of transport infrastructure carried the most people during the morning peak. The answer is that at the moment they both carry about the same number of people, the difference of course is that the Britomart tunnel has the ability in the future to carry many many more people in the same amount of space as I intend to show you shortly. I have mentioned before how hard it seems to be to show just how much benefit the CRL brings to the city and this post is another intended to try and show some of this information in a different way to make it easier to understand.

The data for this post came from a couple of sources, the current PT information came from the Screenline Study which counted the number of people on buses and trains that entered the CBD last year. The vehicle traffic numbers come from Auckland Transport’s vehicle counts from which there are AM peak hour counts for the roads the cross enter the CBD. I have then mixed this information together along with information we already know about the capacity of the CRL and the EMUs to put these maps together.

A quick explanation about the maps:

  • The lines represent places where people enter the CBD from, Red lines are access points from the motorways, Blue from local streets, Yellow from the ferries and Green is the rail network. The size of the line represent the number of people (not vehicles) coming via that route.
  • For the streets the bus and vehicle counts are merged into one arrow, bus patronage is worked out at approx 30 people per bus for the current map, 40 per bus for the 2017 map and 50 people per bus for the 2022 map. In reality we probably won’t see utilisation that high but I thought it would be useful to show the difference.
  • For the rail network the current count only includes people entering Britomart so other heavily used stations like Grafton and Newmarket are not included which take up much of the reserve capacity. The final map only shows the network at 60% capacity with the assumption that people would still get off at stations like Newmarket. Also before getting accused of accused of having a CBD only focus, the lines represent capacity to the Aotea station for visual purposes only.

First up here is what we have currently. The rail network is small but it is actually the 4th largest source of arrivals into the CBD when compared against each individual streets. You can also see the massive impact that buses from the North Shore and from the Isthmus and down Symonds St make, over 70% of people coming along these two corridors do so on a bus.

Next we see the what things might look like in 2017. By this time we should have all of our new EMUs running which will boost capacity as well as attractiveness of rail network. There are likely to also be significant increases in the bus network following the implementation of the planned improvements to it. In here I have assumed that only about half of the capacity of the EMUs arriving into Britomart is being used yet that line is already the single biggest on the map.

Lastly we see the impact once the CRL is opened, as mentioned the lines only represent about 60% of the available capacity as not everyone will want to head to the CBD. The capacity of the CRL absolutely dwarfs every other entry point to the CBD and it does so without impact to the surrounding streets once it has been built. It is also worth pointing out that the usage of the bus network has been greatly increased, probably more that we can expect in this time as combined it is around 65% higher than the bus patronage is now.

Going back to yesterdays post, to get the same amount of extra capacity we would need probably another 15 general traffic lanes into the CBD, around an extra 400 buses per hour or some combination of the two.

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    1. Bringing us back to all the arguments against the CBD being any kind of focus for any kind of growth, and we all know that there are many being put forth in favour of a decentralised city with no heart. The CRL must be sold on the back of benefits to the whole region, because if there’s any huge push on it being necessary for the CBD to grow further it will be shot down by those who think we should go back to being a poorly-connected collection of town centres with no single focal point.

  1. I think most of those who follow the blog agree. The problem is convincing the average joe who doesnt work in the CBD or lives in North Shore why they should care about putting massive funding into this. If they don’t care enough to vote on this issue, then it won’t be happening until long after we need it.

    1. While this blog may have a limited (but growing) following, what we are trying to do with posts like this is to give ideas to AT that they can use to promote the project because there has been nothing but crickets from them recently which I believe is due to them focusing so much effort on getting things ready so they get the designation. They will be using a similar process to Waterview so need to have everything lined up and ready to go as they only really get one shot at it.

  2. Ari, this blog is probably a great place to develop these visualisations, which can then be circulated more publicly once mature.

    I intend to show friends and colleagues the above graphs when the topic of transport comes up in conversation.

    I think one important point to emphasise (with before/after photos already shown here in previous posts) alongside this, was the amount of inner city we had to decimate to give us our current motorway capacity, while stating that the rail will give us the same capacity again, and then heaps more again with the CBD link, without any of that massive decimation occurring again.

  3. This is a great visualisation of the benefits of the Link. Miles better than anything I’ve seen from Auckland Transport.

  4. Agree with the comments made above. There are conversations, lobbying and submissions going in trying shore up the case for the CRL 😀

    Just one picture missing Matt, the BIG GREEN ARROW from the North Shore to Aotea station 😉

    Future proofing to allow a rail line to at first Akoranga then further up over time, and being able to show that to the North Shore might give you the buy in from them the CRL needs. I managed to convince 5 people that way, small but its a start and 2013 is not that far away

  5. I think one of the problems in selling the “regional” message is that when posts/articles are made on the CRL, the diagrams always focus on the CBD – i.e. how many people entering it – so we kind of fuel the problem.

    We say its not just about the CBD, talk some stats about frequencies etc, and then finish it off with a juicy diagram showing and talking about….people entering the CBD. And the opponents go “See?”.

    I don’t know what the answer is though….

    1. I think something along the lines of the Mapnificent maps, but adjusted for the impact of the CRL, could be a cool way of addressing this side of the debate.

      Mapnificent maps show the area that is accessible by PT from any given place in any given period of time. A series of comparisons of areas accessible now vs areas accessible in future in a given time period from a bunch of locations would be a great way of showing the faster travel times across the entire rail network and show benefits are not confined to the CBD.

      Back to point, great maps Matt, really get the point across – CBD agglomeration can’t happen without the CRL, simple.

      1. In a non-CRL scenario there would still be some new office employment in the CBD, but also the development of car-dependent suburban office parks. The airport area is likely to dominate this development, with only a little on the North Shore. The airport area jobs would simply not be accessible to potential workers on the North Shore, unless they are willing to endure hours of motorway congestion. There would be an increase in car travel across the bridge from those that are willing, and the $5b second harbour crossing would need to be built earlier. So the arguments would be
        – accessibility of specialist jobs to workers from the whole of Auckland
        – postponement of the need for a second harbour crossing

      2. Yes I was thinking of something similar but forgot about Mapnificent, that would be a great tool for AT to use for both the CRL and the new bus network when that is announced.

    2. To me the answer is the duo of

      A- “getting cars off the motorways”- EVERYONE WANTS LESS TRAFFIC.

      B- How much quicker it will be to get from Point A (non CBD) to Point B (non CBD). The gen pop know it’ll help “Town” but “what’s in it for me?” Plenty- and that’s what we should show them.

  6. That could easily be solved with a zoomed-out graphic of the same, again showing peak people-carrying capacity.

    Could have double-headed arrows showing bus feeders, a now-thin, future-thicker line showing the peak people-carrying capacity of the rail network, lines for the inner bus network, and comparative red lines for people carried on arterials and motorways by private vehicles.

    I think the graphs need to distinguish between private vehicle carried people and public transport carried people along the same route, particularly with regard to the harbour bridge.

    1. I was thinking about separating out buses vs cars but it would have made the image too messy. I did think of a way of doing it a bit nicer but I don’t have the graphic design skills to do it. With the exception of Nelson St, the next biggest amount of road traffic comes from Cook St then Wellesley St so all other roads would be less than those two.

  7. I think we have all just give Matt a nice research and presentation assignment. 😉
    Was going to comment more but need to tend to something else – be back later

  8. Now Patrick, I am usually quite quiet in here and posting occassionally. Only the last 24 hours I seems to have poked a the fire with a stick when I should probably not of.

    Now then Patrick I will call you on that challenge as well.

    I might go have a rattle around and see what I can come up with in Mapnificent maps – if nothing else it will be learning excerise and another set of tools for the tool box later.

  9. How about removing all the arrow heads especially on the Post-CRL map and for rail, that way it clearly shows the rail as the actual “capacity” it has through the CBD “to other places” (not just the CBD) – which is what the CRL is about.

    Secondly, the arrows going through and out the CBD should not be “thinner” they should all be as fat as the arrows inside the CBD to show the carrying cabability.

    That way, you don’t really care if those people get on or off at the CBD stations or carry on through to stations west,south or east of the CBD.

    And of course, a second fat arrow is needed from the North Shore to the Aotea station (planned as a seperate line) to show how the rail tunnel will obviate the need for a second (vehicle) harbour crossing.

    When you think about your pre-CRL maps you are showing in effect maximum carrying capacity numbers based on what each mode can carry now since all the roads in and around the CBD are congested at peak times. Same goes for rail, the pre-CRL maps show what the modes can carry now, the post-CRL maps/modes show what they are predicted to carry.

    It becomes obvious with fatter arrows that you make the “pipes” larger with the CRL, way more than 15 lanes of motorway could achieve-even with double decker buses everywhere.

    1. I think Matt’s map is based on the west-south and east-Onehunga routings which has double the trains through the CRL tunnel as it does on most of the lines because both routings overlap in the CRL (and between Newmarket & Penrose, which is also extra thick).

    2. To reply to your points
      The point was mainly to show the usage in the peak direction rather than capacity which is why I have also only showed the roads heading into the CBD. It is important to point out that this isn’t the capacity of the CRL but a conservative guess at patronage. The figures I used were 60% of the maximum capacity based on the CRL having 30 trains per hour in the peak direction and each train having 750 people on it (another way would be to say 18 full trains in each direction). Even with the 60% figure to show the lines through the city would effectively double the width of the lines as the lines in the image are each direction.

      Yes people could and would travel through the tunnel and out the other side but this image was intended to only show the impact on the CBD, I am going to try and work on other images to show the impact for the rest of the network and my fellow bloggers and I are trying to come up with a whole range of different visual aids and ideas to show different aspects of the project that AT can then use.

      The arrows on the first two maps also don’t represent the capacity of the network but just how many people used the trains to get to Britomart. The first map is based on the screenline study last year and is about 40-50% of the available capacity (this is due to people going to other stations like Grafton and Newmarket taking up other capacity on the network. The 2017 map uses a similar amount of used capacity but with longer trains and two extra trains out west (to bring it up to 6 trains per hour in the peak)

      1. These are really great visualisations, Matt. My only reservations were about the green arrows too — how about showing green arrows perpendicular to the main line coming from the 3 CBD stations?

  10. Since we’re talking about graphics, I think I could have something of use. After the post on the NZTA Puhoi video a couple of days ago, I got thinking I might be able to create a CRL animation, (although not to the same quality as their one!). If you guys at transport blog are interested I could email you what I could do in 3Ds Max. So far I’ve animated the eastern line on a 2D map of Auckland, so still a lot to do!

  11. Having stumbled across this blog I feel compelled to write. Everyone seems hell bent on spending ratepayer money on solutions that chase the tail of the demon. Aucklands splodge layout doesn’t allow for efficient public transport. No matter how grand the trains or emus or buses are, most people would spend an inordinant amount of time getting to public transport even if it took them the one leg of their journey a bit more efficently. All’s fine if you live along a transport corridor, but only a small % live there. It’s not a to b but, a to to c to d ad infinitum.if you choose to live in a burb and work in another burb on the other side of the bridge or east-west and seems quite common..

    Wellington has a narrow corridor and suits public transport (they figured that out 100yrs ago). London has a suitable density, to suit a spiral/ circular path, Auckland doesn’t suit anything logical and affordable. The density just isn’t there and who wants to live in a dense city anyway?

    What about just promoting a static population and at least the problem wont get any worse. Any migrants have to be redirected to say Invercargill. The belief that growth promotes something good is hogwash..Growth only benefits tax collectors.

    1. Welcome aboard!

      Funny though, you are clearly looking at a different Auckland to the one on my maps; you know the long thin one squeezed on two sides by harbours. There is nothing about the geography of Auckland that precludes the running of an efficient PT system. It fact there used to be one but that was dismantled, and not by the gods of geography but by human will. We can certainly have more choice and freedom of movement modes in Auckland if we decide to support them.

      If you read far in the blog you see that our view is that there is plenty of money spent annually in Auckland on transport, the bulk of it decided by our masters in Wellington and we are in favour of a re-purposing of that money rather than any increase in rates to fund the necessary improvements to our transport infrastructure. So; the urban motorways are nearly finished and are largely full; the only, as well as the most cost effective way to keep them working is to invest in alternative modes to complement this one mature system. Happily this also has many additional benefits in urban form, pollution reduction, and lowering our dependence on imported oil.

      As for static population; it may happen, it may not, but surely you are not advocating controlling where people want to live like in some totalitarian state?

    2. “The density just isn’t there…”
      Apart from the fact that density isn’t necessary for good public transport, Auckland is the most dense major city in Australasia.

      “and who wants to live in a dense city anyway?”

  12. @charlihorse Most of what you have just said is not true about Auckland. It is actually quite a high density city by Australasian standards and its shape is ideally suited to railed public transport. I suggest watching this video and the two follow ups:

    The question that needs to be answered is: “Why does every city in the developed world over 1 million population have a rail based integrated public transport system but Auckland does not.” The only answer to that question is government policy. Change the policy and you change the system.

    So you want to make a rule that all immigrants have to live anywhere but Auckland? Does that also apply to NZers as a one in, one out system? I think if you really examine that in any depth it is completely unworkable and pretty Stalinist in its premise.

    Have you ever lived in a European/Asian high density city? If not, I suggest you dont really understand what is being proposed. If so, how could you not weant to replicate that in NZ’s biggest city. And if you didn’t like it, why do you live in a city at all? There are lots of nice small towns in NZ.

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