An exciting announcement from Auckland Transport today:
Auckland Transport proposes to introduce a T3 Transit lane West-bound on Onewa Road at Northcote during evening rush hour traffic. Feedback is sought from the public.
To meet the demand of forecasted growth in the southern-western suburbs of North Shore City, Auckland Transport is looking to future proof the local transport infrastructure. This means improvement is required for major arterial roads such as Onewa Road (pictured below) to help ease the predicted pressure the road network will face.
Transit lanes have been introduced in Auckland in recent years following the example of many cities around the world. Auckland Transport is investing in bus and transit lanes, as part of a region-wide effort to improve public transport system.
Transit lanes are managed lanes that increase corridor efficiency by offering a predictable travel time for carpool vehicles, buses, motorbikes and cyclists. The public transport network is essential to Auckland – as a modern and growing city, we need better connected and more frequent passenger transport services.
Currently approximately 200,000 trips are undertaken on the Auckland’s passenger transport networks each day. By 2050, because of population growth, this is forecast to increase to 600,000 trips each day.
The objective of the Onewa Road T3 transit lane project is to improve effectiveness of the existing west bound lanes by increasing people carrying capacity instead of vehicle carrying capacity.
Currently a T3 transit lane operates eastbound Onewa Road between the hours of 6.30am and 9am. Buses and high occupancy vehicles can accordingly avoid much of the extensive queuing that forms along Onewa Road in the morning peak.
It is common practise to have a similar lane configuration in the opposite direction during the evening peak period to accommodate the similar tidal travel demand. Examples of transit lanes operating in proximity to the project area include Lake Road southbound and Akoranga Drive in both directions.
The legacy North Shore City Council had previously investigated improving the efficiency of Onewa Road in the westbound direction during the evening peak, and proposed the implementation of a T3 transit lane.
This proposal has now been assessed against the Auckland Transport bus priority policy, and based on traffic survey carried out in March 2012. The survey results showed that 48% of passengers travelled in 7% of transit vehicles (buses and vehicles with three or more people).
The proposed T3 transit lane is part of building more efficient public transport network. This change will mean faster and more reliable travel time along Onewa Road, because buses and carpool vehicles carrying three or more occupants are less likely to be stuck in traffic.
The existing westbound carriageway is 6.5m wide and provides space for on-street parking and a single traffic lane. The existing single lane configuration when transformed to two lanes will provide for greater ease of travel.
The added lane will effectively serve as a means of prioritising higher occupancy vehicles along the proposed route. This will allow a more effective use of the available road space and improve efficiency and reliability of public transport system. The proposed scheme will also reduce travel time to most vehicles using the general traffic lane.
While Auckland Transport has been around for almost two years now, this is the first new bus or T3 lane they’ve introduced (aside from stupidly downgrading Remuera Road from a bus lane to a T3 lane). Hopefully this is the first of many new priority lanes.