This morning NZTA reported some run-of-the-mill snarfus on their big Auckland motorway system via Twitter, below

NZTA Tweet 1

Matt took the opportunity to suggest they improve their communications to include more forms of transport available in Auckland, in particular the Rail network that they do help fund to operate [but weirdly are barred from funding new capital works on the rail network- even ones that would lower the net operating cost]. And this was their reply. Very good to see and certainly look forward to it becoming a reality:

NZTA Tweet 2

Here’s the full conversation:

TB-NZTA tweets

I also took the opportunity to help improve one of NZTA’s earlier tweets:

PR-NZTA tweets

It would be better if my addition was able to more of a suggestion than quite so blunt and clipped but I ran out characters. Perhaps in order to be more concise on social media NZTA should  just use a nice colloquialism like this tweeter last week:

Sacha tweet

Munted: that is both a concise and precise description of traffic in Auckland often, especially when it rains, or on a Monday, or a Friday or…. well anytime and for many reasons. Despite, or rather because of, the billions that continues to be spent on the motorway system. Time for the clever people at our ‘Transport Agency’ to be unleashed fully onto all modes and systems, not just State Highways, and not just in their communications.

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      1. sometimes i like to imagine a parallel universe where a labour-greens coalition is in government and julie anne genter is transport minister…

          1. Yeah I agree what an awful suggestion! She would be qualified for the job and would actually get something done. Keep the ex woodwork teacher!

          2. I love how those who give the strongest points of view on politics don’t even attempt to qualify or quantify what they’re saying in any way.

        1. Yes. She could do interesting public information videos where she walks around in an empty carpark at Hoyts Wairau Park while sad music plays and she could tell us about the bad man who built too much parking. Oh wait she already did that.

    1. Nothing wrong with NZTA as it is set up now, all of its deeds etc talk about ‘transport’ not just highways. And there are clearly really dedicated and forward looking people working there. But then it gets terrible direction from the current single mode obsessed government and parts of it give poor advice back up the chain. Is that just to please the bosses, or is it that parts of the institution are nostalgic for last century’s conditions? The Ministry however… I wonder how many of them would survive a change of government? They would certainly need to demonstrate a very impressive ‘Sir Henry’-like ability to suddenly start advising the complete reverse of what they do now….?

          1. The better half got me the complete Yes, Prime Minister DVD box set for my birthday a couple of years ago, it’s compulsory viewing for anyone with even the slightest interest in politics or the political process…

            Speaking of which, I can feel a DVD night coming on…

  1. For someone that has being living in Pokeno for 5 years i have progressively seen the motorway get worse, but finally reached breaking point when they opened the new Papakura junction and is easy to see why…. People are moving south because it is more affordable, Pokeno, Pukekohe and Papakura have large subdivisions underway with large open spaces, perfect for young families and with a flowing motorway you can do it in 35 mins……However, the new junction is leting far to much traffic on the motorway 12secs between lights (for someone that regular sits in the traffic) and with Six lanes of traffic (plus the T2) having to merge in to 2. it just does not work………..I work in Newmarket and the lights are 16secs apart it takes some time to get on, but once on the motorway it flows (slowly but it flows……We need someone to play with the timing on this lights.

    I thought they learnt their lesson on SH20 to 1, but i guess that was wishful thinking…………Who in the earth does the traffic modelling……..

    1. How about a North Waikato commuter train service? I know where some used DMUs can be sourced….Te Tron, Te Rapa, Ngarauwhahia, Huntly, Pokeno, Tuakua, Pukekohe? Or Papakura till the Puke line is electrified. And of course onwards on the EMUs and buses and ferries in Auckland, and the buses in Ham-burg.

      People like the country-ish living of small satellite towns well let’s do them properly and focus them around a good little local centre and proper Rapid Transit connections to the big centres: our own little ‘stock broker belt’. Not just auto-dependant sprawl even further away.

      1. Agree Patrick. Kumeu/Huapai are ripe for this but are being allowed to sprawl in their own right with no town plan. Where is the busway to offer transport alternatives? A bypass to remove the vast numbers of through traffic?

        1. Patrick, that makes so much sense it can’t possibly happen. Imagine if we had a govt with the vision to make not only that happen (but also massively reduce freight transport CO2 emissions) by electrifying the Golden Triangle rail further from Papakura through Hamilton to the Port of Tauranga.

          Then the regional commuter trains (starting at a University-area station and also stopping in Hamilton East?) could be electric… imagine getting hours of work done on the train and arriving in Newmarket, downtown etc. relaxed and productive… imagine…

          1. Yup; it’ll happen, just not under current management. However right now here is an opportunity for the people of the Waikato to take a leaf from AK’s book and beg, borrow, or steal our old cast-offs as we did Perth’s and build up the service at very little risk and initial cost. We paid Perth so little it was embarrassing…and delivery would be easy! Waikato should offer to take them off our hands [reluctantly] in exchange for running them into AK territory…?

            The more i think about that route the more I like it: good anchors at each end, and plenty of idle land around small town stations for free park’n’rides!

            Of course vast new highways everywhere on that route too to deliver people to the stations of their choice [ironic laugh].

      2. Honestly, if the Waikato district council want to run that service we could just loan them the trains for free on the condition that maintenace and running costs are done by WDC.

        It is an incredibly sensible idea, and hopefully will result in electrification to Hamilton and some alignment improvemets to allow trains to travel a bit faster than currently. Would allow people to live in these rural towns and work in Auckland even if we get these million more people in 30 years.

      3. Quoting Patrick: “People like the country-ish living of small satellite towns well let’s do them properly and focus them around a good little local centre and proper Rapid Transit connections to the big centres: our own little ‘stock broker belt’. Not just auto-dependant sprawl even further away.”

        Already being planned and worked on (with not much help from Central Government but the Councils are talking) slowly

        1. Take care though.. To work as real satellite towns they need to meet three criteria: strict boundaries; proper town belts, otherwise they’re just leap frogging sprawl, and soon to absorbed into more sprawl, the only way they will remain being actually in the countryside (1). They also need real walkable amenity rich town centres (2), and they need proper Rapid Transit services to other centres from the start (3), otherwise they will become more auto-dependant sprawl. 2 and 3 should be in the same space; ie the station must be part of that walkable amenity rich centre. The Southern Rail Line is perfect for a few of these. Hopefully it’s not too late for Pokeno.

          1. Thanks Patrick and yep those three points are spot on as well. Will pass them on to the Dep Mayor as she has an interested in well connected, non auto-dependent Satellite Towns that are interconnected to each other and back to Auckland

          2. Cheers Ben. There’s an irony with satellites; they are often promoted, as an idea, by the Demographica backed sprawlists, yet for them to work they need strict urban/ rural boundaries. Both for the main metropolis that they are satellite to and for each little country town that wants to keep its country charm. And of course such things are the route if all evil according to these lobbyists.

          3. Here you go: the good old Daily Mail [ahem]:


            The happiest place on earth!? why?:

            “It is quite affluent and we have this fantastic common,” she said. “Within a five-minute walk, you are in the countryside, but we also have the Metropolitan Line which takes you straight into the city.
            “We have good schools, a thriving library and a nice community atmosphere. It is very ‘villagey’, but we have the amenities of a large town. I think that makes most people happy.”

            There you go my three criteria, in three sentences. Basically the best of all worlds: Local quality, easy access to wilderness, and easy access to the exciting city centre. Bingo.

  2. That text could have been split into three different texts with customised public transport tips for each.

    1. Good point… but of course excepting the lucky North Shore’s own Busway and the Rail system there’s not too much point in NZTA suggesting people get on buses without fully connected buslanes or busways, see Ran’s comment below.

  3. The traffic on the NW motorway was horrific this morning. I took the bus and ended up 45 minutes late for work. What I would have given for:
    a) a grade separated bus way from Lincoln Road to Nelson Street, or
    b) a crystal ball that would have told me to take the train instead of the bus

  4. Papakura to Britomart: 90+ mins by motorway depending on traffic, 55min by Train, regardless. That would have been a tweet.

  5. Off topic, I found out that there’s a better acronym for the people who refuse to have high-density housing (and therefore people less rich than they are) anywhere near them than NIMBYs: FRUITs.

  6. In one text:

    Live Mway travel times
    Papakura-CBD: Car 90min+, Train 55min
    Constellation-CBD: Car 51min, Bus 22min
    Te Atatu-CBD: Car 22min, Bus 22min

    1. In all seriousness, this is an excellent idea for the upcoming AT hack event ( Combine the PT feeds. live traffic data and cycling/walking route planners to produce an “all mode” heads up.

      I’ll add it to the event wiki page, hopefully someone will take it up.

      1. I’m sure someone has mentioned this, but you should take the opportunity at the hack event to push for more open-sourcing of info.

        Imagine a computer science grad competition to make the best transport app combining all the info available… the winners would put the current AT app to shame I’m sure 🙂

          1. @SailorBoy hehe, well hacking something up in a weekend is one thing, validating, polishing and scaling for public use is quite another, but it’ll be great to see what comes out of the event. I’ll be along to various bits to help with spatial stuff, getting data and various APIs.

  7. I don’t often listen to the congestion updates on radio stations – why would I when flying past on a train – but I did catch one this week while driving the old CityHop to a work meeting in the middle of the day. AT had a brief line or two before and after the travel update advertising the new electric trains – at least AT are playing up this opportunity, good on them. Although I did think it was a bit premature….best not to overpromise, perhaps AT should learn from the NZTA PR tacticians on that one.

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