At the Auckland Conversations talk by Janette Sadik-Khan, Auckland Transport chairman Lester Levy talked about creating a “Statement of Imagination”. It turns out that AT have been working on this since the beginning of the year. They say it will be by the end of the year and then they will formally include it as part of their statement of intent from next year. Crucially it appears that AT are taking a bit of a clean slate approach and reviewing what it is they are actually working towards. This is important as so far they have largely just been working on legacy projects. Here’s what they say about it.
Inclusion of a new section – “Statement of Imagination”, outlining Auckland Transport’s bolder and different strategic approach that will be detailed in the next SOI (2015-2018). The work on strategy, strategic themes and the Statement of Imagination has been underway since the beginning of the year and is being directed by the Board together with management. It will be completed and revealed by the fourth quarter of 2014 and will direct the next Statement of Intent. It will define and clarify the dominant strategic themes critical to prioritising Auckland Transport’s activities. In particular, given the strong signal of a sinking cash lid for our capital activities, we will revisit some existing major projects. Scaling these projects back, allocating fewer resources to investigating projects that won’t be implemented for decades, and developing innovative investment strategies will free funds to deliver short- to medium-term game-breakers that significantly improve the way we move around our city to get to work, schools and universities, do business, deliver goods and have fun.
As mentioned this does appear like it could be quite a significant piece of work and one that could potentially help in re-orienting the direction of transport spending in Auckland. If I could make a suggestion it would be the Congestion Free Network and it’s something we presented to the board on in February so hopefully it’s something that’s stuck with them in their discussions on the Statement of Imagination so far.
However while the Statement of Imagination is some time away AT’s Statement of Intent for 2014-17 will be discussed at their board meeting next week. I’ve talked about it before and the main issue I have is the changes in patronage targets which sees them dropped across the board. The drop in the rail target is particularly absurd as they are very close to reaching their target for 2013/14 and with the electric trains coming on stream it’s likely to deliver even more improved patronage growth. As it is the proposed target would require patronage growth over the year of only about 700,000 trips. The graph below shows the SOI target proposed and the ones from recent years.
One thing that is different this year is AT are allowing for the public to make a brief submission on the draft SOI at their board meeting. We’ll be looking to do that but if you want to too then the details are here.