One day New Zealand’s transport institutions and processes are going to have to get real about induced driving; the vast inconvenient fact of the whole highway expansion business. What we feed grows, what we build will be used, so to try to help justify any transport investment that is likely to make driving a better choice, especially at scale, on lowered emissions or lower energy use etc, requires simultaneously claiming that the project is of so little use it won’t generate new trips. Denial of the syndrome of induced traffic. This is done by treating traffic growth as permanent and exogenous to any transport investment. Clearly this is dubious, if not fraudulent, yet is standard practice. So it was interesting to read of an ongoing scandal in Oregon based on exactly this contradiction:

Here’s a case where a dishonest case for highways was flushed out into the open. David Bragdon, former chief of Portland’s regional planning organization, recently accused state DOT director Matt Garrett of “incompetence or dishonesty.” (Bragdon now directs the nonprofit TransitCenter, based in New York City.) He charged that bogus emissions data from ODOT helped sink a $350 million transportation funding deal in the state legislature.

As we wrote at the time, claims that freeway investments are energy savers usually rely on the false assumption that more free-access lanes reduce idling. That may happen temporarily, but they also tend to induce people to drive more and live further from their destinations.

The answer to this issue is to include the likely impact on overall Vehicle Kilometres Travelled of any particular transport project in the evaluation. So any investment likely to increase access [improve travel times, etc] while reducing overall VKT would do well by this metric, and others would be marked down. This is surely a better way to capture the disbenefit of induced traffic along side the benefits of better access.

Here is an interesting article from Forbes which is relevant to this, Energy Intensity: The Secret Revolution. As it’s from 2014 the data are a little out of date, as we are now seeing US driving bounce back on the back of cheap pump prices, but the arguments remain the same:

Michael Liebreich, chairman of Bloomberg New Energy Finance’s advisory board, points out that the U.S. fracking revolution and the consequent 2004–13 rise in domestic oil output displaced oil imports equivalent to 10 percent of domestic consumption—while two little-noticed demand-side trends, less driving and more-efficient vehicles, saved 18 percent, nearly twice as much. Drilling advocates somehow forgot to mention that their impressive achievements were almost lapped by demand-side shifts. Those saved barrels were nearly invisible because we can’t see energy we don’t use or buy.

On the issue of VKT [VMT in the US], yes it is rising again, but is still down on a per capita basis, and is perhaps showing a new elasticity? In other words if it has rebounded on low pump prices isn’t it just as likely to plummet on any change in prices back up? So is this a bounce, or is it a return to last century’s pattern; time will tell. See: No Driving has not hit an all time high.

VMT per capita

But when you adjust VMT for the driving population, you get a very different picture. As it happens, Doug Short at Advisor Perspectives did just that last week. Turns out VMT per capita is on the way up in 2015 but remains a full 6 percent off the all-time peak hit in mid-2005. Instead of suggesting that Americans are driving more than ever, Short describes U.S. driving as being “about where we were as a nation in June of 1997.”

Staying with CityLab, it is always worth keeping an eye on what Richard Florida is writing about and here he has good news for Auckland. Not all American concerns are relevant to us but the issue of urban centres most certainly is, The Connection Between Vibrant Communities and Economic Growth:

The past decade or so has seen the rise of a new formula for urban economic growth and development. While having a solid business climate that attracts companies and jobs remains important, it is also necessary to cultivate a vibrant, exciting community with a wide diversity of talent. This is true not only in cities and urban centers—which have been attracting young people thanks to what Alan Ehrenhalt dubs the “great inversion”—but in the suburbs as well. In fact, a recent study of 84 suburban areas found that vibrant, dense, mixed-use suburban areas performed better and were preferred over lower-density, auto-dependent office parks.

As the authors point out, the study’s findings move us beyond the overly simplistic dichotomy of dense, diverse cities and decentralized, car-dependent suburbs to “a more complex picture” of metros made up of “nodes of vibrancy.” Simply put, it is the vibrancy of a neighborhood—not whether it’s urban or suburban—that attracts high-growth firms and helps bolster a high-growth regional economy.

A theme also taken up by another great North American; Jarrett Walker, Mr Human Transit, in: How important is Downtown:

In North America, the word downtown invites us to imagine the densest and most walkable part of any city, the place where transit and other non-car modes naturally thrive more than anywhere else.  And where this is actually true, it’s logical for all kinds of intercity and local transit services to focus there.

But when we project this model of downtown onto every city, we encounter fatal confusions.  Downtown implies a single place; there’s just one per city or metro area.  But some cities aren’t like that.  Los Angeles and Houston, two take two famous examples, have a place called downtown, but it’s really just a slightly larger cluster of towers among many clusters of towers dotted across the region.  Downtown in this model is not like a center of energy around which the whole city revolves.  It’s like the brightest of a bunch of stars in a constellation, and not even the brightest by much.  

Auckland does, contrary to some popular belief, have a significantly dominant downtown, and one that is currently reasserting its dominance with strong growth in office construction which will lead to employment growth [currently capacity constrained], a powerful education sector, and a huge return to inner city living. And a clearly separate retail identity, as reported in the Herald yesterday: Stores pull crowds in Queen St.

Chief executive of Heart of the City Viv Beck said it was a “really telling story of growth”.

“It offers great diversity for those living, working and visiting Auckland.”

Retail New Zealand’s general manager of public affairs Greg Harford said Queen St’s luxury brands and local boutique offerings gave it a point of difference to the suburban malls.

City Centre Population - 1996-2015 2

But looking longer into the future the Auckland city centre is firmly spatially constrained; yes it is now and will grow up a great deal, will become much denser, but the boundaries are pretty permanent. That motorway noose and the dormitory suburbs beyond create a finite limit. The fact is Auckland will have to grow alternative centres. Newmarket, and Manukau City look likely, as do Takapuna and others. The Airport company want to make that area a big player but it is severely constrained by the lack of a high quality RTN connection. This need fixing, as it does for Takapuna. But also the city will need to revisit height and density restrictions on these and other places if Auckland is to live up to its potential.

On another scale, Both Hamilton and Tauranga are likely to continue to grow strongly with spillover effects from Auckland over the coming decades. Especially perhaps Tauranga, the correlation of warm weather and urban growth has been very strong, especially since the invention of aircon. So now is the time to identify and reserve Rapid Transit routes in these cities. Or will we condemn them to total and permanent autodependency and congestion like Pakuranga and other Auckland sprawl boom areas? Surely we ought to head the lesson from that earlier growth and keep aside some well chosen routes while the land is still bare? Because we know both places are sprawling. Planning!

Topically, here is Dr Eric Crampton surprising himself with a newfound sympathy for planners:

Last week’s town hall meeting in Khandallah on Wellington City Council’s proposed medium-density re-zoning was an eye-opener. I have been exceptionally frustrated by town planners’ inability to zone enough housing to meet the demands of a growing population. But attending just one of these meetings can really make you sympathise with the council planning officers.

The ‘war on the car’ UK Edition: Lessons from Leicester:

This nibbling – known by transport wonks as the “reallocation of road space” – is far from finished, but before-and-after photographs displayed at public consultations for the Connecting Leicester urban plan show that designing cities for cars results in an excess of vehicles. Leicester’s fight back includes narrowing a four-lane gyratory, with the fourth lane converted into wider pavements and bike paths. A flyover close to the city centre was demolished in 2014. The elevated highways that long hemmed in a 15th-century gatehouse – the Magazine – were removed some years ago, and have not been mourned.

And finally, how’s this; Italian Town Pays People to Bike to Work:

The council in Massarosa, just north of Pisa, says the pilot scheme will see cyclists paid 25 cents per kilometre travelled, up to a monthly cap of 50 euros (£35), the regional Il Tirreno news website reports. That means commuters who switch to two wheels could pocket up to 600 euros (£424) in a year. It’s said to be the first such scheme in Italy.


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  1. Re “sympathy for planners:”, in other more establish communities (e.g. China), development does not happen piecemeal, house by house, with random designs. Developers are required to buy up entire city blocks, remove all houses, and then put in apartments etc

    1. Overall, I’d prefer NZ’s piecemeal approach to China’s command-and-control economy. One of the reasons they can do that is that property rights are much weaker. In order to implement such an approach in NZ, you’d have to change eminent domain law to allow private developers to seize people’s houses.

      In my view, it is much less disruptive to simply let small-scale development happen on a site-by-site basis.

      1. I’m leaning towards the “Amsterdam approach”,which seems to blend the two: Land is owned by council who lead structure planning process. Private sector involved in design and build, and long term leases are signed with individual home owners. Leases come up at the same time, at which point Council can ask whether the leases should be rolled over and/or the area redeveloped. But I don’t understand it that well, so will do some more research …

  2. Michael Riddel a former Reserve Bank economist also wrote about Wellington’s City Council public meeting to discuss medium-density housing in Island Bay. He too found some sympathy for planners having to deal with NIMBY residents (not before given the Council some ‘free market’ criticism).

    “So the Council staff were bad, but they met their match in the residents. There was a strongly negative reaction to the notion that anyone outside Island Bay should have any say on the proposed changes – forcing staff to downplay the very suggestion. There was a great deal of concern about protecting people’s house prices (up), but no apparent sense that allowing land to be used more intensively would, all else equal, make it more valuable not less. There was concern about what sort of socially-undesirable people might move into these new dwellings (and this is one of the more left wing suburbs around), and so many demands for controls and restrictions that – briefly – the Council staff were forced to defend the ideas of choice and private property rights. One person was appalled at the idea of three storey dwellings – this is a suburb surrounded by, and partly built on, high hills. And not a mention from the floor – although it was hard to get a word in – of the idea that people should be able to use their own land as they liked, or of the attractions of helping keep places only moderately-unaffordable so that perhaps one day our children might be able to buy here.”

    1. “Left” and “right” – in the sense of whether you vote Green or ACT or whoever – has much less correlation to NIMBYism than the simple question of whether you’re rich enough to be able to own your own home.

      1. I think that the (urban) landed gentry vs generation rate nature of the housing market is creating a new division in politics.

        There are progressives from both the left and right who want to reform the housing market and urban planning to return NZ to old fashion values -egalitarianism, everyone having a fair go, Jack (tenant) being as good as his Master (landlord) and so on.


        The conservative left (NIMBYs) and right (Tories) wanting to keep the status quo despite it creating new values in our society, such as your lifestyle and economic chances being largely determined by hereditary property wealth.

      2. I think almost everyone who votes act lives in Epsom and is a nimby. But that isn’t necessarily a left right feature.
        Unfortunately in NZ there seems to be a rule that an economically conservative ideology must be paired with an anti change anti progress ideology (even where change and progress are economically sensible).
        There is also a rule that the free market is ok for the poor but not the rich.

    2. The problem is that people assume the vocal protestors represent the views of the whole community. It might be the case, it might not. Instead of bothering with such meetings the council would be better off knocking on random doors and getting a better feeling from the whole community. Make it a council wide policy to not take notice of statistically irrelevant protests.
      Look at sky path for example. It’s very easy to assume that all northcote point residents oppose it, but if you did a random survey I wouldn’t be surprised if a majority actually supported it

      1. yes yes yes.

        I completely agree. Town hall meetings allow every vocal yokel local to grab the nearest soapbox and moan away.

        Much much better consultation outcomes come from exactly what you describe: Random sampling from the population. These randomly selected people could then be engaged with in-depth, e.g. via well-designed stated preference surveys, which sought to make the trade-offs clear. E.g. constraining development –> higher property prices –> socio-economic issues.

        1. Agreed and they are usually the ones with hobby horses and agendas. The ‘silent majority’ rarely attends such events. Hence much is thrust upon the community without any majority views polled either way. This Transport blog pressure group is a prime example.

        2. You’re the one living in a bubble, mate.

          Auckland Council and other parties have conducted a number of phone surveys on Aucklanders’ preferences for transport policy. They consistently show majority support for investing in a better PT network:

          Furthermore, I also note that a recent survey on funding options found majority support for road pricing (over rates and fuel tax increases):

        3. Weird comparison RB. TransportBlog is a private initiative, not a forum for consultation that is organised by Council.

        4. Putting aside the council surveys, there have been numerous ones done by others which show the same outcome. These include surveys by newspapers, survey companies and even ones by the AA have shown strong support for much better investment in PT. The most recent one was two weeks ago by the Sunday Star Times and asked what people thought should be the priority of the next mayor. Just checking it now 40% said improve public transport vs 8% for improve roads. The second highest response was 22% said rein in rates.

  3. I think it’s worth thinking carefully about what we mean when we say “induced demand”. In my mind it’s easier to think about “demand” as a whole, and then break it into different categories.

    I mean, induced demand is exactly the outcome we want from “transformational” projects like the CRL. In this case, we expect the CRL to enable growth across the city, especially around rail corridors. This induced development will then lead to higher demand for rail services and so on. Induced demand for rail travel will also come from people switching modes etc. There may be examples of other “transformational” highway projects, which enable and encourage development in appropriate locations, although I struggle to think of any at the moment …

    In the case of highway development, induced demand tends to arise from a coupe of sources, notably 1) peak shifting; 2) route changes; and 3) land use development. Such outcomes may or may not be desirable, depending on the context (most notably the cost of the investment versus people’s willingness-to-pay (WTP) for the travel it enables).

    This really is the kicker: Induced demand from investing in highways wouldn’t be so much of a problem if we had time-of-use road pricing that was designed to manage peak congestion. In this situation, we could simply be able to adjust prices to network utilisation at peak times. If demand still existed, and it generated sufficient revenue, then we could provide additional capacity using the most efficient option. Sometimes this would be public transport, but at other times it may be moar highways.

    So my suggestion is that government agencies in NZ need to “get real” in the sense that they start to grapple with the fact that induced demand may be an outcome we want, provided it occurs in the right place and/or is priced appropriately (i.e. not subsidised). Until we adopt time-of-use transport pricing, we’re effectively making decisions without much understanding of whether it’s inducing good (“high value) demand or bad (“low value”) demand.

    1. Yes indeed. I just went back and re-read Chris Parker’s paper on induced land use change – it’s a brilliant paper, by the way! – in which he makes a couple key points:

      1. Long-run demand curves tend to be more elastic than short-run demand curves – i.e. the long run response to increased transport capacity is to relocate and thus change travel patterns.

      2. This relocation can lead to a significant amount of extra benefits for consumers of housing/transport over and above conventional modelled transport benefits – Chris suggests that these should be valued by looking at the size of the area between short-run demand curves associated with the old and new land use configurations.

      3. However, unpriced congestion (and other externalities) mean that road-based induced land use change can be a net *negative* for society. I’ll quote the conclusion: “In the absence of efficient transport pricing (pricing at short-run marginal social cost), projects that seem beneficial under conventional appraisals may prove to create problems, currently ignored, that offset to a small or large extent these benefits. Major transport projects that induce land use change create complexities that are difficult to anticipate, attribute, and address. This complexity is compounded by the lack of price signals for people’s location decisions.”

      1. Stu, I do mean traffic induction, meaning vehicle traffic. Human traffic delivered to and from places is a benefit not a disbenefit.

        Peter that last quote is fantastic. That’s exactly my observation. For example NZTA are blythly rocking on with the road additional harbour crossing and totally denying, and refusing accept, the mountainous disbenefits this project will cause if built in anything like its current form through induced driving. This thing will generate private vehicle trips on a massive scale that could be otherwise be met with improved transit supply. These new trips will flood not only the city centre and all North Shore local roads but in fact the entire Auckland road systems. And, of course drive (pun intended) ever more auto-focused development. Yet the business case will claim emissions and carbon benefits that are truly wiped out by this new traffic. And will generate congestion not relieve it.

        1. Patrick, my point is that even induced vehicle traffic is not always a bad thing. Depends on context.

          In congested urban conditions and/or suburban locations I agree it’s usually bad. Especially in the absence of road pricing.

          But some induced vehicle traffic could be good, if priced accurately and supported by PT walking/cycling etc.

        2. If we look outside of environmental outcomes, yes. And of course it depends on the point on the development curve of the place. After all it is a truism that the first car a household gets access to is an economic boon to them and their community, but every subsequent one is an absolute disaster. And Auckland has a mature level of vehicle saturation; surely any incentisation of increased driving in this imperfectly priced context is a disaster for social cost?

        3. Auckland’s road network is not congested much of the time, hence inducing vehicle travel in these periods is fairly inconsequential. It’s the peak hour urban vehicle trips that we want to discourage if possible.

          Problem is that without time-of-use road pricing any extra road capacity will be taken up by existing traffic changing routes/times, and/or new development.

          So I think we’re arriving at the same conclusion, albeit from different angles :).

      2. So, what you’re saying in non-Economist speak Peter & Stu is:

        “Induced demand is an unintended (but, totally predictable) side-effect of building more or wider roads. However it is usually completely ignored by the traffic modeling the planners use.”?

        No wonder they act surprised when the new road fills up so fast. But then they quickly overcome their surprise, with delight at needing to design another new road or widen the one they just built…

        1. Yes. The question is: is induced demand a good or a bad thing? Parker’s paper suggests that it can have both additional benefits (people getting more options about where to live and work) and disbenefits (increased negative externalities, e.g. congestion and emissions).

          For PT and active mode projects that induce land use change, the benefits of land use change almost certainly outweigh the disbenefits, as there are few negative externalities from having a few extra people on a train or cycleway. But for road projects, which induce additional congestion, the disbenefits could easily outweigh the benefits.

        2. Yes, my original point is that as far as I can make out no disbenefits from induced vehicle traffic are ever counted; only the benefits. And this needs to change.

          I’m not deny the benefits just saying that both sides of the ledger must be looked at if we are to reflect reality.

    2. So yes Stu I completely agree. All transport investment shapes demand, and we want it to. So we must make sure it shapes the better demand for the long run. We urgently need to improve our evaluation methods to include this reality. Vehicle traffic volume is not a naturally occurring phenomenon outside of how much driving and parking amenity we build.

      Currently the game is tilted towards Short Run outcomes, and our older selves, let alone our children and grandchildren, will not thank us for this myopia. We are spend around $4billion a year on transport infrastructure nationwide, and if spent with this much more in mind we can shape demand and urban form for the better relatively quickly.

      We need to focus on becoming better ancestors.

  4. So what are the factors getting in the way of a motorway demolition? If the port moved you would have no reason not to redevelop the Grafton Gulley, and also all of the stuff between Parnell Rise and the current port location. If the harbour bridge closed, or maybe continued but just with the onramps at Pt Erin and cycle (maybe train?) traffic (or even compromise and keep everything up to the Fanshawe St onramp), you’d get everything from behind K Rd to St Marys Bay. This would also make Parnell/Ponsonby/Freemans Bay feel less like disconnected suburbs, and also both of these would open up massive amounts of land within the CBD itself (on the waterfront).

      1. my understanding is that POAL doesn’t make a return on capital. Or at least not if it’s assets were valued accurately. More specifically, the land occupied by POAL is zoned industrial and hence has a lower value attached to it than it would If it was zoned for commercial/residential use. If my understanding is correct (I could be wrong), then Auckland Council is effectively subsidising the importation of bananas and cars,

        Yay! I do like a good banana.

        1. A lot of cities have moved the industrial/ cargo component of their city ports away from their CBDs leaving just the passenger/cruise line facilities. Helsinki being a similar size to Auckland has done this. Thus freeing up land for residents and other commercial activities and congested transport links for other purposes.

          The problem for relocating Auckland Port seems to be the lack of close by (say under 50km) viable alternatives. The nearest decent harbour seems to be Northport at 140km.

        2. Supply chain efficiency, not improved downtown amenity, has been the primary driver of most port relocations over the last 50 years. For example, containerisation led to New York’s main port being shifted from Manhattan across to Newark, San Francisco’s wharfs closing down and traffic relocating across the bay to Oakland, and the Ports of London shifting down the Thames to Tilbury. The driver in all cases was better access for ships / better access to land transport facilities. I don’t know enough about Vuosaari to comment, but I’d be surprised if it wasn’t doen for similar reasons.

      2. Wrong RB, the barrier to moving the port is not cost, I have seen proposals that have positive financial outcomes, especially from unlocking the value in the city proximate land. No the problem is the lack of somewhere to take it. This is no easy matter; all of NZ’s coastline is valuable, and there are few places with great landslide atributes and handy deepwater. There is no obvious and easy solution. An actual nationwide port strategy would surely be a good place to start.

        1. If we wait 50 or more years, sea level rise will help build that new port for us – by flooding across the Isthmus between Manukau Harbour and Tamaki River.

          Any objections to the mixing of Waitemata and Manukau Harbour waters will be nullified by that “act of nature” in an instant.

          But before then, Northport is the logical place to move it to (or like Tilsbury docks in the UK did – build a new port completely from scratch somewhere else).

          But without a co-ordinated and integrated transport strategy, of which a port strategy is but one part, then we’re going to be re-litigating this argument every few years.

          What we need is a “Super-City of ports”, not little fiefdoms of each port out to shaft the others as we have now – all doing so at the countries expense overall.

          As This poll on the Transport futures website keeps showing, the public at large do see a need for an integrated TRANSport strategy even if the Government doesn’t.

        2. Northport is too far from the population and production, which is centred in he upper central north island, the AKL, TAU, HAM triangle. Northport, in my view, is however, an ideal location for the nation’s primary Navy base, freeing up Devoport for wonderful mixed use redevelopment.

          The best sites for a combination of deep enough water and access to transport infra and the demand triangle are on the Firth of Thames. Or perhaps in the Firth; an artificial island connected by automated rail to a new inland port in the Mercer area, so touching the coast as lightly as possible, right on existing road and rail lines. This could take all the container traffic from both AKL and TAU, leaving those existing ports for general cargo and coastal traffic on reduced footprints (Just Fergusson in AKL). But still would face huge environmental hurdles.

        3. I love the idea of shifting Devonport Naval Base to Northport. It’d provide jobs for Northland and link in with their marine industry, It’d also remove the need for Kauri point ammo storage facility, which could be turned into a combination of parkland and/or housing.If the Navy are keen I’m not sure why this shouldn’t happen …

          I also like the idea (in principle) of a new super-port combining Auckland and Tauranga. Both POAL and PTAU are located in valuable inner city environments where the value of land and cost of negative externalities from Port will only increase. I also understand that they experience a mis-match between in/out flows, which may be rectified by a combined port (I’m no expert on this mind you).

        4. Where could this Auckland/Tauranga Superport go? Is there a viable harbour location somewhere between the two?

        5. Brendon, as I say above; in the Firth in 20m-25m deep water. Connected by a road/rail causeway across the flat land south of the Hunua Ranges between Kiaua and Miranda. Not without environmental impacts, but with fewer than any new port situated on a pristine piece of coast. Connection would be to a new bonded inland port right next to SH 1 + 2 and the NIMT rail line, by a double track standard gauge fully automated 24 hour rail line only serving these two points..

          Not my idea; I have seen a proposal by an international port consultant suggesting this, complete with construction details, shipping routes, landside transport analysis, overseas precedents, costings etc…

          Problems include PoAL and PoT having to work together, and environmental impact. Funding from release of land in AKL and TAU, and increased productivity. A PPP.

        6. Sorry Patrick I missed your above comment. Do you have any links for that consultant report?

        7. I’m not keen on shifting the naval base myself. Auckland needs variety and vibrancy in its economy, and on its harbour. I think having the navy there helps that, the same way that keeping the fishing boats and car ferry at Wynyard helps Wynyard.

          It can’t all be waterfront apartments and cafes.

        8. Brendon, no. It was a presentation with no web link; commercial sensitivity I suspect.

          And Nick; Really? I don’t see the navy adding much compared to what a brand new mixed use harbourside community would provide, there are fantastic buildings over there that would be great re-purposed. Of course the ageing NIMBYS of Devonport would need to be stared down.

          I see benefits for both Whangarei and Auckland, not to mention the Navy, in this move. Why shouldn’t Whangarei have this ‘vibrancy’; being a smaller place the impact would be greater. It could be great for recruitment in an area with high unemployment. Kind of regional development idea I think makes sense.

        9. Yeah Patrick, I dread the thought of Aucklands best parts going Zurich and being ghettoes of the mild and well off. Any residential redevelopment at Devonport base would be wealthy, white, insular and bland. Orakei point writ large. I wouldn’t be surprised if the wanted to keep the fences up to keep out the rabble!

        10. Nick, really? That’s just reverse snobbery. The reason harbourside re-developement works worldwide is because it’s desirable and carries a price premium. I agree any Navy base repurposing won’t add supply to the bottom of the market, so what?, it’s still dwelling supply, and dwelling supply with a sound business case that will attract private funding; it’s up to the city to impose conditions on that that carry social goods. That’s how they do it in Vancouver.

        11. Yes really. Our city needs to be more than just housing and dwelling supply. I believe the navy base and staff adds quite nicely to the vibrancy of the region. I think it’s important to have a broad mix of activity and industry for a robust place.

          Pretty sure BCs main naval base is just outside downtown Victoria.

        12. Yeah, the idea I’m referring to is similar but puts that new port entirely in the Firth; only coastal contact is a narrow causeway, and no industrialisation of the beautiful Orere coast, nor access routes through the Ranges [expensive/destructive].

        13. The Firth of Thames Port proposal is absolutely fascinating. And what a great place to land all those new cars – so easy to get to those South Auckland dealerships without clogging up Auckland city. This idea needs some traction.

        14. When Phil Twyford (I recall it was) a couple of years ago suggested a policy for a nationwide port strategy what he got from the media was endless questions wanting him to say which ports he would close.
          With this point scoring attitude by reporters there is little wonder that there is any coordinated progress on transport issues.

  5. Induced traffic represents people trading in the immediate benefit of travel time savings for other benefits that they prefer, such as greater housing and job choice within their maximum acceptable commute time. In principle there’s nothing wrong with that, because they wouldn’t make the trade unless it was beneficial to them.

    HOWEVER, when they make that trade, if it’s a road project they’re increasing the congestion externality cost they impose on others. The increased congestion externality is a real economic cost that counts on the negative side in a cost-benefit analysis.

    Transport activists should be careful how they frame this issue. I suspect that for many people who focus on the first paragraph above, ‘more traffic’ means ‘economic growth, progress, free choice…’, with the unfortunate side effect of congestion which we can fix by building more roads. To them ‘less traffic’ (that is, less movement in total, not just modal shift) sounds like an anti-progress goal.

    1. But John I’m not proposing we build nothing; but that we be more realistic about the long run social costs imposed on everybody from what we do build. We can increase access without inducing driving; the rail pax numbers in AKL are proving that in real time right now. So, for example, if some of those billions on the proposed road harbour crossing were spent on a Rapid Transit only crossing instead this would induce both different traffic growth [more RTN use] and different landuse outcomes [development around stations], and clearly lower or even negative traffic inducement and therefore less city-wide congestion.

  6. … If it’s a public transport project, the issue of the external costs of induced traffic doesn’t arise so much. Within the range of demand and service offerings typical in rich car dependent cities, induced demand for transit is much more likely to create external *benefits* – getting more people on board makes it more viable to provide better services, to the benefit of all.

        1. In reading all of the above, time of day based road use charging would be a great way to manage this induced demand. We just need a mechanism to get there. Well I think one is coming; Once Hop integrates all our transit fare systems it’s just a short step to add a degree of congestion charging (& relief) into the structure of transit fares. Once that concept is embedded and accepted how much of an ask is it to transfer the mechanism to road use charging and simultaneously ditch fuel taxes so you catch those naughty electric car drivers who aren’t paying their way. (and of course cyclists who currently don’t pay either)

  7. Simon Wilson on AKL in the current Metro is worth the cover price alone, but there’s also a great Jeremy Hansen piece on Courtville. Even in a restaurant review Wilson is telling it like it is.

    Go and purchase.

    1. There are plenty of other places that don’t have a motorway ramp at each end. But of course we don’t bother going to those.

      1. Ponsonby Road has been in existence a lot longer than the current motorway offramps and there were plenty of people going there. Because they were provided with a tram service.

        1. It doesn’t even have a motorway on ramp at both ends, (1 off Newton Rd, 1 off curran st, 1 off Wellington St, 1 off Pitt st), but before the NW to N connection was made it was pretty much part of the motorway system.

          If the #1 problem on Ponsonby is the traffic, then surely #2 must be bikes ridden on the footpath, which from my count is greater than bikes ridden along the street, but I doubt we shall see a post on that… 😉

        2. No, he’s saying that Transportblog and others like Bike Auckland and Generation Zero are already advocating for a solution to the problem.

      1. I also lobby for bike lanes Patrick, what was hard to understand was Peter speaking for you, a little too Fight Club/ Three Faces of Eve for even me.

        And when you ride on the footpath it’s more dangerous for pedestrians, but safer for you. That is my point- cars bullying riders on the road is bad, but riders bullying pedestrians on the footpath is ok?.

        Seems a little like a double standard no?

        1. Where have I said it’s good for people to ride on the footpath? I said the solution to people riding on the foot is to provide somewhere safe for them to ride. I don’t get why you’re grumpy with me about this?

        2. You have ignored the “cycling on the footpath is illegal because it’s dangerous” point. If traffic is “so dangerous riders are forced onto the footpath” they can dismount and become pedestrians right? That doesn’t happen.

          I am mostly grumpy because it’s getting worse…

          Maybe I should do a count one day and present the empirical evidence in a post? Would the blog publish it?

        3. I did the complete reverse of ignoring you; I answered you directly and succinctly with; ‘Traffic is the problem that forces riders onto the footpath. An issue solvable with bike lanes. Easy.’

          Now go take your fight to the people that actually deserve it; the road lobby, their supporting institutions, and the retailers who are opposed to this solution to both cyclists being killed and maimed and pedestrians being alarmed because of the lack on anywhere at all for people to ride their bikes!

        4. The road lobby, their supporting institutions and retailers are not riding on the footpath. It’s cyclists riding on the footpath.

          It’s late, hypocrisy has been exposed, see you next week. G

        5. Ah the chain of bullying. The right of the strongest. Cars → bicycles, bicycles → pedestrians. The lack of courtesy on the streets over here is legendary.

          Is the problem cyclists in general, or is it more specifically about cyclists riding too fast on the footpath?

        6. Nothing “forces” people to ride on the footpath – they always have the option of using the road or pushing the bike. That may be less desirable for them but at least they would
          not be imposing less desirable solutions on others, who have nowhere else to go.

          Agreed that better bike facilities are part of the solution, but cyclists have a choice as to whether to break the law or not: apparently the lowly pedestrian just has to grin and bear it.

        7. Not really Mike, the choice is between riding on the road, or not riding at all. The later being the most popular option by far.

          I hate riding around pedestrians, and usually don’t do it. But you realise that this is not a life and death issue, unlike riding on the road. It really is a lower order problem, really about courtesy and not survival, so for Geoff to be so angrily obsessed with it is tiresome.

        8. Patrick – right, so a prospective footpath cyclist has four choices, and I’m glad that you agree that nothing is “forcing” riding on the footpath – and for any given individual, riding on the road is very, very rarely a matter of life or death, either. To escalate the issue to one of survival is just hyperbole.

          As those who attended the talk by Nick Tyler from UCL in Wellington last week heard, courtesy is one of the five foundations of a civilised liveable city. Transfering disbenefits to others with no other option (except, to take your point, not to walk – and where would we be then?) at no risk to yourself, as footpath cyclists do, sure ain’t civilised!

          And neither personal remarks about others nor referring to others’ views as an obsession help move the argument forward one iota. Cycling on the footpath is an issue for many people, and attempts to shut down debate are unfortunate and probably counter productive.

        9. “a little too Fight Club”

          This is how the average Transportblog editorial meeting goes:

          But seriously, if you want to do a count and draft a guest post, we’d consider running it. My concern is that it would be a bit too close to concern trolling of the “I like bikes, but…” variety.

          If you do have a go at it, I’d recommend gathering some wider data for context. For example, how many injuries and deaths are caused by bike/pedestrian crashes versus by car/pedestrian crashes?

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