This is the fourth in a series of posts reviewing the year that has been. Part one reviewed public transport, part two reviewed walking and cycling and part three reviewed roads. In this post I cover off some of the other things we’ve discussed this year.

ATAP

In August the Government and Auckland Council signed a terms of reference on what is called the Auckland Transport Alignment Project (ATAP). As the name implies the goal is to finally get alignment on transport priorities between the two parties rather than the standoff we’ve had for the last five or so years. If all goes well it should give us a much more defined and agreed package of works for the coming decades to really help address the regions transport issues.

There will likely be information on it in the new year and the final recommendations are due back around August – which could prove interesting in the discussions leading up to the local body elections. We are involved as a stakeholder and we are pushing to ensure many of the issues we often discuss are addressed to help get the best possible outcome.

Long Term Plan (LTP)

The council set its latest LTP this year which is the budget for the next decade – although the actual budget is set annually. The LTP is reviewed every three years and is one of the better opportunities to change the council’s priorities. Transport featured heavily in the discussion for this LTP with the council consulting on the whether the city should go for a transport plan that was barebones – which no one was happy with or a plan that had everything including the kitchen sink. They also consulted on how to pay for the plan that included everything asking about whether people would rather motorway tolling or increases in rates and fuel taxes. Both of those options required the government to come on board which they consistently made clear they weren’t going to do.

As part of the consultation the council asked where the focus on transport should be. After 27,000 submissions this how people responded showing strong support for better public transport and cycling.

2015 LTP Final Changes in transport Investment

Following on from the government’s refusal to look at funding options the council passed a three-year interim transport levy of $99 per household which was a bit of a game changer as more than half of the money it raises is directed to PT and Cycling projects as shown below.

interim-programme

National Land Transport Programme (NLTP)

Every three years the NZTA set the NLTP which sets out what will be funded over coming three years. It is created in conjunction with similar programmes in each region. The 2015-18 plan was released, a summary of which is shown in the graphic below.

NLTP 2015-18 revenue and investment flows

International Visitors

We had some great international experts visit Auckland during 2015 including:

  • Charles Montgomery – author of Happy City.
  • Mike Lydon – author of Tactical Urbanism: Short-term action for Long-term change
  • Jeff Tumlin – author of Sustainable Transportation Planning: Tools for Creating Vibrant, Healthy, and Resilient Communities
  • Gabe Klien – former transportation commissioner in Washington DC and Chicago and now author of Start-Up City

They visited as part of the Auckland Conversations series and talks are now all available on youtube.

Development

It’s been a crazy year for development with projects going on all over the city and many new ones proposed. The skyline is dotted with cranes building stuff and it’s only going to get busier next year with some major projects such as the CRL, Precinct’s Commerical Bay and the convention centre. In the next few years there is over $2 billion of private funds being spent in the central city alone. Below is our RCG Development Tracker

Blog

We’ve had another fantastic year on the blog and it’s great to see many new people starting to read and join in the conversation. We launched Greater Auckland to help support the blog and while we have been a bit quite publicly on it we’ve had some success behind the scenes. Thank you to all who have helped support us.

As we love our stats on the blog here are a few about us for the year.

  • Including this one we’ve published 781 posts this year, this is actually down on the 908 we published last year. In total the blog is fast approaching 5,000 posts.
  • We’ve had just under 33,000 comments. The most commented on post this year was right at the start when AT announced they were considering light rail.

According to Google Analytics we’ve had

Lastly thanks to my fellow bloggers and those who have written guest posts for spending so much time providing content and keeping things going.

I hope you all have a great 2016.

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12 comments

  1. Congratulations to the team at Transport Blog – you do a fine job, an amazing job, actually. Looking forward to your analysis in 2016 and beyond.

  2. Thanks Team, can’t wait to hear the great input I’m sure you are making on alignment hopefully you are convincing a few big wigs.

  3. The work you people put into the blog is brilliant and really appreciated by so many people, and the fact you are involved in the ATAP process shows you are being taken seriously by the stakeholders which are shaping our city – which is an excellent sign and hopefully bodes well for the future in making decisions based on good solid evidence.

  4. Transport Blog’s zeal is spectacular and deeply appreciated. It’s great to see facts rather than opinions contributing to the debate about how we shape our urban environment. Almost makes living in this wannabe city bearable.

  5. The NLTP chart above shows all forms of funding being lumped together to invest in all forms of transport but I’ve always understood this is not the case. E.g., fuel tax, road user charges basically used for motorways, rates used for local roading. That chart looks more like how it should be: all forms of funding used for all forms of transport.

    Is it misleading or a new way forward for NZTA?

    1. They also lump together capital and operations spend on Public Transit – to deliberately hide how low the infrastructure investment has dropped under the direction of this government. Love to see someone OIA the decision chain on that.

      1. I think combining PT capex and opex is actually a good thing as it makes it easier to infrastrucutre spending over the line if you can show it will benefit opex spending. In the past the rigid groupings meant you were limited to the small capex budget and so it was harder to get things like bus lanes over the line.

    2. No Jeff, there’s not really any specific demarcation of funds, other than the fact that local rates don’t fund State Highways. Rates fund ~50% of local roads, cycleways, PT, etc with the rest coming from the other nationally derived funds. There are also various tagged Govt funds that come from general taxation to pay for specific things, e.g. Urban Cycleways Fund, SuperGold Card, regional State Highway improvements offered at last election. Again though, sometimes there is funding from multiple sources, e.g. most urban cycleways have been funded about one-third UCF, one-third local contribution, and one-third National Land Trpt Fund.

      It would be nice if local Govt had more say about how its “share” of nationally derived funds were spent (e.g. if it preferred to spend money on say CRL rather than more RoNS). However the Govt Policy Statement on Transport essentially locks in the funding ranges for each category from the top down.

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