It’s the last day of 2025 so it is a good time to run through the events of the last ten years in Auckland. A decade of profound transformation for New Zealand’s largest city. A coming of age.

This is Part 2 of a 2 Part scenario. Part 1 here.

Global megatrends mean local megachange, and Auckland is fortunate to have been well placed and nimble enough to largely come out on the positive side of these forces. We have seen the global trends of the first decade and a half of the 21C accelerate over the last decade, particularly:

  • Migration: Internationally another great age of people movement is clearly underway.
  • Urbanisation: Both the developing world and the OECD nations have continued to urbanise and cities have become the economic force of our age.
  • De-Carbonisation: The urgent need to reduce carbon emissions everywhere and in every way has been an increasing issue.

Aotea Station - Victoria Entrance

Transport- the city shaper

CRL, LRT, Road Pricing, Carbon Tax, AMETI, Harbour Crossing battles, electric buses and ferries, the de-carring of the city, the Bike Boom. Transport, along with the housing reset, really has been the story of last decade

The momentum gained from the Alignment Process between the Council and the Government at the beginning of this decade helped lead to the doubling of PT trips to around now 160m per annum. This is around about 80 trips per capita, which is still at the low end internationally, so there is clearly still plenty of growth to come.

The big news was of course the long awaited opening of the CRL. The rail network was straining at the leash, the delivery of additional trains helped of course, but the critical limit at Britomart made for overcrowding issues and unmet latent demand, pax was struggling up against the 30m mark, and that was really only made possible by strenuous measures to shift movement to off peak trips by improving frequencies and span, and discounting fares. Ridership is now again growing at a meteoric rate, as expected, jumping 25% over the last two years to well over 40 million annual trips. It’s been like a dam bursting. Night trains, trams, and buses are proving popular too.

But perhaps even more important has been the uplift to communities connected to the rail system, especially along the Western Line. Places as diverse as Morningside, Avondale, and Glen Eden are buzzing with new building, business and activity as a result of the new accessibility and the freer rules around parking and density. And more than this it already clear that the greatest change brought about by the CRL has been a reinvention of the very idea of Auckland into a sophisticated multifaceted Metro-City of diverse but connected communities that is truly fresh and transformational. Of course this has not gone unnoticed around the world with Auckland now firmly on the must-include list of those breathless taste-setting magazine and blog sites that busy them selves with such issues. Auckland really is competing with much bigger and better placed cities now that the quality of its built environment is catching up with that of its natural one, and the great diverse quality of our society. No-one misses the old car-drenched City Centre; young people can barely believe what it used to be like. The continued tourism boom is a very real testament to this, especially the data showing constantly rising length of visitors’ stay in the city before out to see the beautiful rest of the country.

The recent completion of LRT-1: Dominion Rd right through the now gloriously car-free Queen St is also profoundly popular, like the CRL now it is open and booming, complaints around construction disruption and from the small number of drive-everywhere diehards has withered away and, like with the CRL, now it’s hard to find anyone who claims to have been against it; success has a million mothers. No wonder the plan to extend this system across the harbour and to the Shore has proved unstoppable and after an intense debate between tunnel or bridge, is now in the detailed design stage. The extreme cost, limited utility, and appalling environmental effects of the old road crossing plans having been shelved for now. Of course they may be revived but that is only likely once the whole of the fleet has been converted to EVs, a change that is underway, but that is taking longer than many hoped Even though the recent Carbon Tax is of course speeding that transition up.

Queen St LRT_800

Now that Light Rail from downtown to Albany [and Takapuna] is about to be underway the debate about the RTN to the Airport is getting more intense. The prospect of a LR line spanning Airport to Albany is of course proving popular north of the harbour, balanced by those that see the clear utility of connecting the power of CRL and the rest of the booming rail network through Mangere to this important anchor. Especially as the popularity of the first LRT line means the current vehicles are already often full without this longer extension. Resolving this is urgent however as everyone including government agrees connecting the country’s gateway with an RTN is urgent, and is agreed it will be the next major infrastructure work after the Light Rail Harbour Crossing in Auckland. The urban motorway building age is now firmly behind us.

And now that NZTA has taken over ownership of the nation’s rail lines making this one agency now truly responsible for all land transport and not just roads, a funding mechanism without arbitrary mode constraints has been created. The change to GPS-based time variable road charging and the transformation of the old Fuel Excise to a Carbon Tax has secured income to the National land Transport Fund. While also improving the price signals to all users of our transport systems, resulting in a sizeable increase in efficiency, especially the noticeable drop-off in peak time driving demand. I guess there really were a whole lot of journeys clogging our roads last decade that could easily be taken on another mode, or another time, or even not at all!

The transformation of the busy bus fleet to electric vehicles is gaining pace, and all the more urgent as the completion of the AMETI busway and the upgrade of the North-Western bus shoulders to busway status from Pt Chevalier west has driven the continued growth of bus numbers. Not building a dedicated Busway as part of the massive Western Ring Route works has now achieved ‘what were they thinking‘ status as people can’t believe the politicians,  planners, and engineers were so stupid not to have built it when they had an easy opportunity to do so. It is now being worked on urgently to provide quality transit options to the rapidly growing areas of the North West. The only current issue now is when the busiest routes can be added to the Light Rail network, or converted to E-buses.

Skypath Consent - Observation Deck

As in so many cities across the world the bike boom has of course been both sustained and welcome, squabbles over street space notwithstanding. Cycling and walking now make up more than 20% mode-share in morning peak to the City Centre, greatly straining cycleways and footpaths. Happily now shared paths are a thing of the past and both Active modes are being supported with their own routes. E-bikes are everywhere now, and there’s even a kiwi designed brand on the market. And of course the SkyPath is insanely popular and world-famous, like the Highline many cities globally are looking to copy this approach and attach similar additions to existing bridges. The duplication on the west side is now underway as well, the only debate being whether to separate pedestrians and cyclists as they do in Sydney, or to keep both as mixed-use but one-way. Property prices in Northcote are now matching St Marys Bay, as this new access especially to the hospitality centre of Wynyard Quarter proves just so valuable.

The Urban Cycleway Fund started by the Government in 2014 proved immensely successful and popular leading to successive governments extending and expanding on it. The completion of the trunk and city centre routes proved vital in building ridership and support for quality bike infrastructure to be expanded across the wider city and out through suburbs. The big issue is now many of our existing core routes are struggling with the demand and transport agencies are busy working to widen or duplicate them.

The ride-share business is of course booming, with the carshare free parking spaces and regulations to include them in all new developments with parking proving an important incentive. Uber, Lyft, and the expanding rental market is growing the proportion car journeys in non-privately owned vehicles. Car and licence ownership per capita continues to slide. Driverless technology has advanced impressively but the prospect of fully autonomous vehicles having run of our streets is proving to be endlessly stuck in legal tangles. The transition to Electric Vehicles is also taking longer to occur than many hoped, as the old fleet shows surprising persistence. Interestingly it is the fleet operators that are driving most of the demand in this area, especially truck and bus operators. The trial of freight lanes on the motorways also looks likely to be the most cost effective way to both increase safety and efficiency in the important freight and delivery sector, and prepare for higher degrees of automation of these machines.

The expanded ferry services across the harbour are also proving popular, especially with the new wharf at Wynyard Pt, as is the new private water-taxi business, giving anyone near a jetty or wharf a lift uber-like, just a tap of the App away.


Conclusion: Auckland 2025

The trials of growth and of becoming such a clearly desirable place to live continue to be the biggest problems for Auckland, issues of inclusivity, of access to the city for all in the broadest social sense are the major problems that balance an otherwise healthily diverse and largely socially mobile community, offering a considerably increased range of options for living, working, and playing in this changing century. It is riding the global shift to the urban services based economy, and proving adept at adapting to the technological and social pressures of our age. Auckland is becoming one of the most dynamic, successful, and beautiful small cities of the world. Auckland offers great access to the now more protected countryside, is still of course is made up of relatively low rise suburbia formed last century, now augmented better connected and more intense local centres, and the buzz of the vertical and newly peopled and vibrant Centre City. As has happen periodically in its short history, Auckland has taken another sudden jump and changed character, and in this case very much for the better: The sleepy seaside city has awaken, to take its singular place on the edge of the Pacific century.

NB: This ‘History of the Next Ten Years’ is a scenario, not a prediction, a possible future, perhaps even a probable one, but that depends on decisions and made now and in the near future…discuss…

‘The best way to predict the future is to invent it.’

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    1. It’s the city we could have had now, if we had made the right decisions 20 years ago. It’s the city we could have had 20 years ago, if we had made the right decisions 40 years ago.

      This story, replicated in hundreds of towns and cities in many parts of the world, is a story about incompetents. Incompetents who somehow get into positions of control, then impose completely inappropriate prescriptions on what they have been put in control of. They undermine and obstruct what should be retained and developed. They over-prioritise and develop what we would be better without. And they get swept along by a mis-placed sense of their own “rightness”, even when it is blindingly obvious to others that they are wrong.

      Although it seems that Auckland is at last being set free from the shackles of incompetence, we should beware of thinking that the golden dawn has come. Wellington, despite its history of wise transport-decision-making in times past, has now fallen victim to incompetence and is very-much in the grip of incompetent people who are sabotaging what ought to be happening.

    1. Not the deciding issue at all, if poverty was the determinant neither would be getting LRT.

      There is little difference in the communities one block away from each other except in possible land use, Dominion Rd already can develop more intensity because it is already commercial or mixed use. Dom Rd can change shape in response to new infra, Sandringham looks likely to remain detached dwellings.

      But having said that, the line may, if not from the start, branch to New North Rd and Sandringham Rd. So if that’s the route you want it is indeed more likely with the core Queen/Dom route, but certainly not instead of it.

      1. Dom rd already gets a trillion times more buses than Sandringham Rd
        Sandringham Rd terminates at a MASSIVE future shopping district, dom road terminates at a bunch of houses and a retirement village

        LRT-1 belongs on Sandringham Rd

        1. I thought it was the removal of buses and the ability to repurpose this capital investment to other areas was one the major reasons to implement LRT.

          Yes the step change created by running LRT on Sandringham Rd would be amazing, but my understanding is that the buses create the volume before the capital investment is committed, so my question is which place provides the better return on investment?

        2. 1. If we were going to distribute LRT lines based on deprivation and who currently misses out on good service, there would be a lot of arterials in the queue ahead of Sandringham Rd.

          2. Dom Rd gets more buses because it generates more patronage. (I realise this is partially driven by the higher frequencies, but the different land use is also a factor.) The buses are already chocka and they can’t run many more during peak, which is why it’s the prime candidate for LRT-1. Sandringham Rd can still handle growth with buses.

          Optimal LRT rollout: Dom Rd for LRT-1. Redistribute buses to Sandringham Rd to relieve crowding and drive further patronage. Upzone Sandringham Rd to Dom Rd standards, especially around the commercial centres. By the time Sandringham patronage is where Dom Rd patronage is now, LRT-1 will be finished and LRT-2 ready to start. Result.

    2. I was going to say an Onewa Rd apur would have to be up there alongside Takapuna. But the choice of if and when to convert to LRT should be a largely factual analysis based on current bus demand as well as growth potential and trends.

      1. Well, I couldn’t give a rats arse about your up, you can do whatever the hell you want. But as long as you follow your own advice and stay the ***k out of our business, we’ll be fine.

        1. Yes we get that sense from you Tony, but I think you’ll find that is actually only possible if we do properly go up in the wider city, as are the transfers from the centre that you always want to fund nice stuff in the [hopefully] still un-ruined countryside.

          The enemy of countryside and wilderness is the spread of suburbia, not the fact of the city. The city with good urban form is the solution to both the economic viability of farmland and the preservation of the wild. Properly understood we’re on the same team.

          1. It has to ‘up and out’. ‘Up’ by itself does not provide a good enough supply response. If the new housing supply response is inadequate then a pressure cooker environment is created on urban land prices which buggers up the whole property market with speculation and inequality between generation rent and a landed gentry….

            Auckland could do ‘out’ a lot better with transit orientated development. So out doesn’t have to be stand alone housing serviced by single occupancy vehicles.

            Of course given the size of Auckland and the history of low density sprawl -then their is a demand and opportunity to get a lot of growth from densifying existing areas. Auckland should reduce the restrictions so that can happen. But lets not kid ourselves that this is enough. Auckland has a major problem with unaffordable housing and it really needs to pull out all the policy solutions to fix this.

            Auckland needs joined up thinking regarding housing and transport to compete against other successful international cities.

          2. Just so we’re clear Patrick. I couldn’t give a rats arse about your up because it’s none of my business. It’s your city it’s your decision.

            Also, if you can provide evidence of this transfer from the centre to the ‘countryside’ please do.

            Also, also, if you think there is ‘economic viability of farmland’ in Coatesville/Swanson etc you need to get out more. The only reason they have sheep in their paddocks is so they don’t have to mow them.

  1. Thanks, Patrick, for this uplifting view of the future. I just hope the politicians are reading the blog and can bring themselves to share the vision. I look forward to the day when you can take the LRT all the way from Albany to the Airport. Or from Takapuna – from my observation there is excellent support for bus services across the bridge from Takapuna and this can only increase as Takapuna develops with an LRT spur. A few more high-rise buildings there would surely strengthen the case for this.

    1. Two more high rise on the boards as we speak. 92 units in Anzac and 40 in Killarney. And then the retirement village also in Killarney can’t be far away. My sense is Takapuna is about to boom after a period of relative stagnation.

    1. That’s regrettable, Alan, though growing pains like these will always be tackled with more vigour & enthusiasm when those doing the work are inspired by a full, complete and achievable vision of the future such as Patrick has penned above.
      I challenge the moar roads lobby to be as public and as holistic in painting their future view in a way that goes beyond a disjoint list of build this, then this, then this …..

      1. Achievable maybe, but I wouldn’t say full or complete. While it looks wonderful for the CBD, the dream could easily be undermined by under-investment elsewhere in Auckland.

        There seems to be so little public transport being built outside central Auckland. Without it, high population growth, plus AT’s preference for auto-dependency for non-central residents (only about 30% will have access to frequent services), can only lead to thousands more vehicles coming onto our roads every day.

        It’ll be good to rid Queen St of cars, but if we ignore the underlying cause of traffic growth we’ll just be making different streets car-drenched. Only by tackling auto-dependency for all, not just central, Auckland can we get the outcomes we all seem to agree on for a modern connected city.

        1. +1

          Car over-dependency is the root of a whole lot of problems in our society. If we fail to tackle this, all we will achieve is shuffling of the problem from one locality to another. This is why the notion that electric/self-driving vehicles can replace what we have now and solve all the problems is a risky one. If they perpetuate (or worsen) our degree of car-dependency, a whole lot of problems will remain.

  2. So your vision is:
    1, Ban expansion and make land costs spiral upward so it becomes increasingly expensive to build anything.
    2, … insert maximal wishful thinking ….
    3, Lot’s of really expensive stuff is built by 2025.

    Do you have a step 2? Do you want rents to go up by another 60%-80%? Do you support local government subsidising apartment building (about $40,000 per apartment)? Or is it something else?

    My vision is:
    1, Open up Clevedon Valley/Whitford/Paerata/Swanson/Taupaki/Coatesville right now, dropping the price of land.
    2, As land price falls building apartments in Auckland becomes profitable, nimbys in the centre clamour for the right to redevelop.
    3, Lots of stuff is built by 2020.

    1. Your vision is a country-side ruining horror show, anyway you KEEP IGNORING the fact that the only way to add supply at quantity and pace is with apartments and terraces, within city limits where there are already services, physical and social, not destroying more farms and wilderness, which anyway takes a fortune and a very long time.

      I plead guilty, however, to the charge that the above text is Panglossian. That is the intention.

      1. Apartments are the way of the future, but they need to be profitable to build. In the rest of the world apartments are being built at a rate of about 1 per new house. This represents a massive improvement over our past. The problem here is, since we do not make the land available for houses, the land inside the constrained area is so expensive we cannot make a good profit on apartments. If we open up the land it mostly won’t be built on and we will build apartments in their thousands.

        We can’t go on letting land get more and more and more expensive, because without any relief this kills all development. There needs to be a way of making apartments profitable to be built. The cheapest way to sacrifice a thousand lifestyle blocks, but you find that abhorrent. So say how much we will need to subsidise the cost of building apartments to offset the MUL restrictions.

        1. In Takapuna you don’t have to worry whether developers of apartments are making money. The new projects are priced from $9k per square m so if they have to pay $1.9m or so for 500m of land (as they have done) the margins are so enormous it really doesn’t matter.

          1. Yeah, but if they were doing the same project in Brisbane or Melbourne they would be paying less for the land. They’d be able to engage a higher degree of leverage and enjoy more profit at lower risk. Would you prefer to invest your money in high risk/low return Auckland or low risk/high return Melbourne?

    2. I think you’re overestimating the amount of people who are willing to do 1+ hours commutes to their jobs.

      “Nimbys” in the centre are not going to care about a land price drop in Clevedon Valley/Whitford/Paerata/Swanson/Taupaki/Coatesville.

      1. People want to live in the centre, but we can’t afford to build apartments or condos, because the land cost is too high. We need to get the cost lower, then we can build apartments.

        The trick here is that the land prices in Clevedon Valley/Whitford/Paerata/Swanson/Taupaki/Coatesville will go up. There will be potentially thousands more single dwelling houses in the Auckland region and the nimbys (single dwelling character) house price will fall. They will then be forced to choose between protecting “character” and selling to a developer for “money”.

        1. Which is weird, because there are in fact a lot of apartments being built in the city centre.

          I thought the main limitation on building apartments (well, anything really) is zoning (and perhaps local protests). You can’t build condos or low-rise apartments because of zoning. You can’t build terraced housing because of zoning.

          The idea that a developer has to buy up a large amount of lots is also a fallacy. Terraced housing or Euroblocs are developed in the same way as detached housing. House by house. In Europe you can often see where a house has been torn down because the outline is still visible on the side wall of the neighbouring house.

          An example of this over here are the “six sisters” on John Street, Ponsonby (they have a small gap between the houses, but it is otherwise very similar to terraced housing). Does a developer need to buy up an entire street to build such townhouses? Of course not.

          A more subtle thing which makes terraces a bit awkward is the long distance between streets, often around 80 metres. This gives you the typical 600m² (15×40) lots. But that being said, you find a lot of deep narrow lots overseas, where I’m from you often see 5×40m sections along older streets.

          And the high prices preventing development? What prevents a home owner from splitting up his 15×40m lot in 3 5×40m lots and build 3 town houses? I would say the higher the price, the more incentive to do this. Unless zoning precludes it of course…

          1. Roeland I like your idea and I wish it was possible. But in 99% of the city that is not zoned for commercial use building up to your neighbours boundary is not allowed.

            There is all sorts of recession plane restrictions. I think their should be some sort of painless, cheap and bureaucracy free way that two neighbours can agree to forgo this restriction and build to their common boundary. That way they could maximise their densification potential and therefore the profit they can make from development. Making rules such that densification is more profitable, should encourage more of it to happen.

            In my opinion we need more carrots and less sticks.

            In NZ since 1990 we have added more and more restrictions to development. Urban land values have de-coupled from wages. Houses have become a speculative investment. New housing is being built in lower numbers -even this current Auckland building boom is less than the building boom of 2002 to 2004, which was unable to stop the last price boom. These fewer builds are being built for the high end of the market. House and rent prices are rationing out the poor. So Auckland the city with the highest incomes also has the greatest percentage of over crowded housing.

            But despite 35 years of experimenting with sticks our cities have not changed into Copenhagen or Barcelona. Maybe if we had the courage of our convictions to encourage what we think people want -densification, rather than discouraging what we think people don’t want -sprawl with uber-long commutes then we would get more change?

          2. And the high prices preventing development? What prevents a home owner from splitting up his 15×40m lot in 3 5×40m lots and build 3 town houses? I would say the higher the price, the more incentive to do this.

            Borrowing costs are higher and return on investment is lower compared to any other Australasian city. Hence we are building less here than anywhere in Australasia.

            You could develop those 3x townhouses do a great job – sell them at a profit. Or you could sit on your arse, do nothing, land goes up in cost – sell at a profit. If you are a property developer who makes a living building terraced houses and you want to invest in doing so will you choose to invest in Auckland, Melbourne or Brisbane? In Auckland your land costs are going to be much higher and your profit margins that much lower.

          3. That is not true, Angus. Look at a land value map. For example in Takapuna the corner of Anzac Street and Fred Thomas drive. What do you see? A bright red patch where those apartments are built.

            Land value is high, but not a constant $/m². Remember there is a housing shortage in Auckland. So if you magically get permission to build your town houses, the land value under these three town houses will be more than the value of your original lot. It’s like the value only partially comes from the amount of square metres, and partially from the permission to build a house. Having 2 more of the latter is almost like printing money.

          4. Roeland,

            That value increase you get from subdividing land to accommodate more houses is something that occurs in all housing markets, not just NZ. You as an investor have choices as to where to invest your money. If there are two cities with differing land costs, you will make more money investing in the city with the lower land cost. Where are you going to invest money?

            There is a property investment boom occurring here and globally, fuelled by low interest rates and capital outflows from China. This is the driver for pricing, not that there is a housing shortage in Auckland. The property boom is creating a solution to housing shortages the world over, just not in Auckland.

    3. Angus I think you are right but those areas you mentioned need fast transit options. But the point people miss is that once urban land prices are stabilized (by removing restrictions on going out) and this stops the expectation of capital gains from existing housing for doing nothing. Then the only way to make money more from existing property is to do something more useful -i.e. densification. The demand to remove restrictions on going ‘up’ will get louder.

      ‘Out and up’ go together. Stopping going ‘out’ doesn’t encourage building ‘up’ it just creates unaffordable housing.

      1. Brendon, I concur the logic seems self evident – we should make it more profitable to build than do nothing.

        On transport Swanson and Paerata do (at a cost of several $billion NZ is currently providing excellent rapid transport to some empty paddocks), but these others I do not believe need rapid transport. They just need to be 10-20% better off than Pokeno.

  3. Well Brendon, not quite, stopping out can indeed add to the pressure to build up. But stopping out while also having regulations and political processes that prevent up will absolutely strangle supply and in a rising demand situation clearly lead to existing supply be good bid up insanely. That, plus very loose demand constraints (taxation incentives etc) is what we have now. The apartment building underway now could, with a lilttle less restriction from regulation,, and therefore faster growth, quickly rebalance the market. Though more tweets on the demand side would help too.

    1. Patrick I am not convinced. I haven’t seen any evidence that urban land prices and residential property prices can be stabilized by only building apartments in a few small areas within an existing urban envelope. I would be happy to proven wrong. I suspect it leads to a boom/bust market.

      I would be a more hopeful if it was possibly to get a wide spread but lower density supply response. For example if in the tens of square kilometres of the Auckland Isthmus, if suburbs of stand alone housing was gradually replaced by terrace housing, euroblocks…. especially along PT and bike routes.

      The problem with that is not just planning restrictions, NimBYism etc which is well described on this site, but the contiguity problem of land ownership. It is not possible to build terrace housing etc on a single property of a typical Auckland suburb. A group of properties are needed. For a private developer to acquire them though is a slow and expensive process. I am reading currently about a London development in the 50s which was buying up property in secret to do this. Prices it needed to pay in some cases were twenty times the existing market value.

      I have some ideas on how to ease this process. But Patrick it is not easy. Sorry for being a grinch to your panglossian dreams.

      1. For a private developer to acquire them though is a slow and expensive process.

        This is the one thing in which the idiotic zoning policies of the Len Brown years have provided a clear potential advantage. If we reverse course and rapidly expand the MUL to create an oversupply the land cost shall fall by 50-70%. This will create a imperative to sell and any developer offering even 10% over the new market could make easiest purchase. Apartments would become abundantly profitable.

        Later on as the market develops we might need new approaches, sometime after 2025.

    2. Well Brendon, not quite, stopping out can indeed [cause rents to rise – 30% increase over 5 years so far, only another 50-80% more until it becomes worthwhile] to build up.

      And since rent rises will force businesses to relocate to other cities, there will be a slackening of demand and a fall in land costs.

  4. Here’s another paragraph: “Due to the frequency of commuter services the intercity rail terminal has had to been moved to Papakura. There are now plans to build a new line from Paerata to a new terminal at the airport.”

    1. TRM you missed the piece about NZTA assuming responsibility for rail as well as roads and the none too subtle changes in funding mechanisms that would transfer moar roads only spending to ALL modes and bring central govt money with it.

  5. Glad to see we are getting a carbon tax by 2025. Nobody will miss the stupid ETS. Only academics see merit in creating missing markets. For everyone else it is little more than a scam.

  6. Good post.
    I would also like to see an alternative version, when council rejected the unitary plan, new mayor got elected and CRL got nailed, city continue to spraw and public transport project are cancelled.

  7. You mention in your post growing off-peak and evening patronage, which would be great. Do you know if the hop data allows us to crunch some numbers on off-peak, evening and weekend usage of at least the trains at the moment? I was just thinking it might be useful to develop a metric that shows off-peak, evening and weekend use now so it can be shown how much this increases in the next few years.

  8. A lot I agree with, especially cycling and E-Bikes with rail transport coming of age, again, but sadly I feel NZ politicians are still to entrenched in the 1950s when road transport was dominant and rail was considered redundant, we have wasted to much time and money and accumulated to much debt on roads of national significance, it has destroyed the chance of implementing a revival of what would be the only viable option in a depleting world fighting climate change, which is rail and coastal shipping. No trucks should be leaving one city for another it should be electrified rail, but is out of our reach I fear, the real chance is a revival in cycling but then I wonder how road maintenance will be funded, if as I suspect electric cars are not the future for the majority.

    I totally agree on the limiting of the outward growth of any city it’s going to need the farm lands to give it security of food supplies, I though see a move back to the land for many as the fear of not being in control of your own destiny takes over from the notion that nanny state will look after us, pensions may well be very limited and working on your own food supply could well be more on people’s minds, land set aside for allotments like we had in the second world war and still popular in the UK may become commonplace, within cycling distance from the city.

  9. It seems like some form of road user charge is the game changer here so how about this as a straw man?
    Every vehicle gets installed with a card reader and display loaded with a classification based on vehicle type. Every person who wishes to use a car buys a PMC (Private Mobility Card) and loads it with money like a debit card. When a vehicle gets used a PMC with credit must be inserted in the reader and deducts coin on the basis of where the vehicle goes and when. Doesn’t matter whose card is used, just has be a card with credit. Allow two opt outs; no money on card, vehicle owner sets limits on amount that can be booked up to their account. Allows for emergencies. Don’t want a reader in your dunger or Roller buy miles in advance like RUCs but at near the top rate. If your HOP card and PMC card were the same thing simplifies the bureaucracy and you clearly see the cost of your choices. There are dozens of variations on the above, limited only by imagination.

    1. Such a device would also pay for parking – when the car’s moving, it gets road pricing, when it’s stopped, it gets billed based on where it’s parked. If you stop in a no-parking area, it would assume you’ve broken down, put on the hazard lights and alert either your roadside rescue service, if you have one, or the police. It would also alert the owner of the vehicle, if different (rental car companies and parents may find that useful).

      While you’re at it, the card reader could also check that your driver’s licence is current, and do facial recognition to make sure the driver matches. It could check your mobility parking permit if you stop in a disabled space. It would detect if your licence had an alcohol interlock condition, and refuse to start for drivers trying to use a car without an interlock. You could also set it up yourself to only allow certain drivers to use the car, which might get you an insurance discount too.

      It would need a GPS database of roads and prices – it could also include speed limits, and be hooked into the ECU to prevent you exceeding the speed limit. For motorsport enthusiasts, the GPS would include the coordinates of approved racetracks, so you could go over 100 there. And the race marshals would be able to remotely set temporary speed limits or disable the vehicle if there’s a crash or unsafe driving.

      For trucks, it’d be attached to scales on the axles to make sure you’re not overweight. And there’d be an immobiliser, so that instead of having to follow you in a high-speed car chase, the police can just remotely disable the car. It’d also disable the car if you reported it stolen, and transmit the whereabouts, and take photos of the driver using the aforementioned facial recognition.

      All the information would be recorded, in case the police or insurance company needed it to investigate in the event of a crash or theft, or to prove someone’s whereabouts for another crime.

      Although it would be complicated to retrofit to older cars, this functionality would all be built in to the car in new models, with hardware encryption chips, so it would be all but impossible to tamper with. Every cop car would have numberplate recognition and be able to query the computer as it went past, to verify it was working properly. You’d also get the car checked for tampering and get security updates every time you went in for a warrant.

      (And if you did manage to somehow bypass it anyway, driving in a tampered car would land you several years in prison).

      Our frighteningly Orwellian future does at least have some interesting things to look forward to…

      1. That said, I think having speed limiters is actually a good idea, though. Certainly it’s a better plan that designing roads for cars to go 10-20 over the speed limit, then relying on drivers to keep a constant eye on the speedo to check it, and randomly pinging them when they (inevitably) slip up and drive at the speed the road is inviting them to.

        1. +1
          In my experience many drivers pay scant attention to their speedo so are not even trying to regulate their speed to allowable levels. Either that, or they deliberately flout the llmits. Glancing down at the speedo for a second or so a couple of times a minute or when you sense some change occurring, is all it takes and is a habit that should be instilled in every learner. I don’t think it is a good idea to rely on road design alone to regulate people’s driving. Driving is a serious and potentially lethal business. There is no place for laxity in awareness of what you car is doing.
          (Cue in computer-controlled cars. . . .)

          1. As someone who TRIES to do that. I can tell that years of cognitive pressure caused by everyone else on the road regularly exceeding the speed limit slowly erodes your desire/capability to maintain good driving behaviour regardless of what your own opinions and desires on the matter are.

            Unfortunately, humans are much much more a bundle of automatic responses, and much much less intelligent thinking entities than we like to pretend to ourselves.

  10. It seems like some form of road user charge is the game changer here so how about this as a straw man?
    Fuel tax is blunt and with lower consumption vehicles, growth of diesel cars and EVs it is no longer ‘equitable’ so it’s time to split it into two: a carbon tax (per lt) and a sophisticated time of day/vehicle type/road user charge using gps technologies and a form of hop card. Properly pricing things gets behaviour change.
    Every vehicle gets installed with a card reader and display loaded with a classification based on vehicle type. Every person who wishes to use a car buys a PMC (Private Mobility Card) and loads it with money like a debit card. When a vehicle gets used a PMC with credit must be inserted in the reader and deducts coin on the basis of where the vehicle goes and when. Doesn’t matter whose card is used, just has be a card with credit. Allow two opt outs; no money on card, vehicle owner sets limits on amount that can be booked up to their account. Allows for emergencies. Don’t want a reader in your dunger or Roller buy miles in advance like RUCs but at near the top rate. If your HOP card and PMC card were the same thing simplifies the bureaucracy and you clearly see the cost of your choices. There are dozens of variations on the above, limited only by imagination.

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