In July Auckland Transport stealthily uploaded a 97 page Programme Business Case on the Light Rail page of the AT website. Due to ATAP (Auckland Transport Alignment Project), the Unitary Plan and City Rail Link (CRL) has gone a little bit under the radar.

So what is it? Technically while Light Rail is one part of the business case, the document is called the Central Access Plan (CAP) & deals issues identified in City Centre Future Access Study, which was even with the CRL CBD bus corridors would reach breaking point due to bus congestion/numbers on Wellesley & Symonds Streets.

Bus Numbers with CRL 2041

It looks to be part of a wider scope of studies/works about providing transport access to Central Auckland, they being the CRL which provides good access for the West/South/Inner East, the North Shore Rapid Transit study, which I assume is looking at a need for future rapid transit options either standalone or as part of AWHC project in the foreseeable future, and the Northwest Rapid Transit Project which one would assume is the Northwest Busway report due April 2017 prepared by Aurecon. 

Access to Central Auckland
Access to Central Auckland

The area the Central Access Plan looks as if it trying to address is Void, which has been mentioned on this blog before, the isthmus area between the Western & Southern lines. This area consists of some of Auckland’s major arterials & bus routes – Mt Eden Road, Sandringham Road, Manukau Road and Dominion Road.  

The Void
The Void


The study identified 3 major problems

  • The inability to meet current and projected transport demand on key corridors will sustain unreliable travel and poor access to productive central city jobs
  • Blockages and delays in central bus services worsen travel times and customer experience for those using public transport
  • High and increasing traffic volumes on residential and inner city streets create adverse urban amenity and environmental effects.

The study also notes that “There is already a substantial problem now with buses frequently late and full, resulting in passengers being left behind. Projects and initiatives such as the City Rail Link (CRL) and the New Network, largely with double-decker buses, will provide substantial additional capacity, but the underlying growth in projected demand is so great that most bus routes and the associated terminals and bus stops will have reached capacity by the early 2020s. The stress on the system at that time will be such that only the introduction of a mode that can move more people in fewer vehicles and that can use the sole under-used City Centre corridor – Queen Street – will provide more than very marginal relief. While measures to optimise the use of the bus services and reduce demand through promoting active travel are integral components of the proposed programme, they only ‘buy time’ before the extra corridor must be brought into use with a higher capacity mode. They will help to make conditions more tolerable as demand continues to grow and before a step-change can be introduced.”

CBD Street Capacity
CBD Street Capacity

The below graphs show the buses per hour needed on each street, the Orange shows unmet demand due to over the realistic capacity of buses on the corridor.

Wellesley St Bus Numbers
Wellesley St Bus Numbers
Symonds St Bus Numbers
Symonds St Bus Numbers

The below map shows the Business as Usual scenario, with the red areas no longer within the 45min PT Commute of the City if speeds decrease by 31% (This was a KPI in ATAP)

Areas within 45 CBD PT Commute
Areas within 45 CBD PT Commute

To try & mitigate the 3 problems above they first tested 6 options against the Do Minimum Network (The Do Minimum Network included CRL/AMETI/Busway to Albany, Puhoi-Walkworth, as well as Southern/Northern Corridor Improvements.), the options were (Please note these are the Plan’s Pros/Cons, I don’t necessary agree with all)

Option 1 – Do Regardless which includes: Auckland Cycle Network – $200m, More Double Deckers – $80m, City Centre Street Improvements – $30m, Footpath improvements – $15m, Bringing forward Te Atatu and Lincoln Rd stations – $10m, Implementing off board collections, traffic signal changes, more cycle parking and bus shelter improvements – $2m

Pro: Buys Time & minor increase of capacity.

Cost: $340m

Option 1 - Do Regardless
Option 1 – Do Regardless

Option 2 – Non-Financial Demand Management which included reducing parking supply in CBD, all lanes on Symonds (Past K’ Road) & Wellesley during peak would be bus lanes, more aggressive cycle/walking upgrades due to removal of parking.

Pros: Improves Bus Efficiency, more space for Active Modes, does not preclude further options & reduction in pollution.

Cons: Effectiveness Short Lived

Cost: $540M (Not sure if Do Regardless Cost is Part of each Options Cost or Not)

Option 2 - Demand Management
Option 2 – Demand Management

Option 3 – Extended Bus Network which turns Queen Street into a surface busway for Dominion & Sandringham Road bus services as well as changes to other routes.

Pros: Increase of Capacity & Bus Efficiency, Removal of General Traffic from Queen, Buys a number of years before further intervention.

Cons: Lots of Buses on Queen Street, effective short lived without bus terminal capacity, restricts future interventions, high cost.

Cost: $920M

Option 3 - Extended Bus Network
Option 3 – Extended Bus Network

Option 4 – A Mt Roskill Spur using the Avondale Southdown Corridor with two stations at Owairaka & Mt Roskill.

Pros: Low Impact due to using rail designation, provides extra capacity on inner west stations, buys time before further intervention, some reduction in buses, does not affect further intervention.

Cons: Short lived, low train frequencies adds to travel times, longer distance for Dominion Road.

Cost: $540M

Option 4 - Mt Roskill Spur
Option 4 – Mt Roskill Spur

Option 5 – An LRT Network which consists of 5 stages. Stage 1: Mt Roskill via Queen Street & Dominion Road, Stage 2: An extension to Wynyard Quarter, Stage 3: A Sandringham Road LRT Line via Queen Street, Stage 4 & 5: Three Kings via Symonds & Mt Eden Road LRT, Onehunga via Symonds & Manukau Road LRT.

Pros: Provides necessary capacity, travel time improvements, removes high level of buses from CBD, removes traffic from Queen Street, increase of public space.

Cons: Cost & potential impact on general traffic in isthmus.

Cost: 3,740M  

Option 5 - LRT
Option 5 – LRT

Option 6 – The introduction of a Bus Rapid Transit System with a CBD Bus Tunnel.

Pros: Provides necessary capacity, travel time improvements, removes buses from CBD surface, increase of public space, North Shore services can use tunnel.

Cons: Extremely high cost, large tunnel portals & potential impact on general traffic in isthmus.

Cost: $9,540M

Option 6 - BRT Tunnel
Option 6 – BRT Tunnel

AT then put each option against criteria with a ranking of 1-5 for each, the total was the average score with LRT coming on top as best option with a average of 4.4/5 compared to the next highest option the BRT tunnel at 3.7/5.

Cap Option Evaluation
Cap Option Evaluation

After concluding that LRT was possibly the best way forward, they looked deeper into the option, the first observation they made from the models was that “a second light rail service pattern using Symonds Street, Manukau Road and Mt Eden Road may be required towards the very end of the 30 year period. Allowance has not been made for this service pattern in the IP owing to the level of uncertainty in forecasting so far out as noted in ATAP.” So in the time frame they would only be looking at Cost/Benefits of two of the LRT Lines, Dominion Rd & Sandringham Road

Dominion Rd LRT had a Cost Benefit Ratio (CBR) of 0.7 – 1.9 if land value uplift was included, this allowed the potential of a Mt Roskill Spur to be potentially added to the package. The Cost of Dominion Rd LRT including Wynyard Quarter was $1,367m.

Dominion Rd & Sandringham Rd LRT had a CBR of 0.5 – 1.1. However they say this should improve due to it being able to be staged. The cost of Sandringham LRT they have estimated at $500m.

AT says there is issues with the modelling however for the following reasons which do not allow a proper case to be made

  • The constraint of requiring a fixed land use for the evaluation is a flawed assumption, as without additional capacity for travel to the City Centre, the ability to deliver the land use is compromised.
  • Similarly, for the people that are ‘crowded off’ the public transport services, there is likely to be a second order effect on general traffic as some of them would be forced back to car travel, making it even less efficient in the process. The performance of the road network would also be expected to degrade over time so potential benefits further in the future are likely to be under represented.
  • Large public transport projects where a step change is being made represent a significant investment up front, but offer comparatively modest benefits in the early years. However, for a number of reasons there is a need to make that investment at that point in as there are no feasible options to allow continued functionality without the investment.
  • The reliability improvements that come with almost completely segregated travel need to be explored further, particularly as the EEM currently caps them at the same value as the travel time savings.
  • The non-transport benefits, such as increased tourism activity in the City Centre would further contribute to the overall economic benefit of the IP.
  • Land use value uplift has not been estimated in detail but based on overseas examples is potentially large. Further assessment will confirm the magnitude of these benefits.

These are now the same graphs as before but with the Programme Interventions

Wellesley St Bus Numbers with Intervention
Wellesley St Bus Numbers with Intervention
Symonds St Bus Numbers with Intervention

With ATAP released the other day, it should be noted they in the Indicative Projects List have said that Bus Improvements may be able to last until the 2nd Decade 2028-38 period before a Mass Transit system may need to be introduced, I am not sure ATAP & CAP are on the same page regarding this, and this issue may potentially need more investigation.

So what do you think?

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    1. Seriously how do they expect this study to have any credibility when it is done after they have announced they love light rail?

      Ive only looked at it for 5 minutes and there are a multitude of bizarre aspects but probably the most awesome that I have noticed so far: Capital cost is ignored in the MCA but operating cost is not as they have farebox recovery as a criteria! That is brazen, hats off!

      Also, didnt Lester Levy say we would get it for south of $1b? Now its the best part of $4b? Interesting.

      1. Levy comments I believe were for Dominion Rd only & he said around a billion.

        The 3.7B I believe is all four light rail lines & the Do Regardless Improvements.

        The cost of Dominion Rd LRT is estimated at 1.3B which includes the LRV’s and Depot. Adding Sandringham Rd is estimated at 500M

        1. Hmmm. Do Dom-Queen, The rest looks more marginal, especially Sandringham Rd, it’s only one block away from Dom, there would surely be more value in extensions of the route than duplication?

        2. It’s a big block, but fair point. There’s probably some leeway to wait and see what happens to Sando buses when Dom LRT is built, because a reasonable amount of the Sando catchment is in walking distance from either Dom or the railway line, or can transfer, so that will take some of the pressure off the buses.

      2. Yes, MCA often leads to shenanigans. I tend to approach it as a way of loosely approximating a cost benefit analysis, which means aligning the criteria and weightings with what you’d expect to see in a transport CBA.

        That said, the quantitative CBA does indicate that some light rail lines may deliver value for money. A more comprehensive options analysis is obviously needed, but on the basis of the evidence provided I don’t think you can rule out light rail.

        Harriet – just a minor point, but you’ve inaccurately described the benefit cost ratios (BCRs) as CBRs – implying costs divided by benefits, rather than benefits divided by costs.

        1. Some of the BCRs looked OKish (quite low but par for the course these days in NZ). I havent had a chance to fully look at it, but it looks like Dom alone gives the best BCR.

    2. True but every Program has KPI’s which create Bias Outcomes, ATAP KPI’s for example biased access to employment by Car & Congestion Results, PT doesn’t necessarily reduce congestion, but it does give a congestion free alternative for people. They also biased Greenfield over Brownfield in there Support Access for New Homes KPI which pushes outer motorway widening and greenfield arterials like Pukekohe Expressway over PT servicing intensification etc.

    3. Overall, the last graph shows what is being proposed to be relatively marginal in benefit for Symonds St which is one of the main issues – it just keeps bubbling away at close to its stated capacity. AT have previously published that bus corridors with off line stops have up to 500 bus/hr capacity. Shouldnt the focus be on improving bus capacity of Symonds St? What is the bus lane plan for Symonds St? Currently we dont even have continuous bus lanes.

      1. Not sure what report that is, can you link it. I have seen 180-200 buses per hour mentioned, but that was for the Northern Busway.

        1. Sure, we can put the buses through a bus lane. We just can’t stop them to let off/pick up passengers. Assuming a bus stop every 4-500m for all routes in the CBD you come out at 200-250 buses per hour at best.

        2. Yeah fair point 250 may be more realistic. Still much higher than current capacity of an unoptimised Symonds St and Wellesley St

        3. That post said inline had 53, and offline unspecified depending on number of stops couldn’t see 500, did I look at the wrong area?

          250 buses per hour is more a busway capacity for example between Consti and Ako, no intersections & lights with full busway stations.

          We can never feasibly do that with S Street due to major ped movements such as at the Learning Quarter & the CBD nature of the area.

          This I believe is the capacity levels they use

        4. Its on the figures. Have you seen how many private vehicles we currently throw down Symonds?

        5. That 500 an hour is the theoretical capacity of a bus lane.. if you have no intersections, don’t stop, no passengers, don’t slow down etc. There is one tunnel lane leading into Manhattan that achieves close to that, but its basically an express running section of grade separated bus motorway with no stops or intersections.
          Its an academic comparison which I don’t think is actually accurate for Albert St, there are too many intersections. 500 buses an hour with a two minute cycle time means you expect to cycle 15 buses through the lights every time the signal goes green. In practice you’d top out at about half that. But even that is academic, assuming you have to stop buses to let people on and off the stop capacity becomes the major constraint well before that. On a city street with bus lanes and big bus stops in groups of indented bays, you’d top out at around 200 an hour under ideal conditions. But that assumes you can get buses in, out and around, and it requires bus stops that span four or five blocks in length.

      2. Not a bus planner, but my understanding is that terminal capacity is also a key constraint. Basically, there *might* be things you could do to shove more buses down Symonds St, like widening the road right into the footpaths and adding ever-longer stops. But even if you could do those things and avoid the perverse consequences (eg confusion for passengers, declining pedestrian speeds), you’d still have to find space for layovers and turnarounds at Britomart or Wynyard. Which is hard, to say the least.

        1. My main solution to terminal capacity would be to run routes in a lollipop configuration on fully exclusive bus corridors to avoid the turn around issue. Layovers done out of the CBD.

        2. Again, great in theory. But without at least full signal pre-emption at all junctions reliability will never be high enough without layovers at end of route. Beyond 60 buses an hour you can’t do signal preemption even for a pedestrian crossing.

        3. Do you think so? My main thinking is: Status quo is very poor priority and one way routes into CBD (some of which are quite long) so high chance of delay. If you double route length, you need to double “reliability”. I wouldnt have thought you need full signal priority to double reliability relative to status quo? Also some of the key routes are actually shorter than max Auckland routes. Dom Rd routes are relatively short so doubling the length doesnt necessarily make them extremely long.

        4. Actually Auckland already has extensive bus signal priority right across the city. The problem is it simply cannot work on very busy corridors. When you have 100 or 200 buses an hour, thats a bus every 15 to 30 seconds, i.e a constant stream. You can’t give priority to a constant stream of buses without shutting down the whole of every intersection for a couple of hours. In fact anything about about 4-6 minutes is impossible to give signal priority to in practice.

          On Dominion Rd you already have signal priority and bus lanes, but you have a huge trip density. Dominion Rd carries more on it’s 7km length, and is exposed to more congestion, than ten outer suburban routes put together. They’ve done all they can with buses already on that corridor.

        5. Done all they can? I dont think that is a realistic statement. They dont even have continuous exclusive bus lanes. Where present, they run shoulder lanes with general traffic conflicts at intersections driveways etc.

          They also dont have inter vehicle synchronization control to avoid bunching.

        6. Matthew that off vehicle tagging/payments with multi door loading works so well for the freeloaders on the trains so a little inconvenience to you keeps them off the buses and would save the damage bill.

        7. No, real time synchronisation means maintaining headways based on real time gps position of other buses on the route.

        8. Matthew so does that speed up the first bus or slow all the ones behind to keep the prescribed spacing? If it speeds up the front bus, how?

        9. Sort of defeats the purpose of speeding the buses up if you are going to ignore waiting passengers, do you let people on at the stops where you let people off?

        10. The purpose is to maintain stability of a system that can degrade to suboptimal equilibrium positions so that overall performance for all passengers is maximised.

        11. Thats a bit of a mouth full, does that include the potential passengers left standing at the bus stop?

        12. Sure, except you can’t do it unless you hold buses at stops to extend distance (good luck on busy routes!), or if you skip stops and stop people getting off to shorten it. I.e unworkable.

          Just had another read of the document, all the stuff like all door boarding and other optimizations appear to be included in the basic scenario already.

  1. Has anyone done analysis on how much more pressure the inner Western Line stations from Mt Albert will face post CRL and with high amounts of intensification around those stations?
    Because I am thinking of a multiprong attack pattern using Heavy AND Light Rail here.

  2. The clear conclusion is that it’s bleeding obvious that Queen St is hiding in plain sight as the unused city centre Transit access corridor. And with the presence of that overbuilt and underused bypass Ian McKinnon Drive, it is perfectly placed for Isthmus Transit traffic. And that with a sufficiently high enough capacity system this same route can be used for the Shore too.

    This is both better and easier than either ever more buses, or expensive and unpleasant bus tunnels. AT may have jumped the gun by announcing a preference for Light Rail Dom-Queen, but it is hard to fault that conclusion how ever you look at it.

    1. Abslolutely, use Queen St to get the bus traffic off Symonds St for people who don’t want to go to Symonds St. A “fast start/fast finish” route from New North Rd for some of the Sandringham Road and New North Road buses which uses Queen St and Ian McKinnon Drive will separate the Queen St commuter users from the student traffic. The buses empty out or fill up with students now which leaves people waiting all the way along the route. Some clearly marked “does not go through Symonds St” buses, particularly at peak hours, could reduce Symonds St congestion tomorrow.

  3. This is like the CRL argument over again. Now that the ‘what’ is broadly agreed there’ll be some debate over the when for a while before it gets brought forward.

    1. Yes, I don’t think there is a debate over if Dominion Rd Light Rail will happen, but when. Labour is campaigning on it at the Mt R Byelection, Greens are supportive. National haven’t rubbished it once, it was in ATAP.

      It really is a matter of funding, if the Opposition wins next year this will be accelerated, if National wins it still will possibly be depending on if Goff can deliver a PPP model for it. If AT can deliver a viable PPP solution to LRT, then Lobby groups will start pushing for it, and it allows funding to be accelerated off books both which gives Pro PT people in the National Party leverage to get it through cabinet.

  4. So AT’s plan is to start build public transport infrastructure when everything is at capacity and the network can no longer cope, which by the time the project is completed 5-10years later, the public network is at a standstill.
    Why can’t AT plan ahead, build infrastructure and beat the over-capacity prediction? And I’m pretty sure, the Public Transport usage prediction have again been underestimated, just like how they estimated Britomart and the Northern Bus Way will have lower usage.

    1. Short answer: Funding constraints in an environment where there are a *lot* of calls for more expenditure to fix other issues. If you put funds towards light rail it diverts them from CRL or Northern Busway extensions or AMETI or what have you.

      Long answer: Questions could be raised about the efficiency and effectiveness of some current motorway investments, like Puhoi to Warkworth, which soak up lots of scarce resources to solve an issue (Easter holiday traffic queues) that should be waaaay down the priority list given Auckland’s urban growth pressures.

    2. Yes but this isn’t only AT’s plan. It is the whole country’s plan. PT is only ever the ambulance at the bottom of the cliff, only to be considered once the the private car fails under it’s own success, ie congestion. You will note even ATAP primarily had traffic congestion criteria. And like the Northwestern all money will go to ensuring traffic congestion gets every chance to fully express itself, fail, add inefficiency and bad health, welfare, and environment externalities, then, and only then, will some sort of PT work around be debated. Meanwhile auto-dependency has defined and shaped land-use to its pattern, ie Lincoln Rd, and road super-sizing will continue to eat every budget, and hospitals fill with the maimed, the depressed, and the obese. All at great expense.

      Welcome to the 20thC’s long tail.

    3. Of course building to projected capacity is the historical approach, but the other tool that we have at our disposal, not considered in the doc, is peak-time demand management. If AT were to increase fares during the rush hour peaks to double the normal fare, then we could see commuters either changing travel patterns or choosing active modes. That combined with proper cycle lanes and connected full-time bus lanes would go a long way.

      Also, I wonder why that ‘void’ idea has returned? Surely the void is anywhere on the map that has turned red (lower isthmus and most of North Shore), or even worse hasn’t even made it to red. On that basis, the hastily rejected option 4 may yet be able to deal with where the isthmus void really is, taking in Owairaka and moving eastward toward Mt Roskill, and at a lower cost. There are also value options around the North Shore void, such as dedicated bus lanes and a much more comprehensive frequent feeder bus network.

      Public transport doesn’t have unlimited funds available to it, so every dollar concentrated on an expensive solution for Dominion Road, which is not even in the red zone above, will have a negative impact on the rest of Auckland.

  5. A key issue seems to be bus terminal capacity. Why do they want to store buses in the CBD? We arent planning on storing trains in the CBD post CRL, the same approach should be used for buses – routes should be based on a lollipop shape with high capacity loops within the CBD. Sufficient priority should be given on all routes to ensure timetabling issues are dealt with.

    1. It seems like most of the cost of Option 3 / Option 6 is tied up in building a terminal – giving more weight to developing a terminal-less option. (What is up with the numbering in the report? They seem to use a different number of the options in different sections).

    2. Its not storing buses, that is done elsewhere. Terminal capacity is the capacity to terminate, reposition and stage buses, and to have timekeeping stops. While not sexy or exciting, this is critical stuff for running buses, and not something you can just do somewhere else. In fact the simple need to turn buses around creates problems en masse.

      The CRL train plans do exactly the same for trains, a large part of the constraints on capacity and operations comes from terminating and originating additional capacity. From what I’ve seen there is a lot of delicate planning around how Quay Park, Newmaket and Grafton will operate as terminals with the CRL.

      1. The Western is the tricky one, as most of the trains need to terminate after Britomart. Hopefully they have a good plan.

        Originating capacity will be interesting to plan especially in the evening peak. With no crosstown & NAL Freight not running at that time of day you could store trains ready at Mt Eden NAL Platforms

      2. Noted, yes I appreciated it wasnt overnight storage. The turning around issue could be addressed by a lollipop design, could it not. e.g. rather than running down Queen, then back up Queen, you go down Queen, across Customs and up Albert (all with continuous exclusive right of ways). Similarly while I appreciate you cant stage out at the end of the route, you could stage at city fringe locations rather than right downtown.

        1. Using two way couplets for PT reduces coverage. Say 500m is your coverage radius, if you use two way couplets then only those within 500m of *both* stops are actually covered.

        2. Not if you through route though. So you work on Queen St, you get off on Queen St. You get on at the same stop in the same direction to go home. It actually increases coverage relative to status quo where most routes only have a few stops in CBD currently.

        3. As an option and only if you want a 1 seat journey, but as I say the current conditions in the CBD are that you off only have limited choice for leaving and entering anyway – significant walking is usually required. Some routes do not take the same route in and out currently eg Birkenhead routes

        4. Well you end up trading off space for a lot more more out of service running, or running through route buses in-service to places they don’t really need to go. If every bus that comes down Albert St has to drive out Queen St, you’ve lost any ability to schedule and optimse your operation. For example, do we really want to have to run a Dominion Rd bus out to Westgate, for example, before we can route it somwhere else? Or more realistically do we want to stage and start an afternoon bus from the city to Dominion Rd from Westgate or some other outer terminal? That’s more buses, more drivers, more km, less reliability to move the same amount of people. For through routes to be efficient to operate you need both very evenly matched pairs of lines and a flat, non-peaky demand profile.

          And really that doesn’t fix things, you only end up with routes that are twice as long with half the timing points, i.e. no ability to recover the timetable and prevent bunching. So with a through route you would want to park them in the stop downtown for five or ten minutes to maintain spacing and make sure they can fill up and depart at the right time. Sitting them there for three times as long for recovery means you’re back to needing three times the number of bus stops. Look at the Links, they do exactly that, annoying timing points.

          It’s fair to point out that the New Network does plan to do this to some extent. Particularly how buses from the west and north are routed through town to terminate near the university or Newmaket on the eastern side, while some from the east and south are routed through to terminate near Wynyard or Victoria Park. But at the end of the day that just shifts the terminal problem out a bit, and arguably adds pressure to the corridors of overlap in between.

        5. I’m not suggesting throughrouting to other destinations, just throughrouting the CBD itself.

          I posted upthread on time table reliability – tldr; current priority and reliability is very bad almost everywhere, we can do much better.

        6. Well that is what the New Network does already to a large extent, that is taken into account in the CAP study.

        7. “You get on at the same stop in the same direction to go home”

          I would be very surprised if this works, for two reasons:
          – probably there’s a scheduled stop at the bottom anyway, with potentially a long wait. You see this even now with the green link bus, if you go from the Sky Tower to Newmarket, that bus will probably wait for 10 minutes at a scheduled stop somewhere around Queen Street.
          – And going around the block potentially very slow. Back when all those North Shore buses still went via the waterfront and Lower Albert Street, it took 10 minutes or more to go from Sturdee Street via Quay Street to the stop on lower Albert Street, which is basically going around just a single block.

          In practice, as others point out, you get the problem that from almost anywhere it’s either a really long walk to get on the bus, or a really long walk to get back home.

        8. Yes so you need proper exclusive right of ways for the buses so you dont run scheduled stops in town and it isnt slow. We currently have poor bus priority in most places especially downtown.

  6. I wonder if they have considered that congestion in the CBD will encourage people to transfer to train at Mt Eden Station, Newmarket, Sandringham, K’Rd.
    I’d see a cheaper and more politically acceptable solution being to build the LRT underground just in the CBD, and have the buses connect at stations on the fringe, something like Grafton-Hospital-University-Wellesley St-Wynyard.

    1. That doesn’t help though.

      You stop a whole route at one of those stations and force an entire bus full of people to transfer,
      You stop half the buses on all routes making the system completely illegible, or
      You reduce service frequency making capacity problems worse.

    2. No one wants to transfer *nearly* at their destination, especially en mass. Just build good high capacity permanent systems and through-route them. Queen St is sitting there LR ready, and right at so many high volume destinations. No need to think up complicated schemes just to avoid doing the obvious. Sometimes the obvious is well, obvious, for a very good reason.

    3. Even if you wanted to, I doubt the rail network would have the infrastructure and capacity to stage trains to pick up a big peak load of additional passengers on top of the peak load point to take them one or two stops along. Or put another way, if we had track capacity, trains and drivers to do that… wouldn’t you use those resources to serve the regional rail network, and not for the last mile of local buses?

  7. I don’t know how many others “suffer” from tram-vision. Everywhere I look seems to scream for light rail…Grafton Bridge – K Road – Ponsonby Road – Jervois will be an amazing addition, and when trams and bikes are side-by-side we might forget we are in this isolated part of the world. Inevitably we need trams, so the cost is irrelevant. Time is the only factor, mostly waiting for a central government that stops throwing good tax down the holiday highway toilet.

  8. So LRT would be nearly at capacity but a lot more comfortable than buses right off the bat yet they think this is a good option for the airport??
    Leave LRT to the isthmus and build HR to the airport via Otahuhu. My Roskill spur should also be built.
    The issue with frequency on the Mt Roskill spur can be overcome by either operating a shuttle train back and forth to the Western Line, or having some services bypass the CRL and go to Otahuhu/Onehunga.

    1. I really am not certain that AT helped anything much by adding the Airport to this. Dom-Queen LRT looks necessary in its own right.

      Do it on its own terms. Connect the rail system to the airport via a short rapid bus solution at Puhinui and MC now, upgradeable to LR medium term and extend to AMETI.

      Extending LR from Wynyard across the harbour then looks like being the next best move. Although demand across the harbour, especially with a quicker non-congested route via Wynyard, will surely be huge, and somewhat asymmetrical with the Isthmus one. Although that would be manageable with careful system design and flexible running patterns…..

    1. There’s a fair body of empirical evidence showing that transport projects frequently result in increases in property values in nearby areas. Urban economic theory suggests that these increases reflect the gains in transport accessibility, plus increased opportunities for development.

      As this suggests, any gains in land values shouldn’t be seen as *additional* to transport user benefits. Rather, they are an *alternative* measure of benefits that may also account for some benefits that are poorly captured by existing evaluation procedures.

      Here’s a recent conference paper discussing why this might be a useful measure, and what we can (and can’t) learn from it:

      1. Do you want transport projects to destroy land value? Oh yes, of course we’re used to that; motorways routine do. People queue up to live next to them, love having them in their back yard.

      2. Is there some way to optimise amenity benefits while minimising the affordability costs for the adjacent areas?

        1. Land values are always going to rise in one location relative to others when you improve the qualities of that place. That’s just an inevitable feature of land markets, and it’s not necessarily a bad thing – economic benefits have to accrue *somewhere*, after all.

          Broadly speaking, there are three things that can be done to mitigate the distributional impacts:

          1. Allow more housing to be built in the area. Even if land values rise, an increase in development can (partially) offset the impacts on house prices, and allow more people to benefit from the improvement.

          2. Tax land value, or uplifts in land value. Over time, this will ensure that people who benefit from improvements pay back a share of the benefits.

          3. Distribute transport investments (or other public investments) throughout the city. Over time, an abundance of transport options (or parks, whatever) will result in a lower relative premium on specific locations.

          Finally, note that distributional questions apply to motorway investment as well as to rapid transit investment. In fact, the consequences are even sharper, as motorway development has historically blighted some locations – especially places where poor people live – in order to provide benefits for large fringe land developers.

      3. I remember reading a paper in the early 90’s suggesting land value to as an alternative measure, in theory it chrysalises benefits and costs. The obvious problem was how to value every site when there are both winners and losers from a project. Big scheme will cause a fundamental change to the market. My question was because the post gave BCR’s if land value uplift is included. Guess I had better read it.

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