In September the Final Report of the Auckland Transport Alignment Project (ATAP) was released and we’ve talked about it a lot since then. It focused on strategic recommendations following multiple rounds of modelling of packages of projects and with & without Smarter Pricing. The Final Indicative Package can be seen on the map below, however please note these are indicative and may change as each project goes through the necessary business cases.

ATAP Indicative Interventions

The ATAP report found that in the first decade alone, there’s a $400 million funding gap and while the aggregate costings where available, the estimated cost for each project where not. So, I decided to OIA that very information & thankfully the NZTA were happy to oblige, giving us this information in a very nice format which you can see below.

Please note the projects are indicative and subject to the regular business cases, the costings are preliminary estimates for example the ATAP team did not receive the information regarding updated CRL costings until after the Report had been finalised, the costings are also not inflation adjusted which is why some in the third decade in particular look cheaper than previous estimates you may have seen.

ATAP Projects Estimates

ATAP Project Costs Page 1
ATAP Project Costs Page 2

Rail Development Programme

Rail Development Programme

I wont go into to much regarding the information, as this is best done in a series of follow up posts on ATAP, but some things to note are

  1. A (Road Only) Additional Waitemata Harbour Crossing is $3.7b but will be much more with inflation.
  2. They budget $585.3m of level crossing removals.
  3. There is over $4b in state highway widening projects (Does not include East West Link & AWHC), those projects bring it up to over $9B.
  4. $784m to four track Westfield-Papakura.
  5. $503.7m for Isthmus Mass Transit is budgeted in the first decade meaning only $622.5m needs to be accelerated to make it a first decade project.
  6. Mass Transit between Wynyard Quarter – Takapuna is budgeted at $1.8b.

What do you think of the costs and what stands out to you?

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  1. How about all the rail projects sitting in the second and third decades be all brought forward to the first decade and all roading projects (that are not bus ways or transit improvements) be shunted back to the third decade.
    Might just get a 21st Century City that eliminates the needs for those super roads if we tried for transit and rail first.

    Just saying

      1. I think we could at least get Pakuranga to Botany, CBD to airport, airport to Botany, Westgate to CBD, and CBD to Takapuna in first decade.

      2. Indeed
        The premise I have made bringing all rail projects (and for that matter three bus ways) into decade one and shunting all the super roads to Decade 3 was that all the third (and fourth) main work would free the Southern Line up to move the ever increasing amount of freight between Auckland and Tauranga.

        The more we get on those Metro Ports the less congestion risks the Southern Motorway will face saving expensive measures such as future widening and Mill Road northern section.

        The logical flow on means capacity for more Southern Line passenger trains especially when Airport to Botany via Puhinui and Manukau is completed sooner rather than later.

        So yeah, do the rail and the bus ways first and things like Mill Road and even PENLINK basically become non viable (if they were in the first place)

        1. I prefer a staged approach to rail. Do the third main tomorrow but make sure any structural modifications needed for 3 are done to the standard for 4 tracks. Do the bit’s of the fourth that don’t need further structure modification or land purchase at the same time, designate the necessary land for the rest of the fourth and wait for it to be redeveloped at which time you take the slice you need. Build the fourth once we have to say no to freight services because of track slot issues.

        2. You have around 8b in capex in D1 CRL 1.9b + AMETI 440 with flyover, 2.2b for LRT to Airport, NW Improvements around 724m, 1.2b on the rail programme doesn’t leave a whole lot left you can add NS Rail to Takapuna but you would need to increase budget slightly in D1, depends what you want to do for example do we need the third main in D1, do we want to knock out as many of the level crossing removals in D1 etc.

        3. It will put Bill English’s $8b surplus claims to the test.

          Yes to all the above INCLUDING the Third Main ALL THE WAY to Pukekohe in D1. Lets get out infrastructure ahead of the curve for once especially with the South taking the bulk of population and industrial growth. The Southern Line cant take the loads now and the motorway is certainly in no condition either.

        4. Hey Ben, how you doing?

          You are obviously pretty fired up about Penlink (so much so that you called it “PENLINK”). Maybe you can enlighten others as to why it would be made non-viable by putting rail transport into Sth Akl.
          I can’t see how it would help the thousands of commuters who sit in traffic on Whangaparaoa Rd before dawn every morning and then again in the evening.

          If you are referring to busways, then its still not clear how the same commuters get to these busways.
          Currently the “express” bus takes 30 mins to negotiate its way off the peninsula to get to the bus station. That’s before the 45 min journey on to the city. Many of these commuters have had to walk for 10 to 20 mins just to get to the bus stop in the first place.

          From Silverdale to Whangaparaoa Plaza is a full 10 km along mostly single lane roads. There’s a further 10 km to Gulf Harbour.
          A busway that’s 10 to 20kms away, from these population centres, is not solving anyone’s problems.
          Especially when there is a serious accident on that road which completely isolates those commuters until the emergency services get through the stationary traffic, and the road cleared. Because there’s only one road off the peninsula.
          This happens fairly frequently.

          This is not supposed to be a negative reply to your post, I’m just wondering if I’ve missed something that you’ve seen.


        5. The area is not zoned and expected to have high growth compared to other areas in Auckland, therefore it falls low on the priority list as it needs to compete for limited funds.

          For example the cost of Penlink would allow extension of the NW Busway from Westgate to Kumeu which is a large growth area compared to Whangaparaoa.

          Also while Penlink may save people time by bypassing Silverdale, the question will be will the interchange and SH1 be any better, the ATAP modelling showed that congestion was not as bad as other areas as well.

          It’s not a matter of a project is not worthy, but that we need to prioritize projects that will unlock the most housing & provide for the most people.

        6. ” why it would be made non-viable by putting rail transport into Sth Akl”

          It’s already non-viable, building rail in south Auckland, improving bus frequency, or buying an advent calendar still makes it non-viable.

        7. I’d say, the solution to that problem is “don’t live on a peninsula”, and “stop building new houses on that peninsula”, depending on how you look at it. But I guess that horse has bolted now.

          What I don’t get about Penlink is:
          – on the Whangaparaoa end, the 2×2-lane expressway ends on a 2-lane arterial. To me, that looks like quite a mismatch in capacity.
          – on the Albany end, it ends on a stretch of motorway which is currently congested pretty much any time of the day and week. So where would that extra traffic go?

        8. Good afternoon.

          Apologies if I do not reply in order to the flow of your comment but hopefully it makes some sense.

          1) Whangaparaoa in terms of single access is in a very similar spot to South Auckland linking up with the Isthmus in that we have the Mt Wellington bottleneck with the Southern Motorway. We lose that area due to an accident and the South is effectively cut off from the north even with the Great South Road present (would be jammed).

          2) That said the South has the rail line available where Whangaparaoa would have dedicated bus lanes all the way to an interchange both at Silverdale Town Centre and the NEX Station near State Highway One. The bus lanes would give the resilience enough for Whangaparaoa to move apart from an extreme accident that closes the road off.

          3) Using the dedicated bus lanes to Silverdale while also bringing in the North Shore Rail Line from Aotea Station to Silverdale gives you that transit connection into the CBD and further south meaning you are able to beat congestion just as I can using the Southern Line from Papakura to Britomart skipping the Southern Motorway. This is where the priority should lay givenWhangaparaoa is not a growth area (it has no Mixed Housing Urban or Terraced Housing and Apartment Zones) to warrant a 4 lane road known as Penlink. Get that NS Line and dedicated bus lanes in place and you will find the need for Penlink disappears. IF Whangaparaoa went pretty much all Mixed Housing Urban in its existing urban footprint THEN I can see a 2-lane Penlink (or 4 lanes with 2 of those lanes being bus lanes) would have a case.

          I have travelled Whangaparaoa many times in non peak and peak and know the frustrations well. But equally frustrating is the lack of decent transit in both the form of a light rail line to Sillverdale and dedicated bus lanes along Whangaparaoa so I have the option of not being stuck in traffic.

          Always build the transit stuff first and then if growth comes about then maybe build another road line that has transit facilities with it. you might find $400m being saved for say more parks.

        9. I’d like to add to RH’s comment about Penlink that it isn’t just about Whangaparaoa Peninsula. Yes Penlink only services Whangaparaoa and Stillwater directly, it does serve the entire HBC area indirectly.
          Harriet argues that the peninsular is not zoned for high growth. True it is mostly developed. There is however significant infilling occuring and there are still several parts that are large developments (the old golf course at Red Beach, Gulf Harbour is only half built, apartment blocks going in at the plaza and beside where Penlink will come out and the other subdivision currently being built overlooking the plaza, also plans for apartments near Poplar Lane area).
          As to how Penlink helps the rest of the HBC – Silverdale West/Wainui has been zoned for huge development under the Unitary Plan. Silverdale itself is zoned for higher density and more commercial development, Orewa is still growing rapidly and Changda has just recently started on a large SHA there. More to come around Hatfields and Stillwater as well (not too mention the likes of Warkworth that are currently blocked in the evenings all the way from Albany to Silverdale because Silverdale itself is blocked). All of these are blocked by the Silverdale congestion which is a result of not having Penlink. Penlink bypasses Silverdale for most on the Peninsula freeing Silverdale up for those other areas mentioned above and to allow it to become the commercial growth area it is zoned for (jobs).

          Now Ben has many great things to say about transport on this blog (many of which seem to go under appreciated I might add), but as others have mentioned things out South have little to no effect on things in the North. I’d happily accept your HR from the city to Silverdale in a heartbeat as that would be fantastic! Reality? Not going to happen for a very long time! Penlink just makes sense. Consider for a moment even without the benefits of extra capacity it would generate that it would shave multiple kilometres and time off the commutes of people on the peninsula and Stillwater alone. Now add in the benefits to everyone else on the coast and further north (in my comments above) and it’s a winner. It will assist PT with both buses and walking/cycling and best of all unlike every single other tossing project in Auckland it actually mostly pays for itself with tolls.
          There are better targets to be cut than Penlink.

        10. Harriet, if we are to prioritise projects, should it not be based on BCR? I understand Penlink has a relatively high BCR compared to many other projects. If the goal is utilitarianism, BCRs would appear to be the best option.

        11. I actually disagree since BCR’s calculations are created by subjectively, currently they overestimate travel savings, underestimate PT demand, don’t properly take into account environmental & health effects, badly understand agglomeration, don’t fully take into account feasible development increases, have a relatively short life-cycle of the asset it used to be 30 years, now its 40 years after the CRL debates, I believe they use 60 years for many projects in UK, assume that people wont transfer, and don’t allow you to put in the re-sale or re-development of purchased land in the benefits.

          Basically they sound all scientific, however really its just personal bias’s that create the framework for them hidden behind fancy maths.

          I think Business Cases are still worth doing however since they are more than just the BCR

        12. The issue with Penlink is the motorway will still be busy so it wont really help HBC it will be like Reeves Road flyover you only get yourself quicker to the queue for/on the motorway.

          While there is growth happening there, compared to other areas of Auckland it is very small, yes it is developed but at a very low density compared to other areas in Auckland.

          We have limited resources 200m needs to be spent wisely.

        13. So the issue is not BCRs per se, it is the fact that current NZ practice means they are unreliable. I would rather see an improvememt in analysis rather than some more arbitrary means.

          In principle BCRs should be used for prioritisation. I understand Penlink has a BCR of around 3. If we did BCRs better would it fall below all those other projects with lower BCRs? We dont know unless we do the analysis.

          Woth regard to travel time savings and transport benefits, the analysis of these will change dramatically now we have road pricing proposed. Penlink may do better than other projects in this new framework as it significantly reduces the physical distance.

        14. Agree, but at the end of the day the BCR will be based on subjective values and thus be a result of arbitrary value preferences.

        15. Matthew while it is not something I’ve noticed from Harriet, there are regular posters on here that use a low BCR as a reason not build a road then as soon as there is a road with a high BCR they attack the BCR process.
          I personally don’t like the BCR process, it was brought in by a previous government to allow funding for their pet projects and not changed by the current government.

        16. The risk with BCRs is that they are often viewed as purely objective when in reality there is often a significant amount of subjectivity introduced through the assumptions. However, I would still prefer them to a purely subjective analysis as they are generally more prone towards leaning towards ideology. It’s a case of continually working on the assumptions, which by the sound of it does happen.

          Bigted – I’d agree, if we are to live by the BCR sword then we should die by it as well. Penlink for example seems to make a hell of a lot more sense than the Puhoi to Warkworth motorway extension as an example.

        17. I try to stay consistent, I am very suspicious of modelling and am open about it, in many areas they come off as complicated which means people don’t understand them, and because it is maths people take on face that it is somewhat axiomatic. When you actually go back and look at the methodology its not objective maths, but rather built on subjective value assumptions/bias’s.

          Then if you have experience with these processes, even if the model methodology doesn’t provide what you want, you can massage it by tweeking inputs.

          Not saying we shouldn’t do it, just I don’t believe that it should be the arbiter of truth.

          Though I get what you mean, some people do try to do what you say in your example and I am not a fan of it either tbh.

        18. Is that not consistent with a BCR process that inherently favours roads though?

          If the BCR is still terrible for a road then the road must be really bad, if it’s good then we need to look at whether that is actually accurate.

          I’d argue that the sensitivity testing is far more important for BCRs to be completely honest.

        19. @Harriet: You say that the motorway will still be busy. At Albany that is true. However in the morning you have still saved yourself about 10+ mins of driving/bus time getting there due to the much shorter route let alone less congestion on that route. In the evening it is even more pronounced as the motorway north of Albany is currently blocked all the way back by people trying to get off at Silverdale. Penlink would clear this about half way and then because of its larger capacity it would get that traffic off the motorway freeing it up for those heading north.
          It really is quite different from Reeves Road flyover and is a bit disingenuous to compare the two.
          You can’t complain about low BCR on the one hand and then diss projects that have high BCR on the other. Also since that BCR was made the UP has come in and added 10,000 homes to the west of Silverdale which will only make the current situation worse.

        20. I certainly can because of the methodological issues in the calculations of BCR’s I noted above.

          If you understand the methodology of the BCR’s you know as Sailor noted that it benefits roading over PT projects, so you know that if a roading project like AWHC is 0.4 it means it is a really low value for money.

        21. “have a relatively short life-cycle of the asset it used to be 30 years, now its 40 years after the CRL debates”

          This life-cycle claim is a common misconception of discounted cashflow analysis. Benefits in the future are demonstrably worth less than benefits in the present which, in turn, is due (partially or wholly) to the fact that people die… all of us.

          At a 6% discount rate a dollar of benefit in 40 years time is only worth 8.4 cents to those stumping up the investment in today’s dollars. There comes a point where extending the period makes no significant difference to the net present value of the investment. Whether the asset is still generating benefit at the end of that period doesn’t make much difference.

        22. Sure time preference exists for people on an individual level, if I want a can of coke one right now is more valuable than one in a weeks time, but we don’t build infrastructure just for the present generations but the also future generations.

          If things were only funded to benefit those who with benefit from them why am I paying taxes to pay for old age entitlement levels I am never likely to see?

        23. I agree a BCR should not be seen as objective – it doesnt make sense as there are of course valje judgements in the quantifying of benefits. With regard to predictions of patronage or travel time savings, these arent really value judgements, although depending on how you go about estimating these you could be making rash assumptions.

          But BCRs have a number of significant benefits namely: They force people to make their assumptions explicit in the inputs to the BCR. They enable different projects are treated consistently (by keeping assumptions and methodology consistent) to allow comparisons.

          Ultimately the question should be – what is the alterantive. The current alternatives in NZ result in far less transparency and far more subjectivity than a BCR.

          Instead of arguing about the relative merits of individual projects (as is often the case here), the argument should be around appropriate assumptions that are input to an evaluation.

          With that in mind, I am looking forward to seeing how road pricing is going to be dealt with in future models. It changes a lot of assumptions. No longer do you have congestion, you just have a higher market price. Capacity improvements on existing networks dont reduce congestion and allow travel time savings, they just lower the market price and increase “supply”. Similarly PT inteeventions dont reduce congestion on the road network, they just reduce the market price by reducing demand.

        24. “At a 6% discount rate a dollar of benefit in 40 years time is only worth 8.4 cents to those stumping up the investment in today’s dollars. There comes a point where extending the period makes no significant difference to the net present value of the investment. Whether the asset is still generating benefit at the end of that period doesn’t make much difference.”

          But PT projects markedly change land use and generate increasing benefits as time into the future increases. After 40 years the CRL might be generating 4 times more benefit than at opening.

          Say it generates 100m in benefits opening year, that is 73m after discounting.
          If it then generates 400m in benefits in year 40 that is 34m.
          You might get an extra 30% out of 10 more years on a PT project vs 5% on a roading project.
          This is clearly unfair as often the whole point of PT projects is to shape land use to make the PT project more useful, whereas the point of roading is to not change land use to create more demand!

        25. Surely there is some reasonable decent widening that could happen on Whangaparaoa Rd so that bus priority could be done at least to some extent. Throw in a small P&R/PT interchange at around the Plaza area & u would get great uptake in PT use through the corridor. Must remember on the other side of the coin that the SH1 upgrades south of Albany should help with the queue issue people raise….until the next queue I guess.

        26. i think having a cut off in terms of counting future benefits is in recognition of the sheer unknowability of the future. As we look further into the future the risk that the predicted benefits will not eventuate increases. I think a single cut off is arbitrary, but an increasing discount rate to reflect the increased risk would make sense. e.g. you might ramp up the discount rate from 6% at year 30 to 12% at year 50 for example.

        27. Matthew W – that was my understanding as well, I’d never heard anything before about it being related to the people paying for it no longer being alive.

        28. “After 40 years the CRL might be generating 4 times more benefit than at opening.”

          By what mechanism and to whom would this benefit accrue?

        29. “but we don’t build infrastructure just for the present generations but the also future generations”

          Who is “we” and why do you do it?

        30. “The more we get on those Metro Ports the less congestion risks the Southern Motorway”

          Ben where do you think that freight goes after Metroport? It goes onto trucks then onto the southern motorway to be distributed so it doesn’t decrease the number of trucks at all.

        31. It actually does as I dont have 100 trucks (per Metro Port) on SH2, 29, and 1 coming north or south from the PoT and Metro Port

          You will always get trucks distributing from a depot that is a given but it cuts down on inter city freight traffic.

        32. Only if time allows, freight owner are really good at leaving it to the last minute meaning trucks are the only option. The time it takes to get into Metroport (Onehunga), unloaded and back out you would be most of the way direct to PoT. The only public road rail transfer point in Auckland has it access so congested that is only going to get worse (removing the east west traffic from Neilson st fixes the access problem just leaving it up to Metroport to sort the internal reasons for the delays) and the longer it takes to transfer to rail the more likely it will stay on road the full way, freight is only transported via road due to being delivered in a fraction the time it takes using rail. If the inland ports in Hamilton (one of which belongs to POA) have the same sort of delays there will be more trucks not less.

  2. The big stand out is that we can get lrt from the cbd to the airport for the same price as extending the onehunga line. Why is there not a spade in the ground yet??

  3. How on earth can AMETI cost close on $1b?
    How much of that is the ridiculous flyover pushed by the local Nactoid dunce politicians?

      1. Likely to be space, SH16 isn’t really set up for it especially for stations they have it budgeted at 750m, NW Buses will use GNR which hopefully will have improved Bus Lanes I guess. Also a matter of priority is 750m for it the most pressing use of scarce resources,

        Exiting at Newton allows NW Buses to use Albert

        1. Newton to CBD is just planned/proposed/under investigation Bus Lanes on GNR, K’Road, Pitt, Hobson & Albert so not in ATAP

        2. “Newton to CBD is just planned/proposed/under investigation Bus Lanes on GNR, K’Road, Pitt, Hobson & Albert so not in ATAP”

          Well it was considered committed in ATAP.

          The bus lanes are designed and funded out to Surrey Crescent already.

  4. Because as you know we have to reduce carbon emissions by 30%. Every roading project is going to cause us to increase our CO2 emissions and so will have a cost. Shouldn’t this cost be factored into the project; and perhaps capitalised?

      1. Until you find a way to increase NZ’s electricity generation by a multiple, they will.

        If I’m reading the tables correctly, MBIE data suggests that land transport current uses around 195PJ per year in fuels, compared to annual electricity consumption / generation of around 123PJ. It’ll be a long time before dreamy electric cars & trucks make a dint in that, and we will need a _lot_ more generation capacity.

        1. TimR… NZ has excess electricity generating capacity (it is a bit limited in transmission capacity at peak times e.g. 6pm in the middle of winter). If demand rises there are hundreds of MW of capacity all ready to go (mostly wind farms but also geothermal and some improvements/additional hydro). The big story of course is solar. Solar prices have plummeted massively over the past decade. Solar is now mostly on an even basis with many other forms of generation and is only getting cheaper. Likewise batteries have fallen massively in price and have improved in capacity. So to summarise, we have plenty of capacity and plenty more to come. Our actual consumption is falling as technology uses less power for most things. About the only thing that will be using more power is cars/LR/HR. Our vehicle emissions will be falling off rapidly. Our worst emissions problem is cow farts/burbs and nitrogen in soil. I just saw the other day they have found a way to reduce this.

        2. Great – I’m a fan of all that future. The MBIE data suggests our overall electric consumption is not dropping, despite more efficient devices. I’m not entirely convinced that fleet changeover will come so quickly (particularly trucks), and I’d be interested in just how much immediate slack capacity there is in our generation available to juice up transport… Any accessible data to share?

        3. TimR according to Transpower our consumption has been falling at around 0.2% pa for several years now (having been growing in the years before that). This is despite our population increasing by around 400,000 people in that time and electric cars coming on the scene (and the electrification of the Auckland rail network which added something like 1% to the national annual power demand). LED bulbs are becoming more and more popular. Houses are being insulated better, TVs are using less power despite being larger etc.

        4. Yup, efficiency good. But I hope you can see my point: 0.2% reduction despite a growing population still only amounts to around ~0.1% of the land transport energy demand.

          Project West Wind looks like it generates around 550GwH, or 1.98PJ ( That’s 1% of MBIE’s land transport use figure.

          I’m all for this stuff – we just have a very long way to go in developing significant capacity to enable a substantial proportion of fuel based vehicles to transition to electric power…

        5. Don’t forget too that if the Tiwai Point smelter closes, all of a sudden NZ has a huge oversupply of electricity.
          IIRC the smelter uses something like 1/7 of NZ’s total supply just on its own.

          Another Cook Strait cable and supply lines in the South Island would be needed to get the power to consumption sites in the north, yes, but the generation capacity is in place.

        6. Glen – I think the line losses from Manapouri to Auckland would be something like 60 %, moving that power to the top half of the North Island is not the solution to that problem. It’s more likely another industry will pop up in the lower South Island to make use of this power, or maybe even an older dam like Roxburgh or Waitaki might be decommissioned.

        7. I thought that during dry summers, we have to import diesel fuel to make up for the shortfall in hydropower. But more solar power would be an elegant solution for that problem.

        8. Roeland – I don’t think we have any diesel fired power stations and the only fuel we import for power generation is some coal from Indonesia for burning at Huntly.

          We haven’t had a hydro shortage in a while but when we have in the past we tend to just run the thermal options such as gas and coal at a higher level, it’s got us by, but at times it’s been a bit tight for an island nation that doesn’t have to option of importing power!

          Incedentally it is the winter when we have the shortages, although it’s often tied to a lack of summer snow and ice melt in the mountains.

        9. Yeah I don’t remember the particulars, but I’ve definitely heard about needing fossil fuels to top up our electricity generation, depending on weather.

          So yes, in the end those electric cars are partially going to run on fossil fuel.

        10. Roeland – as AKLDUDE mentioned there is significant unused capacity in NZs renewable power sources already, the problem is peak capacity and distribution. If cars were charged at night we would be able to make more efficient use of geothermal, and to a lesser extent hydro and wind – hydro is somewhat limited by the overall supply of water, while wind is limited by the inability to store it. Also electric cars will likely improve the case for solar as cars charging during the day could make better use of this resource, which at the moment delivers it’s power at a time we don’t really need it.

        11. “But more solar power would be an elegant solution for that problem.”

          If the issue is charging EV batteries wind makes more sense since it generates as much at night (when I suspect the bulk of EV charging will take place) as during the day. That being said, we have a glut of generation capacity during the early hours of the morning…just need to configure the system so that GHG emissions are minimised. The EV batteries essentially match ample night generation with daytime consumption.

          “Solar is now mostly on an even basis with many other forms of generation”
          Until you consider dispachability (which most consumers regard as essential), at which point it generally falls well short. It’s an apples to oranges comparison.

        12. Imagine if we used that solar in the day to power peak use and then used the hydro and wind at night to charge EVs, we would solve the capacity problem caused by EVs just with wind and solar.

        13. Sailor Boy – peak demand in NZ is in the evening, even more so in the winter, solar will never be of any value to peak demand without further significant advances in battery technology.

        14. “Sailor Boy – peak demand in NZ is in the evening, even more so in the winter, solar will never be of any value to peak demand without further significant advances in battery technology.”

          We have enough generation capacity for peak; the problem is that we most of our existing generation doesn’t have enough ‘fuel’ to run at full generation all the time and we tend to run out of the fuel in winter.

          If only we had some way to store the potential energy we currently use to generate electricity, that would allow us to use solar to ‘bank’ whatever it is that we currently use so that in winter peak periods we still have enough of it left. Nope, can’t think of anything, never mind.

        15. “MBIE data suggests that land transport current uses around 195PJ per year in fuels”
          …and those fuels are burnt in heat engines with efficiencies constrained by the thermodynamic processes they employ. Electric-powered transport typically uses a quarter to a third of the energy to produce the same transport output. Another 50 – 60 PJ per annum of renewable electrical generation should do it.

        16. Especially as – if I heard it correctly on the radio today (I couldn’t believe my ears) – Kiwirail are going to de-electrify the NIMT and run diesel trains on it between Hamilton and Palmerston North (under the catenary? – presumably it won’t be pulled out?). Is a carbon cost added to running diesel trains and a carbon credit deducted from running electric trains? If so, it’s obviously not enough. If not, it should be, and enough to make the madness (ending of our biosphere) stop.

        17. It is an attempt to get more freight on rail, changing to electric at Te Rapa and back to diesel at Palmy is a big factor in the slow speed of rail freight that has freight owners give up and send it by road in half the time.

        18. I don’t understand why they can’t buy diesel-electric freight engines, so it can use the electric supply in the parts that have it and diesel when it goes past that range. Then there is no slowdown of changing to a new engine at either end. Surely a better solution than just abandoning all the sunk cost of electrification?

        19. “Surely a better solution than just abandoning all the sunk cost of electrification”

          What is the problem that you are proposing a solution to?

          The DL class diesels used on the NIMT are at the maximum permitted axle load already. A locomotive with the capability to run under the 25 kV and under diesel power is going to weigh at least an additional 12 tonnes due to the addition of a transformer, switchgear, pantographs, control gear and an extended frame to accomodate them. You can probably add another $1.5M to the purchase price, possibly more, assuming you can actually buy such a machine. What you would end up with is very expensive locomotives that are too heavy for the track and are non-standard with respect to the rest of the fleet with the associated additional costs.

      2. More roads, more SOVs (mainly fossil fuel powered), more CO2. Mass transit generates CO2 as well, but a lot less per person-km.
        And building roads does directly produce carbon emissions, there is the concrete for starters…

    1. The effects of a carbon tax or ETS set sufficiently high so as to meet our commitments on the costs to road users and overall demand should be included in the assessed benefits of each sproject

      Incidentally the effects on the BCR of “smarter pricing” should also be considered for each projecct which may considerably effect the outcome. It will be interesting to see the effects of this assumption on project economic evaluations.

  5. I am not convinced that the fleet changeover will happen quickly either. Google search Prius sales in NZ for example; and I understand the Leaf was going to be the next big thing -not even sold new here anymore.
    If the AWHC goes ahead (and perish the thought because there is an abject lack of planning related to it so far) NZTA’s own figures show cars increasing by 65%. How is that going to be balanced against a requirement to reduce carbon significantly?

  6. There are too many projects. Its mind boggling. Everybody has a good idea.
    Which gives the best return? How to prioritize them? The strong Auckland car lobby has different plans to the cyclists etc.
    Can I suggest that if many more apartments are built around train stations at very low cost to the council then the pressure will be reduced to build highways in all directions.

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