As you can see, Transportblog has now changed to Greater Auckland. This is a big, scary but exciting change for us and we hope you like the look and function of the new website.

A couple of things to point out.

  • There are four featured post boxes at the top of the page, The largest one will be the most recent post and the green box the second most recent post.
  • The yellow and blue boxes we will use to highlight other posts. These may be recent or historic. We may also use them to highlight campaigns or events.
  • Below the featured posts there will still be a list of posts in reverse chronological order, as  there always has been. These all have an initial excerpt but you will now need to click through to read the entire post, which is now a fairly common practice around the web.
  • We’ve simplified our post categories into eight groups that we think better relate to the main issues we discuss.

I’d like to say a huge thank you to Sandfield for the website and to Cornelius from Frontier for the design. You both have been amazing.

Over the last few weeks we’ve been running a fundraising drive to help with this change and other initiatives we’ve been planning. Today we can now share another idea we have planned associated with this.

But first, let’s check in on the fundraiser progress. To date, 134 people have pledged $7,740 towards the target of $20,000. Remember, in crowdfunding we must meet the target of $20,000 to make any money. There are only 10 days left. If you are a reader who enjoys the content, advocacy, and forum here, please take the time to contribute today.

Over the years we’ve seen a number of random polls and surveys covering different aspects related to transport from media outlets, the council and other advocacy groups like the AA. From the results we’ve seen, there appears to be overwhelming support for investment in public transport to improve transport in Auckland, but as each poll is slightly different and they only happen sporadically it can be hard to draw a lot from them.

As such, we want to use part of the money we raise to pay for regular professional, independent surveys of the Auckland population. We would like to understand what Aucklanders actually want in transport, rather than what groups with vested interests want.

We haven’t worked out exactly what questions we want to ask yet but here are some are some of the ideas we’re thinking about:

  • What proportion of funding do you think should go into roads, PT, walking and cycling?
  • What do you think currently happens? (vs reality)
  • Rank the most important transport projects for Auckland from 1-5:
    • Northwest Busway
    • Isthmus & Airport rail
    • Additional Waitemata Harbour Crossing
    • Rail to the North Shore
    • East West Link
    • Warkworth to Wellsford motorway
    • Penlink
    • Regionwide safe cycleways
    • Rail Electrification to Pukekohe.

What do you think? Can you suggest other survey questions that we should regularly ask and how regularly do you think we should ask them?

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35 comments

  1. I think you are heading in the wrong direction with the whiff of political aspirations. If you make your budget for the changes, how are you going to fund all of these new strategies once the money runs out, 20k is nothing.

    Are you going to disclose where the donations come from? Any coming from particular groups? Dangerous territory for a blog with large readership?

    Stick to the analysis and keep that seperate from your “campaigns”

  2. Wow I love the new look. A huge step forward! Amazing work by whoever did the design and all the detailed coding behind the scenes.

    Regular polling sounds like a great idea. Aucklanders again and again say they want better public transport, only to be ignored by the government. It would be good to highlight that gap, especially in election year.

  3. What do you mean political aspirations? We are not changing our approach at all, just trying to do more. However transport and urban form issues are always in some sense political, in that they involve large sums of public money, and occur within policy and regulatory parameters. To discuss any of these issues always involves reference to its politics. And it is deeply naive to claim that any proper analysis can do otherwise.

    But we will continue to avoid party politics, that’s always been our approach. We do not believe that there are the right or wrong people, just better or worse policies, actions, and budgets. And we will continue to inform and analyse these. Finding out what people want is a key part of the discussion too.

    And you are right, 20k is nothing, so how could it be inferred from that sum that we might be being bought? The huge personal commitment that goes into our work here comes from a huge desire to improve our city, its quality and performance, for all citizens, it is no road to even the slightest renumeration, I can assure you…

    1. Quite right, what you guys do is amazing, the effort is huge – for no pay – but it is paying-off in that you are making a real difference, so please keep it up (I hope and trust the rewards will come, one way or another, or in many ways).

  4. I wonder if it would be useful to also try and ascertain what the general public know about public transport?

    The answer to a question like “what percentage of spending should go on roads, PT, cycling, walking…” is far more useful if you know that the respondent thinks the only solutions is roads (“don’t touch my car”) or the opposite.

    1. Indeed, figuring what the public actually knows about transport would a great idea. For example when I say things like half the people crossing the harbour bridge each morning are in a bus, most people say “no way” and some say “piss off you must be lying”.

    1. Where is the CFN? I’ve been looking for it on the new site for 2 days and can’t find it (am I blind?) – Patrick advised us a few days ago that a new one was coming out, so I thought they’re waiting for a “big reveal” to roll it out.

      Sailor, do you have the new one? If so, please advise us blindees where it is.

  5. Looks great. Just a very minor design point – The three smaller featured post boxes at the top of the page feel like they should be buttons, i.e. I should be able to click anywhere on the box to read the item. Instead you have to click on the actual text.

  6. Yes, looks great. Especially on mobile phones.

    Another design point: the post title is often hard to read against high contrast background images. At small sizes long titles get clipped. The previous post about the Pt Chevalier to Westmere upgrades shows both problems.

    And on mobile phones the text in blockquotes is quite a bit larger than the surrounding text.

  7. Nice facelift! Personally I’d like the text to be smaller and whitespace reduced. For me that would mean easier reading with less scrolling.

  8. Hi, love the new design. One point though, when on my phone and reading comments I cannot tell which ones are new comments vs replies. It would be great if there was some colour coding or indentation.

  9. Looks nice but the design is wrong for a content site. Information density is super low and it looks less professional. I personally think the old site is better as a user, even if it looked a bit dated. (I’m an executive at a digital interface agency in London -kiwi/Auckland expat – hence why I read this at all, so I feel somewhat qualified to comment…)

  10. Any ideas yet on when this new web layout trial is completed and we can get back to the original transportblog web design? Its just my fingers are sore with all the new scrolling needed and the sparse layout of comments leaving lots of screen real estate white space. Often my laptop 17inch screen only shows 2 or 3 comments. The banner type headings seem unnecessary too and superflous text like ‘says’ after each posters name.
    We seem to have lost the compactness and density of information on any screen at one time. Features such as the site search right on first screen are gone, where are the campaigns? and the BIG box with 3 less big boxes and biggy text on background image may look swizzy but gets boring after a while.
    Maybe your web designers did not realise that the main strength of the transportblog was its content and the ease of referencing it. I can’t help thinking that with transportblog why fix it when it wasn’t broken?
    Greater Auckland name change sure seems to reflect the move away from mainly transport issues

  11. How far back can we access posts? I would like to be able to go further back than the last 1000 posts but I like the category grouping for the type of post, that you are now using.

    The search engine doesn’t seem to work for me. Is it a work in progress?

  12. Disagree with using funding to conduct polls, that’s a job for Auckland Transport. Prefer to see funding go towards helping continuing high quality analysis. Paying for surveys seems like a misuse of funds that many have volunteered before this idea arose.

    1. Auckland Transport don’t and shouldn’t conduct polls to judge the public’s appetite for changes in transport priorities. They weren’t even allowed to publicly advocate for the CRL to be built sooner even though it was their number one project. The intention of the surveying is to add the analysis and advocacy we do by being able to show the public support for ideas over time.

        1. We’re not talking about their specific work but higher level, such as how government/council should should allocate funding. We want to be able to do this on a regular basis over a long period of time so we can see how public sentiment shifts over that time. As an example, lets say that right now 60% of people want a greater share of money spent on public transport but in two years that rises to 75%. Knowing that public sentiment was shifting would be important to help strengthen arguments for changing levels of investment. Those are of course made up numbers because no one really knows just what those levels are, which is why we want to find out.

  13. I was trying to work out how to increase my original pledge to go up a grade but decided (the pledge me site ain’t the best and) I should not be cheap and just make a new one in addition to the original. Come on readers and residents, let’s get them to $20k!

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