Yesterday in their closed session of their board meeting, the Auckland Transport board approved the Cycling Programme Business Case (PBC). The PBC is a fantastic, evidence based assessment of where cycling investment should be directed between 2018 and 2028 to build on upon the great projects currently being built or are part of other projects such as AMETI. If fully funded, it will see over $635 million spent and that is expected to result in 150km of new cycleways being built, helping to increase cycling modeshare in Auckland from 1.2% to over 4%. To put that level of spending into perspective, over the three years from 2015-18, the combined investment from Auckland Transport, the NZTA and the government’s Urban Cycleway Fund is expected to be about $200 million.
My initial thought on the PBC is that it’s more than just a business case but actually a cycling strategy for Auckland because it clearly defines what the priorities and desired outcomes are. What it doesn’t do, at least in the summary document, is list what the specific projects are that will be built.
Auckland has a huge opportunity to get more people on bikes. Despite the common refrains of being too wet and hilly, Auckland isn’t too different from many other cities and this is especially boosted with the growing uptake of e-bikes. Like with transit, Vancouver is used as an example of how usage can change with mode share increasing from 1% to 5% following investment in bike infrastructure like what is proposed.
The challenge in getting more people on bikes are well known and the PBC articulates some of these well.
The PBC will see cycling investment focused on a number of key areas around the region, these areas is shown on the map below. I quite like how a wide range of areas are represented, particularly some lower income areas where there are often poor transport options.
These areas weren’t just picked at random and the image below shows how those particular areas were selected based on detailed analysis of numerous metrics. They’ve clearly had to make some tough calls about some areas. The reality is, as much as we’d like, there simply isn’t enough funding to advance quality projects everywhere. That doesn’t mean there will be nothing in areas not highlighted though as local boards could still spend their limited budgets on cycle projects, like some have already been doing.
The focus of investment is on four key trip types where people would be using bikes for everyday activities rather than long distance commuters or sports cyclists.
Particularly on the first two, these two graphics show how many people could potentially use a bike for part or all of their journey under each of the scenarios of short trips (to the city centre) or connecting to key PT stations.
Four different types of infrastructure are proposed to be used in Auckland going forward and painted lanes on roads is not one of those.
Of the $635 million total budget, $35 million is expected to be used for:
Lastly, here’s the impact the investment will have:;
Overall this looks like a great strategy for the city and one that’s been presented quite well visually. It will be interesting to see if improved visual rubs off on other areasThe key will be ensuring it’s funded correctly. That means that ideally we’d see further tranches of the Urban Cycleway Fund (*hint all political parties*) and AT/Council will need to continue to invest in cycling at similar rates to now, not cut funding like is currently planned from mid-2018 onwards. Critical to that will be ensuring that the council’s next Long Term Plan, along with other important planning documents, include for this investment.
Updated post with link to the doc now that it’s online