It’s been interesting over the past week or so to see so many of our ideas being picked up by major political parties, on both sides. In many ways it feels like a long, hard slog is really starting to pay off. But in other ways this is not a radical shift, it’s an ongoing realisation that Auckland has reached a point where its future success is increasingly, and inextricably, linked to having a world-class public transport system.

In our Congestion Free Network 2 report, the very first line highlights that Auckland is a city in transition – moving away from being an overgrown town, but not yet a true world-class city. Public transport plays such a critical role in Auckland making this transition. There are a whole variety of reasons why this is the case (as articulated in many of the 5,700 posts on this site over the past nine years), but I’ll run through three main ones:

  • We’ve done all the good roading projects, but Auckland is still growing
  • Agglomeration and clustering is more important than ever to Auckland’s future prosperity
  • Congestion won’t necessarily harm our future success, but only if we make it increasingly irrelevant

We’ve done all the good road projects

Auckland’s stunning natural setting shapes the city in so many ways, stretching the urban area but also placing huge pressure on just a few key connections between major parts of the city, like the Auckland Harbour Bridge. This “many routes into one” works really well for public transport (as Jarrett Walker articulates well here) but means a transport system built around private vehicles really struggles as the city grows bigger and bigger – simply because there is so much pressure on these few corridors.

This means there are only ever going to be a limited number of major roading corridors that make sense in Auckland. Now that we’ve basically finished the Western Ring Route, there just aren’t many more roads that make good sense. Peter touched on this issue recently by discussing the escalating cost of new roading projects, where adding a lane kilometre is becoming enormously more expensive than it was in the past:

This issue is not just about adding major new corridors either. Widening of many existing roads is just infeasible in most situations. The land is so valuable, the impact on achieving a quality built form is so significant, the disruption and damage is so huge. But how does Auckland continue to function as a growing city, with growing travel demand, if it’s increasingly difficult to provide new roads? Clearly we need to shift many more people in the same amount of space – and world class public transport is utterly essential for this task.

New technology like driverless cars may help to some extent, in lower density areas most particularly. However, as a detailed study undertaken by the International Transport Forum indicated, quality public transport on core trunk routes was essential to making the most of this developing technology.

Agglomeration and clustering is crucial to Auckland’s future success

Harvard economist Ed Glaeser, urbanist legend Jane Jacobs and many others have pointed out the key reason why cities exist is to take advantage of the absence of distance. Essentially, the more people you have clustered close together the more people can specialise in the work they do, the more ideas rub off on others, the more chance you can find the perfect employee and so on.

As technology develops and globalisation means many manufacturing jobs move overseas, the economies of all developed world countries are becoming more and more dependent on high-skilled service sector jobs. These jobs need to be around each other and they need to be located in parts of the city where the highest quality talent can be attracted. Increasingly this means locating in or around the city centre:

This trend is expected to continue into the future, with over 250,000 jobs in and around the city centre within the next 30 years.

The transport implications of this clustering are profound. Huge numbers of people travelling to a small area, all at the same time is the hardest task for a road-based transport system to achieve. Simply, cars are just too big and take up too much space to do this task. When Auckland’s economic growth was largely created through industrial development in the suburbs, roads were pretty effective in serving all these dispersed locations, but those days are increasingly gone and the transport solutions must also increasingly move on.

This matters at a micro-scale too. Agglomeration requires quality urban places for interaction opportunities and to attract the best and brightest to live and work in Auckland to start with. Many of the most valuable trips in the modern economy will be short, walking trips between meetings. The trade-offs between movement and place need to change to recognise the true value of places for economic success and overall liveability. But making nice places only increases the need for high-quality public transport so as much street-space as possible can be reallocated away from vehicles and towards people.

Making congestion irrelevant

There was a telling diagram in the NZIER congestion report released last week, comparing levels of congestion in various cities around the world:

While I’m not sure NZIER intended to highlight this point by including the diagram, but what it really shows is that you can be a highly successful city despite congestion. The large cities in the bottom left of the image above are clearly highly successful places that are huge concentrations of global talent and innovation, despite their congestion. Yet, by in large these places also have really strong public transport systems – so whatever congestion there is on the roads, a lot of people are just simply not affected by it. This concept of “making congestion irrelevant” is at the heart of the whole Congestion Free Network concept that we have been pushing for the past four years.

Probably the one anomaly to the point above is Los Angeles, which itself is an interesting case study as – perhaps along with Auckland – Los Angeles is one of the cities trying hardest in the world to do away with its car dependent history. It’s also worth considering how Los Angeles’s car dependency is likely to have hurt its success over the past few decades, especially in comparison to its northern neighbour, San Francisco. This was picked up in a CityLab article last year:

L.A. and San Francisco are two of America’s leading urban economies. The Bay Area is the world’s leading center for startups and new technologies, and the home of companies like Intel, Apple, Genentech, Google, Twitter, and Uber, while L.A. is the center of film, entertainment, and pop culture. But when it comes to income, wages, and other key metrics for economic development, San Francisco has done far better than L.A. over the past several decades.

The article goes into a whole pile of reasons for why San Francisco has performed better – the main one being the industries it has specialised in have become the key drivers of economic growth. But I think it’s also noteworthy to consider how the extreme levels of travel time delay for LA, coupled with its very high car dependency, have relatively held it back.

World-class public transport provides the opportunity for fast and reliable travel at extremely high levels of demand – which just isn’t possible through private vehicles. We have seen this on the North Shore since the busway was opened – congestion levels on the Northern Motorway are increasingly irrelevant as a larger share of trips are taken on the busway. Essentially the success and attractiveness of the North Shore has been “de-coupled” from congestion. The same is obviously true for areas around the rail network.

Conclusion

Improving public transport in Auckland has long been popular with the public. It seems unlikely that we will ever see a Mayor of Auckland who’s not a massive advocate. Yet until recently I think it was still seen as quite a “risky” investment by some. Investing for a possible future, in the hope that usage would take off, in the hope that one project would lead to another and we would end up with a system that was no longer quite so embarrassing. But that stage has now passed and the naysayers have largely melted away. For example, is there anyone credible who still thinks Britomart was a bad idea, or electrification, or the busway? In the next few weeks Auckland will reach 20 million rail trips, years ahead of the Ministry of Transport’s projections while Busway use continues to skyrocket.

Public transport is therefore no longer a risky proposition, it’s no longer a bit of a gamble, a “nice to have”. It’s essential for Auckland’s future success, and increasingly recognised as such.

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96 comments

  1. I really don’t understand that Figure 6 graph. Sorry for being dumb, but it makes little sense to me. It seems to be saying that the best cities are Ottawa and Darwin? They appear to have Zero time delay and Zero morning peak reliability? Zero time delay makes sense i.e. no one lives there or it is so small that it takes you next to no time to get to where you are going, but Zero morning peak reliability implies to me that the reliability is awful?

    I’ve never heard of anyone in my life saying how they really wanted to go and live (or even visit) Ottawa or Darwin, which may explain why there is Zero time delay in getting to work there – possibly because the roads are empty as there are no tourists, or maybe in Darwin its too hot to go to work and in Ottawa it is perhaps too cold? But I also don’t understand how Hobart, Canberra and Indianapolis are all clustered there together too. Those cities are all sooooooo different – I’m just wondering if anything about this cursed graph makes sense at all. Or is it just me?

    1. What I think is important to note is the population of the cities, represented by the size of the circle.

      I think the “Improving Performance” arrow is misleading.

      1. The interesting thing about Ottawa is they managed to create a high quality public transport system before they became a single tier city government. Ottawa-Carleton built a busway system anyone would be proud of. Supercities are not a precondition.

    2. I think the peak reliability is how much the peak time varies day-to-day. So a score of 0% means a peak-time trip takes exactly the same every day, while a score of 10% means peak-hour travel times often varies by up to 10%. The report the figure comes from (http://bit.ly/2vnNtNP) is incredibly unclear (no footnotes seem to be provided to figures) but it is probably a 95% confidence interval, meaning to arrive on time 95% of the time, you need to plan an extra (10)% of time to arrive on time during peak hour.

      1. Ah, thanks. That makes sense. Would “Morning Peak Variability” better capture the meaning, then? I can understand 0% variability is a good thing, but not 0% reliability.

  2. It’s true that good PT will lessen the detrimental effects to congestion. However there are many trips that will continue to use the road. There is no reason why we shouldn’t be getting rid of congestion to improve the efficiency of these trips, which will include high value freight and commercial trips. Getting rid of congestion also means it is more politically feasible to reallocate road space to PT and active modes.

    1. Forget it. You can’t get rid of congestion, at least not without pricing. There’s decades of economic research on this topic; I’d recommend nolan 2001 and duranton & turner 2012. Basic conclusion: road supply and vehicle demands increade 1:1. Or are you referring to road pricing? I couldn’t quite tell.

      1. Your comment repeated. Talking about road pricing. Should have said that. Disappointed its being left out of the conversation this election.

        1. Ah i see! Apologies for misunderstanding and yes i agree on the need for road pricing.

          Repeat comment was weird. Don’t know why it happened.

        2. You can’t win an election talking about road pricing. People don’t vote to pay for something they think they are currently getting free. The better way is don’t mention road pricing, then after the election tell people the city/country/world is in far worse shape than you thought and road pricing will now be an essential measure. Then you get 3 years for the voters to get over it.

          1. Agree, I think there are a number of ducks that need to get in line before a politician is willing to take road pricing to the electorate.

    2. Forget it. You can’t get rid of congestion, at least not without pricing. There’s decades of economic research on this topic; I’d recommend nolan 2001 and duranton & turner 2012. Basic conclusion: road supply and vehicle demands increade 1:1.

      1. No don’t forget it, I’m talking about pricing obviously, and there is fairly broad consensus that pricing could basically eliminate chronic congestion.

    3. Isn’t that like saying we should get rid of low value peak broadband usage to allow businesses to get higher speed?
      I would say that the broadband market almost proves that most people prefer to have unlimited access at reduced peak speed than to be charged for quicker speed at peak time.

        1. Yes I suppose it is a bit different in that broadband can support both models at once (you can also do this with roads by having paid lanes on motorways).
          My problem with congestion charging is that I don’t think it will get rid of low value trips, it will just get rid of poorer people’s trips. Rich people will still drive across town on a whim (this is even more likely without congestion), while poorer people are having to take substandard public transport to get to work and have even less time to spend with their family. If we had decent PT then it may be different.
          I think the congestion itself is the best way to get rid of low value trips.

          1. Rich people will always have more opportunities to fritter money away. Congestion charging gives poor people to pay less than they would otherwise with a flat fuel tax if they choose the time of day they travel.

          2. You mean if they CAN choose the time of day they travel (i.e. they don’t work 9-5). I guess they could go into work really early and sit outside for three hours.

          3. I don’t think those that work 9 to 5 are such a big concern. A think a PT system that gives good frequent coverage during the peak hours is well within reach within the next 10 years and I can’t see congestion charging coming in before then.

            It might not be rapid PT but the journey by car at peak hour without charging wont be rapid either. I wouldn’t advocate for any system that requires people to arrive at work 3 hours before their day starts.

          4. Agree that congestion charging after having a decent PT system is OK (although it may not be required).
            Before having a good PT system (e.g. in the next government’s term) is not fair IMO. It is forcing people to make choices when they only have one option!

          5. For example I just randomly chose someone who works at Mangere Watercare and lives in Te Atatu Pensula. According to google it is a 23 minute drive or 2 hours on PT. I don’t see that this person has a choice about how they get to work, so a congestion charge is just a mandatory regressive flat tax.

          6. I think that is an example that could be quite different in a few years. It is on the newest section of the motorway network that is probably flowing as well as it ever will. Also an enhanced new network will no doubt reduce this trip significantly, especially with decent bus lanes.

          7. I guess that depends on how well the congestion charge is implemented. If the north western is congested but the southwestern isn’t, will they get charged a fixed fee for the short time they are on the northwestern or is it relative to how long they are on it? Or do they take the back roads for that part of the journey, which is just moving the congestion elsewhere?
            I think congestion charging only makes sense in economic text books or in places where there are genuinely good PT alternatives…

          8. That in a nutshell is why I don’t think it will be implemented for a few years. There are many permutations that will benefit some and be worse for others and this will have to be worked through before a consensus is reached.

            Whatever system is chosen, as minimum for it to be acceptable people will need to know what they are paying in advance.

          9. Congestion charging is not regressive. You can’t make that claim without knowing how revenus is applied, as has been stated several times on this blog.

          10. I’ve seen the argument that it will be ‘refunded’ through the welfare system? How? To just the people paying it or for everyone? What is the point of taking money and then giving it back?

          11. JJ is right. Congestion charging, and fuel taxes, are 100% regressive. They are a tax paid by those who have little public transport to those who have much. The rich take from the poor.

            It’s worse than that in fact, because denying people public transport also imposes vehicle-related costs, health costs and puts them and their families in physical danger from the increased traffic.

            Sadly there’s precious little evidence of everyone in Auckland getting access to frequent public transport within 10 years, not without board-level change at AT, so these taxes will never be fair.

  3. I think in addition to pricing, we can aim higher.

    If the CFN is being taken as almost consensual – then what is next… it mainly brings improvements to existing areas of transport.

    Busways all to become (higher quality) Light Rail. Rail spur back to Mount Roskill… where did that one go? It was our western short turnback, and mixed things up. Would be a Light Rail interchange now…and the quickest way on PT from the west down to the airport.

    What else…?

    1. I think instead of the Roskill spur it would be better to have light rail from Avondale to Dominion Road (and then onto airport or similar)

  4. Great piece Matt. With the increased public attention these issues are getting its good to have the case set out like this.

    I would go further than saying ‘you can be a highly successful city despite congestion’. Instead I’d say: the concentration of people required to be a highly successful city makes congestion inevitable unless roads are priced.

  5. While I agree with the conclusion I have serious objections to almost all the arguments that get the author to that conclusion. It would take a full article to explain why and also plenty of time to match quality of research that the author has obviously done.
    Auckland exists because NZ exists and most people if asked would identify with their country more strongly than their city (certainly the All Blacks are better supported than the Blues). If NZ died (another Taupo mega-eruption, artificial meat, etc) then Auckland will die. A city has problems living purely on high-skilled service sector jobs: the highly skilled accountants assist the highly skilled marketers who employ highly skilled lawyers to write contracts for the highly skilled advertising agents who are advertising the accountancy firms – it all is a vortex of highly skilled professionals going round and round in circles but nothing tangible is created and nothing exported.
    Take this sentence “Many of the most valuable trips in the modern economy will be short, walking trips between meetings”. Which successful businessman has ever thought meetings were anything other than a waste of his/her time. Admittedly salesmen/women do like a meeting.

    Around the world some cities are growing and some shrinking and the former seem to have something to sell. New York bigger, Chicago smaller. The growing cities have something to export. There is plenty of literature on the internet about shrinking cities.
    Writing about France which like NZ has a growing population German researcher Volker Schmidt-Seiwert says: “The country’s excellent transport system might help explain why families deliberately decide to stay in rural areas, instead of moving into cities.” Now think about Auckland – improve public transport and our population will move away from the centre and be willing to commute simply because they cannot afford to live and raise a family near the CBD. And where are all the new houses being built: Silverdale, beyond Hobsonville and way down south. We need more effective public transport and we need it yesterday.

    BTW a great suggestion on Neighbourly yesterday – free bus travel for school kids (no self-interest mine have all left school) based on the simple observation that in North Shore congestion seriously diminishes during school holidays. A small cost to AT that would permit delaying some of their billion dollar roading projects.

    1. From what i understand NZs top three industries go something like:
      1) tourism
      2) agriculture
      3) technology

      Almost all of 3) and a decent chunk of 1) happen in cities like Akl.

      Plus, tech sector is fastest growing over last 5 years or so iirc.

      1. There are many businesses in NZ taking on the world.
        We have many creative people here who have/are making things and exporting. Our many IT, Horticulture, entertainment, healthcare, tourism, satellite, etc. businesses are having good wins
        I support NZ businesses by buying shares.
        Unfortunately many NZ people regard the sharemaket as gambling rather than a way of supporting our talented people.
        I want to give a extract from the NZX about Gentrack a NZ company who I guess many NZ people have not heard of:
        “Gentrack has an extensive history of developing, implementing and supporting its specialist software for energy utilities, water companies and airports. Established in 1989, Gentrack now has over 150 utilities and airports using its software, including some of the most innovative utilities companies in Australasia and the UK, and Tier 1 airports around the world.”
        My shares in this company are up about 40 % this year.

      2. Stu – we must be reading different reports. From what I hear, there is precious little 2) in Auckland, and 1) is much higher in other centres like Rotorua, Queenstown, and even Wellington. 3) Tech is the interesting one – obviously film related tech is highest in Wellington, TV daytime soaps and reality shows are centred in Auckland but I wouldn’t call that technology…. Auckland is essentially keeping itself afloat partly because of the cost of providing housing for those who want to do business. There is a massive amount of construction work – and rework, to fix the shoddy buildings, – and only 50% to tech is taking place in AKL.

        1. And don’t forget about education sector. People frequently forget fact that Auckland contributes massively to both training and education exports, which is treated as a service sector i believe. Anyway, the myth that nothing is produced in akl is just a myth. A lot of value is added in akl. Not as much as I’d like of course, but you want make it better by talking it down unecessarily and playing into this rural-provincial mindset that akl is somehow a drain on our productive capacity.

    2. You’re getting awfully subversive, Bob. Heaven forbid we question the point of everything we’re doing. Might that not end up with a higher value placed on food growing, caring occupations, ecological repair and manufacture of essential goods? What the dickens would that do to GDP?

      Free travel for children would be a huge step forward in easing congestion and providing accessibility. I suggested it here :

      https://www.greaterauckland.org.nz/2017/05/17/children-youth-faring-hop-system/

      1. Yes free PT for children would certainly help and would get them into the habit of using it too. Removing the school run that many parents do would have a huge impact on congestion. There are probably ways to get around the NZTA subsidy issue – fund it as a anti-congestion measure that can be added to a child’s HOP card.

        1. Getting kids walking and cycling to school again would make a huge difference. We don’t really get congestion outside the school term.

        2. It’s not the cost of getting the kids to school, Harriet

          It is the perceived danger to the kids by letting them out of our sights to walk along roads where the bogeyman lives and to travel on overcrowded trains where a parent cannot guarantee that the child is not molested.

          From where I live in Manurewa it is a 15 minute walk to the Interchange, 3 minutes to Homai on the train and 10 minutes walk to MHS. Add into that a 1515 finish at school and a 1600 start at McDonalds Clendon and public transport is easily surpassed logistically by a car.

          Oh and BTW as a parent I will not allow my child to walk to school due to the dodgy area through which she has to walk.

          To paraphrase Cunliffe “I’m sorry for being a concerned parent”

      2. “Might that not end up with a higher value placed on food growing, caring occupations, ecological repair and manufacture of essential goods?”

        Care work and ecological repair are service industries that are driven by cities. Changing our focus away from dairy is good for the economy and the environment. It doesn’t have to be an either or, as some on the neolib right and the conservative left like to argue.

          1. +1, the single biggest thing we could do in that is to not design our farms for livestock, but try telling anyone that changing their diet reduces more CO2 or pollution than giving up a car.

          2. Yeah, except… the most efficient food growing is combining agriculture and horticulture on the same land. Outputs from each are the inputs for the other. This reduces energy and fertiliser requirements and pollution. You can do this with fewer animals involved. If you try to reduce the number of animals to zero for a zero cull, you will definitely have to look at using human waste as fertiliser, and there will be all sorts of functions the animals perform that people or energy will have to perform (eg my chickens do half my gardening for me).

            Also, if you look at the most efficient carbon sequestering techniques found yet, they involve animals on a short rotation grazing system mimicking the wild grazing herds. Those herds had predators, and you can’t mimic the system without them.

            Certainly our existing agriculture and dairy practices need to change, but it may be there is a place for eating small quantities of meat. I’m open to hearing about further research on the topic.

          3. +1, Silvopasture is an interesting concept, but we definitely won’t be eating dairy if we want it to be sustainable and the stocking levels are tiny so meat consumption would plummet.

      3. Heidi: Thanks for the link. The free bus travel for kids idea originated with Denise Walker of Northcote and she has just posted “”I can’t take credit for this idea as it is used overseas to tackle traffic problems, it’s a pity we didn’t do this here as it does work to get cars off the roads.””

        1. IMHO I think it would have a huge effect in Auckland. On children’s and family’s attitudes to how children can access their city, as well as on mode share.

          1. Good idea. And it would be the easiest thing in the world to pilot by setting HOP card fares to zero for a month.

          2. Since the “Transport” section in my rates bill ONLY gives information about what will be done for public transport, perhaps Council / AT are intending to only fund public transport (not roads), so free fares for children will be easily achievable. :/

            Either that or the information is misleading…

    3. From what i understand NZs top three industries go something like:
      1) tourism
      2) agriculture
      3) technology

      Almost all of 3) and a decent chunk of 1) happen in cities like Akl.

      Plus, tech sector is fastest growing over last 5 years or so.

      I don’t know why you needed to write so much while saying so little about the data?

      1. I do like tech – it is where I earned a generous salary doing a fun job during my working life. I decided to check online and found:
        “This research shows that the tech sector is a large contributor to the New Zealand economy – creating many jobs, GDP and exports. There are over 28,000 companies, employing almost 100,000 people or 5% of the workforce. These companies created $32b in output in 2015, which generated $16.2b GDP, or 8% of the economy.”
        At a guess half of that will be in Auckland since both Wellington and Christchurch have successful tech firms.
        So we have a city where 33% of the population live that produces just 4% of our GDP excluding services. Seems unbalanced. OK there is tourism too: the reason tourists come to NZ is not Auckland although Auckland obviously benefits from them.

        I reluctantly have to admit there is some reality in the concept of agglomeration. Wherever a metropolitan city is successful the average wages are far higher (say double) than the rest of the country. However Auckland wages are only marginally higher than the rest of NZ and as you may have noticed accommodation is far more expensive. We have to admit that much as the readers of this blog love Auckland the city is not an economic success story. There is a booming population with its resultant demand for infrastructure but little else.

  6. “free bus travel for school kids (no self-interest mine have all left school) based on the simple observation that in North Shore congestion seriously diminishes during school holidays”

    The drop in congestion during the school holidays is not just from the removal of school trips but because many adults take annual leave then so aren’t doing their usual trip to work.

    Also the school holidays are short enough that people don’t change their trip time and mode in large numbers to take advantage of the spare road capacity.

    If you removed a bunch of school trips off the road permanently some people would just change their trip time or mode to take advantage and eventually you’d be back where you started.

    I can’t see any change to school trips that would result in permanently creating the traffic conditions we currently get during school holidays.

    1. I live very close to a school. The kids are being dropped off by Mum or Dad on the way to work This creates traffic and chaos around the school, making it damgerous for the kids. This ain’t a ‘taking time off work’ thing, it’s school traffic, plain and simple.

      Solutions required are many and varied, but resistance to some measures will definitely be lower if there was free PT for the kids.

      1. Yes but the issue of local traffic around the school is different from the congestion relief in the wider network during school holidays which is what the topic was

        1. It’s all interrelated though, Frank.

          “If you removed a bunch of school trips off the road permanently some people would just change their trip time or mode to take advantage and eventually you’d be back where you started.”

          The difference is that if you removed the school trips off the road with free PT for kids, that would be a whole lots of kids using and growing up comfortable with PT. That’s a good thing, leading to better child and youth accessibility to our city, and to better PT outcomes in both short and long term.

          Also, the local area around the school would have that “bunch of school trips” removed, meaning the area would be safer for walking and cycling. This would lead to a whole lot of other kids growing up walking and cycling. Indeed a positive loop would start with fewer cars leading to better safety leading to fewer cars, etc. That’s a good thing, leading to better health and active mode share outcomes, again in both the short and long term.

          All these factors impact on the wider transport issues. But IMHO, these social, accessibility, health and behaviour change issues are at least as important as issues of congestion in the wider network, which is not an issue in itself, only a factor that hinders these sorts of ultimate goals.

      2. An aside: the infamous Basin Reserve congestion is caused almost 100% by parents dropping kids off to school. With the Basin Bridge enquiry, what was quite clearly established by all the analysts was that the problem was not of too many cars, but more because there are 3 (or 4? or more?) schools with an entrance right on the edge of the Basin Reserve roundabout, as well as entry to Government House, and that is what the NZTA flyover scheme tried to do – separate the flow of traffic (it is also what the Arch Centre Option X scheme did as well).

        Everyone in Wellington knows when the school holidays are on, because the traffic round the Basin flows far better. What we tried to do at the Arch Centre was to make an enforced walk for children – so cars and buses could NOT drop off kids right at the school gate, but they actually had to stretch their legs and walk 100m through a leafy green park. This was deemed to be a safety hazard by the OSH dicks.

        1. I had thought the idea of making a rule that parents must drop off further away from school (which is already in some school travel plans) would be a good next step, since urging then to do so isn’t working.

          In the Basin situation, was OSH just an excuse for parents not wanting to be told what to do?

          1. No, there is a thing called CPTED – Crime Prevention Through Design – which is often useful, but sometimes ridiculous. It argues that lights need to be on all night, that parks are worse than streets as people aren’t driving past and ‘keeping you safe by their presence’ and basically presumes that all men are rapists and all women are about to get raped, that small school children will get abducted unless their parents can physically hand them over to the teacher etc. Its part of a – frankly, bullshit – mindset that NZ has allowed itself to be talked into. The CPTED guy argued that having children walk 100m through a park (i.e. grass, a well-lit path, some trees) would be dangerous, but somehow, the existing situation where school children cross over 4 lanes of extremely busy State Highway traffic is allowed to continue. The incidence of children getting attacked by strangers is minuscule. Far more likely to get beaten up by their own parents – or foster parents – or get killed by their step dad rather than harmed in stranger-danger.

          2. the ‘E’ in CPTED stands for ‘environmental’ and there’s a heck of a lot more to it than walking to school or through parks. How we design the relationship and spaces between the buildings, passive surveillance, avoiding creating hiding spaces, visual connectivity, and a bunch of other stuff.

          3. I’m all for this sort of good design. The problem seems to be when the dangers of a less-than-ideal built environment are unfairly compared against the dangers and other negative side effects of traffic. I would say as a society we’ve got a blind spot to the dangers from cars.

    2. Partially true however from my own observations more than half the vehicles on roads near where I work are parents dropping their kids off at school. Now it is certainly likely that some of them will then carry on to work, however the majority certainly don’t seem to be dressed as if they are about to go to work (again some work places are very casual of course). In the distance between the motorway and my work during school it is typical for it to take about 15 minutes to drive that (relatively short distance) but can more often than not take up to 30 minutes. During school holidays that same short distance takes 5 minutes at most. It is a suburb so this might be a bit of an extreme example but I drive past house after house of people with their kids leaving their driveways (mostly in big SUVs no less of course or the occasional Toyota Mark X) to take the kids 500 metres up the road to the school – which is just insane.

      Certainly when we reduce congestion it does tend to induce more driving, however if there are more bus services running to account for the extra children on them then that can only make PT more appealing due to the more frequent services. Buses are often caught in the same congestion so if they can have a faster trip then that would also help.

      I previously made remarks based on my reckons about ethnicity I understand no one wants to hear my reckons about certain ethnicities and now I am thinking don’t I sound silly

      1. Please leave the race thing alone, AKLDUDE. It doesn’t help and it isn’t true. Pt Chev’s school traffic is representative of the school population here – mainly pakeha.

      2. +1 to Francis and Heidi. This is a great comment ruined by blaming Asian people for acting like other kiwis and dropping their kids at school.

          1. You’re doubling down on your racism with a link to the wikipedia page page for your favourite racist slur? Jesus

          2. It’s not a racist slur – it is a translation from Mandarin as to what Chinese themselves call it so stop being a SJW on your high horse. Wikipedia while it is not considered a suitable source for research purposes is for the most part entirely suitable as a useful reliable source of information (which is why it is the biggest encyclopedia in the world). They don’t tolerate racist articles so how do you explain it being up there? Oh that’s right because anything that doesn’t suit your sensitives is racist.

            In my observation which I clearly state is related to a particular area it is a fact (to anyone bothering to go and observe) that the majority of traffic and kids being dropped off at school are Asian while there are large numbers of non-Asians walking to school. It is not racist to say that it is a very valid and correct observation. Is is relevant that they are Asian? Perhaps not to the overall topic of school traffic however in this particular case it definitely is a case of Little Emperor Syndrome with the consequential effect of very bad traffic congestion to save a 500m walk.

        1. I don’t think it is a problem that could (or should) be placed at the hands of Asians – but certainly it can be placed at the hands of parents who are over-cautious for their kids. I walked over a kilometre to primary school every morning and evening and then cycled over 5km to secondary school. Mum gave me a raincoat if it was raining as she didn’t have a car back then. There was no bus. Harden up you pampered kiwi kids of today!

          1. In my day, we would thaw our feet out mid-way to school by sticking them in the cowpats, and all we got for Christmas was a lump of coal. If we were lucky.

            More seriously, there is heaps more traffic now. There are longer waits to cross roads. There are a lack of pedestrian crossings, replaced with the dangerous and ambiguous courtesy crossings and pedestrian refuges. There are more cars parked on the roads making it more dangerous to cycle and to cross a road if you are a child.

            Parents are dropping their kids off for a whole lot of reasons, but the big one is the car dependency resulting from years of road building.

          2. The problem is also exacerbated by people sending their children to schools on the other side of town. If you have to send them there, put them on a bus!

          3. +1 Heidi on the lack of pedestrian crossings. Not only cycling but even walking to school has become more dangerous with the increase in traffic volume and speed. Maybe AT could consider a reduced focus on providing fast-flowing traffic?

  7. Really interesting chat here with the Mayor of LA. Delving deep into the transport strategies, homelessness, traffic, technology and once in a generation sporting events (in LA’s case the 2028 Olympics) and how they are all linked. Worth a listen, really can see a lot of parallels to Auckland especially with the timeline pressure and $ that the Americas Cup will bring. Transformational change is led from the top, I hope Mayor Phil gets a chance to work with central gov to deliver world-class public transport to Akl.

    https://www.theringer.com/2017/8/2/16095366/eric-garcetti-los-angeles-olympics-transportation-homelessness-80fc1ebb9f17

  8. World Class Public Transport. What exactly does that mean? Comparable to what PT is in other world cities? Somehotw I just can’t see tranches of double decker busses choking streets in CBD let alone street running LRT commanding rights of city streets fulfilling that vision of ‘World Class’
    My desire would be the tomorrow world view of PT, no matter how much scorn others here have used to ridicule that vision. At least some way moving in that direction. PT that uses clean non polluting energy, no noise pollution, comfortable for passengers, fast, no very fast, clean efficient terminals that move passengers quickly using escalators lifts travelstors, multiple terminal station exits. Security, no beggars, lowlifes, policing, IT connections, video displays for info, news, weather updates.
    Dedicated pathways, secure from trespassers, not sharing city streets and roads or conflicting in any way with other modes.
    Looks like, IMHO, that comes down to something like heavy rail (or some rail derrivitive)
    electric traction, tunneled in city or overhead.

    1. All of which would require an open cheque book. So compromises are made.

      For example, instead of tunneling for HR, LRT at surface level, in the main with ROW.

    2. I think world class would mean having a very good PT system by world standards for the size and density of the city. I don’t think it means Auckland will ever be able to compete with much bigger cities in terms of PT, we aren’t going to compete with Tokyo any time soon.

  9. It’s not hard to define world class. It just means more widespread services that more and more people choose to use more often because it’s the best option for a particular trip….

    More often, more people, at more places. Boats, trains, buses, bikes, shoes…

  10. On a side note the 15 DD buses that weren’t built in NZ are already falling apart and are currently having their chassis re-welded together in Penrose. The 38 NZ built ones are fine though.

  11. I think I see another way congestion is affecting us. The regular lateness with which events start because people are still arriving. My latest example is the Jerry Seinfeld show starting fifteen minutes late while we waited for everyone.
    Maybe this on-going occurrence is part cultural, part traffic related.

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