So yesterday the Auckland Transport Board did its job and thoroughly rejected the disgraceful draft budget that staff had put in front of them. Their decision is perhaps best captured by Simon Wilson’s tweet:

This is a very good outcome, but I still have a couple of questions:

  1. Our friends at Bike Auckland report that at the meeting, it was claimed that the narrative should have been released but not the list of priority projects. If the budget details hadn’t been made public (like Auckland Transport claim) would the AT Board have still made such an about-turn? I suspect not and I suspect that we would have ended up with a draft RLTP out for consultation at the end of the month that slashed cycling by 90%, rejected light-rail and cut rail operating funding. Hopefully the AT Board and senior managers are so embarrassed by what has happened over the past week that they don’t dare to pull something like this off again.
  2. What happens now?

We can only pontificate about the first question, so let’s focus on the second one. This is where timeframes become interesting so let’s take a look at what we know:

  • The Council is going to consult on the Long-term Plan and the Auckland Plan during March. The Long-term Plan (which the Council calls its 10 Year Budget) is enormously connected to the RLTP, as transport makes up the largest part of the Council’s spend. Furthermore, before Christmas the Council highlighted its planned level of investment into transport and will consult on a regional fuel tax to help pay for it. This consultation process might be quite a challenge if it’s unclear what projects that money is actually going to be spent on!
  • The Government Policy Statement should be released in the next few weeks, outlining in detail the new Government’s transport priorities and how they wish to change around funding arrangements to help pay for those priorities. Legally there needs to be a strong level of alignment between the GPS and the RLTP, which makes it difficult to create a detailed RLTP in the absence of this guidance.
  • It’s likely that in the next month or so the new Government will provide some clarity on whether they intend to continue the Urban Cycleway Fund. This seems extremely likely, which will increase the amount of money available for cycling from the Government.
  • The new government have already talked about an update to ATAP. This is likely to already be underway, which presumably will feed into final transport budget decisions.

With all of this swirling around and clear direction from the AT Board, that what was put in front of them today was completely unacceptable, I assume that we will see another RLTP document and prioritised project list in the next few weeks, ready in time for consultation in March.

One part of that updated list that we will keep a close eye on is the cycling budget. We know from the Cycling Business Case that the AT Board approved last year that Auckland needs at least $600 million of investment by Auckland Transport into cycling infrastructure over the next decade (for context this is about 5% of the overall likely transport spend in Auckland).

In the draft RLTP it was a bit tricky to find all the parts of this plan, but it seems like it was split out into the following:

  • Completing the 2015-18 programme: $53 million of already committed funding and seemingly the only proposed investment over the next decade. Yes, Auckland Transport proposed to spend basically nothing at all on cycling after next year.
  • City Centre Access -$180 million (ranked 41st)
  • Connections to Rapid Transit – $212 million (ranked 57th)
  • Connections to Metro Centre – $103 million (ranked 72nd)

Reading this I was surprised to see nothing about improving cycling access to schools, which is talked about quite a lot in the business case. It is also odd to see that the three components of the 2018-28 Cycling Business Case only add up to $495 million. Are there some other parts of the cycling business case that didn’t even make it onto the prioritised list?

Given the importance of keeping up the momentum that recent investment has created in getting more Aucklanders on their bikes, and the high priority of cycling for both the Government and the Council, we will keep a close eye on making sure the whole cycling programme makes it into the draft Regional Land Transport Plan when it comes back to the AT Board.

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  1. From Simon’s article:

    .. it included a fabricated “introduction” from Levy. He didn’t write it, which isn’t uncommon, but nor did he see it before publication. That’s astonishing: who releases a statement by the boss without getting it cleared by the boss?

    Meanwhile, Lester Levy still wants to know how all this happened.

    I asked if he felt let down by some of the senior management. “I don’t know but I will certainly let you know when I find out.”

    He also said, “We have given our new CEO a mandate to deliver culture change in the organisation.”

  2. Given the timing of the key strategic documents that feed into the RLTP, is there a case for shifting its ‘cycle’ to be later from now on?

  3. 1. I think you meant “speculate” not “pontificate” and
    2. heads must roll. If they don’t roll now then when? This could be a good opportunity for the CEO to do some spring cleaning. I would start by firing every AT employee that owns an SUV.

    We could even have a game and roll the severed heads down a pedestrianized Queen St.

      1. Sure, why not? Anyone that has a SUV that doesn’t go hunting and shooting on an off road track each weekend just doesn’t need an SUV.

        Really not needed for the school run.

        1. People buy SUVs becuase it’s “safer”. In other words, the aim is to have only the people in the other car killed.

          Some people add on bull bars, for reasons unknown to me. Maybe it’s to make sure that if they hit a pedestrian, he won’t live to tell.

          Quite often the bonnet of these things is higher than the roof of an average car. The same with the rear. A SUV really should be classified as a light truck.

        2. “often the bonnet of these things is higher than the roof of an average car”

          In another few years the ‘average’ car on the road will be an SUV, as they are already the majority of new registrations.

        3. Can’t imagine why people have trouble with taking the PT lobby seriously if this is a serious post in the year 2018.

        4. And anyone who doesn’t go on a large family camping trip every weekend doesn’t need a large car. Purchasing a large car should require a special permit and the motorway should be full of just Holden Spark sized SOVs.

          Dont get me started on utes

      2. The same way that I don’t trust a drunk surgeon I don’t trust a transport professional that uses the most stupid way of transport in a city.

  4. It’s all very well for the minister or AT chair to apologise, but that doesn’t answer the question of how this happened and how to prevent a repetition.
    When middle managers go rogue without the boss’s approval, there should be disciplinary consequences. The idea of fabricating a chair’s introduction without showing a draft to the chair boggles the mind.
    If the defence is ‘the model made me do it’ then obviously the model needs to be updated to reflect the organisation’s goals.

  5. I think that AT’s “calculator” is a great way of setting transport priorities, as it ensures that all projects are judged against the self-same set of criteria and guards against AT including projects (maliciously or otherwise) in the “above the line” budget that are of dubious merit. What is needed, however, is a review of those assessment criteria – and while the criteria should obviously reflect AT’s assessment of transport need, financial viability, etc, they should also be weighted in favour of the policy settings laid down by local and central government.

    There is still room for Council intervention if it feels that AT has misunderstood (inadvertently or willfully) Council expectations. In such a case Council would (as it does now) instruct AT to favour whichever “below the line” projects have not made it onto the budget. The beauty of this is that such an intervention is completely transparent: if one project is promoted from “below the line” (ie unfunded) to “above the line” (ie funded) then it is immediately obvious to the decision makers what the consequence of their decision will be – specifically, if Project J is advanced, then it will be Project T that drops “below the line” to pay for it.

    The system isn’t perfect and I’m sure could be tweaked to be even more robust. It’s a great advance, however, on the system that used to prevail: fragmented decision making around the region, subject to pork-barrel politics left, right and centre. At least in the present situation there is (should be?) a basis of impartiality in the assessment of projects and matching them against each other to determine priorities. What the process doesn’t guard against is AT failing to give sufficient weighting to Council and central government priorities, and for this they should be caned seriously.

    1. Yes, completely agree on the need to distinguish economic cost-benefit analysis from any added weightings given to reflect unquantifiable community values (such as ‘equity’) and political priorities (such as ‘nation-building’). And the added weightings should be transparent.

      But (correct me if I’m wrong) a major theme of this blog for a long time is that legacy transport modelling is inadequate and outdated even on the economic matters narrowly considered – for example concerning appropriate discount rate, value of travel time, estimating elasticity of demand, discounting benefits of road projects appropriately for the external costs of induced traffic, costing environmental and health effects, And that outdated assumptions on these matters systematically bias results in favour of the historic status quo in which the lion’s share of transport investment goes to promoting and facilitating travel by car.

      Those are the things I’m thinking of when I say that if the defence is ‘the model made me do it’, the model needs to be changed.

      1. Yes good comments. I think the key point is that for some reason Auckland Transport simply hasn’t realised the government had changed, or perhaps they were living in denial of this?

        I guess the interesting question is whether this is the kind of budget that even reflects the old ATAP? This blog was pretty positive on ATAP if I remember right.

    2. “I think that AT’s “calculator” is a great way of setting transport priorities”
      I disagree. As Michael Cullen has already said, most of us know what projects the government and council want to see prioritised (which is in effect what voters want to see prioritised). So do you fudge the calculator to make sure those come out on top (most likely scenario) – in which case what is the point in it? Or do you tell them they are wrong and potentially come out with a list of road projects instead?

      1. What you do is ensure that the weightings given to PT initiatives reflect their real importance. Then we should get the “right” answers. The alternative is that decisions are taken as they used to be: remember how lowly-prioritized PT initiatives were under previous administrations? How the roading lobby held sway because they were the loudest voice? This way any attempt to fudge things has to be right out in the open.

        Another really important issue will be to ensure NZTA’s funding also reflects government’s priorities – or that there is transferability between NZTA’s funding silos.

      2. There is no such thing as a perfect decision making tool. At the end of the day even the best possible “calculator” is still only a tool to be used to help you make a good decision. Always one should examine the output and ask “does this make sense?”. If it doesn’t then you may need to reconsider some of the inputs, criteria, assumptions etc.

      3. It seems like in theory the calculator could be a good tool, but only with the right weightings and emphasis. Ideally there should be a good amount of public debate on how the criteria are emphasised and then the projects would fall out of that.

        Maybe the real problem is how this important tool remains such a “black box” with little public scrutiny or oversight.

  6. This Cynthia Gillespie, head of Strategic Development can’t be that smart, if she is responsible for this fiasco. I would have thought that the winds of change have been evident for some time.

    How long has she been with Auckland Transport?

    I really enjoyed Simon Wilson’s article in the Herald this morning, one page overleaf from Bernard Orsman’s somewhat whinging article about angry shopkeepers in Mt Albert. Unfortunately, it is regrettable that there will be some winners and some losers as we work toward a city that rightly provides for all modes of transport – not just motorcars.

    1. I don’t think she is responsible for it, but she probably has to front up for for other managers who actually created the document and put the list together. Not really her fault, but you can ask her at this Auckland Conversations event:

      They include a bio:
      Cynthia Gillespie
      Chief Strategy Officer, Auckland Transport
      Cynthia commenced with Auckland Transport in July 2017 as Chief Strategy Officer.

      She has in excess of 25 years’ experience in commercial and government sectors at the Australian Federal and State levels. This included senior executive roles in State Government where she was responsible for guiding return on investment for the Commonwealth Games in Queensland, leading the NSW rail integration project for the greenfield rail development and developing significant customer service outcome agendas for public transport.

      She spent three years with KPMG working closely with government agencies on shaping strategic frameworks that delivered government objectives, synthesizing emerging trends and identifying long-term opportunities.

      Cynthia cut her transport teeth as a logistics officer in the Australia Army. She subsequently developed a passion for understanding how integrating transport components into a systems approach delivered improved transport outcomes for all the community. Cynthia is keen to champion innovation and foster effective working relationships to effect real change for communities.


      I always laugh at those descriptions full of marketing speech and corporate buzzwords. Three whole paragraphs that say almost nothing. “synthesizing emerging trends” What the heck does that even mean?!?

      1. “cut her transport teeth as a logistics officer in the Australian Army” i.e. not with people travelling from choice or with a choice of mode

  7. Good post Matt, clear on the “where to from here”.

    If anyone from AT is reading: I like the cycling infographic, but $10,200 is overstating how much households save from one fewer car. I’d guess the average cost per car is in the $4K-$7K range. The $10,200 might be based on AA cost data, but that is for newish cars which still have a lot of depreciation/ interest to pay. The typical household car is a lot older and less valuable (the average car is 14 years old), so those costs are lower.

    1. Registrations, warrants, repairs, insurance all are up to about 2k, depreciation is about 2k on average over the life of acar. As cars get older depreciation is lower, but repairs are higher.

      That’s 4k before you even drive it :/

      1. There’s also health costs and gym memberships to be saved if your cycling or getting a brisk walk in to and from the bus each day.

      2. If you buy a $6000 Toyota Corolla your repair bills will be almost nothing (lets say $500 per year for general maintenance and tyres). Depreciation will be at most $1000 per year. Insurance is about $600 per year. Petrol about $2000 per year. Warrant and reg about $200 per year. So all up about $4 to 5k, which is a lot less than $10k.
        $10k sounds lie ‘elite projection’ to me, probably about right for a near new Audi or something

        1. on a worst case scenario… depreciation is more 500$, insurance 250$ general maintenance 250$ is more likely for a Corolla

        2. I think that if you believe that your annual repair and servicing is only $500 on a ten year old car then you aren’t actually counting all of the costs. I agree that a Corolla of that age probably has the lowest annual cost of any car though.

          Also, you’ve misunderstood elite projection.

        3. Elite projectton

          “Elite projection is the belief, among relatively fortunate and influential people, that what those people find convenient or attractive is good for the society as a whole. ”

          Elite AT manager ponders… “I find it attractive to save 10K/year not purchasing a new second car every five years now that I don my lycra and cycle to work” … therefore society as a whole will save 10K/year if everyone cycles.

          Only most people don’t buy brand new cars.

        4. Only 10k isn’t based on brand new cars.

          This is thinly veiled cycle hatred please go to WhaleOil for that.

        5. It wouldn’t cost more than $1000 a year on average in maintenance for any 10yo Japanese car – unless you take it to the dealer maybe. Not much goes wrong these days. (Of course you could buy a lemon and blow your engine up as soon as you drive it off the yard – or you may never need to do anything other than oil and filter).

          FYI this isn’t cycle hatred at all, I myself cycle. Not enough to not own a second car unfortunately.

        6. Actually if you include the true garaging costs of a car you could easily save $10k per year – assuming it is garaged.

        7. True, Jimbo. Even if it’s parked on the drive, that’s land that could be serving you better as a patio or garden, or just not bought in the first place.

          IIRC, “The Art of Frugal Hedonism” had a bit of an analysis of the time and money savings in getting rid of the car. (Although it is an Australian book so figures will be different.)

        8. Yes you sometimes get a good run on repairs then it catches up or bites you 3 years later sometimes. Also the time to take cars in, pickup & organise should not be underestimated. Just had a big Corolla repair in the family for sons car admittedly a 1994 model.

        9. wasn’t accusing you of cycle hatred, more the lycra comment from Dan.

          That estimate is well off. A service every six months is already $2-300. Then you have to factor in replacing all four tyres roughly every two years, the cam belt every 10-15 years.

          Most years may well be $500 or less, but some years (this year for me) your car is going to cost you $2-3,000 in repairs.

        10. I only service every 10000 kms. For a second car that is prob just over once a year. $100 at oil changers.
          Tyres should last about 40000 kms, so on average just over one a year aprox $120 at hyper.
          10 year old Mazdas, Toyotas and Hondas unlikely to have a cambelt (they have a chain that doesn’t need replacing)

          For the last 11 years we have owned 2 cars both a fair bit over 10 years old, I doubt we have ever spent more than $2000 in a year combined, most years significantly less. Maybe lucky I guess.

        11. For an older car, don’t forget the time involved registering, taking the car for service, getting the wof, going to buy new tyres, fixing the radio, disconnecting the automatic mirror movement system, going to the car graveyard to find replacement mats after your heels make holes in the original ones, reporting the car’s theft and retrieving it once found, buying a new steering wheel lock, getting the tow bar installed, cleaning the nail clippings from the drink dispenser, buying new L plates every time they bend too much in the sun, teaching your kids to drive, setting up the toll accounts, comparing car insurance costs. It all adds to the cost. Particularly when you compare with cycling, which on the isthmus is generally faster than driving for much of the day. 🙂

        12. Hangon, you’ve forgotten about the time involved taking your bike to the mechanic when the gears get all bent out of shape, the cost of new tyres when your kids have been doing skids in the playground, reporting the bikes theft and buying a replacement, the cost at the nail salon to get the grease out after the chain came off, the time to return home and get a second change of clothes after you got caught in a summer downpour on the way to work, and the cost of that yoga retreat to regain your cool after a car driver yelled abuse at you for simply being on the road.

        13. I’d spend more time maintaining my bike than my car. A whole families set of bikes would definitely take more time to maintain than a single family car.

        14. True, Dan, I did! 🙂 Seriously, though, I never looked back after getting rid of my (older) car 10 years ago – my bike and trailer have been far less time to maintain than the car was. Partly because bike maintenance is possibly in a practical household whereas these days car maintenance is not, and partly because there’s just less stuff on a bike to maintain. (Not sure how you come to that conclusion, Jimbo. It’s absolutely not true for me.)

          The biggest time waster has been in all the cycle advocacy. I never had to do car advocacy. 🙂

        15. $2000 a year for petrol = $40 a week?!?
          I think that’s a fairly generous under estimate. If commuting Mon-Fri ‘my recon’ is more like $60-80 a week for fuel.

        16. $40 @ ~$2 per litre is 20 litres. At ~10km/l that is 200km. Which is a 20km per direction commute. That’s some fairly serious cycling…

        17. I wouldn’t be so quick to accuse of elite projection. What does the ‘average’ SUV cost to run?

      1. Does it capture the time saving of being able to leave when you want and arrive directly at your destination?

        1. You can’t say that a household is ‘better off’ by a $ figure without the costs of the alternative factored in. Or is this just aimed at people who are lucky enough to live within walking/cycling distance of their workplaces?

        2. Yes, you can. One is *financially* better off by ~$4,ooo a year by not owning a car, even if they drive the same total distance. *Economically* they may be better off by some different value.

          The point of the argument is that by increasing access by walking, cycling, and PT, we offer more people the opportunity to take this financial gain.

          This isn’t a condemnation of those who don’t, or can’t make that choice, rather it’s an explanation for the desire to allow them to make that choice.

        3. And that’s fine, but the reality is that if that’s going to be financed by a targeted tax such as petrol levies then you are asking people who can’t make that choice to subsidise those who can. Elite projection etc.

        4. I don’t think that’s fair when everyone who cycles is subsidising those who burn fossil carbon to wreck our climate.

        5. Unless all transport was user paid, someone is always going to be subsidising someone else. For example if you were a work from home hermit and never left your house, a good chunk of your rates bill goes towards roads, footpaths, etc.

        6. “but the reality is that if that’s going to be financed by a targeted tax such as petrol levies then you are asking people who can’t make that choice to subsidise those who can.”

          Motoring trips have the highest subsidy per km. Those who can cycle subsidise those who can’t

        7. “I don’t think that’s fair when everyone who cycles is subsidising those who burn fossil carbon to wreck our climate.”

          This may shock you but a lot of people aren’t driving to deliberately wreck the planet, they’re driving it because they don’t have middle class 9 – 5 jobs or can’t afford to live in within 5km of their work that might enable a lifestyle where PT is an option. But please, keep treating all commuters like everyone lives in Grey Lynn and works in the CBD. I’m sure you’ll definitely get traction with the non-PT natives with this attitude.

        8. Let’s try to achieve a better mix of transport options. But don’t suggest that the cost of resurrecting an ability to move about without fossil carbon involves a subsidy from car drivers to cyclists. A huge amount of money has been spent to create the roads we have, and in the process basic rights of access were removed. That needs to be set right.

          “This may shock you but a lot of people aren’t driving to deliberately wreck the planet”. A lot of people are driving because they have no choice. Others are driving because the choices they do have are obscured; people learn what is culturally normal around them. I would say that nobody is driving to deliberately wreck the planet. Even those who scorn environmentalism and say they don’t care are usually responding to some sort of feeling of grief or helplessness.

          But using fossil carbon for transport is putting an enormous load on future generations, and space-inefficient sprawl is putting an enormous load on current generations who have to commute long distances and are disconnected from their city. There are certainly issues around equity. And we have options for how to proceed.

          But you brought up “subsidising” and it is incorrect to suggest that the creation of a network that allows people to transport themselves, without fossil fuels, and in a space-efficient manner involves a subsidy from people whose transport method creates further carbon emissions and requires a lot of road space.

    2. Not only is the graphic overstating costs it is implying that cycling is a perfect substitute and getting rid of one car will not reduce benefits to that household. Yet the truth is many household own a second car because the benefits exceed the costs. It is not like they are not aware of bikes.

      1. They might be aware of bikes, but are unwilling to ride one until AT complete the cycle projects in the budget that deliver safe cycle routes for them.

        Spend this money, get these benefits.

        1. Ah yes, Bernard Orsman, not at all known for a history of inaccurate journalism, and this utter bullshit as the main pullquote:
          “Since the cycleway opened at the end of November I have never seen a cyclist”

        2. When i read there was a new neighbourhood bar i thought i’d go for a cycle there and pop into his chemist on the way home to buy some paracetamol or something, and then compliment the cycleway while im making the purchase.

        3. Is it compulsory to use hyperbole AND incorrectly equate construction impacts with cycleway impacts while making your argument?

        4. Good photo of all the bins in the cyclelane. Council needs to get that sorted, both where the bins are being put in the cyclelanes and where they’re being put on the teeny tiny footpaths that are left after road widening projects. (You’d never see a pedestrian there, either, Bernard, because there’s no effing place to walk.)

        5. These shop keepers should take the hint. If they want to stay in business they should either lease a site with parking or go into a mall. AT has been making that clear all around Auckland.

        6. “they should either lease a site with parking or go into a mall” – yes if their business utterly depends on parking then you are right. I’m sure another business that isn’t so parking dependent will open up in their place.

        7. mfwic, by all means campaign for business-friendly cycleway construction practices. But a business that can only survive in an environment unsafe for cyclists is a scavenger living on carrion.

          Read my lips: We need safe cycling infrastructure. It’s our lives and our children’s lives at stake. Business can adapt as it has for every other change in society over the ages.

          You’re too intelligent to keep on with this shit.

        8. Heidi in all seriousness I agree. Businesses need to adapt. The bit I find amusing is that AT employs urban designers who like to bang on about main streets and strip shopping as if it is something more desirable. And then when these shopping areas actually exist AT sets about shafting them.
          The net result is a few people will probably cycle through Mt Albert and a few of the more useful shops will close, so rather than being able to stop and pick up a things on the way through people will have to ride home and then get in their car to go shopping.

        9. Mt Albert has a train station so I think the shopping precinct will be safe even with a reduction in car parking.

        10. Sorry for the swear word, mfwic, I regret that. Yes, I know you agree, and usually I am amused by your irony. I guess I worry that by not separating out your criticism of AT’s construction management from the cycleway programme per se that you feed the bikelash. But if you think in Mt Albert that the project itself will harm businesses in the long run, that’s another issue. Here’s my two cents about Mt Albert:

          There are many specialist shops there that we don’t have in little Pt Chev, so you would think I would go there frequently. However, I haven’t enjoyed being there due to the poor pedestrian amenity, felt acutely when my children were smaller, so my custom there is limited to phone orders of haberdashery. I also pass through begrudgingly when transferring between train to bus but the connection is so poor it isn’t an uplifting experience.

          I have noticed that while we often consider Mt Albert as a destination for a celebratory dinner (eg finally met the girlfriend a couple of weeks ago) we always choose not to, and the reason is: the pedestrian amenity has been too poor; it’s too dominated by cars. My family, for one, will start to visit Mt Albert once the works are finished, probably quite often. We can cycle and bus there easily now (wasn’t always the case – thanks AT and NZTA) and soon it’ll have an environment worth making a destination.

        11. I have no doubt that construction impacts on businesses, be they roadworks, footpath paving, cycleways or sewer mains.

          The strip of shops at the northern end of New Lynn have been 50% killed off by six months of rebuilding the road following the washout of the stormwater culvert. But this was not from building a cycleway (there is none), not from closing the road (it remained open) and not from removing street parking (there was none to start with).

          It was simply the disruption of construction… but here’s the thing, the businesses that closed down were already struggling. The ones that didn’t close weren’t.

          I do have sympathy for business owners who are concerned of their business failing during construction… because I’m sure they already know that their business failing is a very real risk.

      2. And it assumes that every ‘new’ cyclist will come from a car, when they could just as easily have come from PT. Any health benefits should be funded from a health budget, not transport.And recreational cycle use should be funded from a recreation budget.

        1. Where does it assume that?

          Are you asking for the health benefits of PT to be funded from a health budget? For the agglomeration benefits to be funded from an employment budget? For the carbon benefits to be funded from a climate change budget?

          All transport has benefits from multiple sources. We fund transport from the same pot because, for the enormous majority of cyclists, cycling is a substitute for other transport, not for a gym membership.

        2. Cycling to work actually is a substitute for a gym membership for me, but maybe I’m unusual. I feel like the point PT Enthusiast is getting at is worth considering – the reason urban cycleways fund was set up outside of the NLTF was because of all the benefits that cycleways bring the country outside of direct transport benefits. If we ever did get to a point where health boards thought long-term enough that they did fund cycleways and footpaths, that would be awesome.

        3. “If we ever did get to a point where health boards thought long-term enough that they did fund cycleways and footpaths, that would be awesome.” Yes the health boards should definitely be focusing on this instead of improving working conditions for their staff and ensuring they have the resources to help the sick and dying. Maybe they could use all that spare cash they absolutely have lying around taking up all the free space on the wards?

        4. “If we ever did get to a point where health boards thought long-term enough that they did fund cycleways and footpaths, that would be awesome”

          Just a note, footpaths are there to benefit vehicular traffic, not pedestrians. In the absence of a footpath the area is shared zone and vehicles must give way to pedestrians. Footpaths legally force people walking along a road to get out of the roadway which allows vehicles to travel faster unimpeded by pedestrians.

          If there were no footpaths, people could walk wherever they wanted in any direction and vehicular traffic would have to give way to them. In order not to be legally liable for hitting a pedestrian drivers would have to drive at a speed that would allow them to stop almost immediately in case a pedestrian walked out in front of them.

          Once we have autonomous vehicles (in many many years time) people will soon clock on that they can walk anywhere they want and all autonomous vehicles will stop for them thansk to their safety systems. In urban areas they will effectively make all roads shared spaces with traffic moving at walking pace (if at all). It will be awesome for walkers and cyclists, terrible if you want to be driven anywhere other than segregated motorways.

        5. So on many state highways, rural roads and the like that have no footpath, traffic always drives at a speed that allows an immediate stop rather than at the posted 100kmh speed limit?

          Doesn’t seem to work that way in practice.

      3. If only there were some way to improve the utility of cycling so you could save $10,000 a year. If only you were willing to understand the difference between explaining one’s own actions and condemning others for not taking the same ones.

  8. Why is everyone fixated on the stated savings for getting rid of a car instead of on the reduced injuries and deaths from investing in better cycling infrastructure?

    1. +1

      Probably because everyone can relate to money, but there is still this perceived idea that ‘cyclists’ are their own category of people. By electing to ride a bike on NZ roads you give up some of your rights as a person to have a safe environment to travel in and you assume all the risk.

      As someone who currently rides to work as much as possible, I personally hate this feeling that whenever I have to use a section of road I am at the mercy of all the other road users. Hence why I structure my travel to and from work to use the shared paths that keep me off the road as much as possible despite adding an extra couple of km’s to the trip. I’m not yet brave/confident enough to handle normal streets for a full trip.

      tl;dr Yes to more infrastructure to keep people who walk/cycle safe from being taken out by other transport options. Cost savings are just a bonus.

      1. Yes top left of the graphic shows every $1 invested in cycling benefits society by $2-$4. I guess that covers pretty much all facets. I would take a guess that this is a very conservative number too.

    2. Good point. AT would probably also get a better response if they said they need to build cycleways in order to get all the damned bikes out of other peoples way.

      1. +1, maybe not those exact words, but I wish AT did a better job of selling cycle lanes on the benefits to motorists.

  9. “And recreational cycle use should be funded from a recreation budget.”

    Are the roads required for “Road Trips” and “Sunday Drives” funded from a recreation budget?

    “Any health benefits should be funded from a health budget, not transport.”

    The health budge is forking out for all the health disbenefits of driving already. As a society we are trying to load the costs of unhealthy practices onto those doing the harm (Think ACC levies on more dangerous industries, taxes on cigarettes.) Modal choice in transport would change considerably if the costs were correctly allocated.

  10. In regards to cycling is there any legislation push to remove compulsory helmets?

    If that can be done then bike share schemes, a public AT fixed station system linked to HOP and private App systems become realistic and the culture of passive PT + active last mile will become a reality.

    1. I had a great chat with a young bloke from Mt Roskill yesterday, who’d ridden an onzo bike over to Pt Chev. He says he can’t afford a bike but has been using onzo all the time; loves it; is trying to get the rest of his family doing it too.

      The onzo helmet was sitting in the basket, unused. 🙂

        1. Yes, he has been smart enough to realise that wearing a bike helmet is a waste of time safety wise and creates a barrier to cycling. Smart guy.

    1. “Administrative handling error”. I’m going to try that excuse next time I get a parking ticket

      Btw this is appalling journalism

  11. So the staff at Auckland Transport evaluated transport projects using an independent model. A number of transport projects advocated by left wing politicians including light rail don’t add up. These projects don’t provide the best benefit for Auckland. The Auckland Transport staff did their job.

    Only to be overuled by ideological based politicians who don’t have to deal with the negative impacts of their pet projects. I feel sorry for the hard-working AT staff. They work is a leaderless, rudderless organisation who simply have to tow the line, no matter how damaging that line is.

    1. That’s rubbish.

      The tool is just something to link the projects with the strategy. If the strategy is misinterpreted then of course the project ranking would be shit.

    2. Ha, “independent model’! Joke of the week.

      That comment can only come from someone who has never designed, built, calibrated, run or reconciled a model, or who has never interpreted or reported on model results.

      There are subjective inputs, assumptions and decisions at every step. It is the modellers and analysts role to shape and interpret the data into something meaningful. Models are by definition always wrong to some extent, but they are usually useful if you know how to use… and not use… the outputs.

      TLDR, a model is simply a tool that can’t do your job for you.

    3. If the model outputs directly contradict the stated goals of the organisation, that’s nature’s way of telling us that there’s something wrong with the model. A competent administrator can’t simply ignore that.

  12. One has to ask – does this mean that the financial whiz kids with lots of letters after their names are wrong about the monetary advantages to getting rid of TMs?

  13. Yes where to from here? And how does a $25 – $30 million car park for Takapuna sneak through when funding for bike funding is slashed?
    Too, too many saying the right things and doing something completely different.

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