Auckland’s next decade of transport is looking fantastic with latest version of the Auckland Transport Alignment Project just released by Transport Minister Phil Twyford and Mayor Phil Goff. We’ll have some more complete analysis but here are some of the highlights:

  • It’s a fully funded, $28 billion package over the coming decade.
    • $4.4b of new funding, of which about $1.5b is from the council in the form of the regional fuel tax which has unlocked extra funding from the National Land Transport Fund (NLTF). This is important as the previous ATAP didn’t address how to fill the funding gap.
    • The money from the NLTF equates to 38% of what is expected to be spent from it over that same timeframe so given Auckland’s huge population growth, that’s hardly disproportionate.
  • That $28 billion includes $16.7 billion in capital projects, the rest on operations and renewals. The capital projects include:
  • $8.4 billion for Rapid Transit
    • Already committed projects like the City Rail Link, Northern Busway Extension, Eastern Busway are all included
    • $1.8 billion as a seed fund for Light Rail on both the Isthmus and Northwest – there’s an expectation of including private capital in this as part of a wider integrated project.
    • $940 million for the heavy rail network and includes:
      • electrification to Pukekohe
      • 3rd main
      • extra trains (on top of the ones currently being ordered)
      • other track improvements
      • level crossing removals
    • Bus route to Puhinui with an upgraded Puhinui station – the first stages of this will be some local bus priority but will step up eventually to a fully fledged busway.
  • $700 million for other buses and ferries. This also includes $215 million for new bus lanes.
  • $3.8 billion for strategic and local roads. This includes:
    • $800 million for a new East-West Link – they haven’t said what this is yet though
    • $500 million for Mill Rd
    • $200 million for Penlink – will be a two lane tolled version, not the much more expensive four lane version.
    • Other projects such as the upgrade of SH20B along with the bus priority stuff and widening of SH1 from Papakura to Drury
  • $1.3 billion in infrastructure for greenfield growth areas
  • $900 million in safety upgrades. This is expected to see a 60% drop in deaths and serious injuries from 813 in 2017 to 325 in 2027
  • $700 million for network optimisation. Again this could include road projects as covers things like more dynamic lanes, truck lanes, transit lanes.
  • $900 million for Local Board priorities, walking and cycling. This includes
    • $640 million for the walking and cycling programme, including Skypath. In total this will deliver 125km of new cycleways
    • $260 million for Local Board projects, some of these could be active projects too.

A couple of other great outcomes from this work are

  • With all of the PT improvements, boardings over the next decade are expected to rise from 93 million to 170 million. For those interested, that will see our per capita usage increase from 54 today to 85 per person per year.
  • Rapid Transit will enable the development of 124,000 more homes in Auckland.
  • Another 30,000 homes will be able to be built on greenfield land
  • There will be $500 million in health and environmental benefits

There are also a couple of pretty maps. First are the rapid transit improvements coming over the next decade.

Next we have the complete rapid transit network over the coming decades which includes light rail to the shore, just like our Congestion Free Netowrk.

Finally we have the strategic road projects that are planned

Overall, this looks pretty damn good and is an impressive improvement over the previous versions of ATAP. Even better is that it’s fully funded so it isn’t a random wish list. Well done to everyone involved.

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  1. Much better than previous plans, but a pity there’s still almost a quarter of the capital spending going to new roads. Surely it’s time to catch up with public transport and cycling, rather than yet more new roads, albeit scaled down.

    1. John, I think that you are absolutely right. There is still too much proposed for new roads and that will only see more cars and more congestion.

      1. Interesting that Labour’s headlines make no mention of the new roads, except to say, “East-West Link will be reduced by adopting an option with a better benefit to cost ratio, saving $1.2b.” They clearly don’t see them as vote winners, so why are they still in there? –

      1. Some bus lanes aren’t going to be enough, the far east around Howick has a lot of intensification planned under the new Unitary plan.

        Lots of new apartments being built, the nearest rapid transit options are between 5 and 10 kms away.

        There’s a lot of good in this, but there’s still a huge white space on the eastern side of the map.

        1. To be fair most of Auckland is still 5km from rapid transit on that map. The north shore, west, large parts of the south, most of the ithsmus even. That’s how it works, the rapid transit is the trunk and most people access it with feeders, it’s not possible to take it to every neighborhood.

      1. The railway line is on one side of the Tamaki river, Ti Raku drive and the 100,000 people north of it with further intensification is on the other.

        Saying “No rapid transit options north of Ti Rakau drive” is entirely correct.

        It’s still going to be Carmageddon in the east. There needs to be a busway up Pakuranga Highway as far as Highland Park, minimum.

        1. Ah, got you. Did not realise that buslane was missing from the plans. Did the Reeves flyover survive?

        2. Pakuranga Rd bus lanes weren’t specifically mentioned in ATAP because it didn’t go into details of bus lanes in any part of Auckland. I assume AT is still planning to put them in though.

          It makes sense for Ti Rakau Drive to get priority over Pakuranga Road, as Botany is a bigger hub than Howick and the busway can be extended from Botany to Manukau. I think a combination of bus lanes and priority at lights will go a long way to improving Pak Road bus services.

        3. Yes bus lanes should be fine for along here for a long time I’m sure plenty of width, rip out the flush median. There is also the ferry service – having had / in the process of some upgrades.

        4. Totally agree Alan, the East has dipped out – it currently takes 45 mins, by bus, from Howick to Pakuranga in rush hour – making the AMETI project seem a little worthless, it really won’t serve a bunch of people it’s meant to. I do believe there are to be some improvements along Pakuranga Highway, from Highland Park, for buses but in all seriousness a light rail connection to Panmure would be the best option. I’m fairly disappointed by this announcement.

      1. The Skypath is indeed a disgrace. In Takapuna within a period of a few months Council decided to build a new car park (30 million dollars) to supposedly serve about 900 people per day. I appreciate that Skypath isn’t a Council project, but a project that is expected to deliver 8000 visitors to the Shore is taking forever.

        If there is a will it happens!

        1. SkyPath is mentioned once in the 48 pages. Mill Rd is mentioned a dozen times, Penlink 8 times, Papakura-Drury widening 5 times and East-West 4 times. SkyPath could be built for a fraction of the cost of any of those priorities.

  2. I think I heard the Phils mention express trains from South Auckland. Do they mean limited-stop train services? How would that work?

      1. Would it be something along the lines of Pukekohe trains not stopping past Papakura? It would be good to have more detail cause I’ve never heard any suggestion of express trains for Akl before (apart from RRR). I guess it makes sense given how far away Pukekohe is, but CRL space is limited.

        1. I think that as long as the express trains are full, then there is no harm allocating CRL space to them. Pukekohe and Papakura are currently a long train ride from Britomart and I think demand will increase if we can reduce the travel time.

      2. I am disappointed that they have only announced the 3rd main from Westfeild to Wiri. Labour campaigned on building the 3rd main Westfield to Papakura.

        A 3rd main to Papakura would significantly speed up Regional and Express trains.

        1. Indeed disappointing that only a short section of the 3rd main is to be funded. Since this will need some major reconstruction of Middlemore station which will likely take 2 to 3 years this could mean work on 3rd main is years away.
          Nothing for 4th main or westfield flyover or 3rd main to sylvia park. What about RRR is is that outside the scopt of atap?

        2. My thoughts exactly. Although I think that a well designed flying junction at Westfield should be a bigger priority than the Third Main to Sylvia Park.

          I also hope that the works for the Third Main from Westfield to Wiri allow for many more tracks in the future. I can see the potential need for 6 tracks through this corridor in the future: 2 tracks for Express and RRR trains, 2 tracks for all stops passenger trains, and 2 tracks for freight trains.

        3. Plan is W-W to start with but has all the way to Papakura next in the plan. Then 4th main to Papakura and 3rd to Pukekohe in the next decade.

        4. “KiwiRail has advised that fully supporting express rail services would require around $800 million of investment in track upgrades. This investment would deliver the following projects:
           Fourth main rail line between Westfield and Wiri
           Third and ultimately Fourth Main between Wiri and Papakura
           Third Main between Papakura and Pukekohe.”

          Seems to me to be better value than $800 million for the East West link.

  3. What are the preferred stops on the light rail out west? Will it include the new development in Pt Chev and stadium developments in Western Springs? Does anyone know if funding for the Te Whau pathway is confirmed in there somewhere?

    1. There’s no point in LRT to Westgate if it’s going to have to meander through every inner West suburb to get to the city.

      1. They can have stops at Pt Chev and Western Springs provided the Light Rail line stays as a straight line next door to the NW Motorway. Speed must be the priority.

        1. Agreed. Replacing a slow bus to the CBD from Westgate with a slow LRT commute to the CBD from Westgate isn’t an improvement. If Pt Chev needs additional transit options then it shouldn’t be at the expense of commuters further out who currently have no real transit options at all other than driving.

        2. Agreed. People out west need the LR to be rapid, and connecting to bus routes that are faster, and cycling and walking routes that are safe. Chevralites just need the fast buses and safe cycling and walking. Even if people give up trying to get onto the LR at peak hour at Pt Chev because it’s too full, they will still have the benefit of all those commuters no longer being on our roads.

          However, the road network will have to be contracted at the same time to achieve this, or the available space will just induce new trips.

        3. A Pt Chev stop will definitely be in. Twyford said so re Unitec development. And it would be ridiculous not to have at least ~2 stops in the Isthmus before the City Centre. People want to go cross-town and the other way too – its NOT all about City Centre trips.

          And those stops won’t be “meandering off”. They will be directly next to the motorway, like at the Northern Busway, with good walk and cycling bridges (and feeder buses where apropriate).

          If the capacity isn’t enough for out west, well, just add some more trams. The headway on LRT can be as low as 1-2 minutes! how about 30 trams / hour? That will provide capacity.

    2. You might get a stop at Pt Chev to collect people from the unitec development but any closer to the cbd would just be duplicating other modes. Transfer points are the key.

      1. CFN has Western Springs, Grey Lynn and Arch Hill. I think you definitely need Western Springs for zoo, motat, potential cricket stadium. Having good rapid transit service to tourist attractions can really help incentivise people to use pt for the first time. Not sure if it’s worthwhile having stations further in as the catchment from the motorway is pretty crap.

      2. I think St Lukes Road/Western Springs should have its own stop. It will be an important transfer point for cross town bus services along the St Lukes/Balmoral/Greenlane arc as well as having Motat/Zoo/Western Springs stadium right there. There’s also some development potential around the bottom of the hill. Stops at Western Springs, Pt Chev, Te Atatu, Lincoln Road, Royal Heights, Westgate, and finally Kumeu with provision for a stop at Whenuapai West in the future if required seems about right.

        1. I’d say a Hobsonville Pt stop as part of a SH 18 section is more likely; the report flags the SH18 corridor for further transport development which I’m guessing is linking LRT up with Constellation Station.

      3. People also work in these location and need to stop there rather than being forced all the way into the city…

        1. A proper station at the Western Springs interchange with feeder bus services would solve that problem.

        2. But that’s not what Sacha who Oscar was replying to said. Sacha suggested a stop at Pt Chev was all that you needed. I agree with Oscar and others. While you don’t want to slow down the service too much you also shouldn’t forget that these extra stops are not just to pick people up but to drop people off from out west. A Pt Chev stop and Western Springs/Dominion Road stop may be enough but a single stop sounds one too few to me.

        3. I worry you’ll end up with two basic stops whereas at least one needs to be a hub; it’s likely one of those (probably Carrington) will become a Crosstown LRT route in the next 50 years so we’d need to future-proof for that.

        4. That Caltex station spot looks like a good spot to take for a bus interchange, everywhere else looks historic or park/tree areas.

        5. … and AT will hopefully realise that those trees are off-bounds, if PR is worth anything.

          Buttwizard’s query about one really good interchange at Pt Chev is interesting. I’d always assumed that of course there’d also be one at Western Springs. Both can service cross town routes. But apart from the Zoo and Motat, the walk-up catchment for Western Springs isn’t fantastic, is it? Maybe a second stop can only be justified in a spot well-placed for both catchment and cross-town routes.

          Which suggests maybe Bond St? In the future, it could service a crosstown from the North Shore, via the Harbour Bridge through the LR stop, to the Kingsland Station, and then down Sandringham Rd? I don’t suggest this crosstown route could be justified now, but I’m just wondering about the placement of the stop. For now, I wonder if there’d be demand for a Bond St stop and shuttle to Kingsland Station?

        6. @Heidi – yes interesting problem to solve. Not sure where the Arch Hill & Grey Lynn stations were envisioned in the CFN2, maybe depended on a SH16 running or street meandering version (from Point Chevalier). I actually think they should cost up at least two variants of route. One taking more land grab of houses etc – probably the original busway route designations & one running in the middle of SH16 with removal or a motorway lane (shudder to think). It surely would be much cheaper running I guess elevated in the middle of SH16, but politically fragile. Then let Auckland vote on it like we did with the interim transport levy. I noticed that most of the southern motorway is 3 lanes apart from sections of on ramp & off ramp yet the Western is now pretty much 4 lanes+ each way.

          Thinking future crosstown routes, seems bus route 18 from New Lynn could become a LRT line for example and could lead all the way as it does now down Albert St in the city.

    3. A stop at point chev/carrington Road is a certainty given the number of buses that converge there. Don’t forget people from the northwest might be going to unitec or mt Albert or across to sandringham or wherever also.

  4. OMG the Stuff comments. I’m fully convinced that if they could, the average Stuff commentator would just like to drop a nuke on the city out of spite.

    1. Stuff is mostly non-Auckland newspapers so full of people south of the Bombays with a big chip on the shoulder.

      1. …who haven’t picked up on the fact that $30 billion is also planned to be spent on the rest of the country (esp. road safety, rail connections, walk/cycle). Apparently you can’t have a public announcement focused solely on Auckland without the rest of the country crying “what about us?”

        1. The Herald stated that 38% of the transport budget would be spent on Auckland, which is equivalent to the percentage of population that Auckland will have at the end of the decade. Apparently getting our fair share of funding is somehow too much for some people.

        2. In my experience (worked in government in the past) when it comes to tax and expenditure it is invariably the city that subsidises the country, and not vice versa. Auckland’s % of national taxation revenue is already probably greater than its future 38% population share, because of the higher incomes and financial hqs present.

          Saying that the country subsidises the city is a tired old hobby horse that should be put out to pasture. It isn’t true.

    2. It’s just small-minded folk with inferiority complexes. Sadly NZ has more than its fair share of these sorts of people. Just laugh at them…

  5. All sounds good, the question is how well is AT geared to deliver so many things in a relatively short time. I realise that some (like 3rd main or busway extension) are not AT, but the majority is.

    1. Based on previous history, they are going to struggle make this happen. I have my doubts as to whether ATAP 2.0 is at all possible to implement.This is simply due to the volume of new work required to be completed.
      The consultant market is going to go gangbusters

      1. We didn’t seem to struggle delivering multiple major motorway projects simultaneously. Slight change of mindset but is it really that different building bus and LRT structures instead of road ones.

        1. Those projects were delivered by NZTA, not AT, and the collective magnitude of all these projects is far greater. To put it in context, the $28b over 10 years, would see CRL built every year. The volume of work for the market is unprecedented.
          In any case, NZTA is not the same organisation it used to be as a result of on going restructures and they are running a lean ship as it is with expertise gone. AT are about to the same, so for most working there, job security / positioning will be their first priority rather than delivery of this plan.

          Overall, I like what I see, however I don’t believe our market has the supply to deliver all of the near term projects as planned / desired. What we will see is a lot of wheel spinning in next year or so, with some traction coming late 2019, however by then a lot of promises would have been broken. It’s also unfortunate they didn’t consult with industry either before ATAP was published.

          If AT and the Government are serious about this, they need to spend the next year mobilising and preparing for this programme of work otherwise it will fail.

        2. There has been a continuous upscaling of the number of large projects undertaken from the 1990s onwards and there haven’t been any significant problems. Can’t see why it will be any different this time.

        3. There seems to quite a spread of projects from AT, KiwiRail & NZTA so think it should be possible. I think the big LRT project would likely be constructed by an overseas company but I guess they would use local labour & NZTA/AT etc would all be involved.

  6. >Even better is that it’s fully funded

    Are you sure,
    The light rail section on page 17 notes

    “Light rail is proposed on two major rapid transit corridors over the next decade:
     Airport-City
     Northwest
    Delivering light rail on these corridors will require significant investment, but also provides a substantial opportunity to explore third party funding and financing arrangements. As a result, an allocation of $1.8 billion is proposed that will be used to leverage funding and financing to progress both corridors over the next decade.”

    Words like “used to leverage funding and financing to progress both corridors” don’t exactly give me the feeling that the total cost or funding is actually included in this plan……

  7. much better, but roughly 2% for active travel, and much, much too much for moar roads of doubtful value. is this essential meat for the deathboxes, or do they really believe that they are of value?

    1. Yes. And those moar roads will induce so much traffic it’ll undermine everything else including the attempts at improving safety.

        1. I wonder if the item “Increased investment into dedicated safety projects” will include the establishment of better tools to help design for pedestrian safety. Engineers aren’t designing safe pedestrian environments because they don’t actually know enough about what makes a safer environment. For example, money needs to be put into acquiring better data through manual counts and video recognition of indicator population behaviour in crossing roads.

          Heartening to see speed limit reductions, enforcement and public awareness mentioned specifically. Meanwhile I guess we just keep talking about the dangers that result from increased road capacity and induced traffic.

  8. As a staunch Wellingtonian, I am more than happy that Auckland is at long last spending some decent cash on sorting your shit out. I don’t care where the money comes from, as long as it starts soon. No more talk.

    Long overdue, and please proceed as soon as is possible.

  9. All pretty good & to see some concrete dollars on this. Interesting to see whether NW rapid transit line ends up light rail or a busway. Mention of staged build for LRT would have buses use it until full line complete.

    I keep thinking that maybe NW LRT really needs to eventually have it’s own corridor into the city once any North Shore line is also added into the Queen St corridor. You could split the running of NW line to Ian McKinnon/Queen St & a slower end point one up Newton Rd area & somehow down Albert St. This could have a great link to Beresford Square CRL station.

    Be interesting how regional rail fits into all this. The media release document mentioning it briefly and seems to fit with 3rd & 4th mains but that was more in the context of express train services from the southern line.

    1. More on the NW LRT idea; you could run the split off onto Great North Rd – ie earlier on instead perhaps at Western Springs, and trundle down that for local catchment.

      1. Looked more at this today & think better to go off at Waterview & allow future conections cross town as Buttwizard mentions. It could be possible for a 2nd curved line to leave SH16 and sneak under the SH20 city bound ramp over the top of the shared path there and down onto Gt Nth Rd & centre run. Station outside the Pt Chev Library. Next station Western Springs, only thing is this duplicates with the line on SH16 too closely so likely would be overkill & a waste of time, so perhaps it’s best to split off at Western Springs after all (just after St Lukes Rd overbridge & LRT station through the Caltex petrol station area there).

        Not sure if this will at all work as buses would probably be trying to use the road too unless the routes were all pretty much designed for you to transfer to the LRT line.

        You have the K’rd bridge bus lanes/stops & only 1 lane of general traffic each way of space left, perhaps the bridge could be widened?

    2. I agree with the concept. Another cool route option would be to take one LRT line down Symonds Street to Customs Street, with interchange at the K Road stop and/or Customs Street near Britomart. Then you could service the university campuses better, which are huge trip generators.

    3. I think the question of whether the NW LRT needs a separate corridor to dominion road comes down to how frequently the LRT vehicles can operate down Queen Street. My guess is that signal priority can be maintained up to a frequency of 30 TPH in each direction at the intersections with Mayoral Drive, Wellesley Street, Victoria Street, and Customs Street. This is because there will not be any turning traffic at these intersections. However, the intersection of Nelson Street and Fanshawe Street is much more complex and could probably only sustain signal priority for 15 TPH in each direction. I think that it would be necessary to grade separate LRT at this intersection.

      Assuming that 30TPH can be maintained in each direction on the Queen Street LRT corridor, then frequencies of 15TPH could be ran on both the Dominion Road and NW LRT lines. 15TPH would mean an LRT vehicle every 4 minutes in each direction. If we use 99m LRT vehicles then each line could transport up to 10,000 people an hour in each direction.

      If there is desire to add further light rail lines (except for North Shore LRT) then a new route into the city would be required. I personally think that Heavy Rail line between Penrose and Parnell could be converted to LRT, and from Parnell could continue underground with a station at the University and then Aotea. Such a line could have many feeder lines from the central and eastern suburbs. As it would be fully grade separated it could handle frequencies of more than 60TPH. The Avondale–Southdown Line would be required to maintain freight access to the NAL.

      1. 30 TPH in a single direction is way beyond light rail street running. That is really only possible with totally separated rail.

        1. It’s possible I have overestimated but I think that somewhere between 20 TPH and 30 TPH is about right. 30TPH in each direction is a train every minute. Because the traffic will only be able to cross Queen Street, there only needs to be 2 traffic phases, Light Rail or General Traffic. The lights would just stop traffic whenever a LRV is coming which would haven on average every minute.

        2. The time-window occupied by each LRV depends not only on the service-frequency but also on vehicle length and speed. A 60metre LRV at 30Km/h will take 7.2 seconds to pass. A twin-set at 120m will take 14.4 sec. Where vehicles are travelling more slowly approaching or leaving stops or starting across intersections, the passing-time will be greater. Then add a margin of at least 5 sec prior to the arrival of the LRV during which time no pedestrian should cross in front of it, or maybe 10 sec at an intersection for each phase-change, and the usable window between very-frequent LRV’s becomes unusably small.

          In practice, for long, high-capacity vehicles in a mixed-traffic environment, 12-15 tph per direction is about the max you will find. Anything more intensive than this (i.e. more than about 5,000 people/hr per direction) realistically requires proper segregation – i.e. rail corridor.

        3. There would easily be 30 tph running down Swanston St in Melbourne. I don’t see why an LRV every two minutes will be a problem on Queen St.

        4. At that point it would be quicker to walk down Queen street, not to mention that all of the trams would be stationary in one big “tramjam”
          Additionally you don’t need that kind of supply

        5. The ‘tramjam’ is minimal on Swanston St as they can follow much closer together than trains.

          They wouldn’t need that capacity initially, however 15tph on each line in the future is certainly realistic. The main thing would be having platforms long enough for two LRVs if there were 30tph each direction on Queen St.

        6. No. At the intersection of Swanston St and Collins St Melbourne the peak tram traffic is: Swanston St: about 45 per hour each way. Collins St: about 35 per hour each way. This is with a mixture of vehicles from 15m to 33m long. The traffic lights run a two part cycle of about 90 seconds. Its quite common for two trams to get through on one green. The trams are in a car-free central easement with one traffic lane next to the kerb and no right turns.

          This level of traffic is not ideal, because the trams end up being pretty slow in the city area, but it’s quite possible.

  10. “$200 million for Penlink – will be a two lane tolled version, not the much more expensive four lane version.”

    I hope with a central median barrier and either alternating 2+1 or passing lanes

    1. Need mode shift also, from the media document: “The project should be complemented by public transport improvements (for example the planned bus shoulder lanes between Albany and Orewa) to encourage mode shift in the area and avoid adding more vehicles to congested parts of the Northern Motorway.”

  11. Fantastic to see such a holistic and well thought out plan!

    As an aspiring world class city, should we not be considering heavy rail to the airport as well? Why not both light and heavy rail? If heavy rail was extended, why not from Puhinui to catch the Southern & Eastern Lines? Would it then also be possible for a 20 minute express train from the CBD to the airport?

    1. It’s not holistic. It’s very much a plan to provide gold-plated services for Labour Party seats and as usual North Shore and East Auckland are left with nothing but higher taxes. It is deeply disappointing to say the least. This is Trump-style partisan politics making an unwelcome arrival into New Zealand.

      1. Yea that must be really hard for you guys, what with getting Bus Rapid Transit literally decades before anyone else. I’ll be sure to lobby my local board to replace our sealed roads with gravel just so the Shore can get another piece of infrastructure before the rest of the district even catches up.

      2. I never knew Whangaparaoa Peninsula, Silverdale, Botany, Clevedon and Papakura where Penlink, extension of the north shore busway, and Mill Road Upgrade are taking place were Labour areas.

        In fact, they aren’t. They are all held by National; in the case of Whangaparaoa, for decades. Pretty sure Pukekohe area where the electrification of the rail line is taking place is all National as well.

        AMETI is also happening this decade thanks to this ATAP. You know, the AMETI that serves Pakuranga and Botany–two safe National seats since forever. The airport to puhinui busway will also end up in botany eventually as well.

  12. Do they never intend to get a decent Hamilton – Auckland railway? Why else does the ATAP say, “The NZ Transport Agency’s investigation work has identified a long-term need to upgrade
    the motorway all the way to the Bombay Hills”?

  13. “$8.4 billion for Rapid Transit”?

    I think Matt L might want to edit that to say “$8.4 billion for Mass Transit”. Rapid transit means things like full-on metros, not busways.

    But yeah; at least something’s finally being omitted.

  14. Are they only planning to have “the public transport network absorbing around 20 percent of new trips” (page 26)? That seems way too low and explains why they think they need so many roads. I think they should aspire to Zurich’s 65%.

    1. Vienna is already at 73% and aspiring to 80% by 2026 and given their record likely to achieve it

      I hadn’t seen that PT will only absorb 20% of new trips – that’s pathetic.

      I am more than happy to convey those thoughts to Minister Twyford. I wonder how Jacinda is feeling about her climate change push that seems to have fallen at the first hurdle? No, not fair, didn’t even attempt the jump.

      1. I don’t know why you think the situation in Vienna is even slightly relevant to Auckland. The PT system there is light years ahead of anything Auckland has or is likely to have for a very long time. You can’t just suddenly conjure up a Vienna style system after decades of total inaction. It’s going to be a long haul,

        1. Zippo, first it is relevant because those from Vienna embrace their system; take pride in it and therefore use it and so that is aspirational for what Auckland could be.. Second Vienna is not dissimilar in population to Auckland. It has 5 underground lines compared with our 4 lines, but the real difference is in their tram and bus services and operating hours. Auckland ability to add bus services is only constrained by our desire to want to pay for them as with operating hours.

          You are right that you can’t suddenly conjure up tram lines, but any decent operator (and we don’t have one) should be able to conjure up bus services to meet extra demand.

          What would PT ridership look like in Auckland if you could buy a yearly pass for $720 like you can in Vienna? Would a week day commuter use the bus or train on the weekend because they have already paid for it? A trip to the beach? To the mall? To sport? There is nothing more certain that we would be talking about a ridership of 170 million much more quickly than 10 years time.

          What would PT ridership look like to the city if the actions of AT that appear to restrain car parking prices was removed – would the early bird rate sit in the 30’s rather than the 20’s.

          And PT use to Takapuna where parking with AT is about half the commercial rate? Vienna has boosted PT ridership by lifting parking prices.

          And extra ridership will drive demand for extra services in the way that AT is adding extra trains to the network currently. And with increased ridership resources can be diverted from roads.

          I use Vienna as an example because if we set our sites on being like Brisbane or Perth it will essentially give an outcome that won’t be much different to where we are.

          And Vienna is of course the world’s most livable city. This is something that I will champion for Auckland.

  15. I believe that a continuation of the current PT growth rate of 7% to take ridership from 93 million to 170 million will not make much of a difference. It certainly isn’t fixing the problem at the moment. This increase sounds great until you dissect the numbers.

    Say for example we take the current annual immigration increase of 60,000 per year and we apply the Mayor’s figure that 55% of growth is in Auckland.. That is an Auckland increase of 33,000 per year and 330,000 for 10 years. Let us assume that only half of those travel to and from work each day (probably a very conservative assumption).

    So at year 10 there are 165,000 people x 240 working days x 2 trips per day = 79.2 million extra public transport trips. Compare this with the target of an extra 73 million trips. On just a quick analysis this supposedly grandiose plan is probably likely to fail. It is completely without ambition.

    I read a statement during the day where the Mayor said that it is premature to introduce a congestion charge where there is not alternative travel methods in place. Let me tell the Mayor how it could work. There are transport options available for travel to the city that allow 50% of people to get there that way already. Don’t insult us by suggesting that a congestion charge won’t work. I am happy to email him to show how London managed, and Singapore over 20 years ago. Of course the answer is providing more buses and if the government can allow sex workers on the skills shortage list I am sure that they will provide a few bus drivers.

    Why is only Penlink proposed to be tolled? Is the Council really looking hard to find extra revenue?

    I suspect that the detail of this plan won’t have the feel good factor that some have experienced. I will be delighted if I am wrong.

    1. The plan has to take into account political and financial realities as they are now. Hopefully it will provide a basis for more ambitious developments in the future but for now, this is as much as you’re going to get given the available money and the political risk involved.

      1. What political risk? The risk that Labour will be criticised by National, so that Phil Goff could say his ATAP, “puts paid to National’s scaremongering: this Government is delivering the road upgrades”? Polls and elections consistently show Auckland wants more public transport. It shouldn’t be a political risk.

        1. The political risk that many voters are still in favour of roads. Auckland will get more public transport under this plan but there’s always going to be compromises.

        2. John Lawson, most of Auckland votes National. Especially the North Shore and East Auckland but since 2008, previous safe Labour seats in Auckland have flipped to blue and stayed overwhelmingly blue in subsequent elections – eg: Northcote. The more worrying thing for Labour is that current safe Labour seats (eg: Mt Roskill, Te Atatu) have a very high % of party vote National.

          That is the political risk staring Labour in the face. Now, most of them may want better public transport but they sure as hell won’t vote for it at election time. Most of them have voted National in the past 9 years and again last year, despite National having to be dragged kicking and screaming to fund any major public transport project in Auckland whereas they fund highways of dubious significance at the drop of a hat. Go figure.

        3. Doesn’t that show how low transport is in the priorities of most voters, rather than the popularity of roads in Auckland?

        4. Zippo, I agree that getting the public onside is important.

          “The plan has to take into account political and financial realities as they are now.” Yes, and because the plan also has to take into account the physical limits of our planet, the political reality has to change pronto. Individual citizens can’t do this, but government can.

          What do you think it would take to have the government advertise heavily about how land-use and transport are intricately linked, about what induced traffic means, about why having a car per household is unsustainable, and what road runoff is doing to our waterways? So far we’ve had major advertising from NZTA on subjects like the Waterview Connection, with irresponsible touting of improved travel times and no mention of induced traffic, which really doesn’t help the public’s understanding.

          Responsible stewardship of our world is more important now than ever. If ignorance is stopping that, step one has to be education, not hiding behind ‘political realities’. Building new roads, given what we know, is just stealing from our children.

        5. Well the reality is we’re a democracy. And one with a very low term length. The government is already 1/6 of the way into their term assuming they last the full term. Unless they’re re-elected, many of these projects are going to go by the way side when the next National government comes in and goes back to a road and private car dominated plan.

          As others have said, quite a lot of Auckland does not vote Labour (or Greens) but votes National. How much of this is due to transport and how much is for other reasons is difficult to say. Also we’ve so far avoided a right-wing mayor but the council itself tends to be finely balanced and we shouldn’t assume it can’t happen. And an uncooperative council will also make problems.

          I don’t think we should underestimate the importance of people’s unwillingness for the government to spend their money on something. Especially when it doesn’t directly benefit them. (NIMBYism etc. E.g. there’s no rail in the North Shore so why should my money be spent on rail? Etc etc. Isn’t National’s Northcote candidate someone like this?)

          Also even when people support public transport, we shouldn’t underestimate their possible concurrent support for lots of roads and motorways, since they like to drive or see it as important.

          (Actually despite my strong support for public transport, walking and cycling. I’m someone like that and I don’t even drive much. It’s probably to some extent to do with my upbringing in Malaysia which is road galore, but when people talk about the East-West link or Mills Road or yes the RONS, I’m not the sort of person who thinks ‘what a waste of money’ but that sounds like it would be great to have. Likewise T3 lane, or 2 lane vs 4 lane issues I do tend to favour the more car friendly and bigger and better option. However I do read enough here and elsewhere to be also be willing to accept that in reality a lot of these don’t make sense. And when it comes to either/or, I do generally favour the PT, walking and cycling. But I think there a lot far who lean far more heavily towards cars. Even among the younger generation despite their reduced interest in cars, I wonder whether particularly with the rise of uber etc there’s also an increased focus towards cars. I mean you do get all those ‘PT is dumb in 5 years self-driving cars are going to take over’ people and not all of them are old foggies.)

          And even in the modern world where the traditional media is having problems we shouldn’t underestimate their influence and ability to turn people against a government and its policies. We’ve thankfully so far avoided the extremities of Australia. (I mean seriously, did you see how biased they were against the previous Labor government especially the Murdoch publications?)

          But still I wouldn’t say they’re particularly friendly to much of Labour’s policies and particularly towards public transport, cycling and walking instead of roads. We’ve already seen this to some extent with the petrol tax. I’m sure many who are old enough remember the rates revolt of 2003-2004. There’s a good reason why Phil Goff is trying to hard to stick to his rates promise. For that matter, I think the Grey Lynn fuss is at least in part because of a media beatup. (And they seem to be trying the same with K Road.)

          And even ignoring bias, the problems the media are having means a trend towards sensationalism and click bait. We laugh when it’s “Is The Hobbit trilogy really that bad? Yes – here’s why” but it’s going to start to cause problems when it’s about the government and their plans. Besides if you think the traditional media is bad, have you paid attention to the stuff said on Facebook and Neighbourly? If you think the Stuff commentators are bad…..

          As for educating the public, is there any real reason to think it will work? Government education campaigns even on simple issues tend to be hit and miss. I don’t see a reason why a campaign on a complicated issue will work. I do see a reason why if you push too hard, it’ll be labelled as government propaganda akin to Nazi Germany or Stalin.

          And we shouldn’t think of it as just one issue. Even if this only costs Labour some votes, if they then lose other votes from their ETS changes (there are already grumblings from farmers, don’t forget Myrtle) and other policies (whether you agree with them or not) and other issues, they lose and we’re back to National. I mean even in the previous election there were some issues e.g. the water tax which seemed fairly damaging, and other areas e.g. the promise for no new taxes other than those outlined, no capital gains tax on the family home and not increasing the superannuation age which came about at least in part for electoral reasons.

          BTW, let’s not forget it isn’t just Auckland anyway. Even if Labour wins 75% of the party vote in Auckland, it’s not going to mean much if National wins 75% of the party vote in the rest of NZ. (Yes there’s no way this will even happen in practice.) Likewise it’s not just the areas where Labour is currently winning. Even if these is no loss of the party vote in Te Atatu or other areas where Labour currently ‘wins’, if there’s no gain and if there is a loss of the party vote in places where Labour is already doing badly (e.g. much of East Auckland) it could cost Labour the election. Plus it’s not even those who do vote but those who don’t vote. We are currently still quite high compared to much of the developed world in voter turnout, still there are a lot of people who don’t vote. If enough people are turned off and don’t vote anyone, or if enough people who didn’t vote start turning up and voting National, things could easily change.

          In other words the realities of living in a democracy means that yes there is a political risk and the government could easily lose the next election at least in part due to getting things wrong here. Yes you could say a more aspirational government has more chance of success, trying to hard to please everyone tends to result in something which pleases no one and loses the election, etc etc. So I’m not saying that all their decisions, compromises etc were necessary or right, simply that we can’t imagine we live in a society where such considerations don’t matter. We’re no Singapore.

          (And for all Bridges’ promises, I think many of us have seen enough to be fairly sure National still won’t be that friendly towards public transport, cycling and walking.)

        6. Just realised I somehow forgot the government’s ban on new exploration permits. Whatever you think of this and how it was handled, you can see the strongly negative press and apparent public perception for something who’s short term effect is very unclear and likely negative effects on most of New Zealand also seems unclear but probably limited. As I said before, I’m not saying this one issue is going to cost the government the election, but a bunch of things may. I think there are good reasons to believe you only have so much political capital to spend. (Although at least with the PT vs roads issue there is some potential for it working both ways.)

        7. @JBM “…most of Auckland votes National.” – These voters are realising how important non road solutions are becoming for a big city & are changing their votes or moving out of the city. They are realising that the solutions used for Auckland of decades past have not worked.

  16. Zippo, I have a very long memory and I can’t remember a single government that was defeated because they failed to build sufficient roads. I can’t remember a time when roads was an area that even polled highly with the electorate.

    On the other side of the coin when NZ reports its greenhouse emissions for 2020 and we don’t meet the target are our trading partners going to take any action against us just as some UK traders have taken with respect to air miles for food? How are NZers going to react to regular extreme weather events caused by climate change?.

    I suspect the balance of the political argument lies with the government addressing as Adern says, a problem that is defining for our generation. I note that President Macron saw it as sufficiently important that he addressed the US Congress regarding it.

    And don’t forget that Simon Bridges has charted a new more environmentally friendly approach for National. Who knows, but they may stumble over greenhouse emissions as an area worth addressing?

    1. The previous government spent almost the entire transport budget on roads and consistently opposed any PT improvements. It delayed the electrification of Auckland’s trains and attempted to sabotage the CRL. The RONs was one of the National goverments flagship policies. It won three elections in a row and maintained very high poll ratings over its whole period in government. This is what you’re up against, a lot of people in NZ have no time at all for any transport solution other than roads and the Coalition government has tread carefully when it’s trying to make changes after years and years of roads only.

      1. Zippo, simply not true that people were voting for Rons. Go to the National policy page for 2017. Scroll down until you can find something about transport. And then scroll down until you find the stuff about Rons and then tell me that it was important. It wouldn’t be buried on line 3069 if it was at all important.

        1. I don’t think we can say it wasn’t important just from that. I imagine anyone designing a policy page knows that most people are never going to read it. You target only those who do. In fact not only those who read it, but those you think you have a chance of changing their minds with the info on your policy page. What matters to them, may not be the same as what matters to the general public.

          For the rest, they make up their minds in other ways. As I said in more detail in a post above, I don’t see how we can be sure that Nationals transportation policies particularly their RONS wasn’t a reasonable factor. And it’s not simply not building enough roads anyway. If someone feels their car commute is taking to long, or feels the government is wasting money on this silly light rail or silly walking/cycling initiatives, or gets pissed off when Dominion Road or the North West motorway is disrupted due to construction for light rail.

          I don’t really understand why your bring up 2020 anyway. Sure we have to deal with climate change. But there’s almost no chance the governments ATAP 2.0 plans would have helped us meet our 2020 goals if we weren’t going to already. The gains and losses here are really only going to be felt in ~2022 and mostly later. Well unless you’re suggesting they start to ban private cars or something but if they did that I think we’ll either have a new Bridges-Peters government or a new election tomorrow.

          BTW, if you’re thinking this solely from a GHG emission thing, remember that there are plenty of people who think electric self driving cars are going to solve everything. Combined with those who only think one and something else e.g. climate change is a load of crock. I’m not saying they’re right, simply that they exist and vote.

          As I said above, we can debate aspirational vs compromise, or whether the right compromises were made. But you can’t ignore the realities that somehow or other the government has to ensure they can be re-elected in 2020 and every vote counts. And even if you think National is going to turn into a public transport, walking and cycling supporting party, I think most politicians thinks they will do the better job and so are willing to make some decisions they feel are wrong if it means they’re more likely to be re-elected. Personally I’m willing to accept that provided they don’t go too far.

  17. Possibly a naive question, but is it possible that all of this could be gone if Labour lose the next general election? Or is there more certainty about these projects that isn’t dependent on the whims of the polling booths?

    1. Very strong, LRT will still be in the planning stages during the next election, so there will be plenty of opportunity to cancel it.
      Although I suspect, the business case process will do that anyway, or we will see a lower than one BCR for it

  18. I think the red busway sections should aspire to be light rail, for example Onehunga to New Lynn. I’d take over the rail line up to Penrose and Ellerslie – and across.

    Same with Puhinui to Airport – should be light rail. All these different modes…! If LR is the new favourite, then try to create a mini-network incuding to Botany, Panmure etc. There could be varying route variations for city, cross-town and airport journeys.

    Maybe the business case to do LR incrementally (once the expertise is there) will make it more expensive not to follow the obvious in-fill sections…

    And good news on 3/4th mains, but needed sooner and as a big bang.

  19. Why not run connect the existing rail at Manukau and/or Onehunga to the airport rather than end up with 3 different transit systems in the area? Could also use the existing protected corridor from Onehunga to New Lynn to connect that rail corridor too. Surely we should only introduce different modes where there is no existing one.
    How come only the north ends up with toll roads? I live centrally so it doesn’t really affect me but surely we’d be better to extend the tolling to a much greater portion of the road network, especially the highways. It’d be relatively easy to then extend it to differential tolling based on time of day etc. Fuel taxes are such a blunt instrument and it seems unfair a family in an old, inefficient, car which is all they can afford pays more than a new Tesla they’ll never be able to afford!

    1. “How come only the north ends up with toll roads?” – IIRC – Penlink didn’t stack up benefit cost wise so was only considered if done as a PPP with the toll recovering the costs.

      1. incorrect. It did stack up on a BCR basis however because of the time savings it will create for users given the alternative it is seen as an easy target to do as a toll-road. This is especially true when you consider that people on the HBC are well used to using toll-roads with the Orewa-Puhoi tollroad (which is almost assured to be running the same system) already.

        Where you might have a point is that if it wasn’t a toll-road then the council would have preferred to spend the money elsewhere but a toll-road makes it a good choice.

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