We were pretty excited back in April when we saw the outcome of the Auckland Transport Alignment Project, which will see significant development of our transport network, and especially our public transport system, over the next decade. That was backed up in May with the release of the draft Regional Land Transport Programme (RLTP) which listed in more detail which projects would be funded over the coming decade. But over the course of a decade there’s a good chance we’ll see the political landscape change. A future government or council could cut funding meaning a project not due to be funded for nine years may never get funded.
Yesterday the Auckland Transport board meet and approved the RLTP.
At the @AklTransport board they’ve approved the regional land transport plan. With one change: “city to airport” light rail will now be referred to as “city centre to Mangere”. Sensible.
— Simon Wilson (@simonbwilson) June 20, 2018
Unlike with the draft, this time the list of capital projects breaks down the plans into what year/s they are expected to be funded over. As you’d expect, there are some interesting outcomes.
With other agencies taking over most of the big PT projects like City Rail Link, Light Rail and some busways), that leaves AT to focus on the Eastern Busway and other bus improvements.
There are also other bus projects, such as double decker mitigation, rolling our infrastructure to support electric buses and the addition of bus lanes to existing roads.
You can really see the impact the City Rail Link is having on the programme of rail works. With the CRL due to open in 2024, there’s clearly a need to get the wider network improved before then so that more services can be run. This can be most plainly seen in the Kiwrail list of projects. Within the $990m of projects over the decade, $794m will completed by 2024 including electrification to Pukekohe along the third main between Otahuhu and Wiri.
In addition to the physical infrastructure, the second tranche of electric trains are due to arrive by 2020 and the third tranche should be here by 2026. With $258 million budgeted, that could suggest up to another 32 trains for the network.
Funding for light rail is spread over the years from 2018/19 to 2026/27 with the largest amount in 2020/21 – although I imagine the exact timing will be refined as the project progresses.
The biggest piece of news for cycling is that Skypath should be open in around 2022.
For the rest of the programme, as we’ve discussed before there’s millions missing from the cycling budget as AT seem to be counting projects from the Urban Cycleway Programme, which were meant to be completed by the end of this month, in the figures for the next few years. You can see from the graph below that funding really falls off after the first three years. Given there’ll be a new version of the RLTP at that time, correcting this will need to be a key focus.
The plan has plenty of investment in local roads and a bunch of decent sized projects are due to kick off almost right away. These include:
- Glenvar Road/East Coast Road intersection and
- Lake Road/Esmonde Road Improvements
- Lincoln Road Corridor Improvements
- Matakana Link Road
Due to the number of items, I’ve put the individual projects into some fairly broad groups
The plans still contain plenty of state highway projects. Here I’ve just grouped them together but they range from large motorway projects, like the Northern Corridor (which includes the busway) down to small projects like intersection improvements on some of the rural state highways.
Finally, there were a number of projects that didn’t really fall into the categories above, I’m not going to bother graphing them but I will call a couple out.
Improvements Complementing Developments
Programme to allow Auckland Transport to proactively work with developers to improve transport outcomes associated with new developments
This is a project that isn’t fully funded till 2021/22 yet it seems like something that would be important to start doing as soon as possible, similarly, also not funded till 2021/22 is:
Transport Demand Forecasting Models Update
Build and calibrate new Land Use, Transport Demand Forecasting, and Traffic Model Network system following 2018 Census update. This is a joint project between the New Zealand Transport Agency
Given our over-reliance on modelling, you’d think it would be a priority to get it right.