Every weekend we dig into the archives. This post by Peter was first published in September 2015.

Last week, I took a look at some new research from the Netherlands that estimated the benefits of public transport for car travel times based on data from 13 “natural experiments” – public transport strikes. The Dutch researchers found that PT provided significant congestion reduction benefits – around €95 million per annum, equal to 47% of PT fare subsidies.

While the data was specific to Rotterdam, I’d expect to find similar results in most other cities with half-decent public transport networks. The whole thing got me wondering: Is there any similar evidence from New Zealand?

Fortunately for PT users and drivers, but unfortunately for researchers, potential PT strikes have mostly been averted over the last few years. However, Wellington did experience a “natural experiment” of sorts back in June 2013, when a major storm washed out the Hutt Valley railway line:

Source: NZTA
Source: NZTA

The Hutt Valley rail line was out for six days, including four working days. During that period, things got pretty ugly on the roads, as the motorway into downtown Wellington didn’t have enough capacity to accommodate people who ordinarily commuted in by train.

The Ministry of Transport (among others) very cleverly observed that this was a great opportunity to learn something about the impact of PT networks on road congestion. During the rail outage, they surveyed around 1,000 Wellington commuters about their travel experiences. According to their report, they found that:

  • The closure of the Hutt Valley rail line put significant pressure on the road network. Delays for commuters were most severe on the Monday following the storm. Traffic on State Highway 2 was severely congested, with morning peak hour conditions lasting two hours longer than usual
    • 80 percent of Wellington commuters from the Hutt Valley and Wairarapa experienced a longer than usual trip
    • 32 percent of them experienced delays of over an hour
  • the severity of commuter delays lessened over the week, with the number of commuters from the Hutt Valley and Wairarapa experiencing delays of over an hour halving by Wednesday 26 June

Essentially, what happened was that a bunch of people who ordinarily caught the train from the Hutt Valley couldn’t do that due to the storm damage. A quick eyeballing of MoT’s graph of daily rail patronage suggests that around 4,000 people had to make other travel arrangements:

Wellington storm daily train patronage

Almost half of the rail commuters from the Hutt Valley opted to drive instead, while the remainder chose to take replacement buses or to stay at home instead. This had a serious impact on motorway traffic, as shown on this graph of hourly southbound traffic volumes. On a normal day (the green or blue lines), traffic volumes peak at around 7-8am, and fall off sharply after that.

By contrast, on Monday 24 June, when the rail line was out, people were still travelling in (slowly) until almost 11am. That’s some serious congestion:

Wellington storm hourly vehicle flows

Based on survey data, MoT estimated that the storm damage increased average travel times during the morning peak by 0.329 hours (20 minutes) on Friday 21 June, 0.309 hours (18.5 minutes) on Monday 24 June, and 0.230 hours (14 minutes) on Wednesday 26 June. It then used those estimates of average delay for people travelling at peak time to estimate the added cost of congestion that arose as a result of the Hutt Valley rail line outage:

Wellington storm cost of increased travel time

In short, a four-day breakdown in part of Wellington’s public transport network cost morning peak travellers around $2.66 million in lost time. If we assume that there was a similar level of delay during the afternoon peak, when people are commuting out of downtown Wellington, the total cost would be roughly double that – $5.32 million.

This can give us a rough estimate of the value of public transport for congestion relief in Wellington. Extrapolated out over a full year (i.e. 250 working days), these results suggest that the Hutt Valley rail line saves drivers the equivalent of around $330 million in travel time (i.e. $5.32m / 4 days * 250 working days).

That is a very large number. According to an Auckland Transport report comparing Auckland and Wellington rail performance, Wellington’s overall rail network only cost $81.2 million to operate in 2013. 56% of operating costs were covered by fares, meaning that the total public subsidy for the network is around $36 million per annum.

On the back of these figures, it looks like Wellington’s drivers are getting a fantastic return from using some fuel taxes to pay for PT rather than more roads. The travel time savings associated with the Hutt Valley line alone are nine times as large as the operating subsidy for the entire Wellington rail network.

There are two caveats worth applying to these figures, one practical and one methodological.

First, it’s likely that the value of rail for congestion relief is unusually high in Wellington due to the shape of the city. Here’s a map of Wellington’s population density and infrastructure in 2001 and 2013 (from my analysis of urban population density). Dormitory suburbs extend linearly up the Hutt Valley and towards Porirua and the Kapiti Coast. Everyone travelling from those places to downtown Wellington are funnelled through a single transport corridor running along the shoreline of the harbour:

Wellington density 01-13 v2

In Wellington, losing the rail line means pushing everyone onto a single road. (Unlike Rotterdam, cycling isn’t especially viable due to the lack of safe infrastructure on this route.) In other cities, there tend to be a greater range of alternative routes, which spreads around the traffic impacts.

Second, these results aren’t as robust as the Rotterdam study, due to their use of survey data rather than quantitative measures of traffic flow and speed. They’re not likely to be totally wrong, but it’s likely that people over- or under-estimated commute times, or that the survey wasn’t representative of all travellers (which could invalidate MoT’s extrapolation to all morning peak travellers).

However, the increasing availability of real-time data on traffic speeds from GPS devices means that the next time this happens, it will be possible to measure the impacts in much greater detail and with greater precision. The Rotterdam study offers some good methodological insight into how best to do that – it looks at transport outcomes at specific locations over a long period of time, and controls for seasonal and weekday effects that may influence transport outcomes.

Lastly, it would be really interesting to see some similar analysis done for Auckland. I’m sure that there have been a number of full or partial rail network outages, either due to bad weather or scheduled track upgrades. Perhaps it would be worth taking a look at congestion on those days.

Share this

31 comments

  1. Of course this “study” is really only comparing the investment in the Hutt Valley rail line vs not investing in any transport improvements.

    The 2004 Wellington Commuter Rail Network Business Case (that has never been published) outlined the 25 year cost of keeping the rail network running was over $2 Billion (including $750 Million in Capital Costs). About half this was for rail services to the Hutt Valley and so one could assume that, should the rail line not have had literally hundreds of millions spent on it, this money would be available for spending on alternative road transport improvements.

    The Petone to Grenada link road, for example, would cost a lot less than this and, if it was built, would have provided some additional alternative capacity to the Hutt Valley that would mean loss of transport capacity on the SH2 Petone to Ngarunga transport link would not have such an impact. There have also been plans to build a fifth lane on this chronically congested part of the highway network that have come to nothing. Can Rail PT advocates that claim rail is such a great alternative explain why the vast majority of commuters from the Hutt Valley continue to choose to drive through such peak time chronic congestion rather than “take the train” ?

    I am not saying that the 2013 storm damage to the rail line doesn’t give some insight to the role that the rail network has as an alternative to driving. But the claim “… it looks like Wellington’s drivers are getting a fantastic return from using some fuel taxes to pay for PT rather than more roads. The travel time savings associated with the Hutt Valley line alone are nine times as large as the operating subsidy for the entire Wellington rail network” is simply not true because you are comparing apples with no apples rather than doing an apples for apples comparison of investment in rail PT vs investment in extra roading capacity.

    1. Maybe lots of Hutt Valley commuters continue to drive, over taking the train, because the train station is on the arse end of the City.

      So once you arrive on your train you still have to fight your way on surface streets with no practical bus [or pedestrian] priority to your actual destination.

      So many probably think they might as well drive the whole way. The PT system in Wellington suffers from extreme disjointedness due to the physical separation of the Railway station from the rest of the network. And logical seperation due to KR running the trains and someone else the buses.

      If money is going to be spent on fixing something, then sorting out the train station and its links to the network is the first place to start. Secondly is to get some joined up thinking and a coordinated in the GWRC on the entire network. The debacle with the new network a good case in point of how not to do something.

      Right now GWRC make AT look like absolute masters of PT – and thats a pretty low bar to be aiming at.

      Yes it might COST $2B to run the Wellington trains for 25 years. But $2B of road improvements won’t go far, nor last 25 years.

      Because as is shown here, the roads simply can’t cope when the trains are not running. And the reason is that each rail line [or which there are two – 1 to/1 from Hutt Valley] can at peak times move the equivalent of 10 lanes of motorway. So for cost effectiveness there is almost nothing that can offer a better return for your buck.

      As for spending money on building, roads and roads and yet more roads.

      The issue with that approach is that [officially denied] induced traffic that these road projects cause never ever goes away, so the road fills up far quicker than expected and you’re back to square one in short order. Time for some more spending on yet more roads or more widening.

      Wellington and the rest of country has tried that experiment for the last 60 years, it hasn’t worked very well. So why will doubling down on it, suddenly make it work?

      As for time travel savings justifying the rail network cost. Well it is apples for apples because that is EXACTLY how NZTA justified the building of the many of the motorway widening and extension projects and of course the massively expensive RoNS.

      If roads want to Live by the travel times savings sword, then they shall die by the same sword.

    2. Are you so sure on your statement? According to the latest traffic counts I can find there 4,800 morning peak commuters (two-hour) from Upper Hutt and Lower Hutt heading down SH2 toward Ngauranga.

      And from what I can glean from the Metlink patronage reports, it’s about 4,400 on the Hutt line at the same time.

      So actually it’s a pretty much even split between commuters in cars and commuters in the train. Add in the buses running down the same corridor and I’d expect at peak times, car drivers would be the minority.

      You should also apply the same multi decade assessment to the roads. For example the Transmission gully motorway is described as a $850m dollar project (2014 NPV). That might describe the initial build. However, it’s funded through a PPP covering capex, opex and cost of capital. The government payment to the contractor for this deal is $125m per year for 25 years. Which is $3.1b dollars.

      So lets ask that question, over the next 25 years the whole wellington rail network costs only 2/3rds of one motorway extension. Hmmm.

      1. I’m not sure from where you are getting your figures. I frequently refer to the 2013 Census Wellington Journey to Work Report (http://www.gw.govt.nz/assets/Transport/Regional-transport/Regional-Transport-Analysis/2013-Census-JTW-Analysis-Document.pdf).
        If you add up the figures the 2013 Census data shows highway based travel from Wairarapa, Upper Hutt and Lower Hutt into Wellington to be Road vehicle (including bus): 11,217; Train: 6,087.

        Also important to my comment about the Petone to Grenada Link road is the observation is that 1,893 travelled from Lower Hutt South and Eastern Bay (presumably also via Ngarunga) to work in Porirua or Wellington North but (unsurpringly) only 9 did so by train.

        1. Given the ridiculous and archaic ticketing used on Wellington trains it’s no surprise at all. A paper monthly ticket for the Hutt line can’t be used on the Kapiti line and so requires another paper ticket for that part of the trip.

        2. There (at least two) major flaws with using Journey to Work from the 2013 (or earlier) census you quote.

          1. It applies only for those who travelled to work on Census day, it excludes everyone else. Those who may have travelled on the day but who did not do so for work purposes. This data-set excludes students travelling for education purposes, people travelling for shopping/leisure or other activities such as medical treatment. Whether they travelled at peak times or other times are all irrelevant and not included.

          2. For those in work, it only asks about the single mode you mainly used on your journey to work, if you make multiple hops on your journey – an obvious one of those is you drive your car from Wairarapa and park in the Hutt Valley (or elsewhere) then catch the train [as the train fare is cheaper than the costs of parking your car in the CBD], You would only record car travel as your main mode.

          The “main” mode criteria is based on the mode you used to cover the furthest distance of your journey to work. Not the one you used last or spent the most time of your journey in.

          These combine to skew the actual situation heavily towards car travel appearing to be dominant when it is not.

          Hence these explain why your figures you quote and the conclusions you draw from them are so utterly crap.

      2. I’m getting my figures from exactly where I said I got them from, NZTA traffic counts and Metlink patronage reports.

        These count all travel at peak times in the corridor, not just workers, and not just journey-to-workers who answered the census question with a correct home address and work address.

    3. “doing an apples for apples comparison of investment in rail PT vs investment in extra roading capacity.”

      What figures for traffic numbers would be used to compare apples with apples? NZTA’s modelling? Ha! They don’t include in their modelling the extra person-trips induced by the extra roading. So how could you actually try compare apples with apples – with all factors such as carbon emissions, road runoff water pollution, air pollution, physical inactivity, DSI, agglomeration, social health, travel times for pedestrians – using inaccurate trip number and vkt forecasts?

  2. There is to much analyzing and nit picking about car v PT for Wellington city.

    The reality is, Wellington is the south end of the regional and national road and rail networks and is located in restraint topography making it not car friendly but PT, walking and cycling friendly.

    Yes, bulk of car and PT movements is for work into and from the Wellington central city zone, followed by car and PT movements to the airport and the regional hospital, as It has been like this since 1839 and despite all the arm chair urbanists and technocrats betting their gums to try resolve the problem by fitting a round peg in a square hole.

    The reality is, unless a few hills are flattened and waste dumped into the harbour to increase flat land to allow increase car parking space, NZTA, GRWC, etc has to make do with what is available. Wellington doesn’t need more 1 person cars into the city for work.

    Unfortunately, over the years there has been alot of talk and very little action to resolve Wellington traffic and PT issues and in most cases, being placed in the ‘to Hard’ basket or with expensive short term band aid fixes, like the current expensive so called rapid bus network, the current Karo Drive bypass, etc.

    The money spent of the city two rail corridors is cheaper than building more roads to allow workers to their cars in the Wellington CBD, with the exception of the State Highway 1 inner city bypass between the Terrance and Mt Victoria tunnels to deflect non essential traffic away from the Wellington central city zone.

    The Government, NZTA, GRWC, etc needs to start developing long term funding plans for Wellington, with the emphasis on PT planning, like building the 4th rail line at Wellington railway station for rail movements, restoring the old bus network and enhancing it for the Northwestern suburbs to allow more streamline frequent PT, introduce a fully integrated regional bus/train/ferry payment/ticketing system, for the Wellington City Council to ban non-essential traffic from central city zone to allow better flow of bus movements instead of the current bus bunching as proposed since the mid 1960’s and the completion of State Highway 1 inner city bypass link between the Terrance and Mt Victoria tunnels to deflect non essential traffic away from the Wellington central city zone.

    Until this is done, Wellington city will slowly come to grinding halt with chronic traffic congestion.

    1. The solution to traffic congestion is simple in concept: get people out of low-occupancy vehicles (eg single-occupancy cars). This can be into high-occupancy vehicles (eg buses), into non-vehicle modes (eg walking, cycling), non-road modes (eg trains), or using non-transport options (eg working from home). But the practice may be slightly harder…

      Most of your suggestions head in this direction, which is good – but then you risk undoing it all by encouraging low-occupancy cars with the expansion (not “completion” – from a road-building perspective, roads are never complete) of SH1.

      1. It has been the plan since the mid 1960’s and it is still being debated with little action in making serious decisions and long funding commitments.

        At least after 60 years of talking about it, funding has been approved to double track the Hutt lIne between Wallaceville and Trentham, but it is still a long way to what it should be despite all the reports, decisions, etc that have been done over the years..

        Still need to get the 4th rail line at Wellington railway station done, introduce region wide integrated bus/rail/ferry payment ticking system, sorted out the new shambolic expensive rapid bus system and complete State Highway 1 missing inner city bypass between the Terrace and Mt Victoria tunnels.

        One thing that needs to be done quickly, is to future proof the Hutt Line between Ngahauranga and Petone against rising sea levels due to climate change. The way things get done in Wellington, the rail line will be covered by the sea before funding to protect it, is approved.

        1. You’d probably be better on this forum cutting out the “It has been the plan since the mid 1960’s” stuff, Kris. Think of all the public transport elements of the transport plans for Auckland over the last 60 years that were consistently left undone while the roading elements went ahead. In Auckland I think we have a centenary of the CRL coming up in 2023 – and that’s obviously not for when it opened.

          It is good urban form, land use, social, environmental and efficiency considerations that need to form the backbone of planning, not plans from the 1960s.

          1. Also, the 1960’s plan for Wellington included CBD extension of heavy rail. The “foothills motorway” at least got half-built. The rail extension got forgotten.
            Time for some serious catch-up.

          2. Heidi – Why shouldn’t stop quoting “It has been the plan since the mid 1960’s” stuff?

            Unlike Auckland, things in Wellington move more slowly than in Auckland and any suggestions to improve the quality of living in Wellington is talked about and then shelved or place in the too hard basket, despite being the seat of government.

          3. Dave B (Wellington) – you forgot the double tracking of the Hutt Line between Wallaceville and Trentham, At least that now has funding.

            I think that snails move quicker in Wellington than any major projects 🙂

          4. Kris: because;
            a) the expansion of SH1 between the tunnels hasn’t been the plan since the mid 1960s. It’s been talked about, but to the best of my knowledge it’s never made an adopted plan: it’s not in the current relevant plan, the Ngauranga to Airport Corridor Plan (though of course the much-delayed LGWM proposals may change this, when they eventually appear, and assuming that they are adopted in a formal plan).
            b) even if it had been in the plans for 50 years, that it has never actually made the cut would hardly be a ringing endorsement for doing it now (or ever).
            c) the world is a very different place from the 1960s, and what may have seemed like a good idea then (though not a good enough idea to actually be adopted) is irrelevant now.

          5. Mike M – The final preferred recommendation from Lets Get Wellington Moving survey that came out this year, is in essence the original plan was outlined in the De Leuw Cather 1963 Report and the Burrell 1980 Report. NZTA has already have comprehensive plans and have purchased the necessary land.

            The Karo Drive bypass is a very water down version of the original trench system proposed in the 2 reports.

            Todate, nobody has come up with a practical alternative to the De Leuw Cather and the Burrell Report 1980 Reports, except going on about cycle ways, and LR, which is not going to solve the increasing traffic congestion at the Basin Reserve and in the central city zone.

          6. Kris – I haven’t seen your plans for making sure that every route through the area has no capacity added. It will involve road blockages and diets. If you can do that, your idea might work. At great cost, but at least without inducing traffic. Can you work on providing a plan like that? Then I might swing around to your side, for the placemaking benefits it could provide.

          7. Kris – de Lew and Cather didn’t have to pay for these roads they are just a plan. Also they didn’t have congestion charging as an option for managing traffic volumes.

            I agree that traffic could be made to flow around the Basin and Mt Victoria tunnel area a lot better, but the costs will likely drain any other projects in the Wellington region for a long time.

          8. Kris, LGWM has not yet made any recommendations (let alone a “final preferred” one), and there have been lots of proposals made since the 1960s/80s.

            Modern plans have much wider aims than that era’s obsession with “solving” traffic congestion, which is something that road-building schemes rarely actually achieve – what they generally do is generate demands for further road building to “solve” the congestion and other issues that they create.

          9. Heidi, Jezza & Mike B – Here is the latest of on LGWM proposal – https://www.stuff.co.nz/dominion-post/news/wellington/108528239/brakes-put-on-public-release-of-plan-to-get-wellingtons-congested-traffic-moving

            The land is already purchased to build and/or finish the State Highway 1S inner city bypass between the Terrace and Mt Victoria tunnels.

            Heidi & Jezza – Have read this from LGWM – http://www.getwellymoving.co.nz/assets/Uploads/Wellington-Transport-History-20-04.pdf

  3. I haven’t got time just now to try and critique Wellington Commuter’s 2013 figures, since the Appendices containing the data are not in the link he provides and would have to be hunted for.

    However, the 2015 GWRC Regional Land Transport Plan clearly states that, “The rail network accounts for some 45% of journey to work trips from local authority areas other than Wellington City to destination workplaces within the Wellington CBD, . . .” http://www.gw.govt.nz/assets/Transport/Regional-transport/Wgtn-RLTP-2015.pdf (Note: 11MB, scroll to p23)

    So Rail carries a massive 45% of all commuters from the rest of the region into Wellington – i.e. over the main corridors that it serves. (Let’s not get into fatuous arguments over why rail doesn’t perform so well in the corridors it doesn’t serve).

    This figure closely validates the data quoted by Nick R above.

    Wellington Commuter, I suspect your census figures are not providing directly comparable information but without seeing the data it is hard to say. Can you find a link to the appendices referred to in the GWRC JTW Analysis Document report you have pointed us to?

    1. HI Dave

      Apoligies, here is the link to the 2013 Census Wellington Journey to Work Analysis tables from the GWRC: http://www.gw.govt.nz/assets/Transport/Regional-transport/Regional-Transport-Analysis/2013-Census-JTW-Analysis-Appendices.pdf

      Secondly, of course the GWRC report would highlight the importance of trains in the Wellington PT service … they pretty well only invest in rail services and have done nothing to improve the bus service. Therefor they have to sell it by making claims like the statement you reflect being “Rail carries a massive 45% of all commuters from the rest of the region into Wellington … “.

      The first point is the 2013 Census Journey to Work data does not support this high level. It states the % by rail is 37%

      Even more importantly, only 30% of commuters come from outside Wellington City. Yes rail is also used from within Wellington City (notably from Tawa) but really trains only carries 15% of commuters to work in the CBD which is the same % as buses.

      Here are the rest of the rail figures from the 2013 Census which are even less impressive for rail:
      * Rail from Wellington City Northern Suburbs to Wellington Central: 16%
      * Rail From Wellington City Suburbs to other Suburbs: 1%
      * Rail From Wellington City to Other parts of the Wellington Region: 3%
      * Rail Between Other parts of the Wellington Region: 1%

      But also note the importance of the bus service that has been so neglected by the GWRC;
      * Bus from Wellington City East to CBD: 33%
      * Bus from Wellington City South to CBD: 25%
      * Bus from Wellington City West to CBD:
      * Bus from Wellington City North (that also has the Johnsonville Line) to CBD:
      * Bus from the Other Regions to CBD: 4%

      Yes, rail IS important to support access work access from areas to the north into the Wellington CBD but the bus service carries as many as well as carrying more areas outside the CBD and this is what really lifts PT usage to Wellington’s high levels.

      Last but not least, I do want to return to my original point which is the storm outage does not really justify or show the importance of the rail network because it ignores what other transport investment could have been made if the hundred of millions had not and was not spent on Wellington passenger rail.

      1. Hi Wellington Commuter. Thanks for the link to that data.

        I have had a look at the census figures and yes you are right, and yet no you are not right. So please bear with me:

        Considering all of: Tawa-Porirua-Kapiti and Hutt-Wainuiomata-Wairarapa as the ORIGIN
        And: Wellington CBD, Wellington-North, – South, – East and -West as DESTINATIONS

        And considering: (Private auto) + (Company auto) + (Car passenger) = Car total
        And considering: Train and Public-bus, but ignoring motorcycles and non-motorised modes

        Then rail clearly shows a market-share of 45% from all the considered-origins to Wellington CBD (10,617 out of 23,496). This is presumably where GWRC gets its 45% figure for the RLTP. And it is truly a “massively high figure” for the particular corridors that must be construed as ending at Wellington Station.

        But expectably, rail’s proportion drops to a still-respectable 36% if you consider journeys from those origins to all five Wellington destinations, most of which rail doesn’t even serve.

        So does this not just confirm for us that rail works very well over the corridors that it serves and within a certain catchment-radius from stations, but – Surprise, Surprise – it doesn’t work so well where it doesn’t exist? It irks, how often this fact is misapplied and used as a contrivance to down-play rail’s real value.

        As regards comparison with buses, the only equivalent comparison worth making is between the Johnsonville Line and the various bus services linking Wellington’s Northern Suburbs to the CBD. Here, rail appears to have a much poorer showing (963 journeys compared to 2,466 by bus, and out of 9,024 (10.7%) total including car), but this is comparing one rail line with several bus lines which again serve areas which rail doesn’t reach (Newlands, Churton Park etc), but more-crucially, which penetrate further into the CBD than rail does. This is not a weakness of rail as a mode; simply of the way its potential has been hamstrung by neglectful policies over many decades. The fact that it is as successful as it is – in spite of the penalty of Wellington Station being the sole access point for the entire CBD and all points south – tells us much about rail’s undeniable effectiveness and how much more-effective it could be if extended.

        And yes, I sure would love to know how 174 people in the data claim to have travelled by train from the rail-less Eastern, Southern and Western suburbs to the CBD on census day. Or how another 15 say they travelled within the CBD by train! Wishful thinking perhaps.

        I urge caution in claiming that GWRC has done nothing to improve the bus service. This may be true of late thanks to their ill-advised decisions, but historically the entire bus fleet has been renewed several-times-over during the decades when rail was starved of funding.
        The English Electric units were over 60 years old before they were finally retired, and wooden traction-poles of a similar vintage may still be lurking out there waiting to be renewed!

        And likewise, the ‘hundreds of millions’ that have gone into improving rail recently, and which might be construed as robbing from the roads-budget, are actually a very small amount when spread over those lean decades, during which time little was spent on rail and much was spent on roads.

  4. LOL, points for the effort put in to support your belief that passenger rail is the best thing since sliced bread … although sliced bread was invested after passenger rail (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sliced_bread).

    But your calculate to justify the GWRC claim that “The rail network accounts for some 45% of journey to work trips from local authority areas other than Wellington City to destination workplaces within the Wellington CBD …” is still wrong as follows:

    1) “Tawa-Porirua-Kapiti and Hutt-Wainuiomata-Wairarapa as the ORIGIN” – sorry, but Tawa is still part of Wellington City and so trips from there cannot be considered “from local authority areas other than Wellington City”

    2) “Wellington CBD, Wellington-North, – South, – East and -West as DESTINATIONS” – Sorry but “Wellington-North, – South, – East and –West” cannot be considered “to destination workplaces within the Wellington CBD”

    3) “but ignoring motorcycles and non-motorised modes” – Sorry but these are valid “journey to work trips” and so need to be included

    4) I will concede that the Census figures for the following categories should be excluded “Did not go to Work”, “Works at Home” and “Not Stated” from the Census Trip Total

    The above therefor give the adjusted % figure for “journey to work trips from local authority areas other than Wellington City to destination workplaces within the Wellington CBD” of … wait for it … 45% 😉

    1. Don’t you just love these arguments :o)

      1) Wellington Commuter, you are correct about Tawa somewhat perversely being part of the Wellington local-authority area. As soon as I pressed “Post” on my previous posting I realized that commuters from there to Wellington would not count in GWRC’s “45%” claim, and that you would probably pounce on this (Well spotted!). But this is an administrative distinction only. In terms of actual commuters in actual trains barrelling under-the-hill into the CBD instead of adding to traffic volumes on the motorway or other parallel roads, then of course those from Tawa should count. Arguably without the rail, the 12,879 commuters currently coming in by road from the rest of the region would be joined by the 10,617 currently coming in by rail – i.e. a 182% increase in CBD commuters coming by road!

      2) Excluding Wellington suburban destinations from the commuter-count makes no difference to the 45% rail commuter-market-share, as this is only counted over those bound for the CBD. Including them pushes the rail-patronage figures from 10,617 to 11,040 (few from elsewhere in the region who work in Wellington’s suburbs come in by train) but it pushes car-user figures from 11,694 to 18,303 (most from elsewhere in the region who work in Wellington’s suburbs get there by car). This big increase in the count of car-journeys is what reduces the rail market share from 45% to 36%, but this is still impressive given that rail is at a disadvantage to road in not serving most suburban areas. Connect rail through to Newtown, Kilbirnie and the Airport and watch those patronage numbers soar!!

      3) Motorcycles and non-motorised modes are not a major determinant in decisions such as whether to expand the roading network or to expand the rail network. So although they are valid for counting as journeys-to-work, they are not really relevant in this argument (unless enough people switch to them that neither of the expensive modes need expanding!).

      1. Another mistake on my part above: 12,879 increasing by 10,617 is an 82% increase, not a 182% increase. However the new total of 23,496 is 182% of the original 12,879 figure.

        Just to re-cap: According to 2013 census data:-

        10,617 was the number of rail-commuters to Wellington CBD from elsewhere in the region (including Tawa)

        12,879 was the number road-commuters to Wellington CBD from elsewhere in the region (including Tawa)

        If the rail service ceased to operate, then potentially the 10,617 would add to the 12,879 giving the above percentage increase in road commuters heading to the CBD from elsewhere in the region (including jolly old Tawa)

        These figures do not include commuters heading to non-CBD Wellington-destinations, of whom there are many by road but few by rail.

        And of course these figures are likely to be way out of date since it is now 2018.

Leave a Reply