Tomorrow the Auckland Transport board meet again and here are the most interesting bits from their board papers.
There doesn’t seem lot of interesting items on the closed agenda this meeting with most of the items relating to more clerical issues such as a procurement policy or budget template.The only thing of note is the New Bus Network Design for Waiheke Island.
Here what I think are the most interesting bits from the main business report.
Airport to Botany – one of the big unknowns with this project is how the busway it will travel through Manukau and whether the route would go via Ronwood Ave or Manukau Station Rd. AT say more work has been undertaken this year on the route within Manukau and involved the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development and Panuku Development Auckland. Also that there is now an emerging recommended staging plan and that will feed into business cases for the project as well as development plans for the two mentioned agencies.
Park and Ride Integrated Development – In a positive move, it is noted
Auckland Transport and Panuku are looking at the feasibility of integrating residential and or commercial development on existing park and ride sites. The Panuku led strategy will identify the most promising existing sites for development.
I look forward to seeing the outcome of this.
Sustainability – Another thing that I’ll be looking forward to seeing is this issue. The carbon footprint aspect will be particularly interesting given the transport sector playing a large part of local emissions.
In line with the three sustainability priorities for Auckland Transport – climate, water and social responsibility: a carbon footprint for Auckland Transport has been scoped and will be ready for independent verification in April. Staff continue to collaborate with Auckland Council on the development of the Auckland’s Water Strategy and the Auckland Climate Action Plan. A sustainable procurement framework is under development for completion in June 2019
AT Mobile – AT say there are now over 150k active users of the mobile app and that progressive roll out from late March (now) will see users be able to see their HOP balances on the app.
Audio announcements & WiFi – AT have been trialling audio announcements on two buses (an Airporter and Northern Express bus). They are also starting to roll out WiFi on some buses.
Victoria St Carpark – One area where AT seem to well with technology innovation is in parking. Their parking app (AT Park) is great and it looks like they’re starting to turn their attention to their carparking buildings. They say in April they’ll be replacing the system in the Victoria St Carpark to use a number plate recognition system that will:
- be much faster
- have no consumables
- be cheaper to operate
- allow them to charge different areas within the building at different rates
- have the integrate with the AT Park app in the future.
City Centre travel times – As part of the CRL consent conditions, car travel times in the city centre are being closely monitored. Up until this year one of the most notable impacts has been the lack of any real impact as despite effectively taking Albert St out of the network, on most corridors travel times have actually improved. The only exceptions to this were Quay St and Customs St and both were only slightly worse.
Over Christmas the scale of disruption increased with the downtown works kicking off which has seen most of Quay St narrowed to two car lanes, which is how it will remain going for the future. The monitoring is showing that travel times did decrease slightly again on those two streets but the other roads being monitored are unchanged, if not better are this year. We’ll have to wait to see the impact in February and March but if the same overall trend remains, it will continue to show that removing traffic lanes doesn’t actually impact cars as much as many people like to assume.
Parking Management – AT are working on a number of parking management plans, including at New Lynn, Sandringham and Papakura but the notable one is Devonport, which they expect to be completed by the end of June. It still seems silly they didn’t complete this and implement any changes prior to starting their rideshare trial.
New Infrastructure Design and Construction
In the long list of projects and their various updates, a few things stood out
Britomart East Bus Interchange – There’s a lot of good work happening in the downtown area but one we’ve never been impressed by was the proposal for a large bus interchange and bus roundabout right on Quay St. Something affectionately called the “bus ballsack”. In the Board papers it has started talking about developing a long list of options which is odd considering where this project was at. The next City Centre Advisory Board agenda gives us a bit more detail:
- As a result of this review, and through discussion between Auckland Transport and Auckland Council, it has been agreed that the proposal for a bus interchange on Quay Street between Commerce Street and Britomart Place is not in line with the aspirations and vision for the downtown waterfront area as set out in the City Centre Masterplan and would not deliver an outcome that is best for Auckland.
- As such, future option identification and assessment work for bus facilities in the Britomart East area will discount options that include bus stops in Quay Street between Commerce Street and Britomart Place and also the installation of a roundabout at the Quay Street and Commerce Street intersection. Options including bus stops or bus layover on Quay Street between Britomart Place and Tangihua Street will however still be considered. It should be noted that bus movements may still be required on Quay Street between Commerce Street and Britomart Place.
It’s great the common sense has prevailed
Puhunui Interchange – AT note that the developed and detailed design stage works have begun, that they’ve completed the early contractor tender evaluations and the documents are ready for non-notified consent.
Parnell Station – We should be seeing canopies for the ticket gates at the station starting construction soon.
Bus Priority – The graph below is where they say they’re at with their bus priority programme for the year – although some of their projects have been handed over to their big Integrated Corridors project
Lincoln Rd – The project is now under review to “identify options to reduce designated footprint and land acquisitions“. The cynic in me things they’ll target the protected cycle lanes but perhaps they should start with the ridiculous supersized intersections. They should also implement proper bus priority, as per their own strategy for the corridor.
Hobsonville Ferry – AT have noted this early result of the introduction of weekend services.
Weekend services commenced between Downtown / Beach Haven / Hobsonville on 26 January 2019. Council funding support has been minimised through a one-year funding and marketing agreement with Homes, Land and Communities (HLC). Patronage continues to be above target on the route at a weekend. Since service commencement, patronage between Downtown and Hobsonville / Beach Haven has been averaging over 500 passenger journeys a weekend compared to the initial target of 200.
It seems a good result, especially in comparison to their Devonport rideshare trial.
On-Demand Services – speaking of rideshare, they say WSP-OPUS has been awarded a contract to develop a roadmap to “identify a tactical plan to implement on-demand service offerings in Auckland“.
New Network Update
A separate report is going to the board on the new bus network, including some of the things they’ve learnt. There’s not a whole lot new in there but there are a few interesting comments. Perhaps one of the most impressive outcomes of the changes is how much more efficient the network is. This is highlighted in the comment below.
The implementation of the New Network for buses has seen an increase in service levels of 32% (measured in in-service kilometres) over 40% increase in driving hours, creating more than 300 jobs and a 15% increase in fleet size with capacity increasing by more than 20% at peak times. This was implemented with an approximate 7% increase in cost.
The improvements have also seen us buck the international trends for these kinds of changes where there is expected to be an initial drop in ridership but that would grow stronger overtime. That hasn’t been seen and ridership has kept increasing boding well for the future. This is highlighted by these before and after results based on total journeys
One in six journeys now involve a transfer and that has seen overall boardings increase a bit faster, as shown in this version – as a comparison, in some overseas cities I’ve looked into, more than half of all journeys involve a transfer.
That’s all for now, is there anything you’ve seen from the papers I’ve missed?