The AA are today releasing their annual report on Auckland congestion, claiming its “Time for the truth about Auckland’s congestion problem“. The main point of the report seems to be about worrying about congestion getting worse in the future but first, a couple of numbers.

What stands out here are the VKT numbers. In particular that they’re at odds with the numbers recently provided by the NZTA for 2018 which showed that the distance travelled on Auckland roads had actually dropped by over 360 million km compared to 2017 to 13.166 billion km and that per capita, Aucklanders travel had fallen to 7,764 per person.

As for PT and particularly how it impacts on the road network, the issue is not so much the total numbers of km’s travelled but when that happens. PT numbers might look small overall but at peak times when congestion it represents a much larger share.

In the report the AA also lavish some praise on Waterview but note its impact is already starting to wear off. However the main point is to be about the actions they want taken to address congestion in the future.

Let’s look at each of these.

Congestion KPIs

It’s hard to see what congestion targets will achieve. For example, what happens if we don’t meet the target? That’s because the issue isn’t a lack of acknowledging our congestion problems but of providing enough funding to do something about it.

Building the Rapid Transit Network isn’t about reducing congestion but allowing a lot more people will move around the city unaffected by it. Further, focusing only on congestion, as they mean it, means only considering the travel time of divers as important. As more and more people use PT and active modes and opt out of congestion their trips simply won’t be counted. For example, more than half the people entering the city centre each morning don’t experience the congestion so why only consider the impacts on the minority sitting in their cars. The alternative is to consider a road productivity measure across all modes and the good news is AT already do that and have targets for it.

Congestion Charging

Yes I agree with the AA here, we should be having a greater discussion about road pricing (as opposed to just being about congestion). But that discussion should include, among other things, ensuring that alternatives are available to a sufficient level, which for me probably means once projects like the CRL and some of the other key RTN projects are complete.

Roading

The current plans will only see the Greenfield areas account for about 30% of Auckland’s growth over the coming decades. Bringing forward those greenfield roads not only costs a lot of money, it would encourage that growth to happen sooner and will only make driving and congestion worse for everyone.

Where are the AA thinking the motorway core can be expanded? The original ATAP (under the previous government) confirmed that most of those corridors are now maxed out and any widening will likely require significant property acquisition. It statesadding capacity appears infeasible or prohibitively expensive“.

Even if there was funding available to do this, it’s unrealistic to expect any delivery to be a quick or easy process – just look at how long it’s been taking to add an extra lane between Manurewa and Papakura. There are also no more Waterview opportunities left to connect otherwise disconnected motorways. Worse still, local and international experience shows any benefits would be short lived and ultimately just result in even more traffic and congestion. Carrying on from point two, we should wait till any road pricing scheme is introduced and we’ve seen the impacts it has before considering options like this.

Further, this suggestion doesn’t take into account the impact that more lanes and more traffic would have on emissions.

Get more out of the existing network

Smarter traffic lights/phasing have been a go-to comment for the AA for many years now but seems to ignore that Auckland Transport have a revolving project of route optimisation. While improvements can sometimes be made, in many cases it’s now to the point where improving one route will mean making other modes and/or routes worse. Clearways too already exist on many roads. As for dynamic lanes on the motorways, are the AA wanting the NZTA to install Harbour Bridge style movable barriers along all the motorways? That doesn’t seem practical.

Land use and transport

Yes, where we build rapid transit in greenfield areas we should allow higher density around stations. But why only do this in just greenfield areas, why not allow more of it in areas already well serviced by PT and/or in areas that it’s more practical or feasible for people to also make use of active mode options. This is especially the case on the Isthmus where many parts are locked into lower density.

The AA weren’t the only ones to put out some comments recently with the Auckland Chamber of Commerce publishing a release last Thursday. Like with the AA, it’s notable that some of the framing of adding capacity to our “core” network but they don’t say where or how that could happen.

We’re not going to address congestion JUST by building roads, but nor are we going to address it by JUST investing in public transport or JUST managing demand.

It’s going to take an effort in all areas. Cars carry the vast bulk of Auckland’s transport load, and while we’ll inevitably (and rightly) see a significant switch to PT, the primary role of the car isn’t going to change. With our spread-out city geography, and the growth Auckland is facing, we cannot afford NOT to add capacity to the core component of the transport network that keeps us moving.

At the point we’re at now, adding a lane or even the big projects they’re pushing for, like Penlink, are just tinkering around the edges and won’t have anything other than very localised impacts. The only opportunity for step-change level impacts are to add in the missing networks, the rapid transit and active mode networks.

Also like with the AA, they have come up with a list of actions.

What Auckland badly needs is a change of behaviour if it is to fix our fragile transport system, and this starts with speed of action from transport authorities to apply proven big ideas from other cities:

  • Use private sector finance to build ‘ready to go’ new roads and multi-storey park-and-ride stations, with proper security; and adding more PT peak hour services;
  • Introduce a practical congestion pricing trial on the motorway network – to manage demand and raise the big money needed to improve the network; and,
  • Talk to business about variable working hours or Council considering free PT after 9.30 am.

There is no short cut to Auckland lifting its game. We will only prosper with a proper, modern transport system, and for this to happen government and council must be bold.

Like with the AA, many of these points are the same ones the business lobby have been making for perhaps a decade or more and despite claiming they’re proven, they’re anything but:

  • As I pointed out last week, private sector finance or PPPs are not source of free money. The issue is also not the financing but having the money to service the debt. The council are already pretty much maxed out on their ability to finance more debt.
  • Multi-storey park-and-rides sound great until you realise just how much they cost for the impact they have. For example the new carpark being built in Takapuna will cost $26 million for 420 carparks, or over $60,000 per space. If that were a P&R building, and even if you assumed all users were new to the system, it would only add approximately 200,000 trips annually to our public transport network, or an increase of 0.2% at a time when usage is growing by 8.9% annually. But research also shows that a large number of users of new P&R facilities are people who are already accessing stations by other methods, such as walking, cycling, feeder buses or ‘kiss & ride’. In short it would cost a lot, not do much and in some cases make things worse, such as generating localised congestion issues.
  • Pricing the motorway network would probably be the fastest and cheapest way of introducing some form of pricing and is often suggested by the Chamber and other business/infrastructure groups. It is also often suggested as something that could be outsourced for businesses to clip the ticket on. It also risks shifting a lot of traffic to local roads that are used for PT and active modes. Like in response to the AA, we should be looking at road pricing but the discussion needs to include other factors. Another of those considerations is if it should be for revenue gathering or just network management with the former of those having big political implications.
  • Why can’t businesses already decide to consider their hours. Surely they don’t need to be asked by council to do so and many companies already allow flexible working. Instead, how about they lobby the government to remove the FBT from PT tickets and encourage AT to create passes that could be sold to companies who could then give or sell it to their staff.

The tread on these road lobby reckons has long since worn away, perhaps it’s time these organisations replaced the tyres.

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85 comments

  1. Why is no one advocating for all roads with 4 or more lanes to have 2 of them for vehicles with 4 or more passengers? The illustration at the top of this article shows the inefficiency of current use of space.

  2. We keep talking about congestion charging / road pricing as something to look at in the future once Auckland has a better developed rapid transit network. But such a scheme would take years to design and implement. Preliminary design should already be underway for a central city cordon style scheme to open in 2025 just after CRL. It could later be expanded to cover more of the city.

    There are many different technologies available for congestion charging and more on the horizon. This is often used as an argument against trying any of them as we wait for some perfect solution. This is a bit like arguing against implementing renewable energy solutions now because surely cold fusion technology is just around the corner. We don’t have time to let the perfect be the enemy of the good.

    1. We have a real and possibly a worsening disparity of wealth in this city consummate with the best or worst in the US and very typical of this countries economic model it follows. Congestion charging is something proposed by those comfortably sipping their almond milk latte’s who can afford it whilst those on the margins trying to get to work can barely afford to run their car much less their lives. Just how are they going to find the money for this on top of rent and every other expense so the well off can travel with less fuss?

      Do you really think any politician is going to go for this? Goff talks about it but its purely his lack of competition that allows empty words like that. I cannot see central government embracing this because of the inherent unfairness it creates and certainly not the current one!

      1. I doubt the inequality claims. Auckland CBD post CRL will have so many transport mode choices that anyone affected should be able to take a cheaper non contesting option.

        1. It’s not just the CBD that nowadays is not exactly congested given so many roads are near impassable, parking is either too expensive or off-limits.

          These congestion charges would apply to motorways or main arterials surely if that is what the model is aimed at. And you will struggle to find many alternatives whilst using them to a destination.

        2. Brendon, you doubt the claims? Obviously you have no understanding of what it means to be poor. PT is not cheaper than driving. It is darned expensive for a whole host of reasons.

        3. I’m not “poor” (one income family with 1 toddler), and I sympathise with the argument that congestion charging is a regressive tax; but “PT is not cheaper than driving”? Our family simply can’t afford a car, but we can afford public transport (barely).

        4. Ari you are being ridiculous. I have been poor. I work with poor people. Not one of them would I advise that buying and using a motorcar is the cheaper transport option.

          I do think NZ needs do more about making housing that is accessible to jobs and amenities more affordable but that is a different story.

        5. Only in an auto dependent country like NZ would people have been brain washed to believe cars are the vehicles of “the working class”. It is really just an English speaking world thing.

          Brilliant piece of propaganda by the motoring/fossil fuel industry though.

          “A developed country is not a place where the poor have cars. It’s where the rich use public transportation.” – Gustavo Petro

        6. I think it depends on how much premium you have to pay to live somewhere where you can access jobs and other things without a car. Perhaps in Auckland that premium exceeds the cost of driving cars.

          You can try to figure this out using the census data and the deprivation index. You can eg. see if there is a relation between deprivation score and car mode share. What you can easily see though is:

          – The CBD is an outlier, with both high deprivation index, low driving share and high walking share.
          – No correlation (negative or otherwise) between deprivation and driving mode share. Given that cars are in fact expensive I find that surprising.
          – Most units with slightly lower driving mode share have a deprivation score of 6 and lower. Outside the CBD there is only one area unit with both a deprivation score of 8 or higher and a lower car mode share.

          Now I’m not well-versed enough in statistics to figure this out properly. But I have a feeling that many people are not ‘just’ going to buy a house in Grey Lynn so they can ditch their cars.

        7. I’m not poor, but I grew up very poor and still live in a very poor area. No way is public transport cheap compared to someone who already owns a car. I use a tiny old jap car because it is so cost effective. It is cheaper for me to drive my car than use public transport. It also takes me half the amount of time to drive. Costs me $5 a day in petrol. Same trip would cost $13 a day by train. I took the train for almost 3 years and it just didn’t stack up financially. Most jobs have free parking, but if you have to pay for parking it is a different story, but not relevant.

          If you already own a car like me, it is a sunk cost. 3rd party insurance is a few hundred a year and maintenance a several hundred a year as well. Still cheaper than $13 a day for a commute. These are facts that prove my point.

          If you don’t own a car, then sure, the numbers stack up differently, such as with Daphne. You might not even be able to save up to buy a car. But most poorer families do own a car so I’m arguing their case.

          The poorest families are often the ones with a few kids. This just magnifies the problem. My neighbour has 4 kids. No way they can afford to use PT to get their family anywhere. Car wins out instantly. They live week to week, so cant afford monthly passes. They don’t have a choice where they live so are often stuck far away from PT. They often have little choice in what work they can do and can be stuck working at a distant job not serviced well by PT. They often work multiple jobs and do shift work or night work which makes it near impossible to use PT. They often have work that is inflexible with working hours. The poorest people are often the ones with the least free time and you recommend they waste it sitting around using PT. Sure they might be able to read a self-help book or something, but that is entirely speculative. I’m just dealing with the reality with what the poorest people are dealing with.

          So no, you are more likely the one being ridiculous, dismissing the comments on inequality as doubtful. It comes off as completely out of touch, just like this blog on occasion. Most the people commenting here are well off, educated, white folk. Nothing wrong with that at all. It is just that those world views can be somewhat limited when commenting about the effects things have on people who exist in a different reality to them.

          Our transport system is a mess and I wish it were different. Sure, it’s getting better, but the way our PT system is currently just helps trap poor people in poverty. The people that benefit most from PT at the moment are those with a decent income.

          PT isn’t cheap and it isn’t affordable for our most vulnerable, but it should be.

        8. So many enlightened developed world cities account for parts of the community that need cheaper access to PT by using concessions, AT could extend their current concessions to include anyone who was below a certain income threshold.

          In my dim and distant unemployed youth, I made full use of such a system that for $14/week allowed me to travel on any form of Public transport anywhere in the North East of England, even with 4 Million unemployed at the time the cost of these passes to the public purse was supposely moere than offset by the added mobility and opportunities it gave people seeking work.

        9. “A developed country is not a place where the poor have cars. It’s where the rich use public transportation.”
          The unfortunate side affect is that the poor people have to have cars because of the crazy land prices anywhere near decent PT!

        10. Goos maybe you should take a trip to India, everyone who can trades up from bike to moped, moped to car……

        11. MasterChief – I understand very well how transport works in developing countries having travelled in them extensively.

          I fail to see what that has to do with my point.

          One of the big reasons for that is the elites in those countries have supressed any money for public transport as it is not in their best interests. They want to have their drivers able to get them to their office as fast as posisble.

          As soon as decent PT is built in cities like Bangkok or KL, they are full.

          Much like NZ until the 21st century.

        12. $13/day x 250 days/year = $3250/year. I doubt a car can be run for cheaper than that.

          I think it would be worthwhile if Auckland had an even cheaper annual transport cards so the sunk cost argument would apply to public transport.

          Also given employee car parks are tax deductible, then monthly/yearly transport cards should be too.

          Ari also complaining about lengthy transport time while arguing against congestion pricing which specifically decreases travel time is a bit ridiculous isn’t it?

          I specifically said congestion pricing would be ok for Auckland CBD post CRL. By then PT will give excellent coverage. So it was a bit ridiculous Ari to argue against PT based on Aucklands much worse past PT service levels.

        13. I do agree with you Ari that PT should be cheaper and that greater attention needs to go on increasing affordable housing supply close to PT where people can access job, education, healthcare and other important amenities.

          There is a group of policy makers at the local and central government that have failed to do this.

        14. Brendon +1 to your reply.

          Public Transport is “public transport” and central government has completely failed the poor.

      2. Waspman — congestion charging itself is neither inherently progressive nor regressive: It depends on (1) the design of the scheme and (2) how revenues are applied.

        In terms of #2, revenue could, for example, be used to offset other taxes that disproportionately impact low-income households. Or revenue could be used to fund a universal tax credit for Auckland residents earning less than $XX per annum. It may be that the application of revenues more than offsets the congestion charge.

        So until we have information on (1) the degree to which current fuel excise duties are regressive and (2) the details of the scheme being considered, we’re all just wasting our time banging the keyboard.

        1. With some bhelp from central government one approach could be to count congestion charges as income so it is effectively charged at the driver’s income tax rate; effectively treating it as a fringe benefit. The only hitch I can see is that congestion charging would need to be done per driver rather than per vehicle (or require some controls to avoid mass registration in the lowest income earner’s name)

        2. Ari
          Without being disrespectful to you, I think that you need to tell your whole story. I am struggling to see that a 4 zone trip could be done for $5 a day in a car. I also cannot understand why a monthly pass wouldn’t have been a better option for you and you could have covered all your transport trips with this.

          Do I agree with you that public transport is too expensive – absolutely. Is the way forward for you and your neighbour likely to be a situation where you and they continue to drive as cheaply as you do now? It seems unlikely because the cost of carbon is most likely to be borne by those who are generating it.

          I have a great deal of sympathy for the poorer in our communities and that is why I constantly talk of the Vienna PT model: yearly passes for two adults and two kids for 870 euros or $NZ1450. I have looked at Trade Me and that is barely more than the $1430 annual fuel cost of a Suzuki Swift; let alone insurance, repairs, servicing, wof, registration, interest costs, storage etc

          I agree with you that the way forward is a better and cheaper PT system and maybe our membership of the C40 cities organisation will lead us to this realisation.

        3. Auckland isn’t Vienna, they pay higher tax in Austria then we do, the subsidy for public transport is also a likely far higher than ours. Vienna is also a very wealthy and compact city, Auckland is neither.

        4. Isn’t the very nature regressive? It is a tax to get poor people off the road to make way for rich people. If that wasn’t the case, why is it needed?

        5. That’s a bit simplistic Jimbo. Congestion pricing is a tax on high spatial users when demand exceeds the carrying capacity of road to supply more space for motor vehicles.

          The result is not just to price people off the road. It also encourages people to choose to travel at different times and to travel in a more spatially efficient manner.

          The revenue congestion pricing generates could subsidise lower priced monthly/yearly transport cards or some other scheme to benefit the poor.

          As Stu says congestion pricing does not have to be regressive.

        6. But doesn’t the congestion itself achieve that? Why would you travel at rush hour if you didn’t need to? Is pricing a good way to limit the use of an asset we all own?

        7. Jimbo, that assumes that the asset we all own is best used by filling it with cars that spew fumes that people walking on the (often narrow) footpaths.

          Congestion pricing to reduce the number of cars can make much better use of the public asset for all the people not in cars.

        8. No congestion pricing is certainly not in its very nature regressive! It depends very much on who is causing the congestion and how the resulting revenues are distributed. The incidence of a tax is only one side of the distributional question — to really answer the latter you need to decide what happens to the revenue.

    2. ATAP was even worse. They recommended road pricing using technology that doesn’t exist yet. In doing so they killed actual road pricing for years. It was an act of administrative genius even Sir Humphrey would be proud of.

      1. I tend to agree there, miffy. It’s a bit like the Climate Commission, in setting emissions budgets, needs to have regard to “existing technology and anticipated technological developments”. Surefire way to become diverted by crackpot inventions that are popular because they suggest behaviour change might not be needed, instead of focusing on the science we already understand.

      2. Yes loading you whole concept onto some vapor tech that sounds promising but doesn’t actually work is an all too common fail. I’m still hearing about how driverless cars mean we don’t have to do anything with anything, and how some MaaS phone app will make bus lanes rendundant. Or something.

        Anyway, I thought they’d settled on number plate recognition though. I thought that was a pretty well established system?

        1. I don’t know where they ended up. The 2016 report kicked for touch in the hope future technology would allow a whole system charging regime. I have never bothered to read the 2018 report as by then I had realised ATAP was just a load of bollocks.

      3. Road pricing can be delivered relatively cheaply using existing tech. While I’d love a full GPS system, the cost of ANPR cameras has fallen significantly in recent years, and many strategic routes already have them installed for traffic management purposes. Road pricing is a case of back to the future when technology is concerned. Main thing that’s changed is the cost of installation.

  3. The AA remind me of Zuckerberg: “that may be good for the world but it’s not good for us”

    The AA’s road widening ideas involve extremely high costs of land acquisition, disruption of existing high intensity development, and adds to the huge roading maintenance bill, but all this can be met by the public purse, while the AA can continue to cream the profits from the automotive sector. For them, what’s not to like?

    For us, there’s the crippling cost, and there’s added traffic, with the danger and emissions it brings. All the things we’re trying to improve – like access for children, better rates of walking and cycling, less air and water pollution from roading – would be set back by their plans.

    That mayoral and councillor candidates quote this private organisation as if its views are relevant to the changes Auckland needs simply shows the limitations of the candidates’ social commitment and sector understanding.

  4. ‘park and rides with proper security’

    I always chuckle when I read comments like that. What does ‘proper security’ as opposed to ‘security’ mean?

    1. Every seen the ‘Bear Tax’ episode of The Simpsons?

      It means that. Expensive, exceptional treatment that is magically free or someone else has to pay for.

      Quick figuring, to build and run the multistorey ‘secure’ park and ride carparks they are talking about would require around a $15 charge per day per space to break even. Perhaps they should campaign for that?

  5. Well the AA is ignoring the giant elephant in the room.

    Just as Farmers and emissions heavy industries also ignore the same sized and type of elephant in *their* rooms.

    The only way to ease congestion in a cost effective and permanent way, is to reduce the volume of the Single Occupant Vehicles on the roads – at least at peak times. And do it significantly at those times.

    The rest is all mechanics of how you do that. And some of those choices will also improve other outcomes too (such as: environmental emissions, noise, other pollution, the overall urban environment and such).

    Unless you recognise that fundamental problem. All you are doing is tinkering around the edges of the problem.

    AA (and AT) know this to be true. They just don’t want to frighten their respective paymasters (ordinary motorists for AA and the local and central Government politicians for AT).

    But in adopting this “don’t frighten the horses” approach they condemn us all to 7 more levels of Traffic Hell while they work up enough courage to tells us what we all can see for ourselves is the case… before they then take the action we also know is required.

    1. I suspect the AA aren’t so much worried about their paymasters being everyday motorists per se. More that their income stream, via both membership and the automotive servicing industry, is reliant on driving remaining dominant. Reducing vkt in New Zealand by 43% by 2030, as we need to do, will be crippling for them, because it translates to a lot of people who won’t need membership anymore, and a lot of cars that won’t need servicing.

      While their own members are generally everyday New Zealanders, including many who want to see other modes become easier and more attractive, the AA is tuned into anyone who supports the retention of car dominance.

      1. Heidi,
        Actually NZ doesn’t need to reduce vkt by 43% by 2030 at all.

        We might need to reduce emissions from vkt by 43% by 2030.

        But that doesn’t mean that the best (or even only) option is to reduce vkt accordingly.

        i.e. Don’t confuse the what with the how.

        Yes reducing overall vkt by 43% in 10.5 years would probably achieve that goal. If everything then is the same as now. But thats not a given.

        There are other ways of achieving that goal. Such as significant electrification of the fleet – particularly those vehicles travelling the most vkt, emissions testing the worst polluters off the roads well before then, switching more people in cities to more/better PT, simply travelling less, walking and cycling more, and a whole raft of other options and techniques that together may well reduce our vkt caused emissions by the required amount without a reduction in (or even allowing an increase in) overall fleet vkt while still achieving the emissions and other environmental goals.

        While pushing vkt reduction as a solution can seem attractive – the real politik of the situation as we know and see here daily, means that will not be the best or even only option chosen.

        However we need to do something (a lot of things actually) starting now.

        1. Yes, we need to reduce emissions by 43% by 2030. That means we need to *plan* to reduce the vkt by that amount. Because there’s many a slip twixt the cup and the lip.

          Too many things can go wrong to get the emissions targets off track. Economic setbacks. Wildfires. International trade issues preventing import of EVs. Damaging cyclones. Unexpected behaviour changes.

          Reduction of carbon emissions through EV’s and other low-emissions technology is to be welcomed, but its limits must be acknowledged too – if we don’t reduce vkt we will be left with a legacy system that ultimately will involve rising emissions too – through increased car manufacture, car servicing and road building. (Let alone the safety and health implications of driving.)

          The sooner we realise that the behaviour change involved in reducing vkt to reach our emissions target is a BENEFIT, not some sort of hardship, the sooner we will start putting in place a legacy transport system that will serve our people.

          But time is ticking as we debate this; we both know what the short term trend is going to be. 🙂

        2. I’d say we need to drop VKT by more than 43% bacause:
          There’s still no ‘affordable’ 4-wheeled* EV in sight.
          The sales of oversized 4×4 utes and SUVs as family run-arounds shows no signs of abatement.

          * If you’re looking for an EV revolution, it’s already available but it only has two wheels.

    1. Yes, we need good analysis of this phenomenon to illustrate just how damaging the sprawl is, and how it’s undermining all the other moves to reduce vkt and promote modeshift.

      A little sprawl doesn’t provide balance; it ruins value-for-money and progress.

      1. The advantage of sprawl is that it actually provides homes for people. When the Council says 30% will be in greenfields what they are not saying is that only a proportion of the other planned 70% will ever be built. The reality is almost all of the greenfields gets built so it ends up being a greater amount of the actual housing. The CBD has been the saviour over the last 20 years but only because it had a vast area that was no longer needed for commercial activities. Residential was the ‘next best’ activity. Where do we have a similar area to rely on in the future? Given that the Council turns down intensification for when it shows up (like the Dominion Rd decision) then you can’t rely on the inner suburbs. So the three choices end up as sprawl, homelessness or even longer commutes from outside the Auckland area.

        1. Yes, quite. But it’s not the sprawl that’s providing those homes. It’s a system set up to support the sprawl and hinder the brownfields developments. Trying to change this system is a more robust solution than arguing the sprawl is necessary.

        2. miffy – or another choice – leave Auckland and move elsewhere in NZ. Thousands of people are voting with their feet for that one. Fortunately for the provinces, its mostly the wealthy Aucklanders leaving (sell an average Auckland house for a million, but a cheap Mansion in Hastings, and have a cool half mill to put into your new business).

        3. Indeed, City Centre is certainly carrying a lot of the weight for intensification, with the surrounding suburbs almost entirely single dwelling.

          There seems to be a plan to intensify far away from things, which is rather silly.

        4. In calling to change zoning rules to allow high density in high growth *outer* suburbs, the AA are trying to appear progressive while actually taking the greenfields side in the debate of up vs out. And it’s clear why – greenfields development results in increased vkt and car dependency; all good for the AA’s bottom line. And all bad for our city’s health.

        5. yeah from my perspective. having like 3 bars in west auckland definitely contributes to off license preloading culture/drinking in cars/nowhere for youth to go, with the city centre dealing with the results like drink driving, bottles thrown from cars, fights, trashed public spaces, everything else alcohol brings.
          Obviously the city centre will always play host in a bigger way than the town centres, but the council still needs to be better at seeing the whole city as an interconnected entity. To me it still seems like the old lines on maps are hard to get past and entrenched enclaves are holding us back in areas amalgamation should have provided more benefit.

    2. It’s the ever increasing lifestyle blocks plus the movement of people to outlying smaller towns from where they commute back into the city. I am frequently astonished about how far away people live from their places of employment and they never refer to distances in kms, it’s always a “40 minute drive” or similar.

      1. Housing affordability plays a part in this. I currently rent and work in the central suburbs. However, if I was to buy I could only buy somewhere on the outskirts e.g. Takanini or even further. My employer isn’t located out there, and most other work in my field is centrally located also. So quite a lot of people end up having to travel an hour each way to work.

    3. Well those of us not living, or intending to live, outside the existing city built up areas, need to be a lot more assertive, and organised, to prevent these wider roads and motorways being driven through our existing residential areas, degrading them monstrously. We also to prevent our city’s commercial space and recreational space being diluted to provide the massive movement and storage space for these cars from afar, at the city end of their daily migration.
      How should we do this? The October local body election is a good starting point. Get involved. Signal your support, and then vote for, the candidates who are unevocable supporters of public transport and active mode transport solutions and who don’t shy away from the need to deprioritse car priority. Obviously if population growth is not catered for by peripheral development, then it must be accommodated inside the existing built up areas. This needs to be made easier by more up zoning. Vote for candidates that advocate for this required intensification.
      The opinion pieces from the AA and in the Herald are the motoring, land development and roading interests promoting their narrow interests just as can be expected, not the interests of the city, or indeed the planet, as a whole.
      To counter the motoring lobby we need to be able to continue to offer. and support, the wide range of methods to reduce the requirement, or at least the attraction, of car transport.

  6. The school and daycare hours is a major cause for inflexible working hours and peak traffic.

    For example most day care close at 5:30pm.It means working parents has no choice but to leave work no later than 5pm.

    Also schools starts at 8:45am, so parents have to drop their kid all at around same time in the morning and go to work.

    This removes a lot the flexibility for parents to work non standard hours. For example they cannot start much earlier, and cannot start much later.

    This is a major cause for our bad peak traffic and inflexible working hours.

    1. And likewise at a seasonal level, they are often forced to take their leave during school holidays, and not take leave outside of school holidays.

      I often wonder how much of the ‘school holiday effect’ is more than children not being driven to school those weeks, i.e. one or more of the parents not commuting at all during those weeks because they have to take their leave when their children are home.

      1. The AA’s research department is quite robust. I imagine their user base is likely the result of differences.

        Was wondering if people like me (0vkt) were part of NZTAs stats while AA obviously counts only people who drive.

    1. Ahh, yes, the “Mike Hosking self-indulgence self-importance circular reasoning effect” in action.

      Imagine this sentence in a perfect circle with the 3 dots lined up.

      “…I drive a Ferrari. Therefore I am successful & important. Therefore…”

      You can then read the sentences starting with whatever “I” you chose. You’ll reach the same self-justification levels quickly – no matter where you start from.

      Of course, they’ll never bother to ask what happens when we all drive Ferraris? [Or we all have Ubers on call/flying cars or whatever?].

      1. The creators of wealth are also the biggest contributes to our current problems but seem very reluctant face up to any responsibly they have if it costs them or is inconvenient, but climate change wont give a rats ass, CO2 is rising 1000 times faster than before the great dying, it’s very serious.

        A large number of people don’t care as over the years there have many goals in finding a solution to the rise in CO2 and some countries try, it seems we are great at talking, but the CO2 is rising faster than it was 20 years ago. When I first started checking the yearly increase was 1 part per million, 2019 will be 2.75 parts per million, it’s terrifying.

        Why are we going to subsidize EV we should put the money into public transport so people have little need for cars, as patronage increases costs drop. maybe a carbon tax could fund it.

        We as a country have a low carbon foot print but on per capita basis we are 4th in the OECD with an out put per person of 18 tons the UK has just over 8 tons per person, it’s about time we woke up.

        1. “Why are we going to subsidize EV we should put the money into public transport so people have little need for cars, as patronage increases costs drop. maybe a carbon tax could fund it.”

          I completely agree that subsidising low emissions vehicles is a nonsense. What is better – a trip in a Corolla at 100g/km or on a train at nothing, zero, nada? The maths is compelling.

          If this scheme was re-worked we wouldn’t even need a carbon charge. Put a modest fee; say 5%, or a carbon charge, whatever is the higher on every purchase of fossil fueled cars and use the funds collected on PT.

        2. “Why are we going to subsidize EV we should put the money into public transport so people have little need for cars”

          Because, my dear boy, we are not all so amazingly fortunate as to live in urban areas. Some people in New Zealand actually live in rural areas with little or no prospect of any public transport….ever.

        3. Not many though. We are one of the most urbanised countries in the world. So yes, for a small percentage.

        4. The question is really, if a subsidy is the right thing to provide, what is the best way to provide it? Are isolated communities likely to be able to afford EV’s even with subsidies? How do we provide access for all the rural people who don’t drive?

          Public transport in rural areas cannot provide the amenity of PT in urban areas, but that doesn’t mean there’s equity in completely ignoring what it can provide.

        5. At over 80 I’m hardly a dear boy, to maintain the infrastructure for electric vehicles and the carbon used in manufacture is not going to cut CO2 to zero, and if we have to support a transport system that is in place for a few in inaccessible areas sorry I don’t agree, if people want to live and farm in rural areas how do you think they managed before the car, they had local markets and were pretty self-sufficient.

          CO2 will soon be up to 3 ppm per year when we need to be zero. At over 400 ppm and rising we haven’t got the Luxury of cars no matter what they run on, it’s not that I wish to be harsh but the wants a few shouldn’t be used as an excuse. we have to stop using fossil fuels for our own survival. we have an obligation to future generations which there won’t be if we carry as we are.

  7. As I understand it there are no constraints on the parking charges imposed by AT.
    I believe AT have a mandate to raise charges/design charges to ensure 15% of spaces are available at any time.
    The streets/roads are for safely moving people and goods. The operative words are “safely move” and there is no need to go into al the jargon about who has what but to ensure that all have access to do that. Speed does not enter into it and walking pace does not impede movement of either movement.
    1
    All those vehicles enter the road system during a confined period are going to be parked somewhere. Could the charges at the parking end of it be such that the only journeys worth the effort are those with affordable parking at the end their journey. With the improvement of the CFN and the improved efficiency of PT then the journey times of the PT user will be better than those of the SOV.

    Keep up the good work on the CFN and it’s constant updates.

    1. TedF
      Yep, that’s what the AT Parking Strategy says and I challenge you to find a single area in Auckland where AT have implemented it as written. My favourite part is where they talk about reviews at every 3, 6 or 12 months where there is variable demand. On any reasonable reading of that provision wouldn’t you expect demand to be variable after a change and therefore AT would review their changes to measure their success?

  8. WHERE IS LIGHT RAIL?????????????? WTF is happening?

    Jacinda, 2019 is the year of delivery. How do I know that? Because you said it.

    LR was to be in place at least to Mt Roskill in 4 years, how do I know that? Because you said it. But now nearly 2 have passed us by and I do not see an atom of ferrous metal to show for it, not a plan, not anything. I am guessing but it will take at least 3 years if ordered this very day to get the actual trams, let alone the infrastructure to run it on.
    Where is the leadership to move this thing past the institutionalised dysfunction that is NZTA and into reality?
    Why are executives in the NZTA not being asked to explain why they still have the audacity to draw a salary and why they are still working there?
    And why, when you had the chance, did you leave Phil bloody Twyford in charge of Transport? That turkey has already shot one foot off this government, let’s not wait for the other!

    1. Yes I assumed the Labour government would fund light rail ASAP. Instead they decided to go down the crazy PPP route so there still isn’t any funding let alone a design or implementation.

  9. Thanks for that Buttwizard.

    “Twyford’s office was contacted for this story, but our questions were referred to the NZTA to answer as the project’s lead agency. A spokesperson for the minister said there was currently no start date for the light rail project”. Dear oh dear oh dear.

    Dearest Phil

    Your Prime Minister promised LR WITHIN 4 years to Mt Roskill from Wynyard. I am guessing she is at least wanting to deliver some significant piece of infrastructure as promised given the other flagship “Kiwibuild” did a Hindenburg under your leadership.

    Don’t you think it wise to front this PROMISE, rather than kicking back and chilling and duck shoving it into the NZTA blackhole. I mean after all, it’s your party’s key election promise, not theirs. Or does that kind of thing not figure for the Minister for Transport?

    Do you not see where failure on this promise is leading?

    Yours truly

    A very concerned citizen

    1. Why though? There is zero political pressure to start. It’s so far down the list behind housing and hardship that it’s effectively a get out of jail free card simply because other stuff isn’t getting done. There’s no questioning from the media and no (credible) pressure from National other than Goldsmith and his fail ‘slow trams to the [email protected]!!!!’ press releases that, thankfully, no one cares about either.

      Meanwhile, in West Auckland, the Waterview Connection fires South Auckland SH20 traffic out ahead of SH16 traffic from the City and the whole causeway comes to a stop. 25 minutes to go 2km.

      1. Mate, this is totally unacceptable. SH16 city-bound is a horror show for at least 3 hours every morning and it is abominable westbound after 3.00 pm.

        Twyford has handed the controls of this promise to NZTA evidenced by his buck pass to Interest.co. NZTA, big, clumsy, road-oriented and refine that further motorway oriented, a department that can’t seem to find its arse from its elbow, left the WOF and COF system to the fairies – type of organisation.

        I am so pissed about this, light rail, especially out west, is a game-changer except for the twit Twyford who cannot see it. He cannot fathom yet another major broken promise is not good and this one from the PM herself. An above-average opposition MP who remains one of the most effective today, only its for the National Party, sad to say.

        This is screaming for urgent leadership, but where the hell is it?

        1. Yes I’m with you on this one and thought the coalition would start to implement rail and expected it to be slow but at this speed it will never happen, so much for promises, I feel I wasted my vote.

        2. I’m sure most of us out west would appreciate they get on with it. And the alternative vote would have resulted in what improvements for West Aucklanders? Even faster growth out west with even less concern for rapid congestion free transport.

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