Yesterday the Auckland Transport board met for their latest meeting. Here are the highlights from the various papers.

Closed Agenda

There was no closed agenda published this month. This is the first time that’s happened and I hope it’s not the start of trend as while there isn’t much detail released, it does at least help understand the things AT are discussing.

Business Report

There’s not a lot in the business report this month

Funding and Procurement

Funding of $10.8 million was approved with 100% funding from the NZTA for “Transitional Rail – Rail Network Growth Impact Management – Accelerated Works (Implementation)“. It’s not entirely what this relates to but my guess is the works needed to improve the quality of the rail network, such as fixing the issues on the Southern Line recently. Likely related, in the procurement section, which lists some details on contracts over $2 million it notes one has been awarded to Kiwirail, stating: “Contract for the project development, design, consenting and business case services for transitional rail projects.

Another listing is for two of the many consultancies that are working on the Connected Communities programme, still called Integrated Corridors in the report. In this instance both GHD and Jacobs were awarded contracts and both are almost $3.2 million.

Projects

Sale St

In August, the council’s Auckland Design Office implemented some tactical urbanism improvements to Sale St.

AT say they will be consulting later this month on long term changes, including the implementation of traffic signals.

Airport to Botany

The upgrade of the Puhinui Station gets underway later this month and will the be first physical work to take place on what will eventually be a rapid transit route from the Airport to Botany (A2B). The business case for A2B is due to go to the AT Board next month

The Short-Term Airport Access Improvement Single Stage Business Case is being finalised and will be reported to the October Board meeting. Development of the Airport to Botany Rapid Transit Single Stage Business Case is on-going with assessments either underway or completed for the preferred route, mode and station locations.

It also appears the plan is to start public engagement on A2B and the shorter-term improvements for access to the airport in November.

They also say “Detailed design for bus priority on Puhinui Road and Lambie Drive is progressing with 50 per cent completed and reviewed internally.

Consultations

A2B isn’t the only interesting consultation coming up.

  • Redoubt Rd – Later this month AT will be consulting on plans to add a dynamic lane to Redoubt Rd in Manukau. This is likely to be similar to the one on Whangaparoa Rd.
  • Royal Oak roundabout – From the middle of the month AT will be consulting on a plan to reconfigure the notorious Royal Oak roundabout. As anyone who has ever used it will agree, the roundabout has been identified as high-risk and over the last five years there have been 61 crashes resulting in 15 injuries and one fatality.

Customer Experience

As we’ve discussed before, on the weekend AT launch free fares for children using HOP.

As part of their Te Ara Haepapa schools programme, which involves 9 schools with 900 students, they’re giving the schools free HOP cards pre-loaded with a child concession. It also has this great design.

This looks great and begs the questions of:

  1. Why don’t AT have a separate card for children with the concession loaded that people can just buy. This is common overseas.
  2. Why aren’t they regularly changing the design of HOP or introducing special ‘collector’ editions, like they did with the launch of the EMUs

While on the topic of HOP, AT are finally going to make HOP paper tickets for trains better and able to be used with fare gates. There’s no date listed when this will come in.

Thales have completed design and development to enable Rail Gates to read barcodes that will be printed on Rail paper tickets. This will enable the automatic opening of rail gates rather than having to present the paper tickets to staff manning the gates. Testing of the solution commenced in August.

AT Metro

AT have released this video on when and how to use a bus lane

The new bus network on Waiheke Island is planned to go live on 13 October.

The development to integrate ferry fares into HOP is underway and due to be implemented in February. They also say negotiations are underway to include the exempt services (Devonport and Waiheke) into the integrated ferry fares project. Note: as far as I’m aware, integrated ferry fares doesn’t mean ferries will cost the same as buses and trains for the same journey but we’ll have to wait to see exactly what the fare structure is.

They also mention that a draft annual fare review for 2020 is being developed. This will likely coincide with the ferry integration but let’s hope AT are able to find a way to so they’re still putting up fares on the thing they want more people to use.

We’ve heard before that a new train timetable is on the way and include an extra service earlier in the morning on the Southern, Eastern and Western Lines as well as an extra later night service on the Southern, Eastern Lines – they say the Western Line won’t get these to allow for CRL construction activity. AT now say the timetable will be introduced on 17 November. I wonder if it will also do away with the Newmarket Shuffle

Vision Zero

The board were asked to approve Vision Zero for Auckland along with an action plan to 2030. A draft version of it is here and the good news is the board approved it. We’ll cover it in more detail soon.

Road Network Optimisation

A paper and presentation for noting celebrates the work AT have done on their ongoing route optimisation programme. The programme has been running since 2010 and is “a series of multi-modal low-cost interventions that maximises use of the existing network“. They say it has returned $4-$10 for every dollar invested. Some figures from the paper include:

Current performance of the local roading network:

  • 39% of the bus network is congested during the morning peak
  • 70% of the pedestrian network is operating below desired level of service (LOS)
  • 24% of the general traffic network is congested in the morning peak (increasing to 33% in March – “March Madness” when tertiary institutions, in particular, open for the year).
  • 7% of the network is congested during inter-peak when freight operates the most

And there’s this on some of the interventions undertaken.

Road network optimisation interventions are typically low to medium cost, and any physical changes made would largely be confined within the existing carriageway. There is often the opportunity to introduce a low-scale intervention prior to the introduction of a larger-scale high-cost project where financially viable, to ease significant customer pain-points in the interim. For example, annually approximately 350 traffic signals are reviewed and optimised. All traffic signals are reviewed and optimised at least once every three years, with signals on arterials every two years and in the city centre every year.

The presentation includes this page on the benefits of the programme.

If you’ve looked at the papers, was there anything else that stood out?

Share this

57 comments

  1. No closed discussions – wonder if that was to do with the upcoming elections. We can all idly speculate ourselves silly with that one.

    But noted with A2B and Redoubt Road (I’ll be posting those pieces of news into the Southern Auckland community pages) and LOL the Newmarket shuffle. I am sure Train Control is doing that just to annoy you Matt (who I have seen board my Southern train a few times now via the shuffle)

  2. It’s encouraging that we may be inching toward integrated fares finally, but it’s surely unacceptable for penalty fares to still apply to ferry users. AT will still be able to receive a 50% subsidy from NZTA for these trips, in addition to nearly half of all rates from ferry users going into AT’s pockets. There’s plenty of money in the pot for fare equality, which is long overdue and is a must from an equity point of view.

  3. Good to see AT putting forward a Vision Zero plan.
    Just had quick read Vision Zero draft, 2050 is long time away and is it supported by campaigning Mayors and Councillors.

    In Hamilton Vision Zero is about leadership first, all present elected officials voted in support of vision zero.

    In Hamilton Per-election report – by Richard Briggs HCC Chief Executive (p16)
    ‘Most importantly, any decisions about transport need to contribute to the Council’s ‘Vision Zero’ goal for road safety, to eliminate deaths and serious injuries on our roads by 2028’

    HCC submission to the central Governments Road to zero – link below
    – HCC strongly supports a focus on leadership, capability and capacity
    – The national target needs to be more ambitious
    – Road to Zero Strategy needs to make sure that funding is readily available when it is needed, and decision-making is timely

    https://www.hamilton.govt.nz/our-council/consultation-and-public-notices/councilsubmissions/Documents/HCC%20Submission%20to%20MOT%20Road%20to%20Zero%20Consultation%20Document%20-%202020-2030%20Road%20Safety%20Strategy.pdf

    1. 2050 certainly is a long way away. I guess it’s the time frame you choose if you are still giving priority to traffic flow over safety in your day-to-day decision-making yet want to say that you prioritise safety over traffic flow.

      That allows a few years’ grace while other improvements work to decrease DSI before the big, important decisions that impact traffic flow have to be made.

      2028 is very ambitious. Hamilton will need the government to step in quickly as many of the strands are really determined nationally. They will also need serious vkt reduction. Is cutting that down by 50% or more part of the Vision Zero plan in Hamilton? I doubt they’ll have a chance achieving it without this.

      1. 2050 should be far enough away for self driving cars – which is the only realistic way Vision Zero will ever be met.
        Not sure what Hamilton’s plan is – I guess it doesn’t matter as long as the current crop of councillors have retired by then…
        Vision Zero will always be an almost meaningless feel good idea. It would be much better to replace it with a goal that is both possible and timely – but that would involve actually having to solve the problem…

        1. Point to note about Hamilton’s Vision Zero. It does not have wordy supporting document, it just means the only acceptable number of road and workplace deaths in city council documents is zero.

          Action council has done
          – Increased minor works roads budget
          – Passed speed management plan and start implementing it.

          They also do what works: example
          ‘The use of RSPs at intersections has been pioneered by the Province of South Holland (Netherlands) on a significant scale. Safety platforms, accompanied by 50km/h intersection speed limits, have been constructed at more than forty signalised intersections, mostly on higher speed 70-80km/h urban roads. A large-scale evaluation conducted in the Netherlands showed that fatal and serious injury crashes fell by a statistically reliable 40-50%’
          https://www.hamilton.govt.nz/our-city/city-development/transport/Pages/Gordonton-Rd-corridor-safety-improvements.aspx

        2. Jimbo, open your mind to the possibilities. We can make our own blueprint here. Setting a target of anything more than zero is more dangerous – it will limit the approaches we can take.

    2. It will be interesting to see what actually happens in this space.

      For the past 10 years we’re meant to have been doing vision zero (aka Safe System), yet NZTA seems to have been the only party to take is seriously.

      And even before vision zero came along, we’ve meant to have been designing safe roadsides for the past 60 years.

  4. So the timetable change has been delayed again? It was meant to be geared up to 6-monthly changes after the August 2018 timetable. Instead it will be a whopping 15 months.

    Plus after several years of complaining we finally get later and early trains, but not late ones on my line… ridiculous, surely they could of added them and just run the last few trains as rail buses on the few nights they are actually going to be doing some works… doubt it will be every night. Also just 11pm… meh… why not midnight to bring it more in line to what people expect from buses. This is waaay overdue.

    Excited about the early trains, this will help my colleague who can’t make it in on time for 7am start from Pukekohe (well only assuming “Southern Line” includes an early Pukekohe shuttle). Also will help my wife make her 6am start in Penrose, presently I have to take her as the earliest service to reach there from out west does not get there until around 6:30am. This is just a couple of people I see daily experiencing these issues, it was also me a few years ago, so I am sure there are many people affected by the current lack of service span.

    Also hope they get rid of Henderson trains, this confuses and annoys anyone in Sturges/Ranui/Swanson and is a really bad look. Especially when its the last service. They fixed the last weekday one but not the last Sunday one yet. Imagine if the last Southern train ended at Homai or Manurewa etc… ridiculous right?

    1. I know for certain that earlier and later services will either require more drivers over more shifts or exacerbate the awful split shift system bus operators use and or both. And given that system is a major repellent to recruiting drivers in the first place that is not a good thing.

      I think its time AT had oversight and a real good look at and input into rostering rather than leave it to the operators to ensure it’s the best most safest system there is, not the least of which is to enhance the attractiveness of driving as an occupation.

      1. Running trains later into the evenings is a waste of time and money for the number of people who actually use them.

        After 9pm there are very few people on most trains, often no more than taxi van could take. The late Pukekohe shuttle services generally have no one on them.

        Is the cost of running trains so many trains so late at night for so few people worth it, when AT is constantly crying poverty? So many other transport projects or just basic maintenance of things like roads and footpaths are deteriorating due to lack of funding. Or more Transport Officers need to be employed during the day and on the Southern Line where they are desperately needed.

        It would make more sense to have train services stop after 9pm and have rail replacement buses operating after this time in the evening.

        With the train operator Transdev having recently purchased Howick and Eastern Buses, perhaps this could be looked at?

        1. I a train has 1 or 100 the cost would almost be the same excluding fuel the only wold be the staff .

          If transdev have taken over H&E buses then possibly they are running Fullers to as H&E were owned by the same Scottish mob that ran stagecoach . So then if that’s so they have now found another service to stuff up .

        2. Robin, I don’t think people are interested in replacement buses; the effect on ridership of replacement buses would be considerable.

          Have you looked at the research about extending services into the evening, and the effect on ridership for the whole day, including the interpeak?

          When people trust they can complete all their day’s travel, even if they don’t know if they’re going to be late or not, they’ll confidently head out by public transport each morning. If they can’t trust that the service will get them home, they could easily drive every day, just in case. It may only be once every three weeks that they actually need to use the late service, but without it, all their ridership might be lost.

          So it’s not just about the number of people on a particular train, there are these behavioural aspects to consider. The economics is important, but it cannot be evaluated by looking at the ridership on particular services.

  5. Wow, I never realised AT reviewed traffic light operation ever! I say this largely because there are so many intersections that just stop traffic flow dead for no good reason consistently. Its 9ne of the big reasons why our PT is so slow.

    Example, Te Atatu exit west bound sits on mindlessly long red phases until the traffic tails back to the motorway with little if any traffic crossing from the peninsula. It’s been this way since the revamp was done. Why, so the crossing with zero pedestrians or cyclists can remain green. Can you sort that stuff up AT? Cars back queuing on to a motorway that is otherwise flowing at normalish speeds is not exactly safe.

    Similarly and recently owing to a power cut the traffic at the intersection of Mt Eden and Owen’s Rd has never flowed better whilst the lights were out, not the usual gridlock and crawl scenario.

    It seems to me our traffic lit intersections cause more problems than they solve, or at least they way they are phased seemingly never to be reviewed again!

    1. With regards to Te Atatu- I assume you mean exit south bound to Te Atatu South. The walkers and cyclists only get a green when traffic is coming off Peninsula so exit lanes have to be on red – although heaps of car drivers jump it as they make the gamble that they can beat traffic leaving Peninsula. The crossing is heavily used by both walkers and those on bikes.

      1. West bound, the one after Rosebank/Patiki.

        They are just badly phased, the cycle/pedestrian phase cycles repeatedly red to green nothing coming whilst the off ramp traffic builds up needlessly.

        1. then that is geographically south bound – off the motorway heading to Te Atatu South. And as I mentioned the cycle/pedestrian phase only goes to green when the traffic onto and off the Peninsula has a green light. You may be correct that phasing may be poor but that is not because anyone is prioritisng any active modes.

        2. There was some increased light phasing for a while when one of the poles was taken out so there was no button to press. That has since been fixed (if that’s what you’re talking about).

        3. Luke, no, there lights for the ped crossing cycle red to green, red to green and no one is there. Meanwhile……..

    2. They don’t. When signals were run by individual Councils some of them constantly reviewed the operation of intersections and some Councils just ignored them. When the signals system was centralised it allowed one larger group of people to ignore them all intersections at the same time, which clearly resulted in savings. Now they have policies to run green phases for cyclists 24 hours a day even if their is nobody there and regardless of the traffic queue that forms. It is part of out contribution to global warming to form a queue or idling cars at places like Nelson Street so that when a cyclist does eventually turn up they don’t have to push a button.

      1. But Miffy you are ignoring that at this particular intersection and I suspect most others- pedestrians and those on bikes only get a green when the traffic on Te Atatu Rd has the green and the off ramps have the red. Yes there may be no bikes at midnight but there may also be no cars- we always seem to blame the green pedestrian phase light for ” holding up traffic when it is just general phasing.

        1. Vinny your first mistake is being on Te Atatu Road and your second is being there at midnight. The interchange lights belong to NZTA and not AT so as much as I like to blame AT for everything I probably can’t this time.

      2. Miffy you are forgetting the other policy which is that is cars must be able to go through any intersection in once phase while pedestrians and cyclists can be forced to wait at several slip lanes etc to get across. I had to wait at 4 sets of traffic lights to cross the intersection of Hillsbourough road and South Western motorway yesterday, and most of them could have been green but weren’t because I hadn’t pressed the button.

    3. Waspman lights create delays and always have. They are put in to improve safety or to prevent extreme delays on an approach or turn and not to reduce overall delays. I used to replace the memory on controllers during upgrades. We would turn up and see queues, turn off the lights and the queues would disappear, plug in the new memory and phone the office on a huge cellphone in a shoulder bag to let the guy at the terminal know they were coming on again, then when he was ready turn the lights back on and the queues would reappear like magic.

      1. This is 180 degrees completely untrue. Traffic signals are not safety devices, they are priority devices; they are intended to prioritise traffic ‘flow’, also known as (in the assault on language that is traffic engineering) ‘efficiency’. It is true however that they are very poor at improving flow, as miffy says above, and as we know from power cuts (when intersections generally work slower, but better). However they are effective at enforcing vehicle domination of the public realm, so this is their main effect.

        Traffic signals actually make our streets more dangerous by reinforcing driver entitlement and higher speed driving. They are especially dangerous when the associated enforcement is weak or absent, because they give the illusion of a free right of way to those on green, while others are ignoring the red. This is worst possible system, a chaotic free for all at least slows everything down and heightens awareness and sense of vulnerability in all players, and demands communication…

        1. Vision Zero suggests replacing traffic lit intersections with roundabouts and I can see why. Assuming your green means it’s safe can be lethal!

        2. Whilst I do agree that traffic signals do have safety issues, they are notably safer than uncontrolled intersections. They are also much safer and more convenient for pedestrians and cyclists than either uncontrolled or roundabout intersections.

          As for their purpose, its to primarily to manage traffic (of all modes) to allow them to safely pass through busy intersection.

        3. Totally disagree Patrick. Signals provide safer separation from conflicting movements at the price of increased delay. You are separating people in time which increases safety but decreases efficiency. So of course it works better for CARS when you turn them off. But if you leave them off permanently there will be crashes just like at so many uncontrolled intersections.

          Almost every new set of signals get put in to address the risk of patterns of crashes at busy,uncontrolled intersections. So you are wrong when you say traffic signals are not safety devices. They are.

          Roundabouts have their limits and their own problems and on some busy, constrained roads, signals are the only viable option.

          You also conflate two different matters. Traffic signals as a safety tool and traffic signals as a behavioral tool. There is no reason why couldn’t leave signals on red in all directions until a car drives up to the limit line. You could leave side roads on green instead of the main road. You could run barnes dances at every intersection. You could ban turns all over the place. You could time signals so vehicles move more slowly. These are all options that have nothing to do with the signals as a safety tool.

          Don’t blame the tool for not being used to their best advantage.

  6. Using AT’s figures, then, can we assume their road network optimisation programme has priorities in this order:

    1 – optimising the network for pedestrians (since 70% of the network is operating below the desired LOS)
    2 – optimising the network for buses (since 39% of the bus network is congested in the morning peak)
    3 – optimising the network for general traffic only comes in at third…

    If they’re optimising the network for general traffic, this could easily be conflicting with priorities 1 and 2, and certainly shouldn’t be taking the optimisation funding away from priorities 1 and 2 either.

  7. Seemed to be a common theme between local and national body over the transport situation. If there is a change of mayor or party, things get shoved back (like Vision Zero have a new goal of 2050 instead of 2030). The transport situation should not be used as a political tools to win the voters.
    We need to move thing along regardless of who is the mayor or the government.

    1. Reply to PT
      Vision Zero is about leadership, Leadership, LEADERSHIP
      I challenge anyone to find minutes from a board meeting that approves serious harm or death to more than zero people.
      When the AT board plan approves ‘250 deaths and serious injuries’ page 20, traffic engineers have approval for this in there planning. If the plan just says ‘goal of zero deaths and serious injuries by 2050’ traffic engineers can not include an allowable death toll in any of there planning and it forces them to think about the public user as if they are work mates.

    1. I hope they change Campbell to intersect with Manukau before the roundabout, and then change the roundabout into a standard 4 way signalled intersection. But I imagine that is too sensible and instead they will spend a lot of money on tinkering.

    2. With “safety improvements”.
      https://onehunga.co.nz/hazardous-roundabout-due-for-upgrade/
      AT is invesitgating the options which include raised pedestrian crossings to improve safety and to slow vehicles on the approaches to the roundabout; changes to the roundabout traffic island to improve lane-keeping for all road users; bus priority measures leading into the roundabout, including bus stop improvements on Manukau Road; improved signage on approaches to the roundabout.

      1. OK so just tinkering then. The real problem of course is that 5 roads intersect into a tiny roundabout, you have to be looking at about 3 other excessively close entry points at once to see if you are safe to go, and the chance of also noticing any pedestrians and cyclists is highly unlikely.

      1. Waspman it is already seized up. The problem with small roundabouts at peak times is it effectively means only one car can go at a time., whereas traffic lights allow streams of cars to go at once.

        1. Sometimes the car in the right hand lane hasn’t moved so far forwards that they block the visibility from the left hand lane, so about 1.5 cars per two lane entrance. Pedestrians are taking a large (and illegal I assume) risk if they aren’t using the crossings. I have seen someone bowled onto the bonnet of a car (illegally) overtaking on a pedestrian crossing.

        1. They’re left in the shade by AT’s traffic choking traffic lights.

          The thing is drivers are hopeless when it comes to roundabouts, a relatively simple system. Stop rather than give way, ( ironically think give way and don’t stop at compulsory stops), panic, indicate right when entering when going straight, more panic. Such is the drivers licence from a West Bix box skill sets out there!

        2. So roundabouts work really well on paper but fail in the real world? That’s not a strong endorsement for them.

    1. Nope. They will need to retrofit the rail gates as well. A bit of a fail given how much money has been spent installing gates at various suburban stations lately, which will all have to be retrofitted again.

    2. I notice that the ticket has a life span of 2hrs way can’t AT give them the same as a hop card which is 4hrs , to allow for any disruptions on the network .

  8. Reading through the benefits of the Network Optimisation I’m somewhat skeptical as to how they got their numbers. For example:

    “The clearway lane on Manukau and Pah Roads was changed to a T3 lane. Immediate benefits saw an average 14-minute journey time saving for bus and T3 lane users. The changes also saw 20% more people travelling along the corridor, in approximately the same number of vehicles as previously. ”

    I spent about 5 years taking the bus down this road and was there when they made this change. Before they made the change it used take me a little over 20mins to get to Newmarket with 50% of the time spent collecting passengers.

    The bus was seldom held up by traffic because all the bus stops were in lane meaning it always had a clear road ahead to the next stop. So I fail to see how they could possibly save 14mins when 10mins was spent collecting passengers and it takes 10mins to drive the route when there is no traffic.

    I’m also not too sure how they got the increase in people as the number of buses using the road was greatly reduced as part of the new transport network and the main users of the T3 lane are taxis that have an average occupancy rate of 0.5 one you ignore the driver.

    What it did do however was make driving this route take 45mins rather than 30mins and it resulted in all of the adjacent side roads becoming congested.

    Of course once the Waterview Tunnel opened traffic on this route halved and so maybe that’s where they get the benefits.

  9. Richard
    You have rightly observed that bus journey times are heavily impacted by bus loading times. In the timeframe you are talking about HOP has been implemented and has nearly totally replaced the much slower cash fares. The effect of this has probably been greater then roadway reallocation, but now the HOP loading time benifit has been nearly fully capitalised, further bus journey time improvements are dependent on better bus priority measures. More buslanes and bus signal priority.

    1. Good point on the HOP card, however my route also had the snapper card before then. All up I’d been taken the bus down that road since about 2007 through to 2017 so 10 years. The main change between snapper and HOP was that HOP didn’t like being in my wallet with other cards.

      Both of them were miles better than Melbourne’s Myki that had a 25% failure rate.

      1. The snapper card seemed to work ok for the limited functionality it had, as a dumb stored value card. But it was integrated ticketing, and the large discount incentives that came with HOP, that really incentivised the mass adoption, and therefore the load time benifits.

  10. There’s nothing on the AT board papers for the same reason there’s nothing on the NZTA board papers:

    The gap between government policy and agency execution is now so vast there is very little for contracturs to do.

    The stuff you see underway now is all you get for a couple of years.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.