Yesterday the Auckland Transport board met for their latest meeting. Here are the highlights from the various papers.
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.
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.
In August, the council’s Auckland Design Office implemented some tactical urbanism improvements to Sale St.
Here comes Sales St!
This trial provides
an accessible crossing point (previously 35m kerb to kerb) for people walking,
reduces cornering speeds (we've measured 50kmph+ here!),
— Cam Perkins (@H20FrntDsgn) August 16, 2019
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.”
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.
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:
- Why don’t AT have a separate card for children with the concession loaded that people can just buy. This is common overseas.
- 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 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
The Newmarket shuffle – Western line users switching trains at Newmarket to get to Britomart a few minutes faster
Note: Western line had been at the platform for 2 minutes already so these people were all switching trains pic.twitter.com/VECdcCgaNr
— Greater Auckland (@GreaterAKL) June 27, 2019
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?