Every weekend we dig into the archives. This post was first published in April 2010.

Last week the Regional Transport Committee confirmed the final form of the 2010 Regional Land Transport Strategy – the culmination of a couple of years’ work in creating Auckland a guiding 30 year transport document. As I have said before, the strategy is an overall excellent document, and really shifts Auckland’s transport thinking in the right direction – to a more balanced and sustainable future.

One alteration to the RLTS that I strongly pushed for, the inclusion of provision for a Northwest Busway along State Highway 16, was specifically mentioned in the minutes of the RTC meeting – and although it hasn’t been added as a part of the Rapid-Transit Network for now, it certainly seems as though there is now an awareness of the idea – which will hopefully filter through to influence the widening of State Highway 16 that is currently being proposed. Here’s the resolution made by the Regional Transport Committee:

Whilst ideally the NW Busway would have been detailed specifically in the RLTS, having this resolution is very helpful as it places great emphasis on the ARC really pushing NZTA to provide quality bus priority along SH16 as part of its upgrade, and – perhaps even more importantly – gives strong direction that whatever gets built now does not compromise the ability to build a busway or railway line along the corridor in the future. This is very important because I think there’s a great risk the upgrades to SH16, including the Waterview Connection interchange, will make it extremely difficult to thread a busway or railway line through them in the future.

One only needs to look at Britomart, or even at Newmarket station, to realise the dangers of not properly future-proofing. Hopefully we won’t make that mistake again.

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  1. Can we take this post down please, it is far far too depressing:

    “One only needs to look at Britomart, or even at Newmarket station, to realise the dangers of not properly future-proofing. Hopefully we won’t make that mistake again”

  2. Can I suggest though that Auckland simply doesn’t have the money to future proof for changes that need to be made very quickly. It seems that Aucklanders make about 2 billion vehicle trips a year. If emissions are to halved by 2030 there isn’t PT or biking infrastructure to reduce vehicle trips in half by that time. (Yeah, EVs I know, I have read VW’s mass scale up problems.)

    Or at least there isn’t enough money the way that budgeting currently occurs. When we look at all the transport budgets they are all very top heavy on roading spend. The proportion needs to quickly reversed. When we hear a politician say, there needs to be a pipeline of road building, we need to ask them why? Surely we should only build roads if we need roads? It’s not some giant employment scheme. This industry should be like any other industry, it employs people only if there is a demand for the product, now and into the future.

    I wonder if the starting point is, given that NZ has to reduce emissions dramatically (and from the daily report on Stuff emissions are still moving up), is there ever going to be a need for new roads? If the target is to reduce emissions by 50% over 10 years (and maybe more given the reluctance of the farming sector to do anything), is a 5% yearly reduction, alongside a rapid investment in other mode share going to sufficiently de-congest our roads that there is no need for more. There is a good argument that NZ needs more roads as much as Oz needs meat pies and Holden cars.

    1. Obviously, the elephant in the room is money given that Auckland council are closing departments.

      Personally: I think that a busway to the NW should have some funding from the central government.

      And in my opinion; starting this northwestern busway should be a top priority. Well ahead of any light rail or electrification to Pukekohe, etc.

      1. Rapid transit is now a funding allocation class in the gps, it would be 100% funded by central government via NZTA.

  3. NZTA are a bunch of absolute muppets aren’t they. Imagine if they had of built that busway at the same time as widening the motorway!

    1. It seems like that was as much a decision from the previous four way coalition as it was from NZTA.

      Didn’t they get taken to the environment court because they weren’t even going to extend the bike path out to West park?

  4. Failure on all sides.

    The route should have been in the Rapid Transit Network. It was in the Quality Transit Network instead, a network which, despite its name, had no average speed, punctuality or reliability criteria to define what “Quality” meant.

    That’s bad planning on the part of the authorities. But one of the roles of a professional consulting engineer is to point out the problems that could arise in future from such bad planning, eg pointing out the technical difficulties in deciding at a later point to make the route a RTN. It seems the NZTA’s consulting engineer did not point this out. Instead he said, in his expert evidence:

    “In terms of future-proofing for an RTN Busway, I note that the Passenger Transport Network Plan developed by ARTA57 shows SH16 as a QTN route, with the proposed current and future RTN route being via the western rail line. As such, the development or provision for RTN in the SH16 corridor would not be consistent with the regionally-developed Passenger Transport Plan.”

    The travel times predicted by the modelling that he oversaw were, as we’ve seen, incorrect, due to the induced traffic the model didn’t account for. The level of congestion there means the term ‘quality transit network’ is a misnomer.

    Together, using outdated traffic models and not reporting the possible consequences of either the models or of not future-proofing for a RTN, mean there have been major effects on the environment and on the health of the public, who are stuck in physically inactive car dependency instead of being able to shift to active + public transport commuting.

    Today, not reporting these difficulties would be a breach of NZ Engineering’s Code of Ethics. At the time, I guess, it served the Well-Connected Alliance well.

  5. Can we please add something to confirm that the “I” in this post is Joshua Arbury (well, that’s my best guess).

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