Tomorrow the Auckland Transport board meet once again, only this time presumably via video chat. Here are some of the highlights from the board papers published in advance.

Like everyone else, AT have gone into lockdown and that means projects currently under construction have had to shut down. It’s going to be interesting to see what that does to the delivery of many of them as quite a few, such as the Downtown works and the Puhinui Interchange were timed to be completed just in time for the America’s Cup next year – assuming that still goes ahead.

Closed Agenda

It looks like a busy closed agenda this meeting with a lot of interesting items up for approval/decision. The ones that stand out are:

  • Southern Interchange Progress Update
  • Te Horeta Extension – Business Case and Land Requirement
  • Eastern Busway Stages 2, 3 and 4 Procurement Plan
  • Auckland Network Optimisation Programme Business Case
  • Field Device Maintenance Agreement Renewal
  • AT’s Future PT Ticketing
  • PTOM Contract Tendering Policy

The one that most interests me is the future PT ticketing which would obviously have significant implications for all PT users. So far the project to deliver that has not been a great success and so it will be interesting to see what AT decide to do.

The PTOM contract tender policy could also be significant and I wonder if it will include changes around electric buses and driver employment conditions.

The Te Horeta Extension is to extend the road built in a tunnel alongside the rail line in 2013 from where it joins Morrin Rd through to Merton Rd

In addition to the items for decision, in the items for noting is another notable paper:

  • AT’s Approach to Sustainability & Climate Change

Business Report

There’s not a huge amount that really stands out in this latest business report but there’s always a few things that catch my attention.

Public Transport

Ferries

AT are working on a business case for improving ferries and that is/was expected to be completed in August/September. One thing they do note about it is below and is good to see.

Significant focus is being placed on the feasibility of electric ferries and broader technology options in relation to meeting the ferry network plan

Separately, the work to integrate ferry fares with HOP has been ongoing and was planned to go live 26 April. I wonder if that will now be delayed.

Rail

AT are in the process of re-tendering out rail services. They’ve been run by Transdev and predecessor organisations since 2004. The last time AT tried to re-tender them, back in 2015, they cancelled it after shortlisting three companies and just extended Transdev’s contract. In the board papers they say they’ve decided to “defer the release of the rail franchise Request for Proposal“. At the least that will see the decision on who runs Auckland’s trains pushed back to May 2021 but I could just as easily see a repeat of 2015 where AT just give up and give it back to Transdev for another long period of time.

The physical works for gating Papakura were due to be completed by April, but again presumably that’s now delayed at least a month. They also say that the ‘Pets on Trains’ trial has so far there have been no major issues reported. A decision was due to be made this month on whether to make it permanent.

Bus

The consultation on the Outer Link changes had 1,100 responses with 50-60% opposed – although given that in most consultations the majority of people that submit oppose the changes I hope AT push on with improving these services. These changes are much needed so I hope they continue to deliver them.

AT Local

A review on AT’s subsidised taxi service in Devonport was due to be undertaken at the end of last month. It’s unclear if that’s actually happened although with the current crisis, they have at least stopped running it for now. Between November 2017 and February this year they’ve announced that over 55k people have used AT local, although from what I can tell, that’s not dissimilar to what the local buses serving the wharf have done.

Safety

There’s a few interesting comments about right turns at traffic light controlled intersections.

Filter Right Turn intersections

127. A filter right turn is where drivers are allowed to turn right on a full green signal display through gaps in traffic. This type of signal phasing has been historically implemented at many signalised intersections around Auckland to optimise intersection efficiency. However, an unintended consequence of this has been increased crashes at some signalised intersections. In order to reduce death and serious injury at signalised intersections, the traffic signal phasing at a number of high-risk intersections have been reviewed over a two-year period.

128. For the past two years, changes have been progressively made at 29 signalised intersections in Auckland to control the right turn movements with a traffic signal arrow. This has resulted in a reduction of these types of crashes from 46 to seven in 2019. This represents an 85% reduction when compared to 2017 performance.

That feels like a significant change/improvement overall and is great to see.

E-Scooters

In a section titled “Micromobility”, AT have a big piece on their role in managing e-scooters. One aspect that stood out to me was this

AT has created a software-based application that utilises the GPS capabilities of operator’s e-scooters. This allows us to identify high density locations, track the e-scooters operations against the code of practice, and communicate identified issues back to the operators. These reports are extensive and are able to highlight a number of possible ways that the operators may not be meeting their obligations. The data in these reports is accumulative and allows for tracking both change/improvements in operations and reoccurring issues.

Later in the report they show some of the analysis they’ve built.

The analysis includes monitoring e-scooter speeds

If you’ve looked through the reports yourself, let me know if there’s anything you’ve seen that stands out.

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51 comments

    1. Good move to postpone the AT meeting. It would be unhelpful if people who were off work could attend any public session and find out what really goes on.

  1. I came across this yesterday:

    ” Extending electrification
    from Papakura to Pukekohe will mean
    commuters will no longer have to change
    trains at Papakura, allowing for more
    capacity and better services for commuters,
    ahead of the expected huge growth in this
    part of southern Auckland.
    The project – which is expected to begin at
    the end of 2020 – includes electrification of
    19km of track, an additional two platforms
    at Pukekohe station and future proofing for
    additional lines.”

  2. “In February 2020 there were a further 813 street lights fitted with LED luminaires bringing the total this year to 5,043. There are currently
    119,286 streetlights on the network of which 60,904 have LED luminaires connected to the Central Management System. ”

    At that rate it will take 71 months to get the rest of the network completed

      1. Just from driving around auckland I would guess 95% of traffic lights are using LED’s. In fact I don’t recall seeing an older lantern in several years. I think they started switching them over in 10-15 years ago.

  3. Terrible stats for E-Scooters exceeding 15km/hr! I see this. Users may think the footpath is clear, but pedestrians can step out from doorways or from behind street furniture at any time.
    What is AT doing about this?

    1. They can step out from behind parked cars at any time, too. And this is why the road code says a driver must go slowly enough to be able to stop if they do. Be nice, eh?

    2. Basic things first — do we know whether those scooters were on a footpath, bike lane or roadway? 15km/h is pretty fast on a footpath, but if it is on a bike lane, then so what?

  4. Does AT have a similar Speed Compliance Breach analysis system for motor vehicles?

    Do they have a Red Light Compliance Breach analysis system for motor vehicles?

    Can we see the results?

    1. Yes and of course the speed limits themselves are usually 20 kmph higher than they should be. So how many dots would there be if they recorded the speeds drivers are using that are unsafe?

      AT is being penny-wise and pound-foolish.

    2. I’m guessing the scooter data is readily accessible, but the vehicle data is not. So its easy to make up some graphic if you have the data.

  5. There seems to have been a slight mistake in the report above, corrected text as follows:

    127. A filter right turn is where drivers are allowed to turn right on a full green signal display through gaps in traffic. This type of signal phasing has been historically implemented at many signalised intersections around Auckland to optimise intersection efficiency. However, an unintended, BUT COMPLETELY FUCKING OBVIOUS consequence of this has been increased crashes at some signalised intersections. In order to reduce death and serious injury at signalised intersections, the traffic signal phasing at a number of high-risk intersections have been reviewed over a two-year period.

    1. I think the importance of this change is it quantifies the huge reduction in safety the approach of optimising flow for vehicles has had.

      We deserve to see a programme outlined for all the other changes that need to happen too.

      Flush medians, slip lanes, courtesy crossings, local roads built as if they’re motorways, huge multi-lane intersections, long wait times for pedestrians, no crossings on desire lines, narrow footpaths, legless crossings, driveways that look like roads. The list of bad practices is extensive.

      AT can fix this quickly with tactical changes where required, if it has the will. It’ll be hard for the traffic engineers to accept the BAU methods were responsible for crashes and DSI, but they need to do it.

    2. I think the results look impressive and most major intersections don’t allow it anyway. So there is a definite positive benefit. But I would ask Urbanista. How is it obvious? Seriously.

      We have hundreds, if not thousands of uncontrolled intersections and tens of thousands of driveways all with filter turns. Should all those have traffic lights too? Or do we ban right turns there as well? Suddenly it’s not so obvious is it?

      Traffic lights are often only justified at peak times with lots of traffic and outside of that are not needed, but you cant just switch them on and off.

      Those stats don’t give the whole picture. Do they show how pissed of drivers run red lights instead or drive down the road and do a dangerous u-turn to skip the queue? No. It won’t show up because this is looking at filter turns. You see it wherever you ban a movement. It moves the problem elsewhere, it doesnt eliminate the problem.

      If speeds were reduced at the intersection and the filter turns retained, the crashes would still happen, but would be less severe. That is vision zero. Not banning stuff and moving the problem down the road so the stats look better.

      1. Reduced speeds? Yes, you’re right. Once we finally get safe speed limits I wonder whether they’d add in any of these filter right turns in? I don’t know which intersections they are but I imagine they’ll all be oversized ones, so the vision zero need for better built environments means they’d need to reduce the intersection sizes first.

    1. People sitting at a red right turn arrow off-peak, looking at an empty road, can usefully spend the time reflecting on how good roundabouts can be.

      1. And how many pedestrians were hit to justify the installation of the red arrow.
        Roundabouts aren’t better for pedestrians.

        1. Two lane roundabouts are dangerous. Properly designed single lane roundabouts with full cycling and pedestrian amenity seem to be more safe, Anthony. It’s taken me a while to be convinced, but I do see what we’ve done wrong now.

          Our problem is that we’ve used a flawed transport model, using 50 km/hr speeds between massive ‘car storage’ signalised intersections. Engineers have thought that the 50 km/hr speed is fine and that anything slower would increase travel times. In fact, the long signal phases, and the long time to then empty the storage areas of all the built up traffic increases the travel times significantly. And pedestrians end up having limited crossing options (eg legless crossings), long wait times, red light running danger, and dangerous wide intersections to cross.

          If instead we used one lane roads, protected cycle lanes, wide footpaths, 30 km/hr speeds and safe roundabouts, safety would be so significantly improved there would be significant modeshift to walking and cycling, which means lots of people would shift from driving, reducing traffic and reducing travel times for those who do.

        1. If he doesn’t want it can I have it? It would, of course, have to be virtuous as well as virtual. In return I propose toasting your health with the excellent APA in front of me, spiced up with a large handful of freshly-picked radishes.

          Be generous of spirit, people.

        2. Of course MFD. Anytime.
          And here’s to your good health with the, admittedly not excellent but many times better than your average pub lager, IPA.
          The pumpkins and potatoes were quite good this year despite the drought (great summer).

  6. Speaking as a Wellingtonian of Auckland decent.. when the meeting goes ahead I hope that AT are in the process of agreeing a roll-out timeframe for debit/credit payments and fare capping on HOP along with anything else they were/had delayed until moving to the Project NEXT platform. Furthermore, I hope this is before the NEXT delivery date and they shout it out as well as calling out any delays Auckland has had in rolling this out whilst waiting for NEXT. HOP hasn’t been perfect, but it’s enabled a lot more than in this part of the country.

    If the reports about delays and GW / NZTA performance on things relating to PT in recent times are anything to go by, 2022 to start rolling out ain’t going to happen and if AT play their cards right a future Minister may tell GW et al to pull their heads in and use what is working in Auckland, after all at 104m trip per annum, if not as much as every other region, Auckland is pretty close to it. Meanwhile, those of us in the capital that use different modes will plod on with Snapper card and cash payment / paper tickets until who knows when..

    1. Fare capping is an awkward one. We certainly don’t want to replicate models that encourage patrons on Monday to complete the required number of low cost and zero value status trips, with no other purpose then to travel the rest of the week on often long trips for free.
      Perhaps a sliding scale rebate after a certain number of trips and spend?

  7. I, twas a bountiful summer. We have some plums that I froze back in Feb and shallots and habaneros in the garden. Think I will brew up some hot sauce to keep myself amused.
    Didn’t someone suggest that we should all wash our hands as if we had been chopping jalapenos? Habaneros are even more persuasive.

    1. Unfortunately we are not quite that advanced on our plot yet.
      The citrus, avocado and blueberries have only been in a year and the feijoa and macadamia only six months.
      I am under strict instructions to have the vege planters ready for more than potatoes, pumpkins and the odd chilli, by September.
      If I didn’t have to deal with the council and their useless waffle I have been enjoying haberneros, jalapeños and perhaps some home brewed IPAs. And damn sight lighter on the mortgage too.

  8. Question , when they Gate Papakura how will the people detraining from the H2A service get off the station and go to were they need to go and vice versa , and also for those that have to get the Northerner ?

  9. Keep up the good work. There is a real joy in growing at least some of your own food and finding new ways of enjoying it.
    Our current favourite is basil. Leaves spread on hot Vogel toast smeared with home-grown avocado and topped with tomato. Add pepper and salt. Basil is easy to grow and provided you pinch the tips out before they flower it just keeps on producing…and the aroma!

    1. Yes all of that. Having come from a house with an extensive garden the lack of easy access to all the good stuff has taken some getting used to. We’ll get there though.
      The fresh peas were always my favourite. Competition was fierce between myself and my daughter though and I would usually be the one to miss out.

    2. Best thing about basil is discovering the perennial version so I don’t have to keep resowing. It means I have it all year around, too

      1. Thanks for the tip, Heidi. I discovered perpetual spinach. Had to chop it down with an axe! It’s like a triffid!

        Have you tried Otago thyme? We were given a plant and it has thrived. It is hyper-aromatic. A wonderful herb.

        1. I will sniff it out and try. I do have plenty of thyme at the moment which I’m enjoying, but haven’t tried that one.

          Welsh bunching onions are proving indispensable for crises like this… onions have been hard to buy… I’d put them top of a list for a prepper garden.

          I made mountain pawpaw and pear jam today. Pretty fine stuff!

        2. “I do have plenty of thyme at the moment”…

          Don’t we all!

          …and what’s this “Welsh bunching onions”? Sounds positively Potteresque. Whatever next? Cornish congregating cucumbers?

          That jam sounds magnificent. Just the thing to go on top of the bread we are baking.

    3. I have always enjoyed not growing vegetables. My favourite month to not grow vegetables is September.
      Sorry I think I have used that joke before. Yesterday I saw Mrs mfwic out the back picking apples and pears which usually only the birds bother with. I asked her if she was getting ready for the depression or something. She said she would make me some trouser out of a sugar bag!
      Our vegetables show up each week in a box, just a random assortment of what is available. You can add other things like milk, meat etc by request. Yesterday the second cooler box had Hapuka in it! Seems they can’t export it in aircraft so it is going cheap. I know we are not supposed to enjoy our confinement but it was delicious!

  10. I wuld like to see it built at grade and then Pilkington Road, Tripoli Road and Riverside Avenue closed to through traffic closed to through traffic except buses, and bicycles. It would make basically all of Tamaki and point England local access only in a way that would be almost impossible without the new connection.

    1. The AEMTI extension would take plenty of traffic off the residental roads in Panmure, Pt England and Glen Innes and would also likely include extending the cycle path from Glen Innes to Pamnure.

      I would continue it a few hundred metres more and end it on the north side of the train station and then link directly into Apirana Ave and Felton Mathew Ave.

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