Auckland has made impressive progress on improving public transport over the last 10-15 years, when you consider how low the base was we were coming from. The city also has a lot of exciting plans for the coming decade, many of which are already underway. However, a question that’s been on my mind a bit recently is “are we doing enough?”.

The reasons for this is that getting more people to use public transport is one of the key outcomes:

  • in our bid reduce the environmental impact of our transport system
  • to give people more options in how they get around the city, ideally free from congestion
  • to improve road safety and public health as PT is both safer than driving and people who use PT tend to walk more.

One of the reasons I worry we’re not doing enough is that our current planning system doesn’t allow us to think about that question.

At a high level, whether it be a single project or even entire programme of work like ATAP, and many others, the process effectively just takes the current state, adds in one or more projects that are likely to happen and then takes a guess at what the impact will be. That guess will be called modelling but it’s often not much more accurate than sticking your finger in the air to determine wind direction and speed. Within that process different options for a project or programme may be compared, usually by a multi-criteria analysis, to see which one performs best on issues such as climate change, but not whether it does enough.

So what’s the alternative?

One option could be to start with the vision for the city that we want to achieve for and then work backwards. We shouldn’t just accept a programme that doesn’t achieve the original vision so if the original proposal doesn’t stack up, then it needs to be amended till it does. That may mean moving the timing of projects around, adding/removing some projects or other changes to policy settings. The question then becomes, what should that vision be?

A good place to start would be the Auckland Climate Plan (ACP), which among other things calls for the following goals:

20302050
Vehicle Kilometres travelled by private vehicles reduced by 12% as a result of avoided motorised vehicle travel, through actions such as remote working and reduced trip lengths
Public transport mode share to increase from 7.8% to 24.5%Public transport mode share to increase from 7.8% to 35%
Cycling modes share to increase from 0.9% to 7%Cycling modes share to increase from 0.9% to 9%
Walking mode share to increase from 4.1% to 6%Walking mode share to increase from 4.1% to 6%
100% of Auckland’s bus fleet to be zero emission
40% of passenger and light commercial vehicles to be electric or zero emission80% of passenger and light commercial vehicles to be electric or zero emission
18% increase in fuel efficiency of the light vehicle fleet (internal combustion engine)25% increase in fuel efficiency of the light vehicle fleet (internal combustion engine)
8% of road freight to shift to rail20% of road freight to shift to rail
40% of road freight to be electric or zero emission80% of road freight to be electric or zero emission
15% increase in fuel efficiency of the freight vehicle fleet (internal combustion engine)25% increase in fuel efficiency of the freight vehicle fleet (internal combustion engine)

In reality even if we achieved these goals it is probably not enough but it’s a place to start. With this post I’m going to take just the 2030 goals and using a few back of the envelope calculations see what that might actually mean. You might recall I made a comment about this in a recent post, with this post I’ve gone into a bit more detail.

As of 30-June last year we had just under 101 million annual boardings on PT, however, with nearly 20% of all trips involving one or more transfers, the total number of journeys is just over 84 million. The ACP tells us that those journeys equate to a mode share of 7.8%.

Working backwards it suggests that Aucklanders make nearly 1.1 billion trips annually. With an estimated population of 1.68 million people that works out at around 650 trips per person or just a bit under two trips per person per day. Some people will obviously make more than this but many will have days where they make no trips, so this seems about right.

Auckland’s population is currently growing at about the ‘low growth’ projection by Stats NZ and with challenges like COVID that is likely to continue going forward. This suggests that by 2030 we’ll reach a population of about 1.9 million people. Assuming everyone continues to make about 650 trips per year we’ll see our total number of trips increase to about 1.24 billion.

Using the mode share goals from the ACP this gives us the following breakdown

20192030Change in Trips
Trips (m)Mode ShareTrips (m)Mode Share
  Public Transport87.47.8%302.624.5%246%
  Cycling9.80.9%86.57.0%779%
  Walking44.84.1%74.16.0%65%
  Driving950.387.2%771.962.5%-19%

So to achieve the ACP we would need to be achieving almost 300 million journeys, almost 360 million boardings, a 260 million increase on what we reached pre-covid. To put that in comparison, the largest increase in boardings we’ve had in any 11 year period is about 46 million, from late-2008 to late-2019. Separately, my gut feel is with a proper connected and safe network the cycling goal is more achievable even though it requires a higher rate of growth.

Of course COVID has upended the world and many people are now working from home (WFH) regularly. As a bit of a sensitivity test let’s assume that going forward we collectively make about 10% fewer trips over all those all come from the PT and cycling share. In that scenario the number of journeys needed by PT drops to about 212 million (250m boardings) and the number of bike trips to 61 million.

What the current plans achieve?

The current version of ATAP estimates that by 2028 we’ll have around 170 million boardings. From 2019 to 2030 that works out at about a 6.1% annual growth rate and if that continues to 2030 would equate to 191 million boardings.

That’s clearly quite a bit less than the ACP suggests is required, even after discounting for more WFH, and tells us we need to do a lot more. It means we need more projects and projects delivered sooner if we want to make public transport to be good enough to encourage people out of their cars. It may also mean we need policies such as higher parking costs, fewer car parks and road pricing to provide push factors.

How could we achieve more?

To get an idea of where we should focus, we can perhaps break the numbers down a bit more. For the purpose of this I’ll take the 250 million boardings number from above as it’s more achievable than the original result.

Currently about 28% of all trips currently on Auckland’s PT network occurs on the Rapid Transit Network (Northern Busway and the rail network). That’s up from about 16% a decade or so earlier. However, looking a number of overseas cities, most tend see their rapid transit networks accounting for around 40-50% of total trips. At 40% that would mean we need to accommodate about 100 million trips of the RTN, up from about 30 million.

The big projects currently underway will clearly help with that goal. With a few guesses as to their impact by 2030:

  • we might see around 50 million trips on the rail network once the CRL is completed
  • I’ll assume about 12 million tips on the Northern busway, up from about 8 million pre-covid
  • AT assume they’ll get about 8 million trips on the Eastern Busway
  • the Northwestern Bus improvements might deliver another 5 million and perhaps so too the Airport to Botany route.

All up that’s about 80 million trips. Perhaps light rail/metro might plug that gap but we should also look at ideas like rolling out at least interim improvements for the other RTN routes, such as the Upper Harbour line or the crosstown one (New Lynn to Onehunga).

Perhaps too we need to consider some new RTN routes not currently on the map, for example upgrading the route up Pakuranga Highway towards Howick, or more crosstown routes like something from Flat Bush to Otahuhu, or something with Onewa Rd.

If we did manage to achieve 100 million trips in a decade on the RTN, that would still leave another 150 million trips needed on buses and ferries, essentially doubling their level of use before COVID. One particular target might be to get better off-peak and weekend use. Currently nearly 60% of all weekday usage occurs just the five hours of the peak (7-9am and 3-7pm). To get people choosing to use PT off-peak it needs to be more competitive with driving. That means we’re going to need to see local bus routes given more speed, greater priority and better frequency. Of course, all of this will also need more funding.

As you can see, if we turn our thinking around and work backwards from where we want to get to, we end up with quite a different result and one that sees us having to recognise that what we’re currently doing isn’t enough. It highlights that we need our transport agencies to come up with bolder plans and to implement them sooner.

Share this

73 comments

  1. You guys spend far too much time speculating on PT projects – even normatively expressed in this post – and nowhere near enough on fleet. That’s where the wholesale societal change is. Not adding yet another mode “option” to their day.

    Plenty of countries already have a hard calendar limit on when importing combustion engines will stop.

    Others like Australia put a strong emphasis on making their national fleet younger and younger – good for both efficiency and safety.

    Still others tilt tax breaks for changing corporate fleets.

    The question “are we doing enough” should be about the combustion engine.

    1. Auckland Council has almost no influence over the vehicle fleet. The responsibility is with central government. Plenty of other people bang that drum so while we mention it occasionally, we focus on public and active transport where we can be John Bonham.

      1. Or Safety problems.
        Or Physical Inactivity problems.
        Or Children’s lack of Independent Mobility problems.
        Or the problems faced by people with disabilities, many of whom can’t get around the city easily at all.
        Or Land use problems.

    2. IIRC AT has already stated that all new buses purchased by local operators from 2025 (?) onward must be zero-emission. Presumably operating contracts will require and enforce this.

  2. One of the easiest and cheapest ways with the least objections is to add more T3 lanes. Most of the time it only needs a splash of paint and signage to convert. Speeds bus journeys up immensely while still giving carpooling an option and keeping the NIMBYs quiet as its not taking away a lane.
    Also it really isn’t hard or expensive in most cases to upgrade motorway shoulders to bus lanes (upper harbour motorway in particular comes to mind).

    1. Still plenty or resistance to T3, and as long as the lanes disappear at every intersection they don’t actually speed up much at all.

      Motorway shoulder lanes are ok for express buses, but not great for buses people can get on and off.

      1. That’s only because of the way council designs it. Nothing preventing it going through intersections. Even if it isn’t, it still avoids km after km of stop start traffic and provides consistency in journey times (which is a huge factor for PT usage).
        Why does everything have to be a single issue? The motorway bus lanes are PART of the solution, not a silver bullet in their own right, but they certainly help.

        1. The council design it this way because of politics, ignoring that factor and pretending it’s simply a technical issue isn’t going to get you anywhere.

        2. I’m not aware of any politics influencing transit and bus lanes at intersections. Can you back up this comment? As far as I can see it’s more about intersection design and a desire to not impede other traffic more than necessary. And it’s not Council that design them, but AT itself.

    2. “One of the easiest and cheapest ways with the least objections is to add more T3 lanes “- unless it represents the downgrading of a bus lane.

    3. T3 lanes most definitely do not keep NIMBYs quiet. They may still lose parking spots during rush hour.

      And before you ask, yes you are still allowed to park all hours of the day on many bus routes.

  3. Taking away carparks would probably work. It would mean many people take a hard look at why they live in Auckland and figure “well bugger this” and move somewhere smaller where there is plenty of parking. Trips would then be shorter for the people who left and Auckland houses would be cheaper for those who didn’t have that option.

    1. Smaller towns are already much easier to get around in a car yet the population continues to gravitate towards larger cities. I’m not sure removing carparking would suddenly drive an exodus from Auckland.

      Even if it did it would only last until the smaller towns started having serious parking issues.

      1. No I don’t want to be a Goron. I am thinking about Raglan. I could get around easily there without any need to ride the Covid express.

        1. Just don’t get sick as the health services in that area are few and bad quality. And definitely don’t suffer any mental health problems because Waikato’s mental health system is broken. From personal experience.

      1. Tfl did a report in 2000 that said there were 6.8million parking spaces in London. I mean you just have to visit and you will know there is a huge number of cars there. Maybe you just went places on the Underground and didn’t notice.

        1. Lived there. Very few houses/flats had private parking, there was some off street parking but no where near enough for every household to have a car. It cost something like $20 to drive into the city from congestion charges. The chance of you getting a park outside any business was close to zero. I hope Auckland gets there one day!

        2. We kept a car on the street when we lived in Belsize Park. Later in Wimbledon we had a garage but it was full of stuff so again the car lived on the street. We used PT to commute and the car for shopping and recreation. The 6.8million parking spaces is likely true. Once you get onto the North Circular you see the cars being used. But London is the proof that limiting residential parking is folly. Most people who own a car already don’t use it in the peak hours.

        3. 6.8 million is just a number that sounds big, it means nothing without the context of which way it is trending and the equivalent number of carparks in Auckland.

        4. And tell me, what research do traffic engineers quote to back up beliefs like that, miffy, if they are ever asked to advise on the subject?

        5. Well we don’t quote the research that counted car ownership in an apartment without carparks that then concluded not providing parking reduced car ownership. Not providing in a building just means people who own a car, or want a car, choose to live somewhere else. That research should have counted family size as well. They would have erroneously concluded that limiting the number of bedrooms in an apartment results in smaller families.

        6. I guess you should read my evidence then Heidi. The onus is actually on those trying to introduce maximum parking rates for residential to prove that is justified. None of them have bother so far.

        7. The onus is always put on people wanting change, miffy. Which is weird, given the IPCC says we need to change everything, at every level, in every sector. So anyone proposing the retain the status quo is probably the one who should be justifying it. 🙂

  4. More of a focus on maintaining existing transport infrastructure in a manner that reduces interference in actually using public transport.

    By default non-emergence after hours ( 1:30am till 4:30am ) rail track and road maintenance used by public transport.

    Continual survey of the rail,roads,bridge,tunnels, etc used by public transport so to maintain the network.

    Shutting down the entire rail network in January makes public transport a joke in auckland.

  5. WFH is already showing itself as a two-headed beast; reducing the travel some people are doing, but apparently encouraging people to move further out into sprawl or into dormitory towns.

    However, there are certainly other ways we can reduce the number of trips we make – whilst also increasing the mobility of people who are housebound due to fear of having to cope with their disability in the unsafe transport system.

    Chauffeuring is a big one.

    – “I need to take a long lunch break today, so I can nip home and take my grandma to the eye specialist.”
    – “Come on kids, we’ve got to take your sister to soccer.”
    – “Do you mind picking me up tonight because I’m finishing late?”

    In each case, the trips one person is needing to make, turn into multiple “person-trips”:

    Example one: the entire journey changes 2 person-trips into 6
    Example two: the entire journey changes 2 person-trips into 14
    Example three: the trip home changes 1 person trip into 3

    It is these multiplied up “person-trips” that the household travel survey records. In a safe system, the per capita person-trips will be way lower, because the chauffeuring won’t be necessary.

    We can definitely make huge inroads into this, by improving safety, accessibility and the public transport system.

    1. The old borrow money from the family trick involves at least two trips once to pick up the money then another to take it back again. But it could also be more involved because it may need another two trips there and back to the ATM as well. Then the whole thing could be repeated with borrower becoming the lender latter in the week depending on when a benifit or paybay is paid. It must be happening why else could there be so many cars moving around all hours of the day and night.

  6. Ironically AT continue to nerf Heavy Rail by reducing its line speed, ignoring long dwell time and unwilling to improve its off peak frequency.

    Are you still expecting them to improve?

      1. I presume Kelvin is talking about KiwiRail (not technically AT’s doing), reduction of line speed due to needed repairs? At least those are now ongoing…

        1. It’s something AT have very little control over. They’re responsible for dwell times and to an extent frequencies but not track speeds.

        2. For eastern line, after they finished the track replacement, they didn’t bring the speed back to where it was.

          Line speed has been permanently slowed.

        3. @kelvin I believe this is because they haven’t found the cause of the significantly higher than expected wear. KiwiRail’s excuse is that if they let the trains rip again then it might just all back to square 1 soon, unless they find the actual issue. Not sure if the issue is an engineering one, or just incompetence of management/ structure.

        4. @Jack. This will most probably be a KiwiRail Network Engineering decision, as to do otherwise in the absence of understanding the cause of the issue would likely be a breach of KiwiRail’s operating licence conditions as well as possibly putting the Professional Head of Track Engineering at risk of prosecution under the Railways Act 2005 in the event of a consequent accident occurring.

        5. @ALPHATRON which is totally fair and the right decision to make now. But I just have a decent amount of cynicism about how it happened in the first place. If it was poor maintenance then I could totally see some scared people internally (or in the govt) trying to shift as much blame as possible, perhaps delaying the root cause being revealed. It is probably a combination of different things as real life is always more complicated than was originally thought, but I cant see how there could be much excuse for the system to get like this, especially when we could learn off other countries maintenance schedules, and the century of science on systems that even use the same gauge as we do. That’s my shitty armchair analysis.

  7. There’s heap of spare capacity on off peak buses and trains. Maybe drop the price a bit would help. Also it’s a pity we can’t see inside all the trucks and containers driving around I suspect a lot of them are empty as well.

  8. The main thing that needs to change is responsibility. If none of the targets are met or projects delivered no one will lose their job, their bonus, their career. AT / NZTA / ministries need to be run more like public companies, much like the government does with SOEs.

  9. The point Matt is making is that policy should be King. We should have a goal and only do things that advance that policy and reject everything that doesn’t. The problem with that approach is you need to find out what people actually want (or at least a majority of them) and you need to be prepared to write that as your policy goal even if you don’t personally like it. You can’t just come up with some crap that was prepared earlier by some enthusiasts and inflict that on people against their will. To succeed policy needs to achieve people’s actual values- you can’t just tell them they are wrong or stupid. Maybe if the Democrats had figured that many people feared the influx from the southern border of the USA and addressed people’s concerns then they wouldn’t have voted for Trump. If the UK government had addressed foreign workers maybe people wouldn’t have voted Brexit. The same sort of thing could easily happen here. If you take a strict policy view then you need to make sure people actually want the goal or they will bite you hard when they get a chance.

  10. My back-of-the envelope calculations suggest that to achieve the growth foreshadowed in the Auckland Climate Plan would require annual COMPOUND growth of around 12%. Assuming the current bus fleet of about 1500, this means an initial increase in bus numbers of about 180 per year, increasing exponentially each year to reach a total fleet size of around 5,200 buses by 2030.

    Of course that isn’t practical purely on the bus-congestion that would cause, so it really sharpens focus on the extreme urgency of expediting not just one or two but several RTN projects in the very near future so they can be operational by 2030.

    Even a more modest growth target would require huge amounts of investment in infrastructure and vehicles, and I just don’t see that either central or local government is vaguely conscious of the implications of this.

    As for attracting the passengers needed to meet these targets – there’s a huge way to go to sell PT to the extent that 12% compound growth can be achieved year in an year out. Doubling current bus frequencies would be a start, but it means new routes in abundance would also be required. It will be exciting if and when this happens, but I fear it may turn out to be depressing because the political will by Council and central government to fund all this expansion will be lacking.

    1. One thing to remember is that a mature system that meets users’ needs isn’t anything like as peaky as ours. So the ridership spreads out over the day and over the week much more, making better use of the buses.

      To achieve this, there needs to be more focus on what people need, not just able-bodied commuters.

    2. Yes I got around 12% cagr too, a huge figure when you consider the highest rate of growth we’ve had on a 12 month rolling basis is about 10%, which we’ve hit a few times but not sustained it for more than a few months.

      But I don’t think that a 12% annual growth rate means we need a fleet growth to match it. There’s a huge amount of capacity and opportunity sitting counterpeak, off-peak and on the weekends as well as in serving places well other than just the city centre. Doing this won’t require heaps of new vehicles.
      Take Vancouver as an example, prior to COVID their buses were carrying 278 million trips and they have fleet size of about 1,450.
      Brisbane moved 118 million trips with about 1250 buses.

  11. We can still improve PT but it will eventually be limited by our spatial planning.

    For example, say out in the northwest, we get the western express to the city, and an upper harbour express to Constellation drive (and perhaps to the coast). A lot of people could now relatively quickly reach the intersection of those 2 lines. How useful these lines are is partially determined by what is at that intersection. A parking based shopping centre? It is something, but still pretty disappointing for what is probably the most strategic spot out there for PT.

    Also it would be very pessimistic to assume that cycle mode share will grow only from 7% to 9% during 20 years after 2030.

  12. sorry guys – that map is a total fail. Anyone who cares for the Manukau harbour – and provision of transport services around it is short changed by it. Yes – its “cool” but as someone advocating cycling, ferry’s and PT – it is another poke in the eye – but worse – the poke comes from the pro-PT-Cycling community.

    1. Meh, the map is supposed to be the crosstown backbone PT network. There would obviously be many other bus routes, that wouldn’t necessarily be bad infrequent ones. Plus this is the PT network, that would be parallel to an extensive bike network. Which isn’t GA’s wheelhouse. From my quick google anyone around the Manakau harbour would be no more than 15 minutes bike to somewhere on this network.

      1. Thanks Jack for caring. a thousand souls on the awhitu all cried out in unison when you said they were 15mins from PT. Where i am at Clarks Beach, pop 1500, buses coming in a few years time (despite SHA’s). But i do respect the meh. Chz.

        1. Ok, fair, in my mind I thought you meant actually in the city’s built up area itself not in the country. But honestly, that far out, these communities might be better served by cars (gosh I know), not zoning more houses, and like I said above some lighter weight bus routes. You could perhaps make the argument for a ferry, but its further from Clarke’s beach to Onehunga say than from downtown to the Waiheke ferry terminal. And Waiheke’s population is 7 times the size with no cars as an alternative. I’m sorry but its just not full on rapid transit worthy area in my mind. For the number of people it would serve, much more valuable projects could be undertaken. A RTN route that far out would have to be heavily, heavily subsidised by people who chose to live much closer, I dont think it makes sense to encourage people to live that far from the “city” if they also want to have a RTN commute to the “city”.

        2. If you want city transit you probably need to live in a city.

          Rapid transit needs a catchment off 10,000 residents per kilometre of route to work, not 1,000 souls who live 30km from the nearest town.

        3. Most places around NZ with 1500 people aren’t covered by a rapid transit map either and for good reason.

          By all means do some door knocking around Clarks Beach and see if people are keen on a targeted rate to provide a ferry to Onehunga every ten minutes.

        4. thanks. all good points – and agree. My Beef is that Map, which misses Waiuku entirely (pop 10K+) and paying supercity rates. Locally we’re making really good progress on wharf and infrastructure supporting Fast Ferry to Onehunga (40min any tide) – so options that dont mean more cars on the Takaanini superhighway. Map person – please do better. Chz all.

        5. Rapid transit is defined as “once every 15 minutes”. The only ferry that will ever match that in Auckland for the forseeable next couple decades will be Devonport. So I don’t see why Waiuku should be shown on the map. That’s not “disrepecting” or ignoring Waiuku. It’s simple prioritisation. You can’t prioritise everything. I would love a rail line to Thames from Auckland because I’d use it, but I don’t complain that it’s not shown anywhere in NZ’s rail renaissance plans either. It’s just too low in the priority for heavy rail, just as Waiuku isn’t in the priority for rapid transit ferries.

          I’d love to see you succeed in getting a ferry (but would not expect it to be ever get more than 1 hourly at peak in myy lifetime even if you do).

        6. That map is from Auckland Transport/NZTA’s strategic plan, so you’ll need to advocate them to change it.

          And to be fair it’s not even a map, just a concept diagram. It doesn’t include any of the outer towns or villages in the Auckland region that aren’t connected to their RTN plan. No Warkworth, Wellsford, Snells Beach, Hellensville, Maraetai, Clevedon etc either.

        7. Also, I’d suggest that a rail shuttle from Waiuku via Patumahoe is more feasible than a ferry across the Manukau to Onehunga.

          Not least because of the water conditions, where are you planning on having an all-tide wharf? It would have to be up by the steel mill.

          And where would it go at Onehunga? Onehunga wharf is in an industrial area over a kilometre walk away from the train station and the nearest bus stop, so what do you do once you get there?

        8. Don’t let all the wet blankets on this site hold you back South Auckland rules. Ten years ago when they were relaying the Onehunga branch I suggested a station should be built at the Onehunga port no support from anyone now the route is stuffed because the rail overbridge has being removed. Also rapid means fast not frequent. Except on greater auckland. Go for it better idea than some that have being posted here including some of mine. And it could be done relatively quickly compared to electrification or third mains or light rail Twyford style.

        9. I don’t think any service where you have to wait five hours for the tide to come back in could ever be considered rapid.

        10. chz again. Ironically for this discussion – the airport rescue hovercraft just slid sideways down our beach. (no we dont want h.crafts). Clarks beach is progressing our all tide deep water wharf. We’re working with the other harbourside communities to rejoin links broken when car transport got good (or when the waka got towed away). RTN nope. PT yep. Wharves first, then ferry service. Riccardo/Royce – spot on – Onehunga port disconnected from railhead. Genius move – next level. One step at a time. Rapid for us is quicker than drive to bus, to train to city (2hrs). I’d like to invite you northerners for a trip on the Manukau, from Onehunga all the way to the Waikato without your car. Its happening. Riccardo – i’ll follow up with NZTA/AT on that map. chz

  13. Excellent to see the idea of setting goals and measuring progress – but these notes fail on most levels – NZ should be far more focused on international best practice vs clear NZ priorities ie the parameters for assessing the nature of the future state. Be ambitious on priorities that hit both transport and wider societal goals – think system of systems – health, prosperity etc beyond transport & consider disruptive technologies eg battery capacity vs weight. Against this horizon set clear 12 &24 mth goals, whilst tracking the 36 & 60 mth horizons.

  14. It all needs to start with land use planning, and that is fundamentally broke.
    Almost no one in this country understands that. The Pro-density advocates on this website don’t understand that, because they largely subscribe to the neoliberal notion of ‘reduce the barriers to density and the market will come’.
    It will only partly come, and the government needs to fill the big void, using the great potential in the Urban Development Act to acquire lots of sites near RTN and developing to high density with a mix of market, affordable and social housing.
    Until this happens we will get ad hoc density, and plenty of far flung car- dependent Greenfield development.

    Have I made this clear?

    1. I disagree, heavy handed housing policies usually go wrong and usually just shift the costs elsewhere. Regulate to make rents cheap, drop in rentals available, and encourages people to move out (eg students) making housing less efficient and mean it takes vastly longer to be accepted to rent a place. Build heaps of public housing in a concentrated area, area plummets in every other measurement statistic. It’s much better to build hodgepodge low rise developments (but still dense) mixed in with existing communities. Way better socioeconomic and liveability outcomes. Allowing market forces to do their job will work, but will need nudges in the right direction, eg more PT / cycling infrastructure and routes, removal of parking mins and on street parking. And stopping subsidising far flung developments by building the infra out there.

      I’m sure you know all the arguments and I could never convince you but all I have to say is that your way doesn’t have much favourable history behind it. And the ‘neo-lib’ way is already densifying auckland with the most shitty bare minimum of changes. If we stopped subsidising far flung developments, the costs would be realised by the individuals (traffic) who would stop building out there.

      1. I think the truth involves bits of what you’ve each said.

        Stopping the subsidy to far flung developments is definitely the start.

        $5.3-6.6 billion dollars of ‘investment’ in Drury alone is planned. I’ve got to search out what it is for the other areas, because in total it’ll be huge.

        And this sprawl development will simply exacerbate our car dependence, safety crisis, congestion and environmental problems with biodiversity and quality soil loss.

        Spending that more wisely, to enable brownfields development, would repair our streets and upgrade our existing infrastructure and make a world-class, liveable city. Developers would have a far easier time building brownfields TOD where we need it.

        Government needs to be involved in the actual building, via something like Zen Man’s Urban Development Act because the transition needs to be sharp and focused and at the moment there’s a lot of power and momentum to keep the system as it is. A lot of people make a lot of money from sprawl.

        I worry that trying to use a limited set of tools, in the form of national policy statements and so on, especially when the Auckland Development Strategy itself is regressive and needs a complete overhaul, is that all we’ll see now is land around RTN stations sky rocket in price.

      2. I never said build lots of ‘social’ housing. Rather build lots of affordable housing. Basucally build and sell at cost. Like they did in NZ in the 1950s.
        Don’t worry, I also once foolishly believed the market could deliver mid priced housing if it was enabled to do so. I have changed my view radically over time – it simply cannot.
        As long as we pretend it can, as many do, we will fail.

        1. I completely agree Zen Man, at one time we might have been able to have the free market fix the housing crisis, but we are in such a deep hole now that we need the government to dig us out. The only way they can do this is by building en masse and effectively setting a price indicator that a buyer can always buy a new house at (or close to) cost.

  15. The UK has less cars per capita than the Netherlands. Maybe you didn’t notice because you were driving around in your car all the time.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *