Last week the Auckland Transport board met for the last time of the year and as usual, there was some interesting items in the various reports.

Closed Agenda

This is where most of the interesting items come up but all we get is the subject.

Items for Approval/Decision

  • Approval of Agreements to Grant with KiwiRail for use of the Rail Corridor
  • Auckland’s Low Emission Bus Roadmap – Version 2, Addendum: September 2020
  • Annual Public Transport Fare Review (FY2020-21)
  • On Demand Transport Solutions: Next Steps
  • Safe Speeds Programme – Tranche 2 Options for Speed Limit Review
  • Auckland Integrated Fares System Agreement Extension for AT HOP

I fear that with COVID having severely impacted on fare revenue that we could be in for a bit of a shock with the fare review.

Business Report

The business report contains updates on things all over the organisation and the updates below are just a few of the items that I thought were most interesting based on the order they appear in the report.

Redoubt Rd Dynamic Lanes – AT say that during the first week after it launched drivers are seeing a six to seven minute travel time saving. It will be interesting to see how long that lasts

Dairy Flat – Last month AT celebrated finishing a $10 million roundabout and other safety improvements on the Dairy Flat Highway and Coatesville Riverhead Highway intersection. What stands out is that this was in response to “a 1,000-strong community petition to AT to lower the speed limit“. It really shouldn’t take a 1,000-strong petition to get safety improvements made.

Notably, other petitions for safety improvements, such as this 3,000+ to improve Oteha Valley Rd, where two people not in cars have died in separate incidents, was submitted two years ago and I don’t think anything has happened

Bike Racks – this is an exciting update as we need a lot more bike parking around the city

Parking Services is targeting the delivery of 184 new bike parking spaces across both End-of-Trip (EoT) facilities and outdoor bike rack shelters in the 2020/2021 financial year. Bike Auckland has been consulted and have provided excellent technical feedback on both the location and design and AT will continue to work with Bike Auckland on this project in the future. Due to resource consent requirements, an implementation date has not yet been determined. Bike racks currently being planned include:

  • Fort Street – double stack bike rack: this bike rack will have 20 spaces with installation likely in early 2021.
  • Toka Puia EoT facility: this bike rack will have 84 spaces, including 28 for e-Bike charging. This became available to the general public from 27 November 2020, including changing rooms, water bottle filling and two repair stations.
  • Aotea Square/Queen Street Road Frontage – double stack bike rack: this bike rack will have 40 spaces with installation likely in in early 2021.
  • Britomart Station, Chief Post Office (CPO) – double stack bike rack: this bike rack will have 40 spaces with installation likely in in early 2021.

Toka Puia is the new carpark in Takapuna, previously known as the Gasometer site, that will replace the surface level Anzac St carpark so it can be developed as well as turned into more public space. I happened to check out the bike parking earlier in the week and it’s an impressive facility, though there are no safe routes to it.

The entrance is from Huron St and down a ramp so you can ride straight on in (I did). Also notice they’ve included some water fountains. On the inside there is heaps of space and a row of these have power points for charging e-bikes. There are also showers behind the orange doors. There are also two stands with tools for on repairs.

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I’m not sure if it’s part of this programme or one to improve busway stations but AT have also been installing new covered bike racks at Smales Farm and Constellation stations which is in part to deal with overflowing bike parking. This is the one at Smales and there is more parking behind where I took this photo and the old rack have been moved and are still available too.

As for the comments about the proposed parking at Aotea Square, Britomart and Fort St, I’m hoping they’re suggesting something like this, which is in Wellington

Property – This is not something that often interests me but the report does include this comment “Settlement has been reached for the sale of the Mill Road and Penlink properties to Waka Kotahi for $95.9m“. Waka Kotahi are now delivering these projects as part of the NZ Upgrade programme and I did hear at one stage they were wanting AT to just give them the properties.

Mangere East and Manukau Cycling business cases

AT currently have consultation out for cycling improvements in Mangere. Now they’re starting the assessment work for two more areas in the south.

The Auckland Cycling Programme Business Case identifies Māngere East and Manukau as priority areas for investment in cycling, recognising the opportunity for cycling to play an increased role in meeting people’s transport needs in these two areas.

AT is procuring professional services in November 2020 to deliver two Single Stage Business Cases (SSBCs) – the Māngere East Cycling SSBC and the Manukau Cycling SSBC. Each business case will identify a preferred cycling network and recommend a set of cycling improvements to encourage increased cycling in the two project areas. Development of the two SSBCs is anticipated to begin in Q1 2021, with the SSBCs being finalised in late 2021/early 2022.

The two business cases will be delivered under the umbrella of Waka Kotahi’s Safe and Healthy Streets South Auckland programme and will emphasise strong stakeholder and community engagement. A set of tactical improvements is included in the scope of the SSBCs to inform the development of cycling interventions and provide a platform for engagement in the two areas. The Manukau Cycling SSBC will be developed in partnership with the Panuku-led Transform Manukau programme, while Kāinga Ora will be a key stakeholder for both business cases with significant investment planned in Māngere and Manukau. The Māngere-Ōtāhuhu, Ōtara-Papatoetoe and Manurewa Local Boards will be engaged throughout the development of the SSBCs.

Street Lighting – For a number of years now AT have been replacing streetlights LEDs and are targeting to replace 25,000 this financial year and they’re on track having replaced 7,947 from the start of July to the end of October. Once those are fully installed, they’ll be saving $3.6 million annually. Perhaps more interesting, AT have 121,055 streetlights across the region and 73,991 (61%) are now LEDs.

Victoria St cycleway – The implementation of the Victoria St cycleway in places is quite poor and AT are going to be using video analytics to “measure it’s effectiveness“.

Following the opening of the new cycleway on Victoria Street West (by Victoria Park), computer vision builds have been refined for the new cycleway. Previously we had been counting both pedestrians and cyclists travelling in both directions on the shared path and the road. We are now able to isolate the cyclists only travelling on the new cycleway in any direction. The data collected will be used to measure the effectiveness of this cycleway by comparing the cyclists counts on the road versus the cycleway, as well as to classify the types of users using the new cycleway

Bus Red Light Running – Like with the Victoria St cycleway, AT are also going to use video analytics to monitor red light running by buses.

Buses running through red lights are a serious health and safety issue on the transport network, however monitoring and identifying individual buses and their drivers in the past has been challenging. AT has CCTV cameras specialised for image analytics for red light running buses, but these cameras are not available at all intersections and lights. AT staff are sent out to some intersections to monitor driver behaviour, however
this is resource intensive.

The Red Light Running Bus report was developed to enable the Metro Service Performance team to see clear and actionable CRM insights around red light running. The text mining output quantifies how many red light running bus incidents have been reported over time, measuring the frequency and trend. With this information, the Metro team can be confident in which bus company they should raise identified issues with. The other detail extracted provides enough information up front for a bus company to pinpoint which bus driver schedule has the highest red light running record. This information has allowed the AT Metro Operations team to engage with the bus companies around targeting behaviour change and improvement with these drivers.

Due to the accuracy of the output of this data (100% precision), the AT Metro Operations team has asked for this proof of concept to be automated and productionised so that it can be used as part of their daily reporting and monitoring processes.

If you’ve read the papers, is there anything else that stands out to you?

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  1. “I fear that with COVID having severely impacted on fare revenue that we could be in for a bit of a shock with the fare review.”

    Individual fares are already too high. Raising them will further discourage PT use (on top of mask requirements, lingering uncertainty around Covid-19, lack of service reliability and slower trains) and risks a vicious spiral of raising fares leading to reduced revenue leading to raising fares etc.

    AT should not be raising fares. If the farebox recovery targets in PTOM are pushing them to do so then those targets need to change urgently.

    1. Took the bus this morning, less than half seats taken.
      I don’t see what Auckland’s Low Emission Bus Roadmap – Version 2, Addendum: September 2020, should be in the closed agenda. How can a roadmap be commercially sensitive? I do wonder what they’re changing, and which direction its going in, i.e. are they letting targets set a couple of years ago slide, or bringing the procurement of electric buses forward?

      1. “Low Emission Bus Roadmap … closed agenda”
        At a guess, $$$$ discussed & might reveal AT’s position on contract variation negotiations.

      2. I was at Pukekohe Bus/Train station last Friday. The carpark was almost empty at 1.30pm on a weekday. Those months and months of slow/no trains are really having an effect. A big hike in PT fares at a time of low fuel prices, 40km/h trains, masks etc etc shouldn’t happen in a climate change emergency.

    2. Told my wife & daughter to take the car to the shopping ctr today because paying $8 in total fare there an back is ridiculous. The fares really don’t work for a short distance trip that is a bit far to walk and too dangerous/hard to cycle to. If they put them up more, it’s pretty sad.

  2. While it’s an impressive roundabout, the reasons why it cost $10m would be interesting!
    Why is it that for a job that could literally be done overnight in some countries or over a week in others, take months here and cost double/triple/quadruple the amount?

    Imagine what other road and PT improvements we could make if every year hundreds of millions wasn’t wasted.

  3. ‘Video analytics’ of Vic St cycle bits… can I suggest a designer rides it a couple of times? Then writes a qualitative report. Or get a couple, and some kids or other less confident users.

    This obsession with finding something to count, and ignoring planning, designing, considering, thinking, experience, expertise, is a huge part of the problem. Counting is not the only thing of value. Too many spreadsheet warriors. Xcel does not excel at everything. For street design it is the wrong tool, or at least it is overused.

    1. +1 Though I think 24 hr video analytics better than just a counter etc. Been quite good for that, from memory, Onewa Rd pedestrian crossings etc

    2. A qualitative report has value to identify particular issues, but it is also pretty useless in some respects. Hence why you need quantitative data. If you make changes to the road, how do you measure the effectiveness of the change? People’s feelings?

      If we relied on people’s feelings, we’d scrap cycle investment, because most people oppose cycling investment if it impacts their parking/driving.

      If you want to understand travel patterns during the day and on weekends and at peak times in order to change traffic light settings, you need numbers, not feelings.

      If you have limited funding to build bike parks and you want to understand cycling growth in order to predict future demand for cycle parks, you need numbers.

      If you want to report on the cost/benefit of a project and how cycling investment is good value for money, you need numbers.

  4. Looking at bike racks,seems like 10 bikes equal 1 car park,even more if double stacked,why aren’t park & ride double stacked,could have be done at litle extra cost,hope that roof is high enough to retrofit. I can see these bike racks being quickly overwhelmed.l see tactical urbanism coming into play here,where on road car parks are removed, and a modular bike rack pod is fitted to accomodate bikes,won’t need consultation,as the evidence will be plain to see

      1. How safe would women feel in these underground bike parks? On another forum a female was complaining about how dangerous the elevated light metro stations would be for women, I wonder how that same person would feel about taking a bike into an underground bike park?

        1. In the video it shows there is good lighting , is a lot better than here in you average carpark and they seem to have security on site not some silly unasnawerable number that you get in most places . And most people that were shown were it seems were young students , and Mothers with children .

          So it must be reasonably safe .

        2. I see that as well, it should also be the same with an elevated metro station, it should be just as safe.

        3. Weather or not they have security on the elevated , they are possibly like the ones on the Auckland Network who mostly are hiding and playing with their stupid/idiot phones and not looking after the commuters .

  5. I’m happy that we’re getting more LED street lights, but I’d be over the moon if we were getting orange/yellow ones instead. Not as energy efficient, but generates less light pollution and also impacts wildlife to a lesser extent.

    1. Why would you want that? The 2700k yellow light, same as the old HPS lamps is not very good, it provides poor visibility for humans, it makes it difficult to read road signs, they are even worse in inclement weather. 4000k LED street lights provide better, safer light for humans.

      1. Actually I was referring to the colour yellow, not to a colour temp (I’m assuming you referred to correlated colour temp). However since you mentioned CCT, the American Medical Association has recommended a CCT no greater than 3000 Kelvin on white LED street lighting (

        Because LED light is so concentrated and has high blue content, it can cause severe glare, resulting in pupillary constriction in the eyes. Blue light scatters more in the human eye than the longer wavelengths of yellow and red, and sufficient levels can damage the retina. This can cause problems seeing clearly for safe driving or walking at night.

        Additionally, regarding the AMA recommendation on CCT: CCT adjusts the spectral content of the light source to the colour sensitivity of human vision. Using this rating, two different 3000K light sources could have fairly large differences in blue light content. Therefore, the AMA’s recommendation for correlated colour temperature below 3000K is not quite enough to be sure that blue light is minimised.

        In the case of white LED light, it is estimated to be five times more effective at suppressing melatonin at night than the high pressure sodium lamps (given the same light output) which have been the mainstay of street lighting for decades. Melatonin suppression is a marker of circadian disruption, which includes disrupted sleep.

        Bright electric lighting can also adversely affect wildlife by, for example, disturbing migratory patterns of birds and some aquatic animals which nest on shore.

        Also, refer to the Dark Sky guide:

        In short, the complex spectral makeup of “white” LED lighting is potentially harmful to humand, definitely harmful to wildlife and creates issues around light pollution.

        1. I agree the LED street lighting should be set to a warm white / yellow colour rather than the current ice white colour which was chosen by AT’s board before the LED conversion roll out.

          If you look down in Hamilton, all the LED street lighting down there is set to the warm white / yellow colour, which creates a much more pleasant cosier atmosphere at night and is easier on the eye than the cold harsh ice white colour used in Auckland.

          Unfortunately once AT make decisions, they generally won’t change things even if they have got it wrong.

          I can still remember years ago the old orange low pressure sodium lighting used on motorways and State Highways, and the old Mercury arc vapour lighting used on residential streets which produced a bright silver colour – although these produced very little illumination of the street below.

          The orange low pressure and high pressure sodium lighting produced good illumination though.

        2. Good that we don’t have to listen to everything the Americans come up with. Blue light hazard has been largely discredited.

          LED STREET lights with cool colour temperatures are not a hazard, say top lighting scientists.

          In a study which appears to rebut concerns raised recently by the US medical profession, a team at the Lighting Research Center in New York – the industry’s top lab – has found that the so-called ‘blue light hazard’ is not related to colour temperature and can be avoided by controlling the light from the LEDs.

          ‘Street lighting campaigner Simon Nicholas says he can see nothing in the LRC’s press statement ‘which might lead to a conclusion that cool street lights not a hazard’.

          The authors say it would be a mistake to use colour temperature as an indication of potential blue-light hazard. They say that, for instance, a clear incandescent lamp at 2800K is ‘associated with a greater risk than any white LED source, including one at 6500K’.

          Industrial lighting is what I do for a job, mostly for ship and offshore platforms. 4000k is standard for shipboard lighting, with floodlights being 5000k. It’s been proven that replacing high pressure sodium light with LED improves safety and reduces fatigue in sailors and offshore workers. Many vessels with Indian or Russian chief engineers like really bright lighting in the engine rooms and machinery spaces, 6500k is becoming increasingly common. Fish processing factories in NZ are using 8000k lighting.

        3. “reduces fatigue” aka keeps humans and other animals awake at night. And it looks awful.

          Ships and oil rigs might be dangerous workplaces, but our neighborhoods are our homes, the places where people live and mostly don’t work. Stick them on the motorway if you must but keep that shit out of my street please.

        4. yes i quite like to experience fatigue at night. Have had to install blackout curtains when the LED streetlights went in here.

  6. “Parking Services is targeting the delivery of 184 new bike parking spaces across both End-of-Trip (EoT) facilities and outdoor bike rack shelters in the 2020/2021 financial year.”
    Ironical that this appears next to the piece about PEE where AT have delivered 450 car park spaces at a cost of $30 million.

  7. Is it just me, or is it economic lunacy that AT think that it is a good use of resources to have buildings for bike parks. They demonstrate year in/year out that they don’t even recover the cost of capital from car parks, but surely this is just abject nonsense.
    There must be a feel good factor for someone, but wouldn’t the money be better spent keeping cyclists safe on the road. It’s easy to replace a stolen bike, but almost impossible to replace a missing arm, or leg.

    As Matt said, you can’t even bike safely to the building, let alone walk. Ah but wait, AT is apparently consulting with local businesses about putting dots on the road. It would be interesting to discover what each dot will cost at the end of the process.

    Given that the movement of 450 cars every day will produce a significant amount of pollution some planting where the street parks are should have made sense. Unfortunately when I wrote to them about the pollution I received a WDGaF reply. The price of progress.

  8. Another “bridge strike in Ellerslie” disrupting train for hours. This must be the third incident just this year as well as numerous truck rams low bridges crashes in previous years.

    1. What they need is a device before the bridge like this as it as like a can opener and the bridge also has warning signs , lights and dumb drivers still don’t now what they mean . And now the bridge has been raised they still do it and when they raised the bridge all those devices were put back again and the bridge was still hungry . ;-

        1. Yeah, was Walpole st. Caused a lot of localised congestion. Third strike in two calendar months.

          The bridge has strike barriers installed, so it always confuses and frustrates me that the trains are shut down for more than a few minutes – Shouldn’t it be a matter of a cop or KiwiRail contractor confirming that the barrier did it’s job of preventing the bridge itself being struck?

      1. Zippo , thanks for the Photo , that bridge needs a lower roof cutter like the on on the bridge or a barrier arm that comes down like they have on the grade crossing on the Rail lines , and with warning bells to wake them up .

      2. Ohhhhhh, its that bridge. I thought it was one on the motorway. Yeah. That thing needs something done. No excuses. Hanging chains 50 meters ahead, and a nice big can opener.

  9. Wow the Toka Puia bike parking etc facility looks great. Hope doesn’t end up getting highly criticised if it’s not used which would be likely at least initially as no safe paths leading to it as you say. It’s almost like being in the Netherlands.

    1. Really, do you think it’s a good use of rate payers money to spend $70k to park four bikes for a day?

      I’d sooner have lots of modest services for all than gold plated ones for a few.

      Ideally I’d like some money left over from the capital budget to spend on opex. Maybe in a climate emergency yearly bus passes might be useful to try and drive the significant ridership that occurs in many European towns and cities?

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