This is a guest post by Hamish Mackie.

We need to do things differently in the transport system. The strategic ambition for road safety, mode shift, and climate change are all clear in documents like Road to Zero, Keeping Cities Moving, and the Emissions Reduction Plan consultation document. But the pace of change in these areas has been inadequate to date, and progress is not matching the strategic needs that have been laid out. We need a pretty rapid turnaround in how we plan, invest, and deliver transport. Some trends are heading in the wrong direction – such as the number of school students walking and biking to school, or the nature of vehicles we import.

Many Greater Auckland readers have first-hand experience in some kind of street or road safety project intended to try something that isn’t business as usual. There’s an increasing number of people motivated, one way or another, by the notion that our transport system could be safer, more user-friendly, less carbon producing, fairer, and less expensive.

In recent months many Innovating Streets projects were completed. Really successful ones included Emily Place, Māngere West/East, and Thames. The logic is sound – faster and cheaper roll out of street changes that make walking and cycling safer and easier; ideally, also reflecting local identity and desires.

Innovating Streets project in Emily Place. Image credit: Hamish Mackie

But there were also, as expected, a string of casualties. Working on these projects can seem like walking through thick mud with someone beating you with a stick at the same time! People will be nursing battle scars, experiences of failure, immense frustration that the ‘system’ doesn’t seem capable of responding to the now well set out transport needs of our planet and country.

Importantly, whether the project itself was completed or not, all have contributed to the programme. Both successes and challenges have been recorded and there has been significant learning. This will allow changes to how things are done, so the next round of investment, whatever that looks like, will be more effective. It’s one of the few nationwide innovation delivery programmes. Change in the transport system needs it, and we need other programmes like it.

It’s interesting speaking more deeply with folk who have been involved with innovative, ‘niche’, or demonstration projects in an attempt to design and test something better. They can all point to parts of the ‘system’ that have stopped projects in their tracks. Commonly cited barriers include:

“we have no leadership”

“the community isn’t ready”

“engagement wasn’t right”

“there’s no funding for this”

“the regulations won’t let us”, or

“we are just not very good at this yet”

In most cases the conversation stops there – a sense of resignation – “perhaps it’s time for that trans-America bike ride”. But there is a choice beyond needing extra doses of optimism bias or resignation that things will just take time.

We can systematically and robustly identify the parts of the ‘system’ that are failing us, daylight them, and then ruthlessly address these things until they are delivering what is needed.

To this end, our research team has been working through the ‘why’ of success or failure as part of our MBIE funded research Healthy Mobility Solutions. First, we established a framework to help identify barriers and enablers, using our own experience from earlier innovative street projects and projects such as the Model Communities and Urban Cycleway Programmes. Then, using these frameworks we reviewed project documents, evaluations, and interviewed key people, and were able to pinpoint some successful and unsuccessful aspects of project or programme planning, design and delivery.

Innovating Streets project in Thames. Image credit: Hamish Mackie.

As always in research, there is some theory that underpins all this (see Geels 2012) and here is a basic summary: Change in the transport system can be facilitated by ‘niche’ innovations, which are small demonstrations of how things can be done differently. These niche innovations can originate in the transport sector or from members of the community; either way they start with someone’s articulation of the need for change or an innovative idea for improving a situation. If there are sufficient numbers of these demonstrations of new ideas, they start to influence two things:

  • the wider system (or regime) so that day to day transport planning and delivery is fundamentally altered, and
  • the everyday experience of people in the community.

This can create a positive feedback loop that influences progress, in which improved “transport norms” lead to more positive every-day experiences for people, and a higher expectation in the community that the sector will respond to their needs and suggestions for innovation.

Adapted from Geels et al (2012).

A current problem we face in New Zealand is that the transport sector is struggling to make progress under the weight of an inefficient and expensive business case process. Our urgent need to find an alternative approach means programmes that test innovative ideas and implementation using sound theory and evidence should be a priority. In areas that are as yet unproven, it’s sensible to put a toe in the water, evaluate success, and if outcomes are favourable, make the necessary tweaks, and invest further at a greater scale.

Through our research we’ve found that there are six key areas in the ‘Socio-technical system’ that need a health-check in most projects or programmes:

  1. Leadership – across the system from central and local government to delivery
  2. Funding – allocated in the RLTP and also made available for the project
  3. Policies and procedures – the rules and regulations that a project must align with
  4. Organisational norms – the ways of working by people and groups in delivery organisations
  5. Community and delivery tensions – how project teams engage with communities and their respective priorities
  6. Social environment – the wider societal and media landscape that supports or challenges projects

And if we summarise how the transport planning and delivery system has performed over the past decade or so in delivering on progressive road safety and walking and cycling policies, the following diagram summarises the key areas of the planning and delivery system:

With a focus on road safety and led by Adrian Field from Dovetail, we gathered lessons about innovation in transport systems from various projects: Behind the Wheel, Te Ara Mua – Future Streets, Visiting drivers, Eastern Bay of Plenty rural road safety). We identified key elements of successful innovation within “human capital”: collaborative partnerships, people-centric approaches, communities of practice, and building innovation capacity.

However, the biggest single finding from our research over the years is that:

Innovation doesn’t have a home in New Zealand’s transport planning system.

We’ve been stuck in a cycle of delivering business as usual programmes and projects because that’s what we know how to deliver.

This is why programmes like Innovating Streets are so important. There needs to be a place in the system where innovation can happen, and can chip away at the ‘baked in’ way of doing things. A great example of ‘working on the system’ was from Auckland’s recent innovating streets programme where special effort was made by AT to rapidly address various regulatory and approval processes given the timeframes of the projects.

But this is not only about tactical street changes. Innovation initiatives in transport need to reach equitable bike access, road safety, use of road space generally, more efficient freight, public transport, and decarbonisation.

If successful, we can then scale the promising things up. In a recent webinar hosted by Waka Kotahi, Dan Hill – Director Strategic Design at Sweden’s Innovation Design Agency, Vinnova – elegantly compared this process with a snowball: Prototypes, Prototypes in multiple places, and then Prototypes across the country with convincing evidence.

The best example of this ‘snowballing’ that I know of in New Zealand is the development, prototyping, robust evaluation, and then nationwide roll-out of the rural Intersection Speed Zones (below). These lower the speed limit when the potential for an intersection collision exists. Strong leadership, a commitment to evidence and evaluation, and procedures for developing capability across New Zealand were key elements. Where Intersection Speed Zones have been installed they have led to a 69% reduction in fatal and serious injury crashes and a 28% reduction in total crashes since installation at the original sites years ago.

Intersection Speed Zone in Brynderwyn. Image credit: Hamish Mackie

But innovative projects don’t always survive the experimental stage. In these instances, the projects are still “successful” because they enable us to learn about specific areas of the transport planning and delivery system. Projects can reveal how processes, rules, funding mechanisms, and even people in the system are enabling or preventing important niche projects or programmes from happening.

And we do need to aim for projects that build stronger communities, and lead to a greater general understanding of the case for change. Ideally, people with the most need for improved safety and public spaces will feel empowered, not burnt by unfriendly community discussions or by local disgruntlement that project management and delivery are still adjusting to the new approach. And for community members with an anti-social response to the suggestion of change, a successful project could be seen as one with opportunities to realise their opinions are not commonly held or at least to observe more respectful community discussion in action.

Below is a diagram we’ve created to illustrate our findings about the “conceptual” difficulties for delivering a pocket park on a main street.

This approach can cause a bit of defensiveness by those who ‘own’ aspects of the system. Yet it will be for everyone’s benefit if there is more objective, open, and transparent analysis of the parts of the transport planning and delivery system which is letting us down – or alternatively, making things happen. More often than not, we find that individuals in the transport planning and delivery system (mostly) want the progressive strategies to be realised, and some staff put themselves at risk in pushing the boundaries. But if the focus is more on the system mechanics and how it operates and there is work to fix the broken parts in a systematic way, then there will be a much greater chance of transport goals being achieved.

The context of COVID-19 has added a further angle to all of this. More than ever, there is a need for safe places to exercise, travel, and maintain physical and mental wellbeing in our communities and on our streets. Overseas, some countries have been very proactive in carving off street space for physically distanced walking and cycling and they’ve found the recipe for making it happen. Here in New Zealand our less successful response has been well documented in a recent evaluation.

Popup Cyclelane on Tamaki Drive. Image credit: Hamish Mackie.

We’ve also learned that disruptions such as COVID-19 rarely lead to lasting system change unless there are prior plans to springboard from, and very conscious efforts to learn and lever the disruption. Without this focus, things return to ‘normal’ or go backwards. There can also be a ‘goldilocks’ period following disruptions where immediate risks have waned, but the memory of how things might be different are still present. For now the government’s COVID-19 focus is likely to remain on infection control, vaccination, and keeping hospitals from being over-run. But soon there will be a time when it makes sense to more boldly use some of the transport lessons from COVID-19 from overseas and New Zealand, particularly as the measures are an excellent pathway to establish a more low carbon system.

The size of the climate change, road safety, and other transport challenges, requires an appropriately sized innovation programme. We don’t have all the answers. Indeed it’s arrogant to think we do when the transport sector is frequently missing goals and deadlines. Only by being bold, testing promising ideas, robustly learning, and scaling up in a considered way, will we really make progress. But there needs to be a place, structure, and serious funding for this to happen.

Waka Kotahi now has a multimodal innovation team and there are  a range of initiatives aimed at modifying how the transport planning and delivery system works, how transport is funded, the levers that will accelerate local investment, and how rules and regulations can support better outcomes. These initiatives will need to be innovative and lever a scale of transformation if they are to be successful agents of change.

The tactical nature of Innovating Streets offers the opportunity to ‘learn by doing’ – and with a strong national ‘why’ story and competent delivery, the techniques and approaches that show promise will help accelerate change. But how many other innovation programmes are needed, in what areas, and at what scale to put Aotearoa on a path towards actually achieving our transport goals?


The key references that support this blog can be found here:

Geels, F. W. (2012) ‘A socio-technical analysis of low-carbon transitions: Introducing the multi-level perspective into transport studies’, Journal of Transport Geography. Elsevier, 24, pp. 471–482. doi: 10.1016/j.jtrangeo.2012.01.021

Mackie, H., Hirsch, L., Thorne, R., Witten, K., & Field, A. (2021). Creating the Circuit Breakers: An Examination of the Sociotechnical System Factors Which Impede and Enable the Delivery of Safe and Healthy Neighbourhood Street Design in Aotearoa New Zealand. In S. Coxon, R. Napper (Eds.), Advancing a Design Approach to Enriching Public Mobility (1st ed., pp. 249-274). Cham, Switzerland: Springer.

Field A, Garden E, Davies N, King J, McKegg K, Mackie H. 2019. Innovating Road Safety: lessons for transport systems. Auckland: Dovetail and Kinnect Group.

Thorne, R. & Mackie, H. (2020). Intersection Speed Zones: Long-term operational and safety performance. Prepared by Mackie Research for Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency, Auckland, New Zealand.

Wild, K., Hawley, G., Woodward, A., Thorne, R., Mackie H. (2020). Street space reallocation to fight COVID-19: Opportunities and challenges for New Zealand. A report prepared for Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency by Mackie Research and the University of Auckland.

Hawley, G., Hirsch, L., & Mackie, H. (2020). Leveraging transport disruption to influence change (Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency research report 672).

Publications

Acknowledgements to MBIE and Waka Kotahi who have funded this work.

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56 comments

  1. Thanks for this research. After the “daylighting” comes the “ruthlessly addressing”. Waka Kotahi seem to be changing legislation and producing guidelines, which is serving other parts of the country well.

    AT’s problems are bigger than this will resolve. They record “greater general understanding” – like majority public support for removing parking to create Covid lanes (wider footpaths or cycle lanes) – but then bury the research, “test” to see if it can be negated somehow, and ignore it through pointing at other, louder messages.

  2. Hello Hamish, always find your research interesting – if you are get talking to people about Hamilton’s innovating streets please move the conversation to Rostrevor St. By all measures this was a success, yet all innovating projects were removed because all the focus was on Ward St.
    https://www.hamiltonurbanblog.co.nz/2021/08/innovating-streets-%e2%80%93-rostrevor-street-success/

    Your Illustration showing ‘Council resistance to removing parking’ is so true.

  3. My issue with this stuff is it always needs to be done on the cheap as some kind of proof of concept and it tends to look pretty bad. In a lot of cases there is no proof of concept needed, all that is needed is for the council to back it and not back down.
    They really need to spend that bit more to make it look proper and permanent. That Thames one above for example looks a lot better than most. In fact all of the ones that have survived look pretty good.

  4. Intersection Speed Zones: do these actually work? I always thought they make things worse: finding a gap in these intersections is hard enough, but now you have to also judge whether the oncoming cars are obeying the sign and doing 60, or not obeying it and doing 100, or somewhere in between.

    1. Couldn’t find the study online, but this summary https://www.nzta.govt.nz/assets/Safety/docs/road-to-zero/case-study-intersection-speed-zones.pdf says they do reduce crashes. But speed only reduces by 3-10 km/h and they cost $200K each. There is no comparison to simply reducing the speed limit and installing a speed camera, only to doing nothing. Certainly I often see drivers failing to slow down when the signs are flashing. The paper says the ISZ is preparatory to installing a much more expensive roundabout…

      1. Yes surely reducing the speed limit to say 80km/hr and installing a speed camera would result in a ~20km/hr speed reduction and provide a more consistent speed for people pulling out. On top of that the speed camera would provide revenue probably in excess of the cost so they could roll it out everywhere for less than free.

    2. Depends on what you mean by “work”, I don’t find myself slowing down by much, but I’m certainly more alert when I’m breaking the law. And they tend to mean an exceptionally bad intersection is coming up.

      1. Maybe we just need a new special sign like” Warning: A really bad intersection is coming up. We would fix it but we spent all the money on a few km of expressway”

      2. Herein lies the problem with many drivers in NZ.

        I know better than the clear data around lower speeds making these intersections safer, so I just don’t bother trying to adhere to the law.

        Driver education? Arrogance? Wilful disregard for the law and others’ safety?

        1. Don’t forget got young drunk drivers at night and thinking their living life while crashing.

    3. “Where Intersection Speed Zones have been installed they have led to a 69% reduction in fatal and serious injury crashes and a 28% reduction in total crashes since installation at the original sites years ago.”

      Yes, they actually work

  5. Last week we had a protest in Kapiti about an unsafe crossing. Already there is push back from local council. The sort of response we get is “do submissions to get this into the long term plan, then it can go into the short term plan, then it will be considered by the transport group, then we need consultation locally, and if changes are recommended it can go into a district wide list and see what priority it has” And we need to increase cycling by 170% by 2030. At our glacial speed of change we wont even have a safe crossing by 2030! https://www.nzherald.co.nz/kapiti-news/news/kapiti-residents-petition-council-for-safe-crossing-in-poplar-ave/FGJMB52XRQXLQBI2CBFSWEZQGI/

    1. Just got off the phone to AT to yet again complain about the state of the footpath that goes to my daughters school. I asked why I even need to complain; this footpath has been in need of replacement for at least a decade, surely if it was a road it would be replaced on a schedule or at least inspected every so often.
      The road culture is way too entrenched in these organisations, they really just couldn’t give a crap. They need a shake up from central government just like the council planners needed it. Maybe their entire government transport funding should be threatened.

      1. There lies a major problem. How to deal with legacy infrastructure that is no longer fit for purpose. Even a 7 year old on a scooter can travel downhill pretty fast. Our council maintains its footpaths, if I recall correctly, so that 95% are condition 4 or better. That’s a 5 step measure with 1 being excellent and 5 in need of repair. What they don’t acknowledge is that excellent is in the state to which they were originally constructed, sometimes decades ago. But we now have more cars, larger schools, rubbish bins blocking them every week, electric personal transport devices, pressure for cyclists to use footpaths and often increasingly limited public transport. So we must consider whole journeys and how to remove all the barriers. Having to use an electric wheelchair has really opened my eyes as to how far we have to go.

        1. Footpaths are like this vestigial feature, where kids have to ask their grandparents what the purpose of it used to be. We’re mainly making sure they don’t get in the way of car traffic.

          For example the way we do kerb cuts. Well actually we don’t, we dig up the entire footpath to create a smooth ramp for cars to drive onto their driveways. This introduces crossfall on the footpath and causes anything with wheels to roll into the road. If you try to pull back onto the footpath you’ll find there is actually still this small edge of maybe 5 cm, not enough to feel in a car, but enough to catch small wheels. It seems someone felt especially spiteful towards people with pushchairs or wheelchairs when designing that.

  6. It’s great to see this research. One thing I’d like to add to your schematic representations is politics: Transport transformation gets captured as an organizing question by a political party. We had that in Onehunga where C&R (who initially signed up to the project) hitched on the opposition to the LTA to strengthen its political support against an increasingly visible and popular Labour local politician. A kind of urban equivalent of Groundswell I guess. I’m really worried about this, especially as we get closer to local elections.

  7. Very little leadership shown by councillors who use these trials as an opportunity to grandstand about cars and parking. In Hamilton they even waterblasted the paint off planter boxes in their determination to get rid of colour.

  8. I still wonder how you could make a small scale trial work in Auckland. What would be the minimal viable product?

    Most people have no independent mobility without driving a car. There are too many other barriers to alternatives like riding a bicycle. If your neighbourhood gets some experimental treatment you will still just need to drive through it to get anywhere.

    If you look at Onehunga for instance, you could argue for ‘leadership’ but it appeared that this would just lead to open rebellion.

  9. The diagram of how to get a pocket park looks relatively straight forward compared to trying to get a resource consent for anything on private property near an arterial road or bus route. Auckland Transport has a policy of opposing everything. Opposing consents seems to be their primary mission these days.

  10. Council are elected, and as such are meant to listen to community. When they have gone against the community and installed “improvements” without realistic consultation there have been backlashes. Onehunga and Henderson are two prime examples. Glen Eden residents are angry also. Silly painted areas that are goint to degrade, and end up in the harbour. Silly painted boxes over parking is unfairly targeting shop owners etc etc.
    Dangerous bike separation lanes etc etc And a big issue is the amount of noise and emissions raised crossings can emit. Anywhere up to 500% in extreme cases.
    Your photo of Emily place is somewhat misleading, as about twenty steps away is the truly beautiful Emily Reserve, as opposed to the piece of crap council put in against the wishes of Emily Place residents which serves no real purpose.
    A better step forward , and more agreeable to the majority of peeps would perhaps be smaller vehicles. Best selling vehicles in NZ are silly big SUVs and Utes.
    Mass removal of roadside parking, which is a public asset, is not the answer.

    1. Council are elected, correct. None of them are voted on the platform of “I support an inequitable transport system that kills people, restricts people’s access and mobility, and makes others sick.”

      Representative democracy means you get to vote them out three years later if you don’t like what they’ve done.

      The loud minority turn up when change to create a better system is mooted, and it looks like you’ve been taken in by them, and think they somehow represent the majority.

      What we’ve seen overseas is that strong leadership to push through this resistance to the implementation of child- and elderly-friendly street environments has been rewarded at the ballot box.

      And the coolest thing of all is that as the environments are improved, people see the light, and the resistance shrivels up until only a few unreachables remain.

    2. Definitely smaller vehicles. And cheaper too. Maybe like, 2 wheels instead of four and somehow opening up you up to nice community interactions. We could call it a ‘bicycle’

    3. Mass removal of roadside parking, which is a public asset, is not the answer.
      Not entirely sure where you get “mass removal”. On arterials or high use areas you mean?

      Regardless, you’re right, the land that this parking occupies is a public asset. If it can be used for almost any other use apart from parking, it will generate far more value for the public than being used as parking. The old K-road parking spaces for example, they were used by ~2% of customers, the wider sidewalks, trees and bike lanes easily bring in more than 2% more people.

      Parking is an exceptionally low value use of that space, almost anything else would provide more benefit for the businesses. Especially if its transport projects like bike or bus lanes, that actually have a hope of expanding capacity and customer delivery over the maxed out car system. Using public assets for their least efficient possible use, is not the answer.

      I agree on the smaller vehicle front. I was thinking some kind of parking spot size regulation? Make x% of the closer parks designed for smaller cars. People are less likely to buy a giant SUV if everywhere you go is really damn inconvenient to park.

    4. ‘as opposed to the piece of crap council put in against the wishes of Emily Place residents which serves no real purpose”.
      What’s your actual evidence for that statement?
      ‘Piece of crap’ – it’s a trial. The CCTR project next year will build on that with much better quality.
      ‘against the wishes’ is simply not true, unless you are one of the people opposed that is. Perhaps bring your own personal experience rather extreme (and erroneous) claims. I’m focussed on the results that I think will be beneficial on very many levels for the 1000+ residents living on or near Emily Place and that I believe will be great for community and create more of a neighbourhood.

    5. Agreed Roj on Emily Place.

      It’s steep and why on earth would one wants to hang out in the middle of that road? As you said the park is just metres from it. The loss of parking was idiotic and serves no practical purpose but that is the way the council rolls, they seem to be out to stop Aucklanders from accessing anything to please I don’t know who!

      1. Emily park would eventually be extended properly. The trial is to convince people that the world wont fall apart when it’s changed and to test out the transport side of things.
        The trial provides a significant upgrade to most users transport in the area, uni students walking up from Britomart. The cars, despite being given by far the most space, are not the heaviest transport users of the area.
        Thats the way the council rolls (or at least should), making sure Aucklanders can safely access everything.

        1. It’s a 45° angle of a road. Emily Place is useful for getting to or from downtown to Shortland St and for a grueling hill challenge to run up, or parking but not much else. Hanging out on a slope may suit Ed Hillary and the odd Sherpa but few others. And the revenue lost for this pointless exercise just seems mindless.

          This “temporary” creation of a pedestrian wonderland in the middle of a street like this one is ridiculous but you can see it was to appease the anything but cars fraternity because it sure has no logic to it otherwise!

        2. Keith, what steps have you taken to listen to the needs of others in the community? How did you get involved so you could contribute to collaboratively find a solution? Have you done any research into why parking needs to reduce and give up the space it occupies to more important uses?

        3. People like hilly parks so much that they expressly make new ones have hills in them. The new Wynyard ones for example. https://www.reddit.com/r/auckland/comments/qo9wqo/wynyard_quarter_is_busy_but_try_amey_daldy_park/
          In the photos everyone there is on lying on the hilly sections.
          This also doesn’t preclude them from making it a bit flatter with a retaining wall etc. I’m not sure where you get the idea that people only like flat parks?

          It should be a pedestrian wonderland, it’s one of the most densely built up areas in the country, and sits between the busiest rail station and the largest university precinct in the country. Practically any other use than storing vehicles (inefficiently) would contribute more to the economy and “liveability” of the downtown area than what it was.

          It would only be revenue “lost” if they don’t continue and actually use the designs they’ve come up with to make something permanent.

        4. Heidi, I use it regularly. It’s a steep street, that’s it and definitely not a place to just hang out and be seen in, cars or not. And I managed to traverse it using the footpaths. I’m lost as to how liberating it from cars makes it attractive or somehow makes Emily Place more important, it isn’t and it never will be.

          Honestly, apart from getting one over evil cars and their drivers and passengers, this is an utter waste of money.

        5. Keith, can you tell me more about your use of Emily Place during the Innovating Streets trial. Did you talk with other people?

        6. “and definitely not a place to just hang out and be seen in, cars or not”

          People literally said the exact same things about Fort Street and Elliot Street

        7. Nice passive bullying Heidi, and yes a number of people I know cannot reconcile why short term parking is lost to this pointless excercise.

          But no I don’t tend to talk to passers by or strangers when walking Emily Place but when did you last use it and how often? And do you hang out there?

          You do realise it’s a public road for all people so it’s pretty hard to consult with all potential users, and I know you haven’t, not that I am a consultancy.

          What I was trying to point out, in real practical terms of usage is what a waste of space it is now, and money!

      2. That is not the end result. Pleasing those of us who live there? Like myself and plenty of others who enjoy the quiet safer central space – with more to come – picnic tables, community library etc. Pleasing the great majority of us residents who don’t own cars. Pleasing some of the residents who are now growing veges and herbs there? Pleasing those who have made it a distanced meeting space during lockdown? Pleasing residents who can wait there for deliveries?
        The use of 90% of public street space for storing peoples’ cars is patently more inequitable and unfair, and serves no practical purpose.
        Luckily we have people now who are aware of providing accessibility safety, and neighbourhood interest and amenity to more people than just those looking to use our square as a place to park, and have started prioritising others including those who actually live in the area. The amount of parking removed was small, yet some reactions are akin to drug addicts having their fix taken away.

  11. One thing that strikes me with Auckland street innovation is how often planners do this:

    (1) Roll out a design that assumes that drivers will choose to refrain from acting badly.

    This is followed by: (2) a period of drivers acting badly.

    This is followed much later by: (3) a rollout of A New Version Of The Design which puts barriers in place so that drivers are physically prevented from acting badly.

    There are a number of street innovations that are stuck at (2), which is great if you’re a shopper who wants free parking with very little enforcement or a courier driver who wants to park 10 metres closer to their destination.

    I can’t help but feel that (1) and (2) could be skipped entirely if planners were a little more realistic about the “if I fits, I sits” nature of Auckland drivers.

    1. The problem is a total lack of enforcement. This can’t be worked around with infrastructure. There is a widespread assumption that if you park over footpaths or bike lanes it is not a problem because nobody uses these things anyway.

      1. An ounce of prevention is worth a ton of cure, especially when it comes to fast-moving targets like delivery vehicles whose activities make them less likely to get enough enforcement to change their behaviour.

        Enforcement isn’t needed in places where infringement is physically impossible.

        1. Yes, but enforcement is a type of prevention, too.

          The latest Safety Review has a good section on deterrence, and the role of enforcement in creating a safe driving culture.

        2. In general you can’t make infringement physically impossible. If you try you often have to compromise legit road users.

          For example, a proper bike lane is about the right width to just fit a car. You can prevent cars from getting in at intersections with bollards. But these bollards are dangerous for cyclists.

          You could look at the Netherlands, they have almost no physical barriers to parking in bike lanes.

          Another example are the concrete dividers like the ones on the bike lane on Nelson Street. They keep most cars out, but are also a barrier for people wanting to join or leave the bike lane from across the street. In general crossing these barriers in a ute is easier than doing so with a bicycle or a pushchair.

          The same is true for almost all low speed street designs. The aim is to make it obvious to drivers that this is in fact a low speed area. They make driving fast more difficult or awkward, but not physically impossible.

          If you have no enforcement you get a situation where following the rules is for suckers. Eventually you get something known as normalisation of deviance, a social norm of ignoring rules. In such a situation most investment in infrastructure is wasted.

        3. A good city for demonstration purposes of this concept is Auckland. It’s not just in transport either. Council has had a “minimal enforcement” philosophy that spans a whole lot of human activity.

      2. Agree and with the Henderson example complete lack of enforcement meant the trial never actually was a trial. Since those driving to destinations other than Henderson avoided the bypass and continued to drive through the town centre in the supposedly Bus only lane we will never actually know if it could have worked.

  12. Drink driving was always illegal. But with minimal enforcement, generally mostly following an accident event, drink driving was suprisingly socially acceptable.
    But once enforcement was massively increased largely with drink driving check points, the social acceptance of drink driving also took a dive.
    A similar change happened to smoking once non smoking mandates were actually enforced. Smoking in cars is about to become a lot less socially acceptable following law changes.

  13. Why do we need to “innovate”? There are many countries and cities that are decades ahead of us, so why aren’t we not just copying them.

    1. Yeah totally agree. Same thing with all of this hydrogen powered hype, autonomous electric cars, hyperloops, trackless trams, etc. mostly designed to distract people from actually making simple iterative changes based on proven methods.

      If we actually just copied the good parts of what other cities have been doing for years/centuries we would make good progress (efficient rail, density where it matters, properly built housing, cycling infrastructure)

    2. There’s a reason why we won’t follow them, firstly it will be too expensive, secondly it won’t improve equality and thirdly its won’t bring more economic value if we follow them, we’ll look too generic and look too boring.

  14. Herein lies the issue, what do we really want, l guess people want free and easy access to where they want to go,but only for them,not anybody else. Enforcement, if applied,should be for others and not for them.
    Traffic management is the one thing, where you cannot have it all,widen the road, induces more driving, infill housing,less off street parking, everyone else should catch the bus/train,don’t take my parking for PT/bike lanes, don’t let your kids walk to school,it’s “safer” in the car,that’s” my” park,right by the school gate.
    Traffic has worked “fine” for years,why can’t it just keep working ” fine” when we double the volume,just double the lanes,and double the carparks,problem solved,right,who said Traffic management was difficult,just keep adding infrastructure, it will all be” fine”

  15. 1) We need a mandatory new nationwide vision zero/zero carbon transport infrastructure standard for new roads and retrofits. Our narrow 20m road corridors simply aren’t fit for purpose where there are higher traffic volumes to ensure sufficient space for walk/cycle/micromobility.

    2) This standard has to deal with intersections where the major conflicts between modes occurs – road sections are generally much easier to deal with.

    3) Innovation can be via a formal exception signoff.

  16. The problem is that innovation only seems to come in the form of slapping people in the face and saying “This is good for you.” and then being surprised that most people don’t like being slapped in the face.

    I feel like most of the people coming up with these ideas have had a few too many visits to cycling conferences in Copenhagen and have lost touch with the reality that most kiwis are ignorant, stubborn hobbits who never want to change.

    1. Keep an open mind, Ari. Some Councils supported the projects much better than Auckland Transport and Council did. I’m hoping some of the smaller towns could come and give some workshops up here.

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