Today the Auckland Transport board meet for the last time this year and here are the highlights from their board reports. You can also watch the open session of the meeting live between 9am to 10:15am via this Microsoft Teams link.


Closed Agenda

Below are the most interesting items from the closed agenda.

Items for Approval
  • Negotiated Ferry Service Contract – Hopefully this results in improved ferry services.
  • Engagement with Minister of Transport, Michael Wood, Leigh Auton and Tommy Parker (Auckland Light Rail Establishment Unit) – Auckland Light Rail – Oh to be a fly on the wall of this discussion. I wonder if this is engagement on the recommendation to cabinet or the decision from cabinet.
  • Eastern Busway 4 – Botany Station Update – Consultation on the proposed change to the Eastern Busway to divert behind Burswood closes this Friday but one thing we haven’t seen is the plans for the Botany Station. Hopefully after this meeting we may finally get some more details.
  • Airport to Botany Rapid Transit variation to Supporting Growth Alliance – A business case for the Airport to Botany corridor has been completed but hasn’t been made public yet. I’m guessing AT are looking to get the team currently looking at infrastructure in greenfield areas to take over the designation work for it given they likely have a lot of expertise in place and able to do this easier than setting up a whole new workstream. I’d also much rather them focus on this than on more infrastructure to support sprawl.
  • Supporting Growth Alliance North West Detailed Business Case – The indicative network for the greenfield areas in the Northwest has been public for some time. Presumably the business case will give us a lot more details on the cost and timing of the various elements of it.
  • Environment Action Plan – The council and AT are currently working on an Emissions Reduction Plan but I wonder if this is something broader and covering other environmental issues like storm water runoff.
  • Interim speed management plan 2023-26 high level options – There is some detail about this in the open business report below.
Items for Noting
  • National Ticketing Solution – I wonder if this means we might finally hear something about this soon?

Business Report

Here are the items in the open business report that caught my attention.

Safer Speeds

AT’s consultation on speed limit changes from late September to mid-November received 8,413 submissions and the board are being asked to approve consultation on another tranche at this meeting, which I’ll cover separately below.

They also say this about the 2023-26 plans being discussed in the closed session.

As part of the Residential Speed Management Programme, prioritisation of all urban residential areas in Auckland (approximately 400) for engineering measures and/or speed limit changes will be completed in December. This information will feed into the Speed Management Plan, which is currently progressing in parallel with Tranche 2 work. It is a principle-based approach speed management plan and is being prepared for 2023-26 delivery, after Tranche 2 is completed. The principles are currently being developed, along with setting the scope for speed limit changes. The Speed Management Plan will replace the bylaw process and enable AT to accelerate the programme supported by the expected rule change in 2022.

Student concessions

AT say they’re wanting to make student concessions simpler.

Leveraging its supplier relationships and coordination points with Auckland schools, AT facilitates a physical plastic Student ID card which, amongst other things, enables secondary school students to access public transport concessions. Whilst student and school communities appreciate the coordination role of AT, the card and process is costly to produce in both time and materials to students, parents, schools, and AT. As a result, AT has engaged with a digital ID provider to look at transitioning to a digital student ID ahead of the start of the 2022 school year. This will result in a simpler, more sustainable, and less costly solution. It will also enable AT to communicate more effectively with students, a key public transport user group

Footpath Funding

AT say their Investment Committee has approved an increase to their New Footpaths programme from $3.88 million to $7.1 million and that it is being used to pay for “the North-western path upgrade and five other projects that have been on hold for two years and are shovel-ready“. It’s a real indictment of our transport system that small and critical projects like the north-western path upgrade get delayed for years while waiting for crumbs while other projects happily burn through more that on business cases for projects that might not happen for a decade, if ever.

Procurement

AT always include in their report tenders and contracts issued that have a value of more than $2 million. In the tenders section they include this one. It would be good to know how much bus priority they plan to deliver and where.

Bus Priority Programme Physical Works – Three-year contract (2021 to 2024) – This programme supports the growth and evolution of Auckland’s strategic public transport network, by increasing the efficiency, capacity and reliability of bus services, through the provision of dedicated special vehicles lanes (such as T2 lanes and bus lanes) and the elimination of network pinch points that adversely impact bus travel times.

Motorcycle locks

AT are installing 383 motorbike lock anchors to some of their carparking buildings after a spate of thefts. What I find interesting about this is the idea for them came from the public

The idea for these locks came from a customer who provided us with drawings of the suggested locks.

Parking

AT say they’ve developed a tool to “receive customer requests that allow the Parking Services and Compliance group to better understand customer feedback. Analysis of these CRM cases will make it easier to apply the customer feedback to future business planning and development of required work programmes“.

I doubt they needed a tool to tell them that most of that feedback would be for them to do their jobs and start properly enforcing parking.

They also say they’re now trialling their programme of using Licence Plate Recognition to enforce parking in more complex situations with the trial underway at Onehunga Mall.

Temporary Traffic Management

I see a lot of complaints about temporary traffic management (TTM) practices, such as signs blocking footpaths. So it’s interesting to see that AT’s own inspections show that pass rates for compliance with TTM plans is just 71%, and that’s a high result and is often down around 50%.


Speed Limit Changes

Also at the board meeting, AT are asking for approval to consult on tranche 2B of their speed limit changes. Tranche 2A was consulted on just over a month ago. One thing that’s notable is that for the whole of Tranche 2 they were initially planning on doing was about 13% of the local road network with Tranche 2A making up about 8% of that. But they’ve now significantly increased the scope and in Tranche 2B alone they’re looking at delivering changes to about 1,418km of roads, or about 19% of Auckland’s local road network. A high-level summary of what is included in this package is shown below.

In total roads around 75 schools included in this latest package.

I assume the consultation on this will happen in the new year but if you’re interested in seeing what roads are on the list, there’s a 2,700 page (21.2MB) document that includes them all and the assessment undertaken for each road.


Fatal Crashes involving people walking and cycling

A good reason why we need speed limit (and other) changes is addressed a separate paper giving the board a deeper dive on pedestrian and cycling fatal crashes. In it, AT staff note some alarming figures, including:

  • Vulnerable road users made up over 50% of fatalities on Auckland’s road network in the 2020 calendar year.
  • 57 pedestrian and 15 cyclist fatalities have occurred on Auckland roads between 2014 and 2020. There is no downward trend in this period.
  • Currently, 61% of fatal and serious injury crashes occur at locations where there has been no other injury crash in the past five years. This highlights the need for a proactive approach to road safety, supported by reactive actions to investigate fatal crashes.

As of Monday night, Auckland is sitting at 57 road deaths this year, we were at 30 at the same point last year and 26 at this time in 2019.


If you’ve looked at the board papers Is there anything else that stands out?

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42 comments

  1. “As of Monday night, Auckland is sitting at 57 road deaths this year, we were at 30 at the same point last year and 26 at this time in 2019”

    A truly mindblowing. Vision Zero eh

    1. AT hypocrisy at its best, years of consultations to even consider removing a carpark but they take it upon themselves to unilaterally stop enforcement and turn all of the central city’s public spaces into free parking.
      They’ve also got cars with number plate recognition, they could quite easily be using these to drive around and enforce parking across the central city, not just monitoring resident’s only parking in the wealthy city fringe.

  2. Well done, AT, with the work to simplify student concessions. That’s important. It is already much easier for both school students and tertiary students than it was a few years ago but this change looks like it is another good step.

    1. I agree that simplification is a great step, but I do worry about how equitable the proposed solution is (specifically the digital component).

        1. This is purely speculation based on the description above but it sounds to me it will be app/smartphone based. It’s been a while since I’ve looked into smartphone proliferation by demo, but typically there is a more pronounced digital divide among lower socio-economic groups.

          So long as they keep a physical option at no penalty for those without the means to access personal technology it will be a non-issue!

        2. “but typically there is a more pronounced digital divide among lower socio-economic groups.’

          As a long time bus user, I have observed that this is the same group that gets onto the bus in a large group and only one or two of the group tags on. The other members of the group are already riding for free.

        3. Too many comments like this. Casual observations. Assumed truths. Like the South Auckland teens coming into Remuera and Devonport and stealing the cars for joy rides 30 years ago. They turn out to be local rich kids.

  3. “Here are the items in the open business report that caught my attention.”

    That link leads to the closed agenda

  4. The speed limits on Mission Bay and St Heliers are all very good, but particularly at Mission bay, there’s a lot of distraction competing with the 30 signs and they don’t stand out all that well. Either make the whole of Tamaki drive 30, or make the limit changes more disinctive, maybe with road painted warnings and bigger signs?

  5. “Currently, 61% of fatal and serious injury crashes occur at locations where there has been no other injury crash in the past five years.”
    This suggests to me that blanket speed reductions need to be applied Auckland wide,as there is no way to build your way out of this tragedy. We pay a very heavy price at present. The AT board and Council should have a minutes silence at every monthly meeting, to reflect on the loss of life ,and injuries, that occur under their watch.

  6. Significantly increasing the scope of the safer speeds tranches is really promising. It indicates a shift in priorities at last.

    The whole thing would be far cheaper if they just changed the default speed limits. While WK and MoT were regressive on this point, I’ve yet to see a proper analysis of whether AT could have used the existing Setting of Speed Limits legislation to do an equivalent change all at once, using best practice evidence about how a city-wide systemic change increases comprehension, compliance and expectations amongst the public, and makes enforcement much easier. In the process, city-wide systemic change lowers speeds far more than could otherwise be assumed and therefore gets the actual speeds into cooey of the new speed limits, meaning the change could probably have been legal within the existing legislation.

    This would save heaps of money in terms of consultation and signage, allowing that money to be put into built environment changes instead. Basically, the wins would’ve been so huge, it would’ve been worth testing the legislation by trying.

    If there’s analysis I’d love to see it, but I doubt the safety team would’ve had support for this from management anyway. So increasing the scope by this amount is a fantastic outcome, given AT’s culture problems.

    What I’m interested in seeing now is which schools are in Tranche 2B. I’m hoping these will be the ones that aren’t considered “Easy Wins” because the speeds are always low, but are the ones where the speeds are the highest and the most work needs to be done. Also I’m interested in seeing if they will do some analysis on equity around the choice of the “customer requested” streets. I think it’s good to respond to public demand, but places where the residents are too busy to engage with AT tend to be the places with the most dangerous streets and the most work needs to be done.

    1. Or maybe AT could pay the police to enforce the existing limits (at least as a temporary measure until the are “allowed” to reduce them). As ridiculous as that sounds it would probably be the cheapest way to decrease speeds by 5-10 kmh.

        1. When you consider the number of police now enforcing COVID road borders, stationed at MIQ, dealing with increased gun violence and other road crashes, is it any wonder that there is minimal enforcement of speed limits? Except on highways where contractors with covert vans are the only obvious deterrent.

        2. The problem existed before Covid and requires work on many levels both within the Police and within Government.

        3. The Police don’t even bother to obey the 30km/h speed limit, and have never seen any enforcement of any of the speed limit changes. I’ve lost count of the numbers of times I’ve been overtaken on streets like Princes Street by a police car going 50km/h when I’m travelling at 30km/h on my bike. Attempting to drive in the central city and stick to 30km/h results in incessant tailgating, honking and overtaking….
          Then we’ve got Nelson and Hobson Streets which had absolutely no physical works done to them despite that being promised by AT as consolation for only being reduced to 40km/h.
          It’s not at all surprising deaths are not declining – reducing the speed limit on a few streets, not enforcing it, not progressing cycle ways and then wondering why nothing has changed isn’t Vision Zero.

        4. Brent in theory they should take people off murder investigations and put them on speed enforcement, it would probably save more lives.

        5. At have reported that in the City Centre the speeds (and more importantly, the deaths and serious injuries) HAVE reduced after the speed reduction (albeit at a bit less than 2 years the statistical confidence isn’t great yet, the numbers in that area are apparently looking pretty good). It’s probably because drivers are now driving 40-50 instead of 60 in the city…

  7. Just wondering whether a road speed reduction plan could be submitted under the “Streets for people” initiative, maybe bypassing AT and Council,would “accelerate” progress.

  8. “National Ticketing Solution” – Hopefully the update will be that the Govt has stepped in and told the tail not to wag the dog!

    What an abysmal situation.

  9. How reliable are these analyses of speed limits when Auckland Transport aren’t even aware of the existing speed limits around the city? The document repeatedly refers to Ponsonby Road as being 50km/h when it’s been 40km/h for more than a decade. Clearly using the same maps that they used to publish showing bike lanes anywhere there was a bus lane for a couple of hours a day.

  10. Something I noticed in the analysis document is that there’s no measurement or investigation of non-vehicular road uses. For instance Sea View Road on Waiheke Island is a major cycle route (it’s on the maps that all the cycle rental companies give out and there are a great many individual and groups of cyclists during the holidays) and it’s on Te Ara Hura, the round-island walking route. But the analysis just described the road (and lack of cycle lane and shoulder and footpath) and made a count of the number of vehicles using it. Shouldn’t they have also counted bikes and pedestrians?

    1. When an RCA assesses speed limits, they have to quantitatively measure the lane widths, shoulder widths, and traffic volumes. However, the effects on pedestrians and cyclists are to be measured qualitatively.

      This was done to allow consideration of how peds and cycles actually interact with traffic. Consider Ian McKinnon Drive: virtually no crossing demand, off road paths vs a cul de sac with a primary school on it.

  11. I had a quick ctr-f tour of the road pdf and I’m a little concerned at what I found. It’s precisely the kind of reason why you might actually want consultation to happen, actually.

    If you go to Park Estate Road (Rosehill) you’ll find four things worth worrying about. Firstly, the road runs east/west, not north/south so the way they describe it is very confusing. Secondly, when they do the discussion section, they suddenly start talking about Hingaia Road. Thirdly, the road is described as having no pedestrian or cycling amenity. And fourthly that it’s a “rural residential” road.

    Assuming the switch between Hingaia Road and the alignment confusion are the typos (rather than describing the road they’re discussing as being Park Estate Road), then a look at Google Maps would probably suggest the other two points aren’t errors. However, when you go to street view, you can see that there’s major earthworks going on. Here are some more recent (but not that recent) images of the area:

    https://imgur.com/a/ezdLOnI

    Thankfully, in this case, they’ve decided the road should go to 40 km/h in the relevant section anyway, but in other cases not knowing some basic stuff about what the road is like now (let alone what it’s becoming) may result in bad recommendations.

    I suppose there’s also the opposite problem in the sense that Park Estate Road will, in the near future, be the major access road to an absolutely massive subdivision. At the moment, it’s the only road that connects to it. AT may have looked at that and decided that the whole length of Park Estate Road needed to be 50 km/h (which would be a speed increase for the eastern end). And this may be a view that comes across in the consultation (though, luckily, there aren’t large numbers of people already in situ).

  12. “Vulnerable road users made up over 50% of fatalities on Auckland’s road network in the 2020 calendar year.

    “57 pedestrian and 15 cyclist fatalities have occurred on Auckland roads between 2014 and 2020. There is no downward trend in this period.”

    NZ quite simply needs a new nationwide road infrastructure standard based on vision zero and zero carbon that provides safe space and movement on road links and at junctions for all road users. All new roads and retrofits to be to the new standard.

  13. With all the special housing area’s coming on stream near the south of the manukau harbour, and no corresponding road infrastructure – it would be great to hear about AT’s work on our ferry infrastructure.
    The ferry part was in the closed session – i guest to keep it a christmas surprise to all the folks living on Aucklands forgotten harbour. Im trembling with anticipation, so exciting. !!

  14. “Analysis of Ministry of Health data indicates significant underreporting of pedestrian and cyclist crashes” rider on the CAS serious and Fatal crash report

    This is really significant. Our fundamental road safety tool is broken.

    Kiwi’s end up dead, or in hospital – or both, and CAS doesnt even now it happened.
    Im not seeing any mention of (urgent) work to resolve this problem. Easier left under-reported ? Can anyone shed some light on this reporting – we have lots of anecdotal stories of “i looked my crash in CAS and its not there…” mostly cyclists.

    1. and as an afterthought – with CAS so broken – we could achieve vision zero.
      and still be killing our cyclists and pedestrians

    2. Believe this is because CAS only reports if a motor vehicle is involved. So falls due to poor pavement maintenance or bad riding infrastructure leading to bike rider injury are not included.

      1. That is not true. CAS is supposed to record any reported crash including a vehicle (i.e. a cyclist). It’s a massive problem with the Police not putting cycle crashes into CAS whether through lack of knowledge that they have to or lack of time to focus on road safety.

  15. “57 pedestrian and 15 cyclist fatalities have occurred on Auckland roads between 2014 and 2020”
    A complete analysis of how these fatalities occurred is necessary before making any judgement. The number of pedestrians and cyclists not properly looking where they are going is disturbing. No matter how many safety precautions are taken by authorities, the bottom line is to be aware of what is going on around you. Rear vision capability and a warning device on bikes needs to be made compulsory, and pedestrians should remember the old adage look look right, look left, look right again …… as was taught in schools. Bad habits abound. Lack of defensive driving skills in many motorists is apparent at times.
    If the amount of money AT and others spend on “improvements” was put into healthcare, a lot more lives could be saved than 57.

    1. ” Rear vision capability and a warning device on bikes needs to be made compulsory, ”

      Thankfully, riders are compulsory on bikes and come with the built abilities to turn their head and yell.

    2. Yeah, I think we should blame the people for making mistakes, we’ve had such success with that over the years compared to other countries that took a different approach. /s

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