The new bus network as proposed in the draft Regional Public Transport Plan received a large amount of support from the general public so it is a good bet that it will become a reality. The biggest changes it makes is that it relies on more people transferring to get to destinations but in return a much larger number of high frequency routes are able to be provided. The map below shows all the routes which will have a frequency of 15 minutes or better from 7am to 7pm, 7 days a week.
The network is expected to start rolling out later this year and will take around 3 years to complete. One of the key requirements to the success of the system will be around the interchange points and making it as easy as possible for passengers to change. Some thing we touched on this this post. One of the places that will be most difficult is at Te Atatu where the route/s that serves the peninsula intersects with the route/s that travels down the North Western motorway.
Auckland Transport, and presumably the NZTA, have been working on the how to solve the problem and they have come up with a solution. It involves building a bus interchange on Titoki St within the existing motorway designation. AT describe the project as:
A bus-to-bus connection facility in the vicinity of Titoki St is planned, to be delivered alongside the NZTA Te Atatu motorway interchange upgrade project.
The interchange will
- provide a high quality, safe bus interchange facility that allows easy connection between the proposed bus services;
- ensure a high level of pedestrian safety is provided for, particularly school children;
- provide a facility in a location that allows for efficient bus movements and minimisation of delay and diversion to buses that will use the facility;
- develop a facility that operates effectively and safely with motorway and local traffic that will share its environment;
- minimise the impact of the interchange on immediate residents through good design;
- provide a facility that would be compatible with any future proposals for a North Western busway in the motorway corridor.
About the design they say:
- A bus interchange bounded by the northwestern motorway Te Atatu southbound off-ramp, Titoki Street south and the eastern boundary of number 34 Titoki Street ;
- Introduction of a bus-only right turn facility from Te Atatu Road into Titoki Street. Note: The left-in-left out changes to Titoki Street-Te Atatu Road for general traffic will remain;
- Provision of a separate bus-only southbound off-ramp from the north western motorway into the bus interchange;
- Changes to the northwestern motorway off-ramp/Te Atatu Road intersection to include a bus lane between the two right lanes and left turn lane. This would provide for bus-only straight-through movement back onto the southbound on-ramp;
- Bus-only lane off Titoki Street into the interchange. The location of this entry point is opposite 7 Titoki Street.
- Provision of a safe pedestrian environment in the vicinity of the interchange including safe crossing points across Titoki Street from the underpass and Te Atatu Road.
- Design elements that are aimed at mitigating motorway noise impacts in a manner that is equivalent to that which would be delivered by the NZTA motorway upgrade project in the absence of the bus interchange.
The image below shows what is planned along with the houses that may be affected (the ones in pink are most affected.
Compared to the fairly large Northern Busway stations this is quite small and an example of what it may look like is the Springwood Bus Interchange in Brisbane
I guess my the only real concerns is for westbound buses which need to exit the motorway, cross the motorway to get to the bus interchange then cross the motorway once again before heading further west. AT are now consulting on the project so see here for more info. There are also two public days to talk more about it next week so if you are interested, make sure you pop along. Also there is a bit more info at the end of this presentation.
While I don’t expect every interchange point to be like this, it is a good start by AT and hopefully we will see this kind of attention to passenger detail more common across the rest of the network.