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Auckland Transformed: The Congestion Free Network

Auckland Map with Type size same

As hinted at in these posts here and here the editorial team at ATB in collaboration with Generation Zero believe there is a much better way forward for Auckland than the expensive and ineffectual road-heavy ‘build everything’ transport scheme identified in the Auckland Plan, and set out and analysed in the Integrated Transport Plan. This post describes how Auckland can build a world class public transport network that is both affordable and will be the envy of every comparable city worldwide. How in only 17 years Auckland can leapfrog its rivals and transform from a very inefficient mono-modal auto-dependent city to a much more dynamic, multidimensional, and effective and exciting place.

Our plans isolate the top layer of the Public Transport Network and show how these can be expanded and connected while remaining integrated with the other layers of the public transport system, especially the Frequent and Local Bus Networks, to form a complete system to compliment the existing and mature road network. It is important to note that this should also be developed in parallel to a region wide cycling network which both ATB and Generation Zero are extremely supportive of but is outside of the scope of this project [but complimentary to it]. Perhaps Cycle Action Auckland will take up this challenge?

In order to show how we think we should do this we have developed a staged process at five year intervals from 2015-2030 illustrated in four maps below [big thanks to Niko Elsen from GenZero for the graphics and to the great Henry 'Harry' Beck for the inspiration of his genius London Underground map; a project also produced without official sanction but eventually adopted to great success].

Over the coming days we will analyse the costs and benefits associated with our plans and show that they will not only lead to a higher quality and better functioning city but are also more affordable than the ineffective current plans as described in the ITP [Link here]. In fact investing in the ‘missing modes’ in Auckland’s transport mix before further expanding the road network so expensively will almost certainly turn out to be much cheaper and more efficient for the city and the nation as well as actually being more in sync with the times. Especially as many of the most expensive and invasive road projects will prove to be unnecessary once Auckland has this powerful additional network in place. Our plan will also greatly improve Auckland’s performance in other harder to calculate but vital areas such as air quality, carbon emissions, oil dependency, urban form, and public health outcomes.

Before we get to the maps it’s important to clarify that the networks we are showing are built on what we already have in Auckland and what is proposed in varying senarios by Auckland Council, Auckland Transport, NZTA, and other professional bodies, and are all predicated on maximising value from existing infrastructure. In other words these are all possible and realistic projects. They are both buildable and fit into efficient operating models as well as being focused on unlocking hidden capacity and other benefits latent in our existing networks. They are in sync with the proposed directions of Auckland’s future growth [both up and out] and have been selected with quality of place outcomes in mind as well as likely changes in movement demand.

The other important point is that these routes represent the highest quality Public Transit corridors, what are known as Class A routes, as described here in this hierarchy of transit Right of Ways. They include a variety of modes, Train, Bus, Ferry, and maybe even Light Rail, chosen for each corridor on a case by case process. The key point is that by growing this network Aucklanders will have the option to move across the whole city at speed completely avoiding road traffic. By connecting the existing rail and busway to new high quality bus and rail routes the usefulness of our current small and disjointed Rapid Transit Network can become a real option for millions of new trips each year. At once taking pressure off the increasingly crowded roads by offering such an effective alternative to always driving, as well as providing a way around this problem.

The Congestion Free Network is both a solution to our overcrowded roads and a way of being able choose to avoid them altogether for many more people at many more times and for many more journeys.

Definitions and Qualifications

To qualify for the Congestion Free Network a Transit service needs to fulfil two conditions:

1. It should have its own separate Class A Right of Way.

2. And offer a high frequency service, the ‘turn-up-and-go’ rate of a ride at least every ten minutes or better.

In other words these are the top of the line services from Auckland Transport and their partners. As we will explain we have taken some liberties with these two definitions out of necessity, with some services for various reasons not quite fulfilling one of the criteria above. But where we have opted to bend the definitions a little there is good reason to believe that the deficiency can be fixed on the route in question, and in fact its inclusion on the CFN map is part of the process for showing why that should be the case.

There is a third condition that we are confident will be maintained on this network and that is the quality of the vehicles themselves along with important attractors such as free WIFI on board and at stations:

metrolink-double-decker

EMU painted 3

 

OK, to the maps. On all maps Rail Lines are solid, Bus Lines are striped, and Ferry routes dashed, but all should be considered as approaching as much as possible those two main criteria above in order to qualify as Congestion Free.

1. CONGESTION FREE NETWORK 2015

CFN 2015

This is all on the way: The the newly electrified rail network with its higher frequency brand new electric trains plus the Northern Busway, and the Devonport Ferry. These are as close to the only Class A and high frequency dedicated transit routes that we will have in Auckland at this time. We have taken some liberties with our definition of some services above. The trains on the Onehunga Line cannot be frequent enough to qualify until the track is improved, and the Devonport Ferry does not run at ten minute cycles all day, but it is frequent enough at the peaks to just qualify. And the Busway, although running at very high frequencies, suffers from an inconsistent degree of separation from traffic, once it gets to the Bridge and through the city, but we are confident that by 2015 or soon after the level of bus priority will have improved especially through Fanshaw and Customs Sts.

We are also confident that these improvements plus the others already underway now and rolling out through 2013-2016, such as integrated fares and the New Bus Network at the next layer down, will mean that more and more people will be choosing to use our nascent core network and it will justify rapid extension.

So how could we extend this next, and which projects are the most urgent? Here’s what we think: Filling in the Gaps:

2. CONGESTION FREE NETWORK 2020

CFN 2020

This is in many ways is the biggest jump; but then it’s really seven and a half years from now so is the longest time period covered and shows the completion of a whole lot of projects that are already at least in the planning stage right now: Unlocking the Core and Accessing the Suburbs:

1. The CRL; the ‘Killer App’ for unlocking capacity and value in the rail network, and all the improvements we have invested in on the whole rail network this century.

2. Two relatively cheap and easy rail network extensions: The Mt Roskill branch line and electrification to Pukekohe and new stations to serve planned new housing in the south.

3. Extensions to each end of the Northern Busway; from the new bus lanes on Customs St up the Central Connector through the University, the Hospital, Grafton Station and the adjacent new Uni Campus, and on to Newmarket. And in the north; extension from Constellation Station to Albany and three new stations to serve the expanding suburbs there.

4. Forms of high quality bus priority on Great North Rd through Grey Lynn, up the North Western motorway all the way to Westgate. Not completely grade separate all the way but proper new stations to connect with new bus services on the Frequent Network and;

5. The Upper Harbour Bus Line, running from Henderson Station up Lincoln Rd, Westgate, and across to connect with the Northern Busway at Constellation on SH18 with new stations.

6. Further south the extension of the AMETI project both past Panmure along the Mt Wellington Highway on dedicated lanes to link with Ellerslie Station and looping the other way down to Botany and on to Manukau City and the Southern Line at Puhinui.

The next phase is all about consolidation and extension, most notably though the neglected Southwest: Mangere and the Airport:

3. CONGESTION FREE NETWORK 2025

CFN 2025

1.The Airport is connected by both the extension of the Onehunga Line through Mangere with important local stations and the extension of the South Eastern Bus Line from Puhinui.

2. The south east also gets proper bus priority up the Pakuranga Highway to Howick, linked through a Pakuranga interchange all the way to Panmure and Ellerslie.

3. The North Western gets extended to the growing hub of Kumeu/Huapai

4. The Northern Line now reaches Silverdale.

5. More frequency is presumed to be required by this time on the ferries heading up the harbour to complete a useful circuit on the Waitemata.

One project dominates the next period: The Shore Line:

4. CONGESTION FREE NETWORK 2030

CFN 2030A

1. The Shore Line. There are various versions of this important project, but it is clear that no version should add any more road lanes. The one illustrated here is a rail only crossing and the track doesn’t join directly with the existing rail lines so can be a completely separate technology like the system used in Vancouver’s extremely cost effective SkyTrain [as well as elsewhere], commonly known as Light Metro. This line could be staged by first building the Aotea-Wynyard-Onewa-Akoranga-Takapuna section and keeping the best part of the busway going with a transfer station at Akoranga, but one of the great advantages of the Light Metro train technology is that it can fit on the existing alignments of the busway with very little alterartion and therefore can be extended all the way to Constellation, Albany, or beyond at much lower cost than the Standard Rail used elsewhere on the Network.

2. Also included here is the suggestion of Light Rail for the important Dominion Rd/Queen St bus route.

Notes and Queries.

There are a number of  differing options in many parts of these schemes all with various advantages and disadvantages and many have been debated sometimes fairly vigorously amongst those of us working on the maps. These conversations are still ongoing so the maps as they are now should not be considered some kind of final position by the members of either ATB or Generation Zero, but certainly do represent the areas of focus with top contenders for the best solutions. For example here is an alternative city extension of the North Shore Line:

Auckland Map with Type size same

There also is much to be discussed around the detail and the timing of these projects, and we look forward to your views on all of that. To finish it’s probably worth reminding everyone that what is shown here in all these maps are only the best of the best Class A, fast and frequent Transit services that sit at the very top of the public transport pecking order. Below them sit other much more widespread and also improved more widespread services that will still also be running and linking up with these new flash routes. Here is the official AT map of the bus system for 2016, that includes services on our Congestion Free Network but that also shows the wider Frequent Network, and of course there even more local services beneath these:

New FTN Network

Mode Selection and the Conceptual Foundation of the Network.

We know there is a lot of attachment to various transport modes by experts and laypeople alike, we experience this everyday in the comment section on this site. There is a tendency for people to focus on the advantages of their favoured mode in a way that expresses their general priorities; some feel spending less on capital works is always the most important issue and others value the quality of the ROW and the permanence of the investment above all else so take a longer view on the costs. We have sought to balance all these considerations when deciding on the most appropriate technology for each corridor. We know that train fans will be disappointed by the amount of bus routes above and that the budget obsessed will be appalled by what they will see as lavish spending on ‘expensive’ rail. And of course the road lobby will see no need for any of this especially as we wish to downscale, delay, or delete many of their pet motorway projects in order to fast track it all and to reduce the disbenefits of reinforcing auto-domination and auto-dependency on Auckland that their projects also bring.

We also have ignored the current government’s particular obsession with only using the National Land Transport Fund for road investments, for, as we have just seen, governments are capable of changing their policies, but also because the public are more than capable of changing governments, and will have at least five such opportunities to do so throughout this period.

The 2016 FTN map directly above clearly shows that a number of the new routes on our maps are current or planned bus routes that we are picking to deserve a greater level of quality as time goes by, maybe not as early as we have by demand alone, but when seen in the context of this new conceptual reading of the city that is The Congestion Free Network, we believe there is additional value in completing parts of this network occasionally ahead of demand [especially where it is more cost effective to do so]. The CFN is a city-shaping tool as well as a movement programme. As of course are all transport networks. This is, in many ways, the most critical point about the changes required in Auckland now. Transport funding decisions must not remain siloed in the transport sector, or worse be captured by institutionalised mode bias as has been the case for most of the last 60 years. Urban transport is, after all, simply a means to an end. And that end is the quality of life for all those in the city and beyond. These involve much wider issues than we have been considering in Auckland in the recent past. It’s time we got more sophisticated.

So in many cases, especially towards the edges of the city, the best way to achieve completion of the network is simply to upgrade the quality of existing bus routes by improving the physical separation of the route and the efficiency and frequency of their running patterns as well as the provision of interchange stations. These routes tend to be further into the suburbs usually where there is freer available roadspace [eg SH18] or closer in where because of new routes older roads have space that can be repurposed for transit [and cycleways] like Great North Rd through Grey Lynn.

However in a few high profile cases the demands and conditions are different, on these routes it could be there is demand for a very high capacity system and just no spare roadspace [the CRL] or where there is already a rail RTN that is worth extending or improving [The CRL, Mt Roskill, Pukekohe, the Mangere and Airport Line], or a combination of the two plus a unique physical barrier [The Shore Line]. In these cases we have, on balance, agreed that the particular characteristics of rail provide solutions that justify the higher capital cost.

It is also worth noting that the three major rail investments, one in each of the three time periods, are the ones that Mayor Len Brown campaigned on to become the first leader of a unified Auckland. So we know they are popular, but their inclusion here is not just because of that. They are here because they are also the rational choice when all issues are considered. The same cannot be said for the congestion promoting motorway projects that Len Brown has subsequently signed up for in some kind of Faustian trade off as expressed in the ITP. So part of this campaign is to get the Mayor, as he faces re-election, to get his transport thinking ‘back on track’.

So lets leave the last word to Len Brown from his inauguration speech in 2010:

it is time to stop imagining how to improve Auckland’s transport system and other infrastructure and time to start acting.”

Web

 

CFN_4_SMALL

Note: the maps can be accessed in PDF form by clicking on the titles above each one- feel free to download, print, distribute, draw on, set alight, decorate your room, or re-blog….

282 comments to Auckland Transformed: The Congestion Free Network

  • Noodle

    Wow fantastic! Superb work that offers what the Auckland Plan should have said about transport.

  • JohnP

    Fantastic. Everyone, we are very keen to hear your feedback on this and any suggestions you may have. Fire away!

  • Christopher T

    Not only impressive but also achievable. It’s an intelligent, pragmatic response and is the sort of outcome that should have formed the basis for AT’s Integrated Transport Programme (ITP). Unfortunately, for being all those things, it’s guaranteed to raise the Tories’ ire. They and their traffic engineering collaborators will reject it out of hand because they’ll see very little provision for new motorways and all that they entail. They’ll describe it as ‘utopian’ and ‘unrealistic’ and, having sneered, they’ll go back to planning and funding their East West Link, Puford and that great Tory favourite of the year, the 6 lane AWHC. Something to fight for though; bring it on!

  • Ian L

    Now that’s inspirational! Bizarrely I find myself not too concerned about the details but inspired by the vision, the possibilities. How many other people might feel the same if they saw this? This kind of material needs distributing far and wide, beyond the PT geeks and out into anti-UP land.

    • Ian I couldn’t agree more, Auckland has lacked vision on a lot of levels for a long time, and the is the area that most needs change. But the devil, you know, resides in the details so we have put a great deal of effort into making sure that our vision is practical and doable too.

  • Sacha

    Brilliant. Wish you could add the cycling network to the mix. Perhaps pick a suburb or three to zoom in on and show the finer-grained connections like that to transport hubs?

    • Yep, we fully agree that we need to sort out the cycling network too but are going to leave that part to our cycling friends to push as this has been a big enough effort as it is (still more details to come yet like how much it will cost).

  • Adam W

    This is brilliant, and I support Ian L’s comment that it is not so much the detail but the vision and possiblities which really stand out.
    ATB and Generation Zero have put a lot of work into this and it really shows.
    After all that hard work, your next mission is to get this into the general media, Campbell Live? The Nation?, Q&A?

    My personal comment on the details is that it is a shame the airport line is in the third 2025 target as I would have liked you to put it in the 2020 target. Will be interested to see your reasoning for this, though I assume it comes down to budgets and best bang for bucks?

  • Harvey Specter

    Does Auckland Transport have something like this?

    Without going into the detail, having a long term plan that everyone can see and understand is fantastic. We can then argue the merits and timing of each change and start recording numbers to determine when usage triggers the need for the next step.

    • That’s why we’ve done it.

      AT of course do plan things but as far as I know their RTN plans are not as comprehensive as ours. I’m not sure they have focussed as directly as we have on the idea of a city wide network to this standard, or if so they haven’t bothered to communicate them with the public.

      We have the advantage of not being distracted by the day to day running of a very complex and changing system. But in our view the holistic higher altitude perspective has been missing from Auckland Transit planning for decades, or at least has not been taken seriously by either those at a technical or financial level.

      But of course our plans are built on the great changes that AT and AC are putting in place right now. So I hope they all see this more as encouragement to be bolder than criticism of their current labours.

      • Harvey Specter

        One would have though a long term transport plan goes hand in hand with the unitary plan. No point building high density housing without planning for increased public transport

  • Miggle

    Like the graphics, but it’s disingenuous to call it a “Congestion Free” network. Anyone who’s tried to squeeze on a morning peak busway or Western line service knows that the vehicles not being subject to congestion doesn’t mean the passengers won’t be subject to it…

    • We feel in the current transport debate in Auckland that the term ‘congestion’ is a reasonably clear shorthand for ‘traffic congestion’. Yes it could also mean human congestion, or nasal congestion, or sewer congestion……

      • I see it as a difference between merely “crowded” (busy but still moving well) and “congested” (busy to the point of causing delays). Both roads and PT are crowded in the peaks, but PT need not be congested.

    • thankfully with larger trains soon and double decker buses, things are improving yes?

  • Jeff H

    A good plan to follow but I wonder with all the feeds and connections intended whether the decision to buy medium capacity (375 PAX)commuter trains will prove to be as short sighted as the original four laning of the harbour bridge.

    Choosing metro configured trains of the same external dimensions, but higher capacity (+500) would seem more logical given what the network is eventually intented to do.

    • The trains we are getting can easily be changed to have longitudinal seating and were designed for it to be done. It is a simply matter of changing the way the bracket connects to the wall and I understand that an entire train could be easily changed in less than a day.

      • Harvey Specter

        To clarify, does longitudinal seating mean it would run lenght-wise rather than front/rear facing so there would be less seating but the standing capacity would increase?

        If so, while that does increase capacity, it is hardly ideal from a communter perspective, especially longer commutes where being able to sit and read/work/sleep is beneficial.

      • Jeff H

        Matt L – But is it as simple as that? While the trains can be reconfigured there is no information on the absolute load potential might be and there may be engineering factors that might restrict loadings. CAF link below.

        http://www.caf.es/en/productos-servicios/proyectos/proyecto-detalle.php?p=107

        • Yes it is as simple as that and I have been told that by people working on the project that the trains were designed to allow that flexibility as it obviously is an issue that has come up in other projects.

          • Melon

            Yeah – if you have a look at the pictures there’s nothing fixing the seats to the ground, they’re just bolted onto the wall.

    • Could be… but there will have to be additional trains as demand grows so there will be opportunities to changes specs, and there will always be a need for services with varying capacities [off-peak, quieter lines, etc] so I’m sure the new trains won’t ever be regretted or wasted.

      • Gary Young

        To what extent have the physical dimensions of the new EMUs been dictated by the actual length of Britomart’s platforms? Could carrying capacity be increased when needed by adding another 3x unit to the planned 6x units and still fit inside the station?

        • No. And not just Britomart, every station on the network would need to change to take 9- car sets. But why would we want to? With higher demand we just apply higher frequency; frequency is luxury on a transit network. With the CRL 60 tph will be possible at the core of the network (30 each way). Sure we’ll need more trains to do this, but this kind of demand would be a sign of huge success and a booming city and freed up streets, roads, and highways, therefore that is an investment that we would gladly make.

          • 60tph? I thought that only 40tph (20 each way) or maybe 48tph (24 each way) was possible with the CRL?

          • I have heard ‘up to 60 tph’. Trains will be on autopilot through the tunnel at least, the driver will be able to enjoy his or her coffee (seen the cup holders in the cab!). In practice this may not materialise, and anyway we are a long way from 2 min headways, so even 3 mins (20tph) would offer such an outrageous level of service for Auckland that we’ed have to close the Airport to stop all those expats returning all at once from their urban lives elsewhere!

          • The original business case said that with the right signalling we could reach 60tph but we have worked on this based on 48 which we understand is more realistic. We are expecting that at the peaks there would be 8tph per direction on each of the three lines through the CRL so that means the inner sections (From Mt Albert, Penrose and Panmure) there would be 16tph per direction (one very 3.5-4 minutes). Off peak frequencies would drop back to 6tph.

          • The tunnel itself could definitely support 30tphpd, perhaps more. But….the question is actually how much can the approach junctions and the remainder of the track infrastructure allow to reach the tunnel. Sounds like 24tph is a reasonable level to achieve reliably in practice, at least in the first instance.

            Maybe in the future they can do extra track works or new links to keep increasing that further. At some point you could probably fully sectorise the CRL and two of the lines and operate it as a metro line with trains every 90 seconds if you really wanted to.

  • Fantastic. Love your work. Keep it up — where do we send flowers / beer / more coffee?

    Also, how are others getting *paid* to *not* think of this kind of integrated smartness?

  • NCD

    Fantastic. Can some enterprising person make a T-shirt something like the first graphic of this post?
    Great Christmas presents for the converted and the yet-to-see-the-light alike ;-)

    • I make teeshirts for a living – more than happy to make some shirts with this on it, so long as I’m not stepping on anyone’s toes. Normally we charge $35 for a custom tee, however could do some for $25 – we use Ascolour tees, so high quality :).
      email me at sales@verboom.co.nz if you want to talk about it :)

    • Liam W

      +1 – a brilliant idea, I’d wear it. And a good little ongoing fundraiser for the blog if a portion goes to hosting costs!

  • George D

    I think it’s axiomatic that a full cycle network, with ‘superhighways’ (fully grade separated cycle arterials) and local routes across the city is part of a congestion free network. In heavy traffic, a lane of cycle traffic carries many more people than a lane of car traffic, because the cyclists occupy much less space, and are travelling at similar speeds (up to 25km/h in typical conditions).

    It’s also zero carbon. This is essential. It’s not “nice to have”, unless a liveable earth for our generation is merely “nice to have”.

    • Probably in the short-term the most important thing is to develop local cycling connections to the major PT interchanges (the white circles on the maps). Imagine a little “star network” radiating out of each one and suddenly the coverage of your congestion-free network has grown immensely. Yes, there will also be a need for longer routes like the NW cycleway, but much of your target audience aren’t (yet) keen on biking 10km to work. But they might bike 2km and then catch a rapid bus/train…

      • Kent Lundberg

        Agree with Glenn. Also the ‘stars’ would radiate from the largest concentrations of residences/destinations. Crazy, for example that there are no safe cycle lanes into the cbd from local neighbourhoods. Same can be said for most town centres, shopping malls, etc.

      • Bang on Glen – that is the low hanging fruit for cycling in Auckland. People will cycle 2-3kms in Auckland and that extends the catchment of the CFN immensely.

  • Pure genius. Please dissemnate widely and soon. I’m sure the plan will evolve with time but it already seems well formed and thought out. Thanks to all involved for your sterling efforts, and yet I’m sure the work is only beginning – no time to rest on one’s laurels.

  • Jonski

    Love it. Love it. Love it. As stated above by Greg, how do the professional planners get away with NOT producing something like this?

    I’d like to add a slight extension to the plan: busway to Orewa (just down the hill from Silverdale) and link a grade separated busway down the length of Whangaparoa. Add more frequent ferry services to the region. Hence, remove the need for Penlink.

    • Sailor Boy

      Completely agree with the extension to Orewa, especially as there is likely to be a fair bit of development there given the UP controls.

  • SF Lauren

    It’s looking pretty darn nice to me.

    And what’s most impressive is that a large portion of it exists on the ground today or is already in the pipeline.

    The only real concern is that large parts of it will still suffer from congestion both induced by itself and other modes. It will certainly be much less congested than the general traffic lanes however, particularly during peak hour.

    • Yes we have deliberately tried to stick to projects that already exist or have been talked about at some level rather than making up unrealistic projects like rail tunnels everywhere. In some cases we have actually pulled back on current plans as we feel they are a bit unrealistic i.e. the section of the Avondale Southdown line between Dominion Rd and Onehunga or the rail access between the airport and Manukau. In many ways it is just pulling a whole lot of stuff together in a semi coherent way.

      As for your last comment – as mentioned we have bent the rules a little bit with some of our descriptions so some of it will just be bery high quality bus lanes (like what is being proposed on Dominion Rd right now) rather than necessarily a grade separated busway like we have on the shore but certainly it will be better than what we have now and sets a platform for future improvement

      • SF Lauren

        To be honest what this plan shows, particularly in the 2020 and 2025 maps is that what we have in Auckland today is actually pretty good. Few of the routes shown don’t exist already and the ones that don’t are planned and generally just not there yet due to demand, such ad Westgate to Albany.

        So going back to the start, we are saying this is going to change Auckland from a mono-modal auto-dependant city into having a world class PT system being the envy of every comparable city worldwide.

        Now given the only big change we are looking at is the CRL plus rail line to the airport one of the former statements had to be false. Either our existing system is not that bad or the new one is not going to beat most of our European friends.

        Now this is not to diminish the plan, more that I don’t see it being that different from what is existing.

        For me and apparently many of you we all get round rather easy on PT here, I assume not everyone here is forced to drive and so why the hate of the existing PT system?

        Integrated tickets are my main concern and they are almost here.

        • Well given that we don’t even have the quality of service described above on the lines in the 2015 map yet clearly your idea that PT is Auckland is already world class is a curious fantasy at best or more accurately pure nonsense not supported by simple observation.

          • SF Lauren

            I’m sorry Patrick, I don’t recall ever saying Auckland currently has a world class PT system.

        • I don’t think you could say that we have most of the 2020 or 2025 maps produced e.g. we don’t really have proper bus priority along most of the NW bus route. We don’t have any along the upper harbour route, we don’t have any from Constellation north, we don’t have any along Ellerslie Panmure Highway or along any real proposals for anything from Botany through to the Airport, also nothing on current plans for any pus priority to Howick. Some of those things are on the books but not for 20-30 years. We are talking about bringing them forward to that 2020-2025 time frame.

          • But Matt nor do we have the frequency on the good RoW’s we do have, including rail. Except for the Northern Busway, but then it’s RoW is compromised. So really nowhere is up to standard yet, except some services at some times.

          • SF Lauren

            Actually Matt. They are building big new bus shoulders on the north western right now. They already have them on upper harbour and are just waiting for the Westgate development to progress a little further. They already have the plans to extend the busway to Albany in the near future, they don’t have any plans for buslanes on the E 2 P highway as the plan is for people to transfer to train at panmure.

            Granted I know of no short terms plans for buses from botany to the airport however that is about the only one and one that probably has little demand.

          • Sailor Boy

            Ther are only bus lanes on some parts of Upper Harbour. Nothing from the Northern to Albany Highway for example.

          • SF Lauren

            Sailor boy, in the very near future you will have buses racing from Westgate tocstellation using bus shoulders pretty all the way.

            In addition, once that $500 million gold plated interchange you don’t want is done you will have a few direct bus only ramps.

          • Sailor Boy

            Gotta love that last comment. A 500,000,000 investment for shoulder bus lanes on UHH that would cost 10% of that at most.

          • SF Lauren

            SB, what are you on about? If your referring to my post read it again.

          • Sailor Boy

            “In addition, once that $500 million gold plated interchange you don’t want is done you will have a few direct bus only ramps.”

            Because you are refusing to read I will spell it out for you. What you said implies that I should support a 500m project because it gives 50m worth of necessary stuff. I am laughing at you because you have to be seriously thick to suggest that logic. You suport Waterview. So if I invest 10b in Rail in Auckland, and do Waterview out of the same packet then you would have to be fine with that, even if you felt all of the rail was unnecessary.

        • Harvey Specter

          The key diffence from what we have now is

          – ‘congestion free’. Roads will only get busier as the population increases so separation avoids this. Therefore, public transport will become quicker and more convenient, if only by comparison to drive times
          – high frequency – this will increase the convenience and therefore the patronage.

          • SF Lauren

            Ah but there is the issue, most of it is still at grade and will suffer from congestion. As I said in my first comment it will be much less than your average car will suffer but unless your on one of the rail lines or the busway, which both currently exist, you will suffer from congestion.

            In terms of frequency, they are already boosting this under the currently planned new network.

          • Why? Why would a route with full bus lanes and bus signal priority suffer from traffic congestion at all? Take the proposed Dominion Rd bus lanes for example, they will extend right to and through every intersection. There will be no delays from congestion there.

            Note that it is called the congestion free network, not the “fully grade separated never have to stop or slow down” network. Delays due to congestion aren’t the same as delays due to traffic lights, traffic lights affect things even when there is zero congestion. You can have a congestion free network that still stops at the lights, so long as the vehicles aren’t stuck behind a tail of cars waiting for the same lights.

          • SF Lauren

            I guess that goes back to how much road space you are building or able to take away.

            In terms of intersections that is still clased as congestion as it stops your freedom of movement. It’s intersections that cause things like the link bus to drive round in little gangs as your perfectly spaced buses get forced to group up in a compounding way.

            In addition the higher the volumes going through an intersection the longer the cycle phase, and then there is the dreaded left turn issue. You would be hoping you don’t get a few left turning cars waiting for a pedestrains resulting in blocking the bus

          • I wouldn’t class intersections as congestion. For that to be true you’d have to say a road still had congestion even without a single other vehicle on it, simply because you couldn’t gaurantee a wave of green lights along your whole route. I mean ‘free flow conditions’ doesn’t mean no stopping at all, it just means no delays from traffic.

            They have solved the left turn issue on Dominion Rd, simply by signalling left turns to clear before and at the same time as straight through buses. Removing the slip lanes helped, as there are no longer pedestrian crossing over them. Pedestrians cross in a single signalled phase right across the street. In some less constrained corridors (Dominion is horribly constrained to be fair) you can have separate left turn lanes for traffic, either inside or outside the buses.

            There is a lot that can be done if you are willing to give buses actual priority over traffic.

          • Sailor Boy

            Stopping at lights isn’t congestion, don’t be so stupid. If I go to the city at 2am I am likely to have to stop at half a dozen lights, you have to be pretty dense to consider that congestion. Also, left turn can be managed pretty easily, either with centre bus lanes (AMETI) or with the Buslane remianing and advanced bus signal to get the buses clear before the left turn,

          • SF Lauren

            It’s actually very simple sailor boy, in scenario 1 the bus may need to stop for left turners. In scenario 2 the bus will have to stop for left turners. And what makes it even better is that the left turners will likely be stuck waiting for nothing and then finally get related just as the bus arrives, much like you see with most intersection with right turn arrows (yes I meant to say right turn).

          • SF Lauren

            As in I mean left turning traffic going over a busway is like right turning traffic over a normal through lane.

          • Why would the buses have to stop for turning traffic at all? All our buses are actually fitted with a device that tracks their position and extends or brings forward traffic phases. We can very simply use this system to control the traffic signals. In a median or side busway situation a bus could potentially never stop at the lights at all. We know exactly where our buses are, so we can change the intersection phasing to suit.

            Again it just comes down to whether we are actually willing to hold traffic to give buses priority.

          • SF Lauren

            Well that is a good point, if you are willing to completely destroy the other transport network that is currently used by 85% of people or thereabouts you would not have to worry about such things.

            If you take dominion road as an example you would likely be shutting down ry intintersection for any movements crossing the bus lanes. This would be brought on by two things, first the frequency of buses and then the fact that you don’t know if they are going to need to stop for someone. In a common case you could expect each intersectiontgive pripriority to any givenb two or three times due to it giving priority but then the bus stopping to drop off or pick up a passenger.

            This will turn dominion road from an arterial to a road that can only be used by either buses or cars wanting to go to the CBD. The strange thing is that by doing such heavy priority for buses you have now made an express road for cars to go to the CBD and no longer get slowed down by people going anywhere else in the city.

          • SF Lauren

            It seems my phone is running out of memory and doing some strange as stuff to my text.

            Sorry about that.

          • Completely destroy is a bit of an overstatement, no? And 85% is way off the mark. On Dominion Rd, to use your example, about 60% of peak time travellers are currently on the bus, despite having only sporadic bus lanes and no intersection priority at all. So it’s only 40% that get squeeze… although if you did implement a congestion-independent bus route you’d probably find strong growth in bus numbers to the point where the bus lane was carrying two or three times more people than the traffic lane.

            Dominion Rd is scheduled for buses every three minutes or so. That fits almost perfectly with the existing cycle times of the intersections.

          • SF Lauren

            Nick, please refer to the maps in the post to realise that this plan covers more than just dominion road.

            I thought it was completely obvious but the main mode of transport in Auckland is on roads in private cars. And what’s even more obvious is that not all trips in Auckland go down dominion road. Again pretty obvious that most trips during the day are not during peak hour, this is just when there is a peak in trips. One last thing that is not quite as obvious, although most people going down dominion road during peak hour are in a bus, this does not take account of the people trying to cross over dominion road and it also does not take account of the fact that most people going down dominion road who are not in a bus don’t even want to go to the CBD in the first place.

            So now that we have the completely obvious stuff out of the way…

        • It’s quite disingenuous to say “I don’t see it being that different from what is existing”. By that logic we could have stood back in 1979 and declared the western ring route already complete. After all there was already road from Manukau, through Mangere, over the harbour, through Hillsborough, out to Te Atatu, along the Upper Harbour Highway through to Albany. Not a motorway, but the same route, right?

          This is what this network is about, building the motorways and expressways of the PT system. Yes in most cases they are aligned along an existing bus route, but the two are worlds apart.

          And I do agree with you, soon Auckland will have the best transit system in Australasia, with the new frequent all-day every-day network design, intergrated ticketing, the upgraded rail and the busways we’ll actually have a much more usable network than our infrastructure-heavy cousins across the ditch. The trick then is to increase speed, capacity and reliabiliy with the sorts of things that Patrick has described.
          Not too far into the future we could rival the europeans, sure.

          • SF Lauren

            I guess the thing is that’s it’s not overly clear. When you say rail line we all know what you mean but most of the map is shown to be bus lines which for the most part will either need to frequently share the road with general traffic or you will be spending huge amounts of money taking out thousands of houses.

            If you take AMETI for example. The section in and around Ti Arakau drive adds no more traffic lanes, in some cases removing, but adds a dedicated busway that needs to stop at every intersection and costs $400 million. Added to that it will actually be slower than if it just used bus lanes on the side of the road. (oh and Reeves road flyover is part of this)

          • I think just about all the street corridors could be done by removing parking, or in some cases by removing a traffic lane. The likes of the Northwestern and Upper Harbour would presumably be some combination of shoulder lanes or full busway. Te Irirangi Dr (where I assume the Botany to Manukau thing runs) would be pretty easy to add some BRT to, it’s got a 10m wide central median set aside for public transport and only a handful of cross roads.

          • Sailor Boy

            “The section in and around Ti Arakau drive adds no more traffic lanes, in some cases removing, but adds a dedicated busway that needs to stop at every intersection and costs $400 million. Added to that it will actually be slower than if it just used bus lanes on the side of the road. (oh and Reeves road flyover is part of this)”

            What are you smoking?

            In one thread you are stating that there are huge issues with shoulder lanes due to left turns etc, yet in this one you are saying that they will be faster than fully seperated lines only stopping at cross roads that are signalised?

          • SF Lauren

            It seems I put my responses to this in the wrong place being just above.

            So to respond to your above point. Congestion is anything that impedes your journey. So in your above case, if you were going to town at 2am and you had two roads to travel on which were exactly the same except one had 6 sets of signals and the other none, what one would you go on? Similar to if one road you knew you were going to get stuck behind a slow truck and the other you had a free run what one would you chose?

            Or maybe a rail line where trains stopped for cars would you prefer that or for the line line to have the right of way?

          • I disagree that congestion is anything that impedes your journey. My old mini topped out at 88km/h on the motorway, but that wasn’t because of congestion. Unless you consider a close ratio four speed gearbox to be congestion.

            In the case of your two roads, I would say neither is congested. One is faster than the other, but not because of congestion.

          • SF Lauren

            Nick, need I refer to what hanging on pedantic little side issues constitutes in the real world.

          • Sorry but I think the definition of congestion is pretty fundamental to discussing a congestion free network.

            Perhaps Patrick and Gen Zero can clarify, but I’m pretty sure they mean ‘not affected by changes in traffic levels’ rather than ‘completely unimpeded journey without any intersections or traffic lights at any time’.

            It’s an important distinction, the former is about consistent and dependable travel times (and operational reliability) regardless of what the traffic congestion is up to. The latter is the same, but also suggest very fast travel times.

          • SF Lauren

            Yes Nick you are quite right in that defdefinition of congestion is rather import when that is what your network is named after.

            What is not important however is how fast your car goes which does not in anyway effect any measurable portion of the millions of daily trips made in Auckland.

            It is a pedantic side issue of no relevance and you only brought it up to present a strawman argument no body cares about and is of no statistical merit.

          • But you just said that anything that impedes my journey was congestion? Is that no longer true?

          • SF Lauren

            Well done Nick, you manage to find a pedantic side issue that influences a grand total of 0% of all trips. Your 0% side issue goes no way at all to discounting my general statement.

          • Ok I get it, congestion is anything that impedes your journey, expect things that Mr Lauren decides doesn’t count. Hmm, I might have to come up with a slightly different working definition if it is going to be of any use.

          • SF Lauren

            I’m a little past that level of maturity so I’ll leave you do it.

          • Sacha

            “Congestion is anything that impedes your journey.”

            Do people seriously pay you for transport advice?

          • Nick R

            Our man Lauren gets paid for his civil engineer skills, I don’t think anyone is paying him for transport advice.

          • Sailor Boy

            So SF, every corner is congestion, and every speed limit is congestion? They impede journey times.

  • Bryce P

    Well done guys. This is fantastic and will transform the city. The one thing I can see we should look at is: AMETI and the proposed mode.
    We know the AMETI busway is very expensive becasue there is quite a bit of land that needs to be purchased. Instead of spending the money on creating a bigger severance through Ti Rakau Drive than there is already, I believe the route from Panmure to Botany is a prime candidate for Auckland’s first Skytrain line – the Botany Line. This could be run in the middle of Ti Rakau Drive as an elevated line with the result that Ti Rakau Drive will need no further widening. It also allows turning vehicles etc.
    A likely build price would be in the $800M range but would well be offset by reduced OPEX. It also allows future expansion as funding becomes available. We have already seen what Skytrain has done for Vancouver here:

    http://transportblog.co.nz/2013/06/18/the-impacts-of-vancouvers-skytrain/

    The transformation of Pakuranga to Botany would, I believe, end up looking a lot like that video from Vancouver with a mix of office, light commercial (much of which exists today) and high density residential / mixed.
    All for about what they will spend on the busway.

    • Not a bad idea at all Bryce, and could eventually head down the middle of Te Irirangi onto Manukau City, Puhinui, and the Airport. In fact on the line of the south-eastern bus line on our maps above.

      And of course that is an importent issue with all these routes; it is the Right of Way that matters first and then the type and quality of the service on it. Which is not to say it doesn’t matter what you run, it does, as we know only too well in Auckland, as we have had a quality RoW for decades in the rail network made inaccessible by offering such appalling service on it.

      Of course if elevated it would fly straight into the hideous flyover that NZTA and AT want to building through Pakuranga TC.

      • Bryce P

        That flyover is a hideous monster and will only serve to encourage more cars onto the SE arterial (which of course will then need to be rebuilt at great cost :-)).

        • Bryce P

          And of course Pakuranga Road will get busier and increase the severance that is there today. Funny how you never really notice people walking along Pakuranga Road.

        • Bryce P

          From what I can find Skytrain only needs a 4.2m deep x 9m (roughly) wide, cut and cover trench. Take that under Reeves Road and have a station out the front of Pakuranga Mall.

    • Sailor Boy

      I think that the busway is a very good start. It will not be difficult to cut and cover metro in when the service demands it as it can be done section by section, either with a linear park on top, or preferably, a really good cycleway.

      • Any undergrounding, including cut and cover, is very expensive and is unlikely to occur anywhere except the most built up areas. We don’t usually bury roads for the same reason.

      • Bryce P

        @SB The issue I have with the busway, is that in this instance, the project (AMETI busway) has an estimated cost of $1.5B. I believe a skytrain system would be cheaper in CAPEX and subsequently OPEX as well. Not to mention that it’s a suitable candidate for extension to Manukau, the Airport or even Ellerslie in the future.

        Pricing for AMETI from here: http://voakl.net/2012/09/13/ameti-fail/

        • Bryce, that is the cost of the whole AMETI project, the lions share of which are major highway expansions. You can’t attribute the full cost to the busway by any means.

          • Bryce P

            I guess I started the thought train with the fact that if we build a decent PT line, the need for the highway improvements and the flyover can be dispensed with. Probably unrealistic in the current political climate but a nice thought none the less :-). If we’re going to spend $1.2B from Panmure to Botany, we should really spend the lot on one decent PT line rather than, what some would see as a lesser value, busway and a host of car inducing highway improvements.

          • Bryce P

            And I still think that, rather than creating a 6 lane arterial (incl PT) along that road, an elevated rail line would in the long term be a much better outcome. More to build initially (although not much) but the savings in OPEX would be worthwhile.

            Also, that Reeves Rd flyover is going to be the start of more expenditure. The on-ramp to the motorway at Penrose is already backed up in the AM and PM, as are the lights at Carbine Rd. If you try and feed more cars onto the SE it will just create more of a problem and required even more expenditure. I worked out there for long enough to see the results every day.

            Build a high quality PT line. Do it once, do it right. In this instance, I don’t believe the busway is the right mode.

    • SF Lauren

      Elevated anything would really destroy the environment round there.

      The only reason they can do the Reeves road flyover is that it will be hidden by the shopping centre.

      They looked at grade separating the busway for parts but it was just completely out of context with the area.

      In my opinion it would be infinitely worse than the basin reserve flyover, or whatever they want to call it.

      • Bryce P

        I disagree. That corridor is not going to have any low density residential in a few years and an elevated line would pose no great issue as well as, potentially, saving a great deal of cash. See, told you I’m not into Gold Plating. Even PT.

        • SF Lauren

          How do you know this? Do you own all the houses along there and have all your building contents approved with construction starting next Wednesday?

          • Bryce P

            I don’t know. I’m guessing based on how PT routes overseas have developed. I also said ‘in a few years’ not ‘next wednesday’.

          • SF Lauren

            I was assuming construction was going to take a few years.

            As an Auckland example however. Look at how fast things have developed on the existing Auckland rail network over the past 100 years. Or there is the northern busway. I can’t say all the houses there got demolished and redeveloped all within a few years.

          • I think of more importance is, not how we developed along the rail network over the past 100 years, but the developments that have taken or are taking place since Britomart and the DART project.

          • SF Lauren

            Ah you mean the ones where the council came in and leveled a few city blocks in prime commercial land? Yes if the do that along AMETI like what they are currently planning in some places you will get some new developments.

          • Pretty much. Unless AC take the lead role in development we will cruise along and not really get anything done. New Lynn is a prime example.

    • SF Lauren

      Can I ask what you based your estimate on? I just did some work that looked at lowering a rail line in an urban area and the cost was $100 million per km.

      Most of that cost came from the retaining walls with the track costing next to nothing in comparison.

      • Bryce P

        The only cut and cover I was suggesting was at the Reeves Rd flyover. In my opinion the remainder could be elevated.

        The costs I have used are based on the Millenium Line.

  • Ari

    Great work guys. Now who is going to put the Bell on the Cat? :)

  • Tony L

    Sometimes to go fwd need to go back…….in this case Auckland tramline routes were a functional and well placed service and would be an important consideration of future planning. I believe there are alternates to the proposed central rail loop route that achieve the required connectivity both with western line and north shore line with out the massive cost of tunneling and having station access 6 stories underground.

    • Bryce P

      Tony, the CRL will not be operated as a loop. It will enable a much greater number of rail services because trains will be able to run through. The CRL affects the entire city, not just the CBD.
      Also, it may surprise you just how much it costs to put a tram network back in today. Probably as much as the CRL and with less functionality due to street running.

    • Tony. It maybe that people want trams back on the streets, and we agree that the Dom rd/ Queen St route maybe right for this, but street trams do not operate outside of the congestion caused by general traffic. So unless you do commit to the ‘massive cost’ of building a separate Right of Way for your trams they will not qualify for any kind of Congestion Free Network, and therefore not alter the speed nor utility of movement in Auckland. In fact they are likely to be an expensive way of slowing everybody down.

      Dom Rd and Queen St may work for these because they are likely to become virtual transit routes in time with greatly reduced general traffic present.

      We do agree that the tram system built the desirable urban form of the relatively dense and popular ‘old Auckland’ suburbs and that only by winding back auto-dependency can we improve the urban form of the new Auckland. But this needs to be done in ways and with technology consistent with the demands of our age. And one important change from the early/mid 20thC is that travel times are now expected to be quicker. New Transit systems to be competitive with the cars to win a greater mode share so must offer shorter journey times than they currently do.

      Central to this is leaving congestion to the drivers.

    • In addition to what others have said, the CCFAS considered 46 different options for providing improved access to the CBD and a light rail network was one of those however it didn’t make the short list of options for further evaluation.

  • Jeff H

    Well I won’t harp on about it again Matt. Wouldn’t want John and Gerry to find out AT tricked them into buying more trains than we need in the short term. Will keep that a secret.

  • Thanks for the positive feedback.

    Continuing on from our work on round 1 of the Unitary Plan, Generation Zero will be campaigning in the local government elections, promoting the network and asking candidates to endorse it.

    We’re an organisation of volunteers, if anyone is interested in supporting us or finding out more please get in contact.

  • TimE

    While I’m no fan of non-grade separated tram networks, I’m surprised that the suggestion for east Auckland is exclusively bus lanes. I would have thought that given the geography (flat) and nature of roads in the area (wide) that trams would have been a very real option for out east. And isn’t there a large median strip along Te Irirangi Drive to cater just for this?

    Otherwise, looks pretty good. Ambitious, but then that’s probably what Auckland needs a dose of right now.

    • Sailor Boy

      Are trams actually any better than buses though?

    • Why would you propose trams when the buses can do exactly the same thing for a quarter the cost (or in other words, why not have a BRT network that is four times as big?).

      • Ben S

        Because as Patrick observed in the piece: “Urban transport is, after all, simply a means to an end. And that end is the quality of life for all those in the city and beyond.” Not convinced BRTs are a ‘quality of life’ solution (although one upside is they create corridors than can be switched to light rail later on).

        Still, bloody good effort on the CFN plan in general, it’s pretty amazing a bunch of enthusiastic amateurs can pull this together.

        • I would say that in the choice between having a BRT line, and *not having* a tram line, the former would lead to a better quality of life.

          That is the trade off in reality, we can afford to build roughly four BRT lines for any one light rail line. If you demand trams from the start all you are demanding is that only 1/4 of the people get the benefit and the other 3/4 do without.

          • TheBigWheel

            First of all this is a fantastic plan. I like Gen Zero’s idea to get candidates to endorse it.

            I agree with TimE that the geography and road sizes out east could support trams. Why trams not buses? for whatever reason.. perceived status, comfort, cleanliness, space, speed etc many people seem to prefer them to buses. They could share bus lanes at times. Plus dual mode (dual power, dual signalling) tram-trains could join the rail network and so provide an interchange-free link to the truly grade separated congestion free network all the way to the CBD.

            It’s a point of detail maybe but how hard would it be to run a tram track across the new Pakuranga bus lane bridge and along Lagoon Drive to the transport interchange and then up Jellicoe Road to join the Eastern Line?

            Just thinking future proof what we can while we can. I believe the Tamaki River crossings carry more traffic than the harbour crossings already.. and there’s a limit to what buses will do, though the AMETI project is already a step change on what we have today.

  • TimE

    One other observation – wouldn’t any northern rail line effectively replace the existing northern bus line?

    • Sailor Boy

      Yes, that is what is being shown.

      • TimE

        So why the Newmarket-Wynyard and Albany-Silverdale links? It appears that the northern busway is to be maintained if you keep those in there – otherwise, what’s the point?

        • Because people will still live past Albany, and in any case it is uncertain how far, and at what point the busway may be converted to rail, and indicating that any parts that aren’t would still, of course carry a bus line. And having got excellent priority between Wynyard and Grafton [Uni, Hospitals] why would you abandon it? Choices are good. The lines we have left in these cases signify a RoW, what the services there are branded as is likely to change… that inner city run is likely to be part of some other Isthmus service in fact… but it’s left there to indicate the existence of the RoW.

          If for example the rail system went just as far as Constellation, which is not unlikely at some stage, then there is a case for the remaining bus line to be run with the Upper Harbour Line through a real handy interchange station there…

          • TimE

            Ok so I understand the North Shore justification (frankly, they can just transfer, as is always advocated as being so awesome on here – NOTE: it’s usually not), but not the Newmarket-Wynyard link. It’s unnecessary duplication.

            Leaving it there demonstrates a lack of recognition that if you develop all these great train lines, you’re going to have to make reasonable cuts elsewhere as modes and routes become duplicated. Not doing so makes it seem less credible and just a PT fanboy exercise in drawing colourful lines across Auckland. Ditch that and you still have the rapid transit corridor using other bus routes past the hospital.

          • Tim why the hate for the Central Connector? I seriously doubt many on this bus route would be doing the exact Wynyard to Newmarket journey, but rather getting from one or the other to the various points along the way; the 4 Uni campuses, The hospital, Auckland is hilly and some don’t like to walk up them. And of course you get what you call duplication right at the heart of the city… look at any transit map in the world; that’s where the biggest demand is and the need for both more capacity and more options, even over a small area.

            Anyway it’ll be there, what are you proposing? That we close the bus privilege on it and stop all buses on the edge of town?

          • TimE

            No Patrick, I’m not suggesting getting rid of the Central connector at all. I’m suggesting that the “Northern Bus Line” be scrapped. It’s unnecessary because there are so many other routes that already have priority access from Newmarket to the city. A simple extension to Wynyard and boom. Seems pretty simple to me when there are about 40 other bus routes plying the same route.

  • OIA

    This is a well presented blueprint in substance and style. Good work GZ/Transport Blog!

  • Looks awesome. Surprised to see “Onewa” on the Northern Busway on the 2015 map – should it be there?

      • Harvey Specter

        Onewa as a stop on the northern bus way? As a bus only stop (ie no parking or viable walking access)? Built out over the water? or on stafford park?

        Why bother forcing people to change buses given it is only one stop from the city.

        I haven’t seen this discussed since the local residents ran this out of town. Are there more details I have missed on how this would operate?

        • More for the train line is our thinking, and connected to the Skypath and a pedestrian overbridge of course….

        • Harvey, not everyone is going to the city. Right now you can’t get between any of the stops on the Onewa corridor (about 1/4 of the North Shore network) and any station on the Busway (the core of the other 3/4). Say you live in BIrkenhead but study in Albany, or live in Beach Haven but work in Takapuna. With an interchange at Onewa either of those would be an incredibly quick connection to achieve. Currently your only option is a wandering series of local routes that would take three or four times as long.

          There are also some benefits at the city side, for example you could head down the busway and swap at Onewa to a bus that goes up to Ponsonby or K Rd, for example, or pick whether you want to go to downtown, midtown or over to Newmarket.

          • Harvey Specter

            Good points – logistically where would it be?

            I do note that technically there is no bus lane at the bottom of Onewa (well there is the end of 1 way)

          • Beats me, somewhere where Onewa Rd buses and busway buses can both access?

        • tomtom

          Suits fan, huh?

  • Harvey Specter

    What is the next stage now that you have these four plans.

    Is there going to be more detailed workings on each change or is the plan just to lobby AT/ local politicians?

  • PBY

    Really Really like the concept and the work gone into producing a set of network maps with great vision.

    Question on the 2030 map you have a blue bus line roughly running along the central connector route from britomart to Newmarket. IS this just a left over from the Northern bus lines on previous maps or a new inner city bus line. Could this job be taken over by a light rail line? or perhaps an underground rail line from Aotea to the university and hospital precincts that links back into the southern line?

    • Well we will have a high quality bus route there: Fanshaw, Customs, The Central Connector, AK Uni + AUT, Grafton Bridge, Hospital, AK Uni Med. Grafton Station, Ak Uni Engineering, Newmarket, why would we not use it?

  • Vanilla_Thrilla

    Very minor piece of pedantry – Baldwin Ave and Morningside are the other way round

  • PBY

    Good to use the high quality bus route in the central of Auckland, might just want to rebrand it on your 2030 map. At the moment its Blue like the Northern Bus line. Agree no point in wasting the investment in the exisitng high quality bus infrastructure.

  • Nice work team!

    Suggestion- Move the Shore Line earlier by running the light metro across the existing bridge and along the busway. Heck you can even make it standard gauge if you want- better for speed and ride comfort I believe..

    To get ALL Aucklanders buying into this the Shore needs their part locked in and the sooner the better. Lot of good Shavians who believe in good PT, let’s get them some asap!

    • The bridge couldn’t support light metro. By that I mean light metro could handle the geometry of the bridge, but the bridge probably couldn’t handle the additional weight. Not without removing traffic lanes at least.

      Oh and most light metros are standard gauge by default, and none are our cape gauge. It really doesn’t matter what the gauge is anyway, as they could never run through to any existing railway.

      • Thanks Nick,
        But there was a post on this very blog in the last year that shows it IS possible. (both gradient and weight wise)

        Good to hear light metro is usually standard gauge, that’ll make it cheaper. And of course it won’t connect to the rest of the system, but then it doesn’t have to as it will only go as far as Aotea Sq station anyway..

        • Yes we worked out that the LM could run over the bridge but I don’t think we ever established that the bridge could handle the addition, unless I missed something? Any structural engineers out there care to pip in?

          Maybe not just Aotea, how about a university station too, or over to a new terminus at Manukau, or maybe swing round and up the northwestern… plenty of long term possibiliites.

          • Not a great plan anyway; we know buses can use the bridge, but then so does a lot of other traffic….

          • tuktuk

            Yes – great plans, as always I am in awe of the time and energy you guys somehow find to do this.

            Re – metro over the bridge….very possible for light metro (even heavy rail at a very big stretch).
            However, I think you’d only look at the bridge as a last resort if you found yourself unable to use a tunnel. Apart from anything, you’d find yourself with problems of access to and from the bridge that would cost plenty to fix….

            With the recent harbour crossing announcements, talk of using the bridge is redundant anyway. The beauty of light metro is that you can comfortably squeeze up the gradients at each end of the tunnel to match whatever was being specified for motorways. I’d be interested in what gradient and curvature standards, and structural loadings for things like bridges the motorway designers/builders specify. I’m pretty sure light metro would be comfortable with those same standards…or tighter. So while the upgrade of the Northwest Motorway is over-specified for road traffic, it will be just perfect for taking a couple of those lanes away for light metro in future :)

          • TheBigWheel

            I’m not entirely sure of your definition of LM but if the vehicles are kitted out with dual power, dual signalling and obviously are the right gauge then no problem to run them onto regular rail track. This is done in several European countries. Vehicles available from the major manufacturers.

            Rail tunnel would be more robust but as a backstop there ought to be a case for dedicated lanes over the bridge displacing car traffic. There is already for the bus passenger numbers. As there is on several arterial routes without continuous bus lanes.

            Whatever.. this vision raises the game especially with the excellent, intuitive and attractive mapping of the future network. Well done everyone!

            If anyone has the time and skills to visualise what some of the street scenes would look like that would be even better. Compare and contrast what we have today with what is envisioned, in one or two key places in 2020 / 2025 / 2030? Just make sure there’s some Dutch style cycle lanes in there too!

          • Nick R

            BigWheel, when we talk about Light Metro we mean specifically automated driverless metros operating under a computer controlled moving block safety system (i.e. no signalling at all), with (relatively) light and compact bodies, low floors and third rail power supply to make guideway geometry easy and clearances quite narrow.

            In the New Zealand context that would be several reasons they couldn’t run on regular lines, wrong track gauge, wrong loading gauge, wrong platform height, wrong power supply mechanism and voltage, and of course no drivers! Some LMs don’t even run on rails so much as concrete guideway for rubber wheels.

            But none of that is really a problem, because we are talking about a line that will only ever be a metro passenger line. It really doesn’t matter what it runs on as long as it can deliver.

          • TheBigWheel

            All good.. Thank you. So I mean metro or trams then, not LM.

            So if we ever get trams back, out east or on Dom Road, the future proof thinking would be to make sure they are the same gauge as the train tracks.

  • Please forgive the immodesty of this, but the following tweet sums up the day I’ve had today; there is a lot of love out there for these plans, at all sorts of levels and from all sorts of people. It seems we are on to a winner [well done team! And take note politicians]:

  • Why has this not been done earlier ? Money x Attitude.

    Melbourne. A city where every few hundred metres has tram lines… the population of which in my view makes the calculation interesting. 4.25m in 2012. One could argue that a large city like Melbourne with a stunning train, bus and tram network has promoted growth. I for one know that it makes for a stunning living experience, being able to walk out the door and within a minute you are on a tram. There is a timetable but things happen so fast, the timetable doesn’t matter. Reducing stress on people, and meaning they get to their destinations much faster, meaning less actual time travelling and less time wasted, more productivity, city wide.

    http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/melbourne-continues-to-lead-nations-population-growth-20130430-2ir5m.html

    In Auckland you will not move the mountain of slow change from outside the powerplay. It still grates that Brown even got the job.

    Run for mayor. Make the change. Pretty pictures without the inside knowledge on the inertia and other forces acting against Auckland and the population growth problems created within infrastructure of all kinds, are nothing more than pipe dreams and a large amount of work and time wasted. I am not knocking your work. I think it’s quite incredible. I also know that “Auckland City” won’t like to be told that they don’t know how to run and plan a city. That in my view is enough to see your efforts ignored by them for as long as possible. To me it’s no surprise money is not mentioned in the post. Happy to see any forecasts on money added at a later date.

  • Michael Wood

    Thanks Patrick. This is a stunning piece of work. People need an accessible vision like this to really get in behind a concept.

    One question – Rail to Roskill never fully extends across to Southdown as has always been envisaged. Is this simply an issue of it being a lesser priority than the other measures you have included?

    • Extremely expensive compared to the short spur along the flat. Also there is a huge need to offer some relief to Dom Rd buses, with these two stations and the CRL people from further out will have a quicker ride into the city by transferring onto the train, allowing more space for those on more inner suburbs to catch the buses. Right now often they are too full, and have to drive by… Also great for local community and extra frequency on the inner part of the Western Line. But to take the line down the hill to Onehunga would make it too expensive for the benefits.

      Hard to see full line happening without the North Auckland Line being revived for freight and port reasons…?

  • Christopher T

    I rather suspect that, no matter the considerable benefits that would ensue, reviving the NAL would be a bit of a problem given that the New Lynn trench can only handle a double track. Oddly enough, all the rail bridges constructed up to the 1970s all made provision for a third track in urban areas. More short-sightedness from our friends at KiwiRail I’m afraid.

  • Steve N

    Slightly cranky, as my part of town (Three Kings/Mount Eden) seems to be one of the few parts to get zip! I guess I’ll get over it :(

    Seriously, this is a great effort, and most of it makes perfect sense. The priority needs to take into account the growth areas in Auckland for both employment and living. e.g. I notice more IT jobs being advertised up Albany way (Rosedale/Constellation) and of course there is big employment growth out Highbrook/East Tamaki.

    As a native Roskill-ite, I question the usefulness of the rail spur to Mount Roskill (it’s supposed to go further to Three Kings but I’ll try not to be bitter). The rail station would not actually be at Mount Roskill – it’s about 10 mins walk further south, and in a rather awkward location between the motorway exit and the next roundabout on Dom Road. Likely passengers would only be from Lynfield and Roskill South, which would not be a huge catchment. Between Mt Roskill and Owairaka it is light industrial currently morphing into big box retail. Owairaka station may prove more useful, but they are not far from Mount Albert if they want to take the train. Maybe Blockhouse Bay buses could interchange passengers there, but they could also do that at Avondale.

    Unlike Mount Roskill, the local board is targetting Three Kings for extensive housing growth and shopping redevelopment, on closure of the quarry. We’ve already had the initial consultations, and I think the board was surprised the locals provided constructive feedback rather than nimby-isms. However, the Three Kings/Mount Eden bus route is rubbish now at peak times, and throwing a few extra thousand houses at the terminus end will not help. I realise Dom Road seems like the logical choice for light rail (because it’s straighter), but how do its bus passenger loadings compare to Mount Eden Road?

    If we do decide to run light rail down Dom Road and you still think your Roskill rail stub has merit, why not just run the LR from Dom Road down the route the stub would take to Mount Albert instead?

    OR The airport bus routes currently alternate down Dom Road and Mount Eden Road, before joining the motorway at Mount Roskill/Hillsborough to the airport. If we’re doing Dom Road light rail, then why not run it to Onehunga to link up with your new airport rail route?

    OR would be good to see an upgrade (either better bus way or light rail) linking the two train lines e.g. Mount Albert to Onehunga. The cross town routes (Mount Albert Road, or Greenlane/Balmoral) aren’t great in terms of transport, and they’re an easy way to funnel more traffic into the train network.

    Oh, and if the govt is building a big wide road from SH20 to East Tamaki, make sure it’s got some provision for public transport.

    Can I put my order in for the t shirt now?

    • Steve I hear ya.

      Owairaka certainly has more walk up and local community potential, in short it has less dis-benefit from the adjacent vast motorway- never the ideal neighbour for a Transit station. Just look at Remuera and Constellation…Severance. Unfortunately these are the only corridors we have left because even the few rail corridors we kept have been nabbed by the highway machine and therefore rendered less useful for Transit. But walk-up, while great isn’t the whole story, the catchment is expanded considerably through cycling amenity [protected routes and storage] and especially coordination with buses, plus kiss’n’ride [and much further out park'n'ride]. Both these stations will attract bus riders from further out helping loads on those routes further in. Essentially these stations, and especially the Dom Rd one will be bus interchange focussed ones.

      There is a case for and against taking the line to Hillsborough Rd, the against being higher cost and the idea that the time savings by Rail from there will be less as the trip will be longer an more indirect…. But a station west of Hillsborough Rd could have good walkup and get catchment from both Hillsborough and Hayr Rd buses., including, at a pinch, bus riders coming back up from 3 kings to get a train… is that likely do you think? I do think these new trains are going to be attractive but I wonder if that is just going to be making the journey too long?

      This build would still be way, way cheaper than going over the hill down to Onehunga, and I wonder about the running pattern then too, unless it’s a full circle line taking in the Eastern and some kind of expensive new junction at Westfield? But that then messes with the Man City line… and so on. This all just looks too expensive for uncertain benefits, certainly within our timeframe.

      If you’re really intent on saving money on the build you might put the Mt R station just after May Rd as that overbridge isn’t complicated by of and on ramps like Dom Rd., and terminate there. But then it’s getting further from the school and away from those Dom Rd buses…

      Anyway as most of the bridges have been built to accommodate this line already and now is the time to get in there with the Waterview works, this line is a pretty good and cost effective addition to the network, in our view, but the detail do need proper analysis.

  • Phil

    Nice use of Crayons.
    I have some thoughts.
    1. The CRL actually only adds Aotea, K road, Owairaka, and Mt Roskil to existing rail services. Surely it would be MUCH CHEAPER to forget the CRL and use buses. There is a decent argument to take traffic out of Queen street so a Pedestrian queen street with a bus (or Tram) line would move people and costs a tiny fraction of the tunnel. Also by taking the traffic out of Queen Street it would improve the area and you might get some redevelopment. Lets face it, do we really need an expensive train line to take punters to a Casino, a video store, 3 shut down cinemas and a brothel?
    2. Why wait until 2025 for the airport link? To be honest, a rail link to the airport is the best part of your plan. Do it now as it is guaranteed to be well supported and paid for mostly by tourists who would find it a welcome change to the $100 taxi ride into the city. A rail link to the airport would probably remove a lot of congestion through the existing city-airport corridor. That might help ease congestion at the Gillies ave onramp.
    3. North Shore rail link. There are a number of issues with this. Firstly I assume you mean it to replace the existing busway. Why would you need to do that? Secondly there would be a major disruption to North Shore PT in the many months it would take to lay track on the existing roads. Unless of course you want to land grab for a rail link as well as a busway. Surely there is no need to replace the busway at all so the rail link is a huge waste of money. You do realise that the existing bridge cant cope with a rail line right? And surely you are not suggesting the bridge could afford to lose a car/bus lane so you must be advocating a tunnel. Any tunnel must be prioritised for roads as shock, horror, it will also move cars that dont want to go to the CBD. Also you will never be able to build an interchange at Onewa. There is no room and stealing parkland or reclaiming harbour is hardly appropriate for a green initiative.
    I think SFL makes a good point. Your maps show that the existing PT plans for Auckland show a very good system in place.

    • Oh Phil, your waving of a little white flag the other day was just a ruse… so glad you’re back to help us with your great wisdom as viewed through your car windscreen. We’ll be sure to take careful notes change everything immediately.

      1. yeah right
      2. true bro, just being realistic.
      3. Nah, cars have a bridge already no need to add more lanes, just the missing Rapid Transit Line.

    • #1 (CRL) doubles the passenger-carrying capacity of the entire existing rail network – with room to spare, which leads to #2 (Airport rail) requiring #1 to come first.
      Read the business reports for a very clear answer as to why your bus alternative to #1 will not work.
      #3 will cost less with a rail-only tunnel rather than a road plus rail tunnel. We could possibly even re-use the CRL tunnel boring machine?

    • Nick R

      I’m sure this will fall on deaf ears, but I’ll respond to Phil anyway. No it would not be cheaper to use buses. The current rail network is limited to about a third it’s potential by capacity issues at the core. It’s like having the motorways but no Spaghetti junction linking them, expecting every to drive along Newton Rd instead. The CRL doesn’t just add three stations, it more than doubles the number of trains paths through the core of the network.

      So what about operating costs? The CRL adds the capacity for an additional 28 trains per hour to the network, or about 25,000 people per hour. To move the same amount of people by bus would require an additional 500 buses. Twenty eight trains need 28 drivers, 500 buses need 500 drivers. You do the math on the staffing costs alone, let along the fuel consumption. Eighteen buses burning diesel to do the work of one electric train, the fuel costs are hugely different.

      So is it cheaper to build a bus solution? Short answer is no. The streets in the central city cannot handle 500 extra buses per hour, not without taking cars of just about every road leading to the city to create double bus lanes each way. So you are left with having to build a bus tunnel at about the same cost as the CRL. But couldn’t that still work out better? Well no, because unlike the rail network we don’t have a region wide busway system sitting 2/3rds unused. For that to work you would need to build new busways stretching west, east and south, which would add billions more to the cost.

      Build the CRL and we turn our rail system into a high frequency rapid transit system larger than that of Vancouver with more people carrying capacity than the southern, northern and northwestern motorways put together.

    • tuktuk

      OK – Phil has commented on airport rail so I’d like to add another angle to this….. Michael Barnett has reportedly made a comment in support of a regional rapid rail link to Hamilton (my words not his). Here are a couple of links – http://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=10894421 and http://aucklandchamberdotcom.wordpress.com/ … I think Fran O’Sullivan’s commentary copied and pasted.

      If he is talking about a 1 hour trip to Hamilton then it is definitely within the realm of Victorian style fast regional rail and a dedicated rail corridor through Auckland. One way is to follow the proposed freight corridor through Westfield.

      Another way however may be to go via the airport which would add a positive dynamic to the whole business case for such a venture. Going over the current Onehunga certainly wouldn’t be fast. But, following one of the proposed “truck corridor” roading alignments along the foreshore could work with the fast rail corridor then threading into the triple tracked Eastern corridor north of Westfield, and on into the soon to be underutilised Britomart platforms not being used for the CRL..

      Timing is everything here – beyond 2030 really…but it would make a great addition to the 2040 map! And in the meantime, something else to consider when doing those all important corridor designations.

      The supporting regional growth strategy is the key element to make such a corridor worth doing. It would require a steadfast set of guidelines for growth to keep within a close distance of the rail corridor – a level of discipline much greater than we have managed in NZ to date. But – certainly done for example in the Netherlands where areas of green between towns and cities are carefully protected from development.

    • Sailor Boy

      No Phil. The CRL gives an extra 2tph on the outer western, an estra 8 on the inner western and Mt Roskill, 3 new stations, 8 on the inner southern, 2 between Penrose and Westfiled, 2 to Manukau, 4 between westfield and Puhinui, 10 on the inner eastern, and 2 on the lower eastern, and an extra 6 to the airport.

    • Guys, guys – that was a blatant troll.

      You know the rules – Dont feed the troll!

  • Sorry to respond as a pedant to such a great article, but it’s *Harry Beck*, not *Henry*.

  • [...] Danny Butt shared a link. 17 minutes ago Auckland’s crap transport systems aren’t crap because no-one is thinking about how it could work. “This post describes how Auckland can build a world class public transport network that is both affordable and will be the envy of every comparable city worldwide. How in only 17 years Auckland can leapfrog its rivals and transform from a very inefficient mono-modal auto-dependent city to a much more dynamic, multidimensional, and effective and exciting place.” via Facebook http://transportblog.co.nz/2013/07/09/auckland-transformed-the-congestion-free-network/ [...]

  • Love it – seems to me the only way to achieve a grown-up city. The only thing that’s missing (and I have given this feedback to AT) is a Rosebank Rd stop on the Northwestern line. It would be crazy to miss this out, since I assume lots of people live in Te Atatu/Henderson/Massey and work on Rosebank Road. It’s otherwise very badly serviced by PT. No-one else seems to have noticed it’s missing.

  • Mr Plod

    Well done team, a fantastic piece of work. I’ll be ordering a T-shirt and wearing it at every Local Body electioneering event I can get to looking for endorsements from the wannabe politicos. I really look forward to seeing the numbers and a comprehensive demolition job on the “son of RONs” that JonKey (rhymes with Donkey) announced a while back. Well done and keep up the good work.

  • Have you attempted to cost this all out to get an economic perspective?

    Apart from the significant costs of new infrastructure you will also need to significantly increase the number of buses and trains. There will be a factoring in the amount of subsidy required to keep fares low, opex, depreciation and amortisation of debt.

    • Tomorrow morning Toa there’ll be a post dedicated to this… well within the numbers in the ITP, and of course in our plan there is a lower spend on the massive roading plans in that same doc. For example our harbour crossing is considerably cheaper than NZTA’s massive road tunnels and interchanges, which are also unnecessary and destructive..

    • Nick R

      Not necessarily. If your infrastructure allows your buses and trains to speed up they can do more work with the same number of vehicles. For example if a new busway doubles the average speed of buses on a corridor, the same number of vehicles (and drivers) as before can provide twice the service frequency and twice the carrying capacity.

      Operational subsidies would almost certainly drop if you can start moving many more people with the same resources. Like the Northern Busway we might find many of these routes become subsidy free.

  • Garth Houltham

    I am a Roskill Community Voice candidate for the Puketapapa Local Board. Our team is delighted to see Rail to Roskill is part of this proposal. I personally endorse the contents. We have endorsed the CBT Rail to Roskill Petition and are actively collecting signatures.

  • Garth Houltham

    Here is the link to the CBT Rail to Roskill Petition. Please sign and forward on to friends, family, workmates.

    http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/rail-to-roskill/

  • Phil

    Build the CRL and we turn our rail system into a high frequency rapid transit system larger than that of Vancouver with more people carrying capacity than the southern, northern and northwestern motorways put together.
    Population of Vancouver city = 600’000, urban = 2 mill
    Population of Auckland city = 40’000 , urban 1.6 mill
    This suggests to me that whilst increasing PT in Auckland is obviously a good thing, it is NOT something that is of any urgency. Bragging about a plan that creates more PT capacity than all our motorways put together is just a compelling argument not to spend the money.
    Now I dont want to argue against rail as I favour this as an investment but its Auckland, not Abu Dhabi. We only have so much money available and the CRL clearly isnt a must have solution. Surely we could save a lot of money if people just accept the train goes via Newmarket until such time as the population grows to a point of justifying the spend.
    Now I invite comments about future proofing Aucklands transport needs because that is just weight behind the case for the new road tunnels.

    • SF Lauren

      Well one interesting thing Phil is that just the other day we were told that if we want to get more people using rail we don’t actually need to increase the frequency at all, well not the peak frequency but the off peak.

      So to that extent the primary benefit of the CRL would be its increased penetration into the CBD, it also has the benefit of being faster for some trips but slower for some others.

      All up its a good project in terms of its results but it does cost a pretty penny, and thats not even including the $1billion worth of level crossings that need to be done to mitigate its effects.

      • Sailor Boy

        We don’t need to increase frequency at peak to increase total usage, however if we want to increase mode share, or increase total use by the largest amount possible then we do need to increase peak frequency.

    • Sailor Boy

      So Phil, the CRL which will triple the capacity of the entire rail network, which at peak, is at saturation isn’t necessary, yet another harbour crossing, paralell to one which only operates at capacity when someone is shot dead by the police on the motorway is necessary?

      • SF Lauren

        Hold on a moment there SB, remeber that the CRL tripples the capacity of britomart. The rest of the network could be running at 25,000 pph today assuming we had the rolling stock and with a few minor track changes. Given we only get about that many users a day however that sounds like quite a bit of extra capacity. You would be looking at 0.25 million trips a day to need that much. Twice that if your talking both directions.

        On a side note however, I note that 4 lanes of motorway can carry about the same number of people in a similar level of comfort.

        • Sailor Boy

          Let us not slip into your disingenuous nonsense again.

          • SF Lauren

            SB, try and think back to the many many times I have demonstrated that it is more than possible. One such case being last week.

            I really don’t want to have to do another 20 posts to reinvent the wheel once again.

  • Phil

    @SB… You using a fatal shooting for jokes now? That’s a new low even for this blog :(
    I am not arguing against rail at all. I am just saying that it doesnt sound like a good return on investment or that its needed right now. Those extra two stops (one for the Casino Gamblers and the other for people using the brothel) are going to cost a lot of money when the train is just going to end up 15 mins earlier at Eden Park.
    Looking at priorities wouldnt it be fair to say that the first PT spend should be on extending the rail line to the airport?
    AS SFL points out, Auckland would require a huge amount of additional rail users to go anywhere near the extra capacity your plan calls for. As Aucklands population is tiny you would need most of us to give up our jobs and spend 8 hours a day on the trains just to meet your targets.
    For sure the key to making rail work in any city is off peak use. Now with only 40’000 residents in the CBD and lets face it, no shopping, where is this extra demand coming from? Maybe the Casino and the White House can do special offers in off peak? I cant wait to see what a ‘hop on hop off’ ride is in K Road.
    I know you all hate cars but the simple facts are we do not have the population base (or the money) to justify such ambitious rail projects when improvements to the roads are cheaper and better alternatives.

    • Sailor Boy

      Why would I joke, that was deadly serious. That is the only time in my 8 years in Auckland that the AHB has been seriously congested.

      Phil, we are already at capacity on the rail network, we can’t get any more trains to downtown which is where people want to got. Also What is the point of building rail to the airport if we can only take 2000 people in an hour?

      40,000 residents in the CBD, 130,000 jobs and 60,000 tertiary students. Also, what planet do you live on that there is no shopping in downtown. Have you been on Queen Street or High Street anywhen since 1790?
      it has a denser concentration of shopping than anywhere in the country?

      Also, rail is cheaper than roads. CRL allow 60k people per hour to access CBD, to do the same on a motorway you need 30 lanes going into the CBD. The AWHC at 4.8bn gives 3 of those lanes not to mention the CBD roads, and the carparking needed.

  • Will R

    Any chance of auto congestion charges for certain areas? I suspect this will be the main driver for actually getting people to use a PT system, improved or not.

  • i’d like to get involved with Generation Zero (in particular regarding Aucklands Future), whether it be just attending lectures or maybe something more…

    current relevant qualifications/experience: have been following this blog (as well as its predecessor for a long long time)

  • Phil

    I think you all mistake the AWHC as being a conduit only for the CBD. Quite the contrary it is the most important road in New Zealand and effectively links the two ‘islands’ of Auckland and the Far North to the rest of NZ.
    Sailor Boy….2000 people an hour from the airport into the CBD is a lot of taxis and private cars off the roads. I mean the Heathrow Express only carries 426 passengers an hour (average) https://www.heathrowexpress.com/about-heathrow-express/facts-figures and yet the Poms thought (finally) it was a good idea to rail connect the airport. I mean, are you expecting Auckland International to become four times the size of London Heathrow? Perhaps when you build this wonder of the world PT system our airports will be overrun by international train spotters arriving in Auckland. :D
    Queen Street Shops are a joke. Lets run through what we have. A couple of shops selling Addidas All Black replicas that are twice the price you can get the online… Loads of Duty Free shops selling Maori artefacts and jewellery made in Taiwan…. A few banks for the people that have not heard of online banking… a few pikey pubs… McDonalds and Burger King… a shop that sells suitcases (why?) and another selling boardies (again why?) and Smith and Caughey. Yeah…. my apologies for not recognising Auckland as the Australasian equivalent of Oxford St, 5th Avenue, and Orchard Road :(
    Rail IS NOT cheaper than existing roads. I question if we need access for 60’000 people an hour and therefore believe that the existing PT system with a few tweeks (like the airport rail link) is the right balance of cost vrs reward for the foreseeable future. I do though favour including a rail tunnel when constructing the new road link under the harbour. We may not need it for many years to come but it would be stupid not to dig it now when the equipment is here.

    • Exaucklanderinsydney

      Why can’t you get it thru your head that airport rail is simply NOT possible without the CRL, or any other rail line for that matter.

    • Phil there is nowhere for more lanes through the CMJ so unless the bridge is dismantled any more lanes across the harbour does dump more traffic more quickly and more often in the CBD… there is simply nowhere else this traffic can go. So properly understood the Road Harbour Crossing is a $5billion way to persuade people to stop using buses and ferries and get back in their cars and try to find somewhere to park and drive on city streets.

      A completely daft use of any sum of money, and billions? Crazy, and won’t happen.

  • Tamaki

    Still no tamaki train station by 2030?

  • Phil

    @ Ex…. Maybe because it is physically possible (and cost effective) to extend the rail line to the airport using existing network. A feeder line could run from the airport to Puhinui where it would connect to the north/south line. This already goes into the centre of Auckland (as well as the centres of Hamilton and even Wellington). For a bigger spend but still possible the old Onehunga line could be re-opened and an extension through to the airport laid.

    Now Exaucklanderinsydney….why can’t YOU get it through YOUR head that we do not need CRL to have an airport rail connection?

    • Phil you can build all the connections to the Airport that you like but that doesn’t mean that there is space on the rail network to handle the extra trains. Britomart is at capacity for the number of train movements (or will be next year) so that means there is no space for trains from the airport unless you start cutting back services from somewhere else.

      Also you comment about Onehunga shows that perhaps you don’t know the state of things now. The Onehunga line was reopened a few years ago, further from what I hear the connection from Onehunga is actually cheaper than the connection from Puhinui, the latter being more expensive due to the amount of works needed around the connection to the main line.

  • DaveWS

    As both Hamilton and Tauranga will have reasonable populations by 2030, the demand for passenger rail will definitely be there and if the cost was split over the three local authorities and NZTA it would be quite achievable. Auckland Airport alone will be a frequent destination for people from these two cities and this traffic, combined with Hamilton commuters and the Waikato inland port will be potential sources of congestion on the southern motorway. It seems the wider future vision is lacking- there needs to be a “Reconnect New Zealand” strategy not just Auckland.

  • Phil

    @ Matt. As I have said many times. I am not against rail projects at all. I actually like rail as an urban commuting option but just question if Auckland needs and if NZ can afford such grand plans. I can see the point that making Britomart a ‘through stn’ will be a game changer but question if we need an expensive tunnel to take gamblers to the casino and perverts to The White House. Maybe its a case of the line has to go somewhere so it may as well have those stops? Frankly all this stems back to the original Britomart development being flawed. Too small and not electric.Perhaps a more (expensive?) future proof investment would be to take the CRL out of Britomart and towards the tank farm. That would fit in with plans to increase both commercial and dwelling populations in that part of town. It could also be the hub link for any eventual tunnel rail under the harbour.
    In any event I see the best rail investment as an airport link with the capacity shared with existing services. This would add the none commuter capacity that Auckland rail lacks and will need to pay for itself and seems a logical fit to PT developments.
    However, the first priority must be the road tunnel under the harbour. Cars, like it or not, will always make up the bulk of the way Aucklanders get around. We have had the ‘oil is running out’ and ‘global warming’ arguments against cars but the fact is the car is here to stay, even long after oil becomes $20/litre. To borrow from DaveWS above, without the second harbour crossing we are in grave danger of disconnecting New Zealand.

    • Phil you seem to have missed the key point that the CFN will cost less than the proposed roading upgrades.

      Auckland has already managed to outdo the poster-city of freeways, Los Angeles, with our extensive roads-first investment in the past 60 years. In terms of highway lane kilometers per 100,000 population, LA had 73 in 2007 (click for source), but we had already beat that with 81.6 in Auckland in 2006 (Auckland highway lane-km source, population source), and we’ve built and opened quite a bit since then. Traffic remains bad in both cities.

      This means exclusive road-building hasn’t worked. LA have realised this, they’ve now built a metro, and far from being satisfied with just a couple of lines, they are continuing to expand it – that is their congestion-free network.

      We have a lot of catching up to do.

      (Lots of HTML and links in this post, hopefully I’ve not made too many typos and it passes the spam filter!)

    • Molly Woppy

      @Phil – can I politely point out that there are many destinations in the upper end of town that are not a casino or a brothel. I used to work in that area and my other half still does. Neither of us appreciate being referred to as perverts or gamblers thanks very much.

      • Don’t mind Phil he is just sharing the haunts he frequents when dares to leave the safety of his tranquil home beneath the motorway, poor thing, it must be hard all time flinching from the sight of a cyclist or a pedestrian….

  • AdG

    To the ATB team – Extremely well done – this is inspirational stuff. I will be doing my bit to help get this storey told wherever I can.

  • [...] Auckland Transformed: The Congestion Free Network [...]

  • DavidB

    Big thanks to the team; this is a visionary and transformative plan that could make Auckland a much wealthier city than it will be under current planning. I really like the scope and ambition of the plan, and I love the attention to detail such as showing the alternative city extension from the Shore to Uni and Newmarket.

    Well done!

  • counterpoint

    Pretty late to the discussion, but just thought I should say fantastic work guys!

    It is a little worrying just how totally this eclipses the work AT does on the subject. Don’t get me wrong – I’m sure there are great people working there and there may very well be explanations for this (institutional inertia, politics, etc), but as someone else said above, it is astonishing that what could be considered ‘enthusiastic amateurs’ are basically of their own accord developing extremely polished and comprehensive plans for transport in Auckland.

    Again, well done to those involved.

  • Phil

    While you are all back slapping each other please remember crayons come cheap. Someone (tax payers) would have to fund these pipe dreams if they were ever built.
    So hands up who on this blog pays rates or is in the high end tax bracket?

    • Bryce P

      Do you have any reading comprehension at all? I thought you were supposed to be some educated, clever, rich guy who lives in Northcote. These projects are INSTEAD of many of the mooted roading projects and will come in UNDER the price of AT’s ITP. As a ratepayer, taxpayer and motorist, I want this to go ahead instead of the ITP. As for high end tax bracket, we know you lot funnel your income away into tax minimisation schemes anyway.

      • I don’t think so Bryce. I don’t think we can go 20 years without spending anything on smaller PT projects, roads, or walking and cycling. Pattrick was very clear, this is only the ‘Class 1′ PT network- there are still many other components needed to compare this to the ITP.

        • The great news is Hamish that the New Network is cost neutral [as the old system was so duplicative and inefficient], but you’re right there are investments to be made with interchange stations etc, but Bryce is also right these investments are lower than those in the crazy ‘build everything’ ITP.

          We will still spend on roads too of course, and there’s money for that too, but where it is justified, not like drunken sailors as has/is happening since Joyce got his maddened paws on the spend tiller.

        • bryce p

          I never said at the expense of all else. I said “instead of MANY of the mooted”. eg; AWHC or the Mill Rd arterial.

    • Bryce P

      I thought you were leaving?

    • My hand is up. Do you honestly believe that people only choose not to drive because they cant afford to?

      So much for Kiwi egalitarianism. “Let them eat cake” eh Phil?

      You should join this car driver movement in India – they seem to have captured your philosophy on transport exactly:
      http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-india-19572583

      Us lower castes should just step aside I guess.

  • A little wisdom from Australia: http://theconversation.com/the-dream-of-the-car-is-over-15450

    Road to congestion

    Another commonly used image we readily accept from advertised cars is one of a single car driving down wide, empty streets, unimpeded. It is the equivalent to driving in Perth, on a Tuesday night, at 2am, all the time. However, unless it actually is 2am and you are in Perth, this never happens.

    As drivers, though, we consider regular, everyday congestion to be a source of frustration – almost ‘unfair’. Stuck in traffic, we crane our necks to see the dream presented to us by manufacturers; that our car is noble and good while the problem is the roads, the number of other cars, or all the other ‘bad’ drivers.

    But our cars won’t be set free with one more bridge, one more lane, ring road or tunnel. It is no truer to say that a lack of roads is the cause of congestion as it is to say a lack of aspirin is the cause of a hangover.

    The problem is not the roads, the problem is an abundance of cars. An abundance of cars facilitated by a transport system that continues to place the car at its core.

    By accepting the skewed reality presented to us by the dream of the car we consign ourselves to placing ever more cars on our roads and ignoring more efficient and productive alternatives. In doing so, we willingly preside over a transport system that creates wholly predictable deaths, injuries, pollution, congestion and even ruins the once loved experience of driving, itself.

  • Phil

    Really…people in New Zealand complain there is no where to drive cars anymore… We have some of the best (and empty) roads in the world.

    Auckland is a city built on a large land mass with a small population. The most cost effective way to move people around is by car. Trying to suggest we are like LA or Houston or even Perth is simply stupid.

    • Are you trying to justify continued support of car use based on lack of density? Because for starters, at least Perth is lower density than Auckland – and has excellent rail.

    • I know you’re just a dumb troll, but REALLY? “The most cost effective way to move people around is by car.” Try picking an argument that isn’t as retarded as asserting that blue is purple. Private car is the LEAST cost effective way to move people around. What costs more, 20 separate journeys via car or one bus’s worth of Diesel? What about the cost to other drivers in terms of congestion? What about the damage done to the road, the infrastructure to support that multiplied by our population? What about the carbon footprint between making a bus with one engine and making 20 cars with 20 separate engines? What about you take your massively hollow head out of your rear so you can see where the hell you’re going!

      • jonno1

        Crikey Will, “The [lady] doth protest too much, methinks”.* I know it’s late (or early), however I respectfully refer you to user guidelines 1 & 3. And as neither you nor Phil has provided any data to support your positions, who am I to I believe? At least Sacha’s comment was humorous.

        * Hamlet Act 3 Scene 2

    • “people in New Zealand complain there is no where to drive cars anymore”

      I never hear anyone complaining about that. Maybe you high caste people do but I just tend to associate with my fellow low caste NZers. Like the partners in my law firm.

      I hear them complaining there are too many places to drive cars and not enough to ride bikes or take public transport.

  • Phil

    Here we go again, distorting figures to fit your arguments.

    I am saying that when you live in a city as large an area of Aucklands with the challenge of it being built around two harbours and with a tiny population then roads form the best form of transportation.

    I am NOT saying we should not have rail and other PT options but you children and your crayons are living in cloud cuckoo land.

    The existing PT plan covers most of what your plan does.
    There is No need for a rail service to replace the perfectly good northern bus corridor
    The Second road crossing (tunnel) will free up space on the bridge rendering Skypath obsolete
    The CRL is a very expensive way to save 10 mins to Eden Park (although I accept the point about making Britomart a through stn)

    Its like Bryce P who will twist facts and abuse residents who object to Skypath but elsewhere posts ‘Why should the residents not get to make objections without being called NIMBY’s?’. You guys just change positions and create arguments to suit your narrowed arguments. If there was an article from Perth that was pro car next week you would be saying you cant compare the two cities.

    Get real.

    • Bryce P

      Went to sleep on a reply and the post I was going to reply to disappeared.

      Phil, as you’ve made mention of it, yes, I’m happy to allow local residents to voice their opinions through the appropriate channels. I strongly encourage you that, instead of bombarding the threads here with your ramblings, you get in touch with your local board and make a submission on skypath. That is the democratic process at work, which is something I strongly support. As for my approach to your comments, I think you are very narrow minded and are unwilling to look into the future at a city that our children and their children will live in, without your own beliefs clouding the issue.

      In another thought, swan, SF Lauren et al, all usually bring something to the discussions here. I(we) may not agree with them and it gets heated, but I can almost understand their points. I don’t believe you do. I’m sure there is a pro motorway blog out there somewhere. Why don’t you go and do high 5’s with them?

      I’ll leave you to discuss your opinions with others, as life is too short to be distracted by you.

    • “The CRL is a very expensive way to save 10 mins to Eden Park (although I accept the point about making Britomart a through stn)”

      Dear God in heaven. Have you actually read anything written on this blog in the last ~3 years about what the broader purpose of the CRL actually is? I start to see now why the bulk of commenters here are so dismissive of your comments.

  • Brian

    Looks great and heaps better than the current plan. Add a ferry to Takapuna and Browns Bay and it’s pretty much perfect.

  • Phil

    Here is a link to a report conducted in the UK where extensive research showed that Value for money expenditure on roads was far better than rail or other PT. In fact in order of VFM the findings were 1. Motorways, 2. Local Roads, 3. Heavy Rail, 4. Light Rail, 5. Local PT.

    http://www.racfoundation.org/assets/rac_foundation/content/downloadables/rates%20of%20return%20-%20dodgson%20-%20190609%20-%20report.pdf

    Read and weep all you like but roads are cheap and as other countries have found, give better value for tax payers investments than rail.

    • Nick R

      Wait, you’re saying the Royal Automotive Club Foundation For Motoring thinks that motorways and roads are the best ways to spend public money? Wow, what a startling revelation, this changes everything!

  • Phil

    Nick R, what is the difference between one lobby group to another? I mean, what moral high ground are you claiming separates this blog to any other pressure group?
    The RAC did a survey, the collected statistics and came to the conclusion that road gives a better return on public spending than rail or local PT. What marks their statistics any less credible than all the pro rail pro cyclist pro PT stats people like to link on here?
    If by your measure the RAC can not be trusted then why should Skypath be trusted to present a balanced argument for the bridge pathway?
    Are you joining Bryce in the flip flopping competition?

    • Well for starters, this blog doesn’t produce reports and proposals for its own financial self-interest.

      One thing missing from the RAC report is “ex post” post-implementation BCRs for public transport projects. Page 26 states that an ex post BCR was only found for one PT project. Therefore this report does not address the hypothesis that BCRs for public transport projects are often significantly underestimated (see here).

  • Adam W

    One question; Why is there no rail from Manukau looping round to Botany and say to Greenlane for 2030? This far out counldn’t a proper rail link be put in?
    Why use a buses?

    • Simply because buses can do a very good job for a fraction of the cost. What Matt and Patrick have done here isn’t just some fantasy wish list, they’ve taken projects from the ITP and come up with a programme that is actually more affordable than the current one.

      If you read the other post from yesterday, Matt has estimate that the bus rapid transit from Ellerslie to Manukau via Botany and on to the airport would cost $235m. You wouldn’t even get rail from Ellerslie to Panmure for that cost.

      • TheBigWheel

        Hmm.. is that really a fair response to Adam’s Q?

        First up Ellerslie to Panmure by train, why wouldn’t that need just a couple of hundred metres of track around the corner at Southdown? With just two stops at Penrose and Sylvia Park. Could be a popular route?

        Second, the Tamaki River Crossing is busier than the Waitemata but fewer lanes. Also East Auckland is growing faster than the Shore so as a bottleneck it’s tightening faster. Even post AMETI phase 2, there’s 7 traffic lanes + 2 bus lanes + 2-way cycle lane. Whereas the HB has 8 traffic lanes and with Skypath a 2-way cycle lane.

        If the vision is all about bang for buck, we need to keep some perspective here! The argument against the road tunnel AWHC is that rail is cheaper and provides way more capacity.

        But for East Aucklanders, buses are OK?!

        In the same way that only a harbour rail tunnel is seen to provide a step change in capacity and transit speed that precludes the need for a harbour road tunnel.. isn’t there a case that only rail through to East Auckland could preclude the need for the dreadful East-West link proposal (motorway from Highbrook smashing through Panama Road and one side or another of the Manukau harbour waterfront?)

        So, we save the CBD from death by car parks only to trash the Manukau and leave East Aucklanders stranded?!

        Let’s have some more creativity over there too please!

        In terms of bang for buck, if bus lanes work on arterial routes (which they do) why doesn’t the HB have a dedicated peak-time PT lane? Other than because it can’t.

        And post-Waterview, can’t through trucks be sent around the WRR?

        • “if bus lanes work on arterial routes (which they do) why doesn’t the HB have a dedicated peak-time PT lane?”

          Because NZTA won’t allow it. It belongs to them and not Auckland.

          • TheBigWheel

            Right, let’s park that in the too hard basket. So rail tunnel for the Waitemata harbour.

            Still.. what about East AK and the Manukau?

          • Well the point is that they will only consider it after they have six more traffic lanes across the harbour. To which we say, vehicles already have 13 lanes, so the next harbour crossings need to be the missing modes:

            1. Walking and Cycling: Skypath which is also NZTA’s preferred project for this mode, just that they aren’t allowed to spend on Active modes unless part of a roading project [devious little tricks by the road lobby to prevent reasonable and common sense projects at the technical level happily supported by government].

            2. Rapid Transit which is best achieved by electric rail in tunnels… see CFN

            Done. Leave the Bridge for the system it was exclusively designed for; road vehicles.

          • TheBigWheel

            Forgive me please.. but one more time.. what about east AK?

            Disclaimer. I don’t actually live there myself, but there seems to be a relative lack of substance to the proposals from the Government and AC.. and perhaps as a result? the CFN counter proposals seem undercooked too.. trains and tunnels good for the shore but buses with limit grade separation for the faster growing part of Auckland. I don’t get it.

          • The Shore is growing too and the SE actually connects to two rail lines by RTN and a decade sooner than the Shore sees any of that mode on our scheme so I don’t think that your analysis is at all correct.

            And the world doesn’t stop at 2030 so upgrades of these routes and whole new ones are more than likely after then, but it starts to get ever more speculative the longer you try to look ahead.

            My own view is that as the changes already underway become real and the first of the next stage begin that there will be a Transit revolution in Auckland, probably even more extreme than what happened in Perth [because the times, culture, and other externalities like petrol price are more supportive of it] and if i am correct then desire and funding will be higher for more projects.

            So while we believe our plans to be rational and to reflect the best technology for each route from this point in time, things can change, even relatively quickly.

          • TheBigWheel

            I’m not knocking the RTN out east or south-east (which isn’t that helpful for east) and the interchanges with rail e.g. Panmure are great. Although these too are years behind the Shore (busway) and again there is today one lane fewer for more traffic.

            Neither am I knocking the Northern busway which is great (and would be SO MUCH better if it were continuous including over the HB but we’ve parked that for now)..

            The issue is, what is in the CFN plans that effectively deconstructs the argument for the East-West link, which would blight the Tamaki River still further, and even worse, trash one or other coastline of the Manukau harbour. Incidentally, the northern shore of the Manukau east of SH20 is a surprisingly excellent place for a ride, run or walk these days.. would be a shame to lose all that.

            Closer to the city, where’s the really compelling PT counter to the eastern motorway.. Remember AMETI brings a new road right up to Merton Rd with the designated transport corridor still there all the way through the beautiful Purewa Valley. The best preventative measure I’ve seen to date is to get the Orakei Point development built and hopefully lived in by well connected and vocal residents keen to preserve their surroundings..

  • When I saw 230 comments, I though there must be some really great information and ebates to catch up on.

    But no, just Phil trolling. What a shame.

    • Steve D

      This blog, collectively, must have spent far more time engaging with Phil than the council ever will when they consider his submission on Skypath.

      • Sacha

        One lesson would be: have basic ‘101’ posts about underlying principles to point to during comments, allowing more ruthlessness with fools.

        Another would be how to engage respectfully with resisters of change. That’s harder.

  • Adam W

    But if you use the argument ‘buses can do a very good job for a fraction of the cost’ you wouldn’t build trains to the North Shore either?
    So whats the difference?
    For a long term solution should rail be considered to at least Botany i.e. start the journey even if you can’t afford to complete by 2030.

    • I would tend to agree and be hesitant to upgrade the busway until there were some major capacity issues – not that that’s unlikely on the Onewa to Britomart section. The first bit to be built might be to Takapuna anyway which arguably serves a different area and creates a better bus interchange than the current busway. Also, if the road tunnels are being built anyway it may not be too expensive to make an initial Onewa to Wynyard connection.

      • Hamish: Yes but no road tunnels. Unaffordable nightmare that simply eats all budgets for decades and delivers nothing but disbenefit for both the Shore and City.

        Also, simply put, each project, rail or road, renders the biz case for the other weaker, so if they build road and ‘future-proofed’ for rail, the rail will never happen. And they know this.

        Plus of course there will be no money for anything else, especially as the extra road lanes will precipitate endless over building of local roads at each end to feed the beast, and endless parking buildings in the city… and lower economic performance in general of course….

    • Adam as I say in the post each route has been evaluated on a case by case and mode neutral process, there are places that justify the additional Capex spend of rail because of say the restraints on the route or the network effects.

      The Shore Line is characterised by two particular conditions that strongly favour rail to be balanced by one that doesn’t.

      1. It must be considered with how it works at the city side of its route and here there is an intensely built place with already too many buses on the streets. Strongly favouring an underground solution. Underground means electric and narrower corridor of rail is better, and removes surface vehicles; both buses and cars.
      2. Crossing the Harbour is also much more efficiently achieved [cheaper] with electric only vehicles and narrower diameter tunnels; rail.

      3. For buses is the fact of the already in place and still with capacity Busway part of the Bus Line, which doesn’t include over the bridge and into the city.

      But as Hamish says Aotea to Takapuna via interchange at Akoranga keeps the best of both worlds, and opens up a new Metropolitan Centre; Takapuna.

      Note also that this is a very high demand route that also suits rail especially for its lower Opex when the ridership is high. Rail improves all other externalities too: emissions, safety, oil-dependency, balance of payments etc.

      Also road crossing 4.6-5 billion
      Rail crossing 1.5 billion [plus additional city connection and line to Takapuna].

      Then there is the Light Metro option which will be even cheaper to both build and operate.

    • Adam W. It is a case of applying the right mode for the specifics of the corridor at a given time. You can’t say the east needs rail because the north needs rail, they are two very different situations. The rationale for the rail to the North Shore isn’t about the Shore corridor so much as getting across the harbour and through the city, specifically it is about just how many buses can we feasibly run off the busway and along city streets in the year 2030? That leads to an underground solution once the city streets are full. To get PT effectively across the harbour and under the city suggests a rail solution as it is generally easier to operate in tunnels. But let’s step back a bit, we are talking about one rail line on the north shore to which all the buses feed into, including the upper harbour bus line. The rail is only one component of the system.

      The east is no different actually. There is already and eastern line leading into the city, and hopefully soon the CRL. The bus corridor they have proposed through Manukau and Botany links into the rail at Panmure and Ellerslie, and Manukau of course. You can see they’ve shown it as stopping at the rail lines, i.e. all those easties are riding the train to town. So it really isn’t any different to that proposed on the shore, you have rail doing the core trunk work through to the city centre, and buses feeding in, and in the case of Botany to Manukau and Constellation to Henderson, picking up some of the less busy crosstown links.

  • [...] Blog which has published an alternate transport vision for Auckland from 2015 to 2030. Their main post is here and their costings [...]

  • Ed Snack

    Why the rail to the airport ? The rail corridor is hopeless compromised with something like 30 raod crossings, and the demand is never, and I’ll repeat that, NEVER, going to justify the cost. To believe otherwise is lala land fantasy, sorry.

    • Mr Snack: And your evidence is? Writing the word ‘never’ in upper case doesn’t constitute proof but rather an emotional point of view.

    • Garth Houltham

      These stick in the mud pessimistic people really annoy me. Ed forgets the residential areas that would have access to rail if this line went ahead. Use on the Onehunga line has proved when a service is provided that people will use it.Thank god there are forward thinking people who have a vision for our city.

  • Bryce P

    Larry Williams was on ZB tonight extolling the virtues of the (I think) MTR in HK. He also mentioned about high registration costs for motor vehicles and the fact that the income from this was sent to the PT systems. Quick someone, send him the plan.

  • Phil

    Nick R wrote “If you read the other post from yesterday, Matt has estimate that the bus rapid transit from Ellerslie to Manukau via Botany and on to the airport would cost $235m. You wouldn’t even get rail from Ellerslie to Panmure for that cost.”

    Good to see you agree with me (and the RAC) that road is a fraction of the cost of rail :)

    • Yes, it costs almost nothing to convert traffic lanes to bus lanes on a road that already exists. I’m not sure how much a new road from Manukau through Botany and on to town would costs, last time I hear the eastern highway was four billion before it was canned.

  • Phil

    Nick R. I agree with you on how cheap it is to use roads for PT. So how come we need an expensive rail line to the Casino? Will you answer that question with your other personality?

    • Good question Phil. The short answer is different solutions are appropriate to different circumstances. What is cheapest in one place isn’t necessarily cheapest in another.

      Unlike the likes of the E-P highway or Te Iririrangi Dr, we already have bus lanes on more or less every arterial road leading in to the city centre. We can’t widen city roads for either more bus lanes or more traffic lanes, not unless we want to start demolishing rows of skyscrapers. While someone had the good foresight to allow for two extra PT lanes to be added to Te Irirangi when it was built, we’ve used up all the spare space in the city centre already.

      The size of city streets can’t be increased. If you want to run lots more buses then there are only two feasible options:
      1) Shift existing streets to higher capacity use: i.e. start banning cars from main roads entirely to give enough room for double bus lanes each way, or
      2) Add new capacity, i,e build new underground (or elevated) bus roads.

      I don’t think anyone would be happy with the wholesale conversion of arterial roads and motorways to bus only use, so that leads us down the capacity adding route.

      A bus tunnel is definitely an option, but it really only solves the issue in the core. Otherwise you are back to either converting a bunch of roads to bus only use or you have to build new busways or bus tunnels stretching out further towards the suburbs. This is why the rail tunnel makes a bit more sense. For the tunnel and stations itself, it’s about the same cost to build for rail as it is to build for buses (rail has more constrained geometry, but buses have added difficulties with ventilation and greater fire control requirements).

      However the real benefit of the rail tunnel is we already have a network of rail lines stretching to the edges of the city to the west and south with the main lines, and also serving the east, Onehunga and Manukau. Because of capacity issues at the core of the rail network, the suburban lines are currently limited to about 1/3 of their actual capacity. If we build the CRL we not only get three new stations covering almost all the CBD, more importantly we relieve the infrastructural constraints on capacity allowing us to run about two and half times more trains right across the network from Swanson to Pukekohe.

      By building the CRL we get a huge increase in capacity on the rail network, it would be able to move around 45,000 people an hour into the city (that’s equivalent to about sixteen lanes of motorway). With that capacity we can do things like take buses along bus lanes to Panmure and Ellerslie (or New Lynn, or Otahuhu etc) so people can swap to the train. From Panmure for example it’ll be about 18 minutes to Queen St by train, much faster than either staying on the bus or driving at peak times.

      So we get a rapid transit system that is largely free of traffic issues, and likewise doesn’t add to traffic either. If you try and do the same with buses, you need to somehow get nine hundred buses an hour (thats about 1,800 over the full morning peak period) across the isthmus and and around the city. There is no easy way to do that, because unlike the rail network, we don’t have a whole heap of untapped bus capacity lying around waiting to be released.

  • JohnS

    Hi, an excellent plan and well thought out. I did see a 30 year ARC type plan a few years back, it was similar but not as detailed. My comment at the time was that it should be brought forward to a 10 year plan, this would make it similar to yours.
    There is another component that should be addressed and that is the car culture that Auckland has, I am of the opinion that the cheapest way to alleviate the congestion that Auckland endures is to change the culture and encourage the use of alternative transport, this would include the use of public transport i.e. get people out of their cars. Just a 2% drop in the volume of cars would have a positive impact on the roads of Auckland.

    Perhaps your plan could also include such details although may need central govt. legislation to further. For example, positive incentives such as more central city parking for cycles and motorcycles (free of course), remove ACC surcharge on motorcycles so as to encourage scooters and motor cycle commuting, more cycle lanes. This is not rocket science you just have to look at Wellington. Or a negative incentive such as Auckland City road surcharge, this will make people think about alternatives. It worked in London, this would take a brave politician.

  • bryce p

    A quote I found

    “one has to imagine something that one will not see in one’s lifetime, but one’s children or grandchildren may experience it. This also frees one from quickly dismissing ideas as too idealistic or practically improbable”

    I can’t work out if it was Enrique Penalosa or David Byrne but it’s a great quote and applies here.

  • Lance Kilgour

    Pretty good ideas there.

    The main issue I have is that there is no mention in here, or in any other forum of grade separation of the rail lines/roading intersections. I’d love to see the acid put onto Kiwirail and AT as a station such as Glenora would have a dramatic upturn in this area’s patronage in comparison to the Takanini station if the issue of grade separation could be sorted out.

    For me the Takanini area is a huge blind spot for everybody that has an input or idea about the our rail/transit network. My view is that perhaps representatives travel to Takanini station (perferably at 6pm on a winter week night) and try to walk a two block radius without fearing for their mortality. Then repeat that same challenge at the proposed Glenora station site. I’d say anybody who does that would see the extreme benefit of accepting the “free” Glenora station and look into decomissioning the current Takanini station (saving AT’s money that would otherwise be spent trying to upgrade Takanini). With such a booming location the Glenora station would prove a smash hit.

    Why can’t we start looking and prioritising things that are “free” as well?

    For the record the grade separation excuse wears incredibly thin as Takanini Station is flanked by two roads as opposed to Glenora’s one. Should Takanini be earmarked for an upgrade I cannot see how Kiwirail can approve without grade separating Manuroa rd and Taka street…

  • Harvey Specter

    On the 2030 map, there is a bus lane connecting Devonport, via Takapuna, to Smales Farm. For some reason this isn’t on all the maps.

  • Harvey Specter

    Why isn’t there an Onewa Road bus lane?

    On the same basis as a Devonport to Smales farm bus lane, why isn’t there an Onewa Road bus lane. This would be feed from buses from Beachhaven and Glenfield and either connect to the train interchange at the bottom of Onewa or continue over the bridge to the CDB.

    It would already be “turn up an go” in less than 10m so all that it needs is its own priority, in particular up the hill!

    • Because the locals keep fighting it, much like the proposed Onewa bus interchange when the busway was first proposed.

      • Harvey Specter

        I meant on the plan.

        Local support/opposition isn’t/shouldn’t be a criteria. This is for the greater good.

        I was very disappointed when the uphill T3 plan was shelved last year and I haven’t heard of a plan B like they said they would do when they shelved it.

  • Peter Olorenshaw

    Awesome, just awesome. I once heard John Key say “the trend your friend” – investment banker talk of course, but this government is not looking at the trends before planning last centuries roading non-solutions to our future transport needs. National stats show traffic counts flattened off in 2005-2006, well before the Global financial crisis, young people are getting their licences later or not at all, for many a flash car is not as important as it was, the population is aging and so are not commuting, the internet is a game changer allowing people to work at least some of the time at home and where enticing cycle paths are provided physically separated from road traffic, numbers cycling have soared. Lastly the fracking boom that is trashing swathes of the US has not resulted in lowering of oil prices – they are still very high prices reflecting the low Energy Return on Energy Invested of this type of dinosaur juice extraction.

  • pana new

    I think the intention of this plan is good but i dont think its worth the expense of the pa people that live in ihumatao. There is a village there and they are proposing to have a train and bus go through there. I dont think that fair.

    • We have simply used the name for the Marae on our map, we are not suggesting the station is at the Marae, the line follows the road to the airport so this station is focused on the employment back from the airport.

  • Tania

    Ye dont think this is going to work. There is a marae and pa people living where on the route of the new proposal. what about them?

  • Tania

    if everyone just caught the bus to work or went on their bikes that would help solve the congestion. It would also make us more healthier and in turn reduce the rates of obesity/inactivity here in NZ.

    • Yes Tania, and with this network many many more people will because the bus, or the train, or the bike will be much much more useful: quicker, more frequent, safer, cleaner, and be able to take you wherever you need to go.

  • […] tireless folk from Auckland Transport Blog have recently put together a great vision for how public transport could evolve in Auckland. The map series is fantastic and they’ve […]

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