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How much The Congestion Free Network will cost

Yesterday we showed you our vision for the Congestion Free Network – and wow what an excellent response – so today I’m going to talk about the boring stuff like how much it will cost. Before I get into that though, one of our goals in designing the congestion free network has been to keep spending at the same level, or less, than is currently planned. The level of spending has been based off what is contained within the Integrated Transport Programme (ITP) which was also used to inform the debate around alternative funding.

The ITP doesn’t give specific dates for projects but does break down spending by decade. Over the 30 year period of the programme it is expected the city will spend approximately $34 billion on new or improved transport infrastructure, this is broken down as follows:

CFN Capex 1

I have then broken down the funding to match each of the time frames we propose for building the Congestion Free Network, this gives us:

CFN Capex

Many of you will also have seen the table below before however I have added some colours to it to show the decade that each of the major projects falls into.

ITP Major Projects

So with the information above as well as a few other studies we can start to put together a picture of how much our Congestion Free Network might cost. Like with the maps yesterday, I’m going to break down the spending by into the groups of 2020, 2025 and 2030.

2020

City Rail Link – The ITP lists this as $2.6 billion but we also know that the figure includes other items such as more electric trains – something also included in EMU line item. The most recent cost figures we have seen suggest that the actual cost is more like $2.2 billion including the extras and even that is likely to come down further, especially after the announcement earlier this week. For this we are going to use the figure of $2.2 billion.

Electrification to Pukekohe – Another project that seems to be over estimated in the ITP (there are quite a few of them). The recent business case suggests that this project will cost $102 million.

Mt Roskill Branch – This one is hard for us to say for certain as it isn’t on any plans and as far as we’re aware, not study has yet been done. The project does have a number of things in its favour however. The primary one is that the corridor is already designated and Kiwirail already own much of the land. Further as part of the motorway works in recent years the NZTA has already built many of the bridges with spans ready for the rail line to be placed under them. Perhaps the best example for us to use for estimating the cost is the new spur to Manukau. That was in a similar position as much of the work was done along with the associated motorway construction. It ended up costing approximately $50 million to do around 1.5km of track and a station in a trench. A spur from Avondale to Dominion Rd would be approximately 3.6km in length but wouldn’t need a trenched station. Accounting also for grade separation of New North Rd, we think that a total cost of ~$150 million would be about right.

Electric trains – The ITP lists the cost of trains and the depot at $980 million. We know that the current batch of trains is costing us around $540 million while the depot is another $100 million. The difference between these two figures and the $980 million quoted in the ITP would allow for around 37 more trains which is enough to run additional services needed for the CRL and proposed extensions so we will leave the cost as it is.

Northern Busway Extensions – This comes in two parts. At the Northern end we are proposing the busway be extended to Albany. A recent OIA request by one of our readers put the cost of that at $250 million (we will have a post on this in the next few days). At the city end there is definitely a need to improve bus access through the CBD and the ITP lists another $250 million for this.

North-Western Busway – Fairly extensive bus lanes already exist between the city and Waterview so little would be needed in this area. Between Waterview and Te Atatu much improved bus lanes are being added to SH16 as part of the motorway upgrade already underway. Between Te Atatu and Westgate we are suggesting a proper busway – like what exists on the North Shore. The ITP lists a busway from Constellation to Westgate to Waterview at $450 million. Like the Northern Busway extension, we will use a figure of $250 million for section from Te Atatu to Westgate

Upper Harbour Busway – As per above, the ITP lists a busway from Constellation to Westgate to Waterview at $450 million while we have estimated the Te Atatu to Westgate section at $250 million. That leaves us with the Westgate to Constellation section costing $200 million. Note this is most likely to be bus lanes, not a busway like on the shore.

AMETI/South Eastern Busway - This is a massive road and public transport project. All up it is expected to cost about $2.6 billion of which the busway from Panmure to Botany is estimated at $650 million. The section from Botany to Manukau, which would run down the massive available road reserve on Ti Irirangi Dr is estimated at just over $20 million. We have doubled that figure to give a total for this section of $700 million.

There are a number of roading projects that are needed to support some parts of this network, particularly AMETI and the works on the Western Ring Route.

2025

Airport Rail from North – We feel that for the timeframe we have set only one rail connection to the airport will be possible and actually warranted. Of the two a connection from the north provides much greater due to it also passing by Mangere Bridge, Mangere as well as the employment areas to the north of the Airport. Interestingly the ITP lists it as the cheapest however we suspect the cost doesn’t include another crossing of the Manukau harbour. For that reason we are going to budget $700 million for this connection.

Manukau to Airport Bus from East – As per above, we feel that at this stage we feel that extending the bus route from the East down to the airport would provide the best option. The route from Manukau to the Airport is primarily along SH20B and the ITP suggests that widening that to four lanes would cost $235 million. We will use that as the basis for our bus connection.

Pakuranga to Howick – Much of the rest of this route will have been given priority in earlier stages however the section from Pakuranga to Howick will need priority. This is one of the hardest projects for us to put a cost on as it hasn’t been referenced in other plans or documents. To try and be conservative we will budget $150 million for this section.

North-Western extension to Kumeu – The ITP suggests it will cost $150 million widen SH16 to four lanes all the way from Brigham Creek to Waimauku. We have used this figure for the bus extension

Northern Busway extension to Silverdale – The figure for this project also comes from the report on the Northern Busway extensions mentioned in earlier. This suggests that the section will cost another $300 million.

Improved Ferries – The ferry routes will need additional investment in wharf infrastructure, we have budgeted $30 million for this. The boats themselves would be paid for through the service contracts with the operators in the same way we do for buses today.

2030

Rail CBD to Albany – This would involve a rail only tunnel to the North Shore, conversion of the Northern Busway to rail as well as a spur to Takapuna. The most recent business case for an additional harbour crossing suggested a rail tunnel on its own would cost $1.6 billion however a report last year to the council suggested that rail to Albany from the city centre could be done for $2.5 billion. We have added the spur to Takapuna and want to be a bit safe so are using a figure of $3 billion for the whole thing.

Queen St/Dominion Rd Light Rail – Dominion Rd is one of our busiest bus corridors and so upgrading it for both capacity and place making reasons is likely to be necessary. The route from Britomart to Mt Roskill – where this would terminate – is approximately 8km and being a former tram route, would be very easy to install light rail on. We note that the 1.5km loop around the Wynyard Quarter cost about $8m to install which suggests a cost track km of just over $5 million. That means double tracked light rail from Britomart to Mt Roskill would be approximately $90m. Add in the cost of the vehicles themselves and maintenance and we are looking at a total of approx $140 million.

So where does this leave us? In total we expect that this plan could be built for less than $10 billion and that money would be spread over 17 years. That may sound expensive but is surprisingly cheap when you consider that another road based harbour crossing alone is expected to cost $5 billion.

CFN Costs

By comparison, over the same time period as our plan we are currently expecting to spend over $24 billion on transport capital expenditure. The network we have shown in the Congestion Free Network represents just over 40% of the total predicted spending and does so by simply re-prioritising the current projects on the list. That means that some will happen later or some not at all. What is also worth mentioning is that the bill for the list of projects that the government announced support for last week totalled $12 billion.

Govt Transport Plan 1

While some of the projects announced include parts of what we are suggesting, many are further motorway upgrades that will just shift the problem further down the road. But the motorways are only part of the problem, a massive spend up on local roads is also being suggested. Projects like the Mill Rd corridor are hundreds of millions of dollars while the ITP lists the cost to upgrade Gt South Rd (I didn’t even know it needed upgrading) at over $800 million. So one of the questions we need to ask ourselves is if we want a few more upgraded motorways and local roads like our current plans push for?

Govt Transport Projects

The projects announced last week that the Government is supporting

Or do we want an Congestion Free Network that will transform the entire city?

Auckland Map with Type size same

I know what I’d rather choose.

153 comments to How much The Congestion Free Network will cost

  • Garth Houltham

    Thanks Matt great to get some details on possible costing forb Rail to Roskill

  • Christopher T

    I note that the ITP lists rail grade separation at $350 million separately from the CRL. Does your costing of the CFN take this into account, particularly since it’s a given that for the trains to run freely grade separation is a must; or have I missed something?

    • Ideally all level crossings would be removed, but even if they are not they don’t hold up trains but general traffic; trains always have the right of way. So this is really an issue for the road network.

  • [...] Daphne Lawless A group of transport activists in Auckland have produced a fully costed plan for a Congestion Free Transport Network. A greener, cleaner and cheaper alternative to ridiculous motorway projects. via Facebook http://transportblog.co.nz/2013/07/10/how-much-the-congestion-free-network-will-cost/ [...]

  • SF Lauren

    Are we able to get some more details on exactly what all the bus routes will be?

    Right now it’s a bit of a mystery and so very hard to know what the impacts will be or the level of service.

    • Nick R

      You could take the bus network from Regional Public Transport Plan as a given. This scheme doesn’t, I think, propose adding or subtracting any routes that aren’t already planned, although presumably the frequency of various routes would be adjusted accordingly.

      • SF Lauren

        Sorry but I must be a touch slow, but how am I meant to know what your plans are for the congestion free SH16 and SH18 busways? Based on the picture shown the other day you are looking for grade separated busways, however from previous talks and the cost estimate it looks more like you are planning on shoulder lanes with a few bus stations. Much like the current AT plan.

        In terms of the other roads I understand you plan to remove a traffic lane and then run buses every three minutes near closing the intersections during peak periods. Are their any plans to upgrade other roads to make up for the loss of capacity?

        • Not particularly, it is not our view that Auckland has ideal road capacity now that must be retain or replaced but rather too much for its population but too little space and service given to alternatives…. [again].

          • SF Lauren

            One lane each way along Dominion road as well as being able to turn off it is too much capacity?

            Or two lanes each way along Te Irirangi drive? Although there is enough space to widen that out if you want to quadruple your budget.

          • SF Lauren

            Those were the only ones I was curious about, I would agree that on most other routes you have heaps of space to work with and at times could take away a lane or two.

            Except for a northwestern busway, I don’t know where that would go if you were going to go off line.

          • All I’m saying is that we have no policy that any road lane or parking lane lost to this network must be replaced somewhere and that each corridor will need to be assessed and designed within in its own terms.

            Our mission is to advocate for that process to retain the highest level of privilege and service for the Transit mode possible, especially on these routes that we have identified as being strategic to Auckland’s Transit future and central to this transformative way of thinking about and shaping the city.

          • Dominion Rd already has one bus lane each way and these are about to be upgraded to run right through intersections. That is already there more or less, although I think what Matt is talking about is converting those two side bus lanes to central light rail lanes instead. Maybe that means right turns are banned except at major intersections, or maybe they let drivers cross the tracks to turn right in the same way drivers can currently enter bus lanes for a short distance to turn left.

            If you read above Matt has allocated $235 million for the airport to east bus line. Nearly a quarter billion bucks sounds plenty to add bus lanes and stations to the central reservation of Te Irirangi Dr, and to run bus lanes through Manukau and on Puhinui Rd to the airport. The might not even be needed on most of Puhinui Rd, does it actually get congested?

            As for the Northwestern Busway, I can only assume that some of the $450m Matt has allocated to the Constellation-Westgate-Waterview package covers property acquisition along the motorway.

          • SF Lauren

            It’s not sounding like too much thought has gone into deciding exactly what to build in order to use such optimistic costings.

            At first glance a number of items feel to be valued at half to a 3rd of what the actual cost could be. Particularly if you don’t have any big roading projects doing the hard parts for you.

          • The costings come from the Integrated Transport Programme, which are based on AT PRFs if not full construction costings.

          • SF Lauren

            Yes I recall that, at the time it seemed as though the costs had been plucked from orbit.

            One thing I’ve seen over the years is that councils tend to say things will cost about half as much as they end up costing whereas NZTA tends to say things will cost twice as much as the end up costing.

            You raise a good point however, it seems this revolutionary “congestion free network” is pretty much directly in line with what is currently planed just we a few dates changed. Unless of course you are actually doing something different which you seem to not want to point out.

          • Precisely, what they’ve proposed is just to take the best of the public transport from the existing programme, cut out some of the really expensive and pretty useless rail and road bits, and used the savings to accelerate the rest, with a couple of tweaks. That means there’s no crackpot schemes or unrealistic dreams. It’s all totally feasible and easily fundable. Nice eh?

          • SF Lauren

            What rail parts got removed? The south down line and the southern airport line?

            For me I would rather have the southern airport line as the northern one is environmentally too destructive.

          • What? The SH 20 motorway corridor is an environment that you feel needs preserving as it is? Or you feel crossing under the existing 8 lane bridge more invasive than a new bridge over the inlet on the southern route? Really?

          • SF Lauren

            Actually yes I do. I think the fact that there is one large bridge going over there along with one historical relic is quite enough.

            I do always find it interesting how hypocritical you guys are, if a road bridge is built in the most harmonious way possible you think it’s dead ugly yet be it a cheap rail bridge or a pedestrain/cycle bridge you think it’s the greatest thing to grass the planet.

            If we used your standards a 5m harbour bridge duplicate would be just fantastic.

  • Bryce P

    As a semi regular user of NW buses to town (more regular once we have some decent service I might add) I want to see the NW bus taken off the stretch from Pt Chev to K’Rd. My feeling is there needs to be an interchange at Pt Chev for local buses and have the NWX carry on alongside the motorway and exit closer to town even at Stopping at all those additional stops along GNR to a)pick people up on the way to town and b)letting them off on the way back, when they already have a very frequent bus service, is time wasting and adds to needless discomfort.

  • Huh the Great South Road needs upgrading? And at $800m? What the heck? I know the Great South Road definitely needs upgrading from the Takanini Interchange to the northern outskirts of Papakura Town Centre but, widening to four lanes from the interchange to the Walters Road, building a dedicated set of bus lanes for AT’s new bus network and even squeezing in a separated cycleway should not be costing $800m. Unless AT is looking at areas along the Penrose and Westfield industrial areas again.

    As for motorway projects, I don’t particular care for the rest but leave the Southern Motorway improvements from the SH20/1 interchange to Papakura that includes the Takanini Interchange alone please. That is unless you want to go and really piss off the bulk of the residents and businesses in Southern Auckland and force off the Weymouth/Karaka bridge out of desperation for respite.

    For the rest of your ideas – two thumbs up – ONCE you go send the proposal formally to the AT Executive (not the Board – the executive)

    • I believe the GSR upgrade in the ITP goes all the way from Drury to Penrose, and will be done in many smaller projects over different time periods.

      • Bryce P

        And totally not required. There’s an extra $800M :-)

      • That was what I was thinking having a look through. Still damn eye watering but as the city grows in the South I can see some merit in some of the GSR projects.

        Again like Takanini to Papakura, Drury (needs curbs if going to urbanise and hold a brand new rail station) and maybe some other parts if Bus lanes and cycle ways are going in

  • Bryce P

    Do we get CBT membership with a donation?

  • Great work again Matt! So good to get some numbers there for people to consider.

    Just one (assumed) typo I picked up, you refer to the northern line going to Devonport. As much as I would love that being in Bayswater, I assume you mean Takapuna?

    • Weird, I fixed that up, oh well done now.

    • Jonski

      A Freudian slip? Anyway, if rail to the Shore was light rail, the taking the spur from Takapuna to Devonport in later years is eminently doable. Trams ran the route in my Grandfather’s day, and to Bayswater too.

      Additionally, I support extending the southern end through to the university and even Newmarket.

      • Really? You must be quite a bit older than me as the last tram ran in 1927 (about when my grandfathers were born) and it didnt go to Devonport – only Bayswater ferry. It was then replaced by buses.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trams_in_New_Zealand#Milford_to_Bayswater_Tramway

        I live in Bayswater and I would love nothing more than a tram from Takapuna to Devonport. But petrol prices and the culture would need to change a lot before there would be sufficient demand to justify that kind of CAPEX. MOre frequent buses would be a great first step which will come with the new bus network.

        Anyway, my electric bike is a much better option and cheaper!

        • Jonski

          I stand corrected. Only to Bayswater, then. My grandfather was born in 1902, and used to talk about catching the tram.

          Yes, demand and population density would need to grow considerably for the project, but we’re talking an extension from Takapuna, so we’re also talking 30+ years into the future. But it _does_ make sense in that light.

          • It would be fantastic and I think 30+ years is realistic. Some intensification would help that along but the NIMBYs here will quickly kill that. Have to wait for the Baby Boomers to get out of the way first.

          • I understand that the proposed UP says, “effectively no growth for Devonport”, so there will never be light rail. I think intensification all the way along and adjacent to Lake Road is a great idea -wonderful sea and city views in many cases. And an efficient transport system (light metro from a Takapuna extension) would get everyone to Takapuna and beyond.

            I went to the Devonport UP meeting. It seemed that the biggest concern for people was to drive as quickly as they could out of the place along Lake Road. Strange that having bought in a place with difficult access that you would expect others to fix that problem for you. But then again I lived close to Eden Park and most residents had a problem with the stadium being there.

            I also lived down the road from the Mt Eden village. Bizarrely I never heard anyone ever complain about the prison!

          • Yeah, that is my only problem with area. It is a real “shut the gate” mentality.

            I agree that it should be developed along Lake Road. The Bayswater and Devonport ferries (accessible by Copenhagen style bike lanes) would offer a great solution to anyone commuting. Once the CRL is built, it is only a short walk to Britomart and a train to anywhere. The ferries wharves are also being upgraded.

            The residents here always talk about the “shocking” congestion on Lake Road. What that means is a 15min drive to Esmonde Road on the weekends. If you are driivng at peak times, then what did you expect? The bus to Takapuna will soon be going every 10mins and terminating at Smales Farm busway station, which “should” help with congestion. Should.

  • I figure it’s worth pointing out that even in the 1960s when Auckland’s motorway plans were devised they were never meant to be the only network. Even then, at the height of optimism about private car based systems for cities they knew that to work road systems, no matter how good, need support from complimentary Transit systems:

    • Yes it is a sad history of report after report recommending rqil and it falling on deaf ears in cetral government.

      Again I have to recommend “Slow Train Coming: The New Zealand State Changes its Mind about Auckland Transit, 1949-1956″ by Christopher E Harris, PhD. Google that and you will find a link to a free copy.

      It is one of the best and easiest to read explanations of how we ended up where we are with transport. And funnily enough it had nothing to do with density, geography, Aucklanders love of their car or their hate of public transport. It was all about funding and government policy.

      Just proves the Golden Rule – “build it and they will come” (except for tolled PPP motorways apparently).

      Whatever your personal views may be on John Key/National, I believe they are the first central government to actually commit to the CRL since it was first proposed in the 1920s.

      • SF Lauren

        Maybe I’m just imagining things, but I could have swarn we had a grade separated passenger train network. From memory I used to catch the train to and from Newmarket every day for a number of years on a train and from the look of things those train stations had been there for decades, rumour was that some of them had been there near on a century.

        Some of the old guys even told me that while catching the train to work they could look out the window and see some of the first motorways in Auckland getting built.

        • Having a freight line line and a few old trains is not the same as having a widespread Rapid Transit Network and Service; it’s like the difference between having a dirt track and cart and having a motorway and cars. But you understand that really [for your own sake I hope you do].

          De Leuw Cather were perfectly clear about what was needed, the extent can be seen in the map below and the service was described as ‘Electric Rapid Transit’. And you know full well we have never had those in Auckland, in either spread or level of service, or technology.

          • SF Lauren

            theI’m rather certain that back when I used to catch the train we had 3 separate lines going through the largest and most populated parts of the city.

            Back then my line had a train that ran every 9 mins and was so punctual I could set my pocket watch to it. I could actually time it so I could turn up to the station about 30s before the due time and walk straight on. I sure git passed off though on the day the train came 1 min early.

            As for the trains, they had actually all just been refurbished and we’re looking rather nice on the inside. The paper tickets were a flash back in time however.

          • SF Lauren – Have you read that paper I recommended? It really is a sad history of lost opportunities and political incompetency.

            The only point is that the transport system we have now is not a product of the function of the free market or the system that was democratically selected by the people of Auckland. It was foisted on us by political ideology and lobbying by the roading and auto industries.

            There were alternative configurations of the system and expert reports consistently recommended those options but were ignored. In particular, changing the alignment of SH1 to go over the Bridge destroyed the fabric of the CBD.

            Unless you have read that paper and can present evidence to refute what that paper states and what I say above, then I am afraid you are just trolling.

          • SF Lauren

            All I’m saying goosoid is that I have found it extremely easy to get around Auckland on PT for the past 10 years I’ve been here.

            I’m not saying we have the best PT system in the world but more surprised by how much you guys seem to hate what we currently have. Sometimes I get the feeling I’m the only person who commutes by PT here.

            I will give that paper a read however, I’ve found a site that claims to have it but wants me to join up.

          • SF Lauren

            Thanks Bryce, much appreciated.

          • SF Lauren – Will be pleased to have your thoughts on that paper. I found it really interesting and put things in perspective historically.

            I havent lived in Auckland that (4 years on and off) but I have always used PT/cycling. I now cycle about 2-3kms and then take the Bayswater ferry. Previously I took the train from Ellerslie.

            The ferry is not a bad option to the central city, at least from Devonport.

            The train from Ellerslie was barely adequate for commuting (but certainly not the turn up and ride system I am used to) but pretty poor for anything else.

            Having used PT systems all over Europe and Asia, I have to say that Auckland is the worst in large cities (>1m) in the the developed world I have used. And I am counting the Eastern European members of the EU in the developed world. By developing world standards, IMO it is worse than some (Thailand, Malaysia, Russia) and much better than others (Indonesia, Cambodia, Vietnam, Moldova).

            If you have found PT in Auckland adequate, I have to assume (but correct me if I am wrong) that you dont do much non-commuting travel by PT (pretty normal currently in Auckland) and that you dont have very high expectations. As I understood (but again correct me if I am wrong) your main experiences of living in cities with transit were in the English speaking world, I can understand why your expectations are low. Even the London PT network I consider barely adequate compared to Continental systems.

      • TheBigWheel

        “build it and they will come ..except for PPP tolled motorways” Goosoid, is the issue with them simply that they were too late, built after peak car?

  • And here are their Motorway Plans for the 1980s, clearly showing the Rapid Transit system in place, including all the way up the Shore, to the Airport [weird route], and Howick:

  • Christopher T

    Not entirely accurate goosoid: the first Labour administration in 1949 and the third Labour administration in 1976 both committed themselves to a CRL but these commitments were subsequently reversed by incoming National administrations. A more accurate interpretation of Key’s opportunistic decision to support the CRL is that, despite all the efforts of Joyce and Brownlee, this National-led administration is the first of its ideological colour not to cancel a CRL proposal. I’d also point out that support isn’t the same as commitment; we have yet to see the fine details and, of course, we’ve yet to learn where the money is actually coming from. I suspect credit for this change of attitude on the part of the National party can be accorded to the existence of citizen forums such as this blog which make it harder for central government to dismiss popular initiatives.

    • Yes I knew about the 1949 one, not the 1976. Right so the first National government.

      I agree that there is still a way to go but the Precinct announcement this week gives me great hope that it will become a fait accompli that even National cant back down on.

      And of course they wont stay in power for ever.

  • [...] How much The Congestion Free Network will cost [...]

  • Slight side-topic: Meanwhile, apparently $760m will be spent on Akld walk/cycle facilities over the 30-yr period, i.e. more than $200m a decade; great. But when we look at the list of “major” transport expenditure… nothing specific. Yet somehow relatively minor but specific things like $4m for “Warkworth Western Collector” and $12m for “Bayswater Ferry Terminal Upgrade” get a mention. This is where it’s easy to get cynical about why walking & cycling seem to get low priority; somehow someone has managed to take the time to identify and cost various individual road and PT projects (and so they should in any good planning exercise), but active transport gets a vague “city-wide walk/cycle improvements” if you’re lucky (and we don’t even get that this time). Yes, walk/cycle facilities are incredibly inexpensive relative to the mega-millions proposed elsewhere, but I’d argue no less strategic!

    Perhaps at the very least you could throw a few hundred million into each of your Congestion-Free Network budgets to allow for these non-specified walk/cycle improvements?

    • Glen we fully support improved cycleways and walkways and have left plenty of budget available for that to happen. We just haven’t specified exactly how much as we will leave it up to the cycling community to address.

      • Bryce P

        Yes. As opposed to what is an (almost) always budget constrained way of thinking which the cycle advocacy community has had to adopt (with 1% more or less of the total transport budget), we need to start from scratch with an alternative plan for just how Auckland could be designed for cycling.

        • In my view, sort out the PT and cycling budgets first then whatever else is left after that can be used for roads.

          • Steve D

            If we’re playing mode preference, I think walking should be absolutely number 1. It’s the third most popular travel mode after driving a car and being driven in a car, and we’ve already got more than enough provision for driving. Walking is the one universal mode, and you can’t even use PT without it.

            The state of Auckland’s footpaths is atrocious outside a few recently spruced-up town centres. Most residential footpaths are narrow, broken, overgrown, messed up by kerb cuts, and/or littered with bins and cars. In places they just sort of peter out. The intersections are almost always hugely flared for cars and sometimes don’t even have wheelchair/pram ramps. There’s a pile of work to be done to fix and widen footpaths, improve maintenance and cleaning, hire more parking wardens, add streetlights, add pedestrian legs to every signalled intersection, narrow the mouths of streets, calm traffic, and adopt a give way rule that gives pedestrians priority over turning cars.

            Luckily, this shouldn’t cost much compared to our motorway-sized budget. There’s plenty left for the PT improvements we need for longer trips, and there might even be a dollar or two left over for people with niche hobby vehicles like bikes and cars.

          • Bryce P

            Walking, cycling, PT, motor vehicles. The first 2 of course don’t required quite the same budget as the last 2.

  • Ok enough on costs, how about benefits? This article on Portland OR stresses differentiation as the key for a city’s success. This should be Auckland’s aim; we will never be bigger than Sydney or Melbourne but we can be better. Truly. And that will take the city having a new idea about itself:

    http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2013/07/weird-is-good-what-portlands-economy-can-teach-every-city-in-the-world/277477/

  • Darren

    I’m of the opinion that the light rail along dominion should be done before the mt roskill branch line.Would think it would have more patronage,and does pretty much the same thing?.Other than that i agree with this.

    • Well if you want those LTR vehicles to be full of people from beyond Dom Rd mostly heading to somewhere past it so that there is little room for anyone actually there to get on; that would be the best order. In other words there isn’t a patronage problem on Dom Rd, there are speed, Transit RoW, and capacity issues instead. And one question that always has to be balanced is: How much does a plan prioritise one group over another? For example the urban motorway, mostly built in the sprawl boom times does privilege outer suburb dwellers over inner ones. The older, then unfashionable, inner suburbs were quite literally flattened for the convenience of those living further away to get into and through the centre….

      So here one of the role’s of the Mt Roskill line is to offer a good fast option for those longer riders to take, thus allowing Dom Rd vehicles [bus or whatever] to more serve that community: Win/win. Still be great for the further people who are actually going to Dom Rd or anywhere on the bus route, but the train will be better for the long haulers. Some Dom roaders might actually take the bus in the counter flow direction to get the train, and that’s helpful too.

      Currently about 40% of people moving down Dom Rd are on buses I think, with the full time bus lanes that service will so improve that it will grow and then justify further upgrades…

  • Swan

    Wow that is a lot of money. Pricey. I can’t see the relevance of comparing this to a wish list of road projects. Not while we have road pricing staring us in the face as a means to a far far more efficient use of our existing infrastructure.

    • John Polkinghorne

      Like a lot of economists, I’m all for road pricing. But what are the effects of pricing the roads? Peak traffic is hopefully reduced and the peak is spread out over a longer period, plus there’s a bit of travel which is just cancelled, and you get a shift to public transport. Therefore you need to increase the provision of public transport, right?

      • Swan

        Aye. But road based public transport becomes far higher quality -faster and more reliable. You don’t need bus lanes anymore as buses will essentially have first pick of road space (via their high willingness to pay – the cost of road pricing spread over 40 people on a bus wil be very affordable). I am not saying we will never need anymore infrastructure, but if we can increase the efficiency of our existing infrastructure we may be able to defer for some time.

        • John Polkinghorne

          OK, you’re talking about a world where everything is priced, and PT is presumably not subsidised but doesn’t need to be because all costs are fully internalised. Which is fair enough, but it’s not very likely that we’re heading that way. The most we’re likely to get is perhaps some congestion charging on a few key roads or motorways, and even that seems pretty unlikely.

          • swan

            True – maybe not politically feasible. I am just working on the assumption that if we are to make radical changes to our management of, and thinking around, transport infrastructure, we might as well be really radical and go for first best solutions.

          • Swan we know you are keen on road pricing to the point of obsession but you never answer reasonable questions around it.

            Please explain why you think it could be introduced in Auckland a city, unlike London, Stockholm, and Singapore, without a mature alternative Transit network or two?f

            IOW; don’t we have to build something like our CFN first, in order for your RP simply to be both unacceptable and complete ruinous for many?

          • swan

            The reason is this:

            Today in Auckland everyone is getting where they need to go with the current infrastructure. There is congestion and delay sure, but it is what we have, and noone is rioting on the streets.

            Tomorrow, with road pricing in place, we still have that exact same amount of infrastructure in place to move people around. So what will change? My guess is initially maybe 20% of peak time car drivers will stop driving as a result of price signals. Some will defer their trips to other times, some will take public transport. So public transport demand will increase, significantly, so we will have to plan for this. So maybe additional trains should be bought prior to the switchover, up to the number that can be run on the current network. And additional buses should definitely be bought. (And the new network will definitely come in handy) And this really is the key point. We know buses are far more efficient users of road space than cars. So diversion of car users to buses will lead to LESS demand on the current road infrastructure. And this process of car users converting to bus use can continue to occur until for a very long time yet based on the current situation in Auckland, until we need additional infrastructure. (i.e. the existing road network, once it is being used efficiently actually has significant capacity for GROWTH in use in terms of person trips).

            And far from wailing and gnashing of teeth, this process will create a virtuous circle where more demand enables higher frequencies and better services that everyone will benefit from.

          • You do know that rioting in the streets is not a prerequisite for decent civilised infrastructure provision and intelligent spending.

            So basically you don’t really care if people are priced off the streets- that’s some commitment to an ideology.

          • Swan

            The rioting in the streets was in response to your comment around road pricing being ruinous and unacceptable (i assumed realtive to staus quo). My point was we will still have just as much infrastructure as today, so no ruination will therefore ensue.

            On forcing people off the road, a number of comments:

            If we build less infrastructure we will be spending less than before. So we have a surplus compared to the status quo. So that can be redistributed as progressively as we like. We could fully compensate poorer cohorts if we targeted it well enough.

            Whilst peak drivers will pay more, off peak will pay less. So we are directly benefiting off peak users. This is equitable as peak users drive the costs after all. Is it progressive? That would depend on the socio-economic make up of peak vs off peak drivers. I don’t know the answer to that, but could easily believe it was progressive (pensioners, beneficiaries, shift workers – off peak. Office workers – peak).

            Related to the two points above, far from forcing people off, we are giving them the option of spending the money, or pocketing it.

            Far from forcing people off the roads, we will be giving them the option of a fast reliable bus service (and indeed network).

            That’ll do for now.

    • SF Lauren

      Although I like the idea of low level road pricing for fund raising, once it’s high enough to force a change in behaviour it effectively becomes a discriminatory tax forcing lower income people off the road and in some cases out of a job.

      • Yes – unless there are good alternatives in place – like the CFN.

        So we have looped back to the beginning.

        • SF Lauren

          I’m sorry but what does that have to do with anything? Just because a good public transport exists its doesn’t give you the right to discriminate against people.

          It’s no different to turning up to a public hospital and being told you have to go to another one because this one is for wealthy people only.

          • So you are saying that if we adopt policies that might force people on lower incomes to not be able to afford to drive then that is discrimination? Then where does it end? Isnt that the capitalist system we are living in?

            Is driving a car a human right? I dont think so, I think it is an optional extra.

            I just dont think putting in alternatives so that people on lower incomes have a choice on where to spend their transport dollar is discrimination. Especially when that option is cheaper.

          • SF Lauren

            Goosoid, it’s just like cloths. Everyone should be able to wear them without being taxed or forced into the council uniform. We should be able to wear what we like and pay as much or as little towards the cloths we own but still have the choice to wear what we like.

          • Yes – and you will have a choice, pay more or use public transport or cycle/walk. Juts because one option is a communal option supplied by the Council doesnt chnage that. The roads (not motorways) are just supplied by the Council out of a communal pot as well.

            What you are saying is that we should not create a system where people cant drive if they want to and so have a choice. But that is not reality in a capitalist (or indeed any) system.

            The fact is that if you cant afford Gucci clothes you have to wear Warehouse brands. If you cant afford to drive, you use public transport/cycle/car share/etc. Yes that is less choice but not being able to afford one choice doesnt mean there is no choice.

            I think again that you are just assuming that driving is a right and taking it away is discrimination. My grandparents couldnt afford a car – they had 10 kids and he was a carpenter. That wasnt discrimination – just economic reality. So he cycled all over Chch with his tools on his handlebars. Thats life.

            Of course if there are no good alternatives then yes in a way it is penalising lower income people. But I repeat, that is why something like the CFN is so important which is why I said we were back to the beginning.

          • SF Lauren

            Goosoid you are mixing things up. Right now you have paid for the road through rates, and so you be able to use it be you choose to walk, run, cycle or drive your car or truck.

            Now in my cloths example it is entirely up to the individual as to what they wear. So you could drive a Ferrari, a 20 year old Toyota corona, a carbon fibre bike or you could take the bus.

            Under road pricing however you are saying, I don’t care that you have already paid for the road, you can either pay some more or take the transport we give you.

            That’s like saying you don’t care if you got your cloths from Prada or Kmart, you can pay us some more money or wear the cloths we give you.

      • Swan

        SF Lauren, see above my reply to Patrick. Same points apply I think.

        • SF Lauren

          I guess the issues are swan, people on lower incomes tend to hold jobs where they have little choice over the work hours, and lets face it, peak hour is caused by people going to work.

          The next point is, if people are to be given a choice the cost of that choice should reflect the cost of providing it. From what I have seen the disputing costs of road users are all unfounded however PT costs are always subsidized.

          It would be good if both were purely equal but as of yet it does not seem to be the case.

          • Swan

            Did you read my various points SF? Do you really think it is important sacrifice an equitable, efficient transport system in case removing peak time subsidy might hurt some poor people that can be compensated anyway? Even though we might be hurting more people with the current system. That seems like a bad call to me.

            On your second point that is absolutely how it should work. The way it would work would be once prices rise above a level whereby additional capacity can be supplied, the relevant project should go ahead. I am not suggesting the govt should act as a monopolist, artificially limiting supply.

          • SF Lauren

            All I’m saying swan is that you shouldn’t punish poor people so you can have your wet dream of a transport system.

            Right now eone can choose to spend more money to drive their car if they like as the costs are not magnitudes different.

            If you start charging people an extra $5 a trip you turn the PT system into the welfare system.

          • Before we get too carried away with concerns over fees and their effects on drivers, rich or poor, we should have a look at the fees in Singapore so that we have a good base point.

            http://www.onemotoring.com.sg/publish/onemotoring/en/on_the_roads/ERP_Rates.html

            From what I can see, it doesn’t add a significant cost to a single trip in a car.

          • Swan

            Fair enough SF Lauren, I don’t think I should punish poor people either. Good thing is road pricing doesnt do that, for the reasons I have pointed out.

          • Swan

            Regarding transport systems acting as welfare: I would have thought the current system, where peak time users are subsidized across all modes, is a lot closer to welfare than my proposed system with no subsidies.

          • SF Lauren

            Sorry swan but how are road users subsidized again? From memory the pet hate is that rate payers pay for 50% of local roads but believe it or not 100% of rate payers are road users.

            Again for punishing poor people, you are taking away their freedom to choose and forcing them into PT. In some cases you may even be putting people out of work.

          • swan

            SF Lauren,

            “Peak” road users are subsidised by “off-peak” road users in so far as infrastructure spending is about increasing peak capacity. This is pretty much all infrastructure spending in Auckland.

            Point 2. Read what I said. There will be a surplus. We can fully compensate poorer cohorts via the tax and welfare system. Let me put it this way: You say to someone “Today it will cost you $5 to use the road network. Here is $5″ The guy pockets the $5 and takes the bus, or drives off peak. Or he chooses to spend the $5 on the road price and is no worse off. Welfare enhancing? I think so. Also, poorer cohorts also travel off peak no?

          • SF Lauren

            Swan, that is a common myth. Roads are never designed with the intention of flowing congestion free during peak hour. Rather the are designed to operate satisfactorily.

            Your idea of a rebate for poor people sounds interesting but technically challenging to implement.

            In any event I do agree with the concept of road pricing however I would rather have a smaller toll such as $2 to get on the motorway to add the encouragement to use PT without really forcing it.

            This would likely make local roads more congested however so you would need to do something else there.

          • Swan

            Your myth is not relevant to my point that off peak users subsidise peak users. Capacity improvements benefit peak users. 4 southbound lanes across Victoria park disproportionately benefit peak users, for example.

          • Swan

            As for difficult to implement, we already have a progressive tax and welfare system. We can make it even more progressive very easily.

          • Bryce P

            Other than the idealogical debate over cars and the use of roads, SF is on the money with regards to road pricing. As per the Singaporean example I linked above, even at peak times it very rarely exceeds SGD$2 (roughly the same as NZD). Much of the rest of the time the rates are at .50c or free. It doesn’t unfairly (in my opinion) rate cars off the road but if it does give an ever so slight nudge to consider PT or even active travel, while at the same time providing funding for PT improvements, then I cannot see an issue. Someone who travels at peak times to and from work might pay the equivalent of a flat white each day to drive.

          • Bryce P

            I had a further look through the S’pore example and there are some $5 travel times but they are generally in the ‘peak of the peak’ and for 1/2 hr periods. Leave home or work 20 minutes earlier and pay $2.50.

          • SF Lauren

            Swan, the issue you have there is that in order to pay out people they will need to demonstrate how, when and why they drive which just adds a heap of red tap. The other issue would be that if they got a rebate on each trip you are now encouraging poor people to drive and discriminating against the middle class who are not overly wealthy but wealthy enough to not get welfare.

          • swan

            I didnt say anything about a rebate on each trip, that would be counter productive.

            Agreed targeting only those who would otherwise have travelled at the peak in their would be a poor way to go about things. Possible but not ideal. In so far as we want to be progressive, I think we should treat everyone essentially the same. Which is what we do now- we base redistribution on income and dependents. And a little bit on where you live. I dont think we should be any more specific than that personally. One person with the same income and number of kids is just as deserving as the other as far as I am concerned.

          • Bryce P

            Hi Swan. I haven’t experienced the Singapore system but they appear to have been using road pricing in one form or another for quite some time so it would be a good place to start I expect.

            Also, I would only envisage road pricing into the CBD as a starter so instead of having a gantry at the Harbour Bridge, I think the likes of Fanshaw, Shelly Beach and Cook St are the key roads from a Northern point of view (and Grafton Gulley) as this leaves SH1, straight through traffic, to go about their business, usually in free flow conditions. These are just a few samples after a very brief look at good ol’ Google Maps.

          • Bryce P

            Oooops, that should have been further down the page.

        • Swan

          Bryce the question is does that level of charge eliminate congestion? If it does, great, it means we have a massive surplus available by implementing road pricing and strengthens the argument that we don’t need more infrastructure (I don’t think any of the proposed projects on the drawing board would have unit costs as low as that sort of price).

          • Bryce P

            From overseas examples we will not eliminate congestion and to think we can is unrealistic in my view. The best we can hope for is to minimise actual grid lock. Eventually we may actually require some more roading but to carry on with expanding roading, before creating a real PT network (and I mean by global standards not Auckland’s standards), or introducing some kind of road pricing scheme, is ass backwards in my view :-).

          • Bryce P

            Oh, that should read ‘and introducing some kind of road pricing scheme’.

          • Swan

            At the right price we will eliminate (or massively reduce) congestion. I don’t think that has really been tried overseas to date.

          • Bryce P

            And nor do I think we should do it here.

          • SF Lauren

            Swan, to have a price so high as to eliminate or massively reduce congestion it would need to be huge. You would need to be looking at charging people $15 or so just to leave their house.

          • swan

            I dont think it would be $15. We dont have a lot of info on this. But take NZTA’s study on tolling the harbour bridge:

            http://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=10736386

            They found that with a $6 toll only 50% of people would use the bridge. Now on most roads we would only need a reduction in use of maybe 10-20% to get rid of congestion (congested roads dont carry more traffic than uncongested roads). So we dont need a 50% reduction. So based on this study I suspect it would not need to be anywhere near $15.

          • Bryce P

            And between 8:30 and 9:00am it might actually be $6 but then, if congestion levels are reduced, the pricing can be reduced to suit. At other times of the day it might be free. Having a fixed price in mind is not the way the system should work. It needs to be based on actual congestion so that people may choose to leave for work earlier or later to pay a reduced fee, thus potentially lowering congestion over the bridge between 8:30 and 9am and allowing the charge to be lowered. It allows choice.

          • swan

            Bryce,

            Exactly, you are absolutely right. So the peak charge may even be less than $6, and very low at sparrows fart. Wouldn’t it be great – a congestion free network!

          • Bryce P

            The word ‘congestion’ all depends on your definition of it. Some people think having to slow to 70 km/h on the motorway is congestion, others view what we might otherwise call gridlock (where average speeds on the motorway may have slowed to 15 km/h or so??) as congestion. I guess there are tables and a ‘vehicle per hour’ or similar kind of target to set pricing. I think we’re all thinking along the same lines here, it’s just the details or definitions that vary a bit.

          • swan

            Bryce, agreed. Deciding the level of service that we should target is something that would require careful thought. I think getting to the point where at worst traffic is “heavy but free flowing” eg at 60-80ks on the motorways would be a very good, practical, outcome. I wouldnt call that congestion.

          • Swan if efficient use of networks is your goal then 45kph is actually the speed to optimise carrying capacity, as well as being much better for fuel consumption and pollution. Good luck with getting that accepted!

            Sure isn’t what we design cars for, nor sell and advertise them with this sort of efficiency in mind! Nor engineer the roads for this either.

          • SF Lauren

            Swan, most road that are heavily congested are operating near 1800vph per lane. If you look at SH 16 during peak hour its operating at close to 1700vph per lane.

            If you want to get the road congestion free you will want the lanes to operate at under 1000vph and even then you couldhe issues at intersections. So you are talking about a near 40% reduction.

            Patrick, your 45 km/h claim is way off. The average car gets optimal power at 70-90km/h. And if a motorway is operating at 45 km/h its way off from doing what its meant to.

            Regarding the road toll being variable, I assumed that was a given.

          • SF Lauren

            In regards to the 50% harbour bridge claim, the issue there is that when people answer that question they assume the road will be just as congested. So 50% of those 50% may come back again once they see they have these huge empty roads all to themselves.

          • swan

            So we a couple of reasons why $6 might be too high, and one why it might be understating things. Any evidence for you $15 claim?

          • SF Lauren

            The $15 number is with reference to parking costs in the CBD and PT fares.

            When people have to pay the above values they generally say that this is why they chose another mode.

            I know of few people who don’t take PT because it will cost them $6 or don’t drive to the CBD because all day parking will be $6.

            So anecdotal evidence which in someways is more accurate than a telephone survey as it measures similar real life results rather than guesses.

          • Richard, you misunderstand me. I am saying two things that are optimised at around 45kph.

            1. The number of vehicles per lane. Look it up. At slower speeds the distance between vehicles is shorter so literally more can fit. Of course they are moving slower so there is lower through put over time as speeds decrease, but my understanding is that the sweet spot is around 45kph.

            2. Fuel economy is not power. Because of air resistance increases quadratically higher speed requires more energy disproportionately to distance travelled. Other Matthier types will have a better handle on this than me, but again my recollection is that around 45/50kph is generally the sweet spot here too.

          • I still dont see the big deal that people on lower incomes might have to use pubic transport. I dont see that is discrimination.

            SF – I guess as a roading engineer you see driving as a vital and unavoidable (maybe positive?) part of people’s lives. I dont see it that way and I see forcing them (or indeed me) to use cars as much more negative. It is only our (and by that I mean the Anglophone world) horrendously auto dependent lifestyle that has led to this attitude.

            If you suggested in Northern European cities that a transport system will mean lower income people cant afford to drive and have to use PT, that would most likely be met with a shrug and a “c’est la vie” attitude. Driving isnt seen as a human right. Of course, that would be in the context of excellent realistic alternatives, like PT or cycling.

            If we start seeing driving as a human right, then where does it end? Is watching TV or having internet access a human right because people “need” it?

            Is imposing stricter safety and emmission standards on cars discrimination as it is likely to drive car prices up, so in theory lower income people have to drive worse cars or no car at all?

          • swan

            SF Lauren,

            You dont need to reduce flow to 1000 v/hr/ln to get LOS C. That would be less than LOS B. You could easily run a stable system at 1200-1500 v/hr/ln. And you dont get 1800 vehicles per hour when heavily congested. Congested flow is inefficient. Anyway that is all by the by, even at a 40% reduction we are not talking $15 are we?

          • swan

            Ah I see the confusion. Parking is a per day cost. Generally people do two trips a day. So you want to half that $15 cost which comes to $7.50. We aren’t too far in disagreement then. Still I note an awful lot of people take PT to the CBD – I assume to avoid parking charges amongst other things. I would avoid parking charges of anything more than $8 a day personally. I have done the sums before when working in Newmarket, at that point other options are preferable.

          • SF Lauren

            I get where you are coming from Patrick. The thing is that cars are inherently inefficient when not putting out power with most the energy going to just keeping the engine turning. At 40-45 km/h a car hardly even notices air resistance but once you get to 70km/h it really kicks in and that’s where the sweet spot is were a normal car can get numbers like 20km/l rather than its normal 12km/l.

            In terms of road capacity, it’s not about how many cars can fit in one space but how many can go through it. If everyone followed the 2s rule capacity would actually reduce at lower speeds.

            The catch is weaving however. If you half the speed you effectively double the weaving length and this is why the CMJ works better with a lower speed limit.

          • SF Lauren

            Goosoid, for things like the internet and TV you are not forced to pay for a connection only to find that every time you want to go online you have to either pay $5 or go down to the community internet or TV centre online to find that one isn’t showing the show you want so you have to go to another.

          • Steve D

            Patrick: that effect is far, far outweighed by differences in engine efficiency at different speeds, and by the way engines are designed. There’s a limit to how little fuel they can use per unit time, so driving slowly means that because you run the engine for longer, you’re burning fuel that way.

            Most cars peak in economy at about 60-90 km/h and crucially, economy doesn’t drop off fast above that speed, but it plummets below about 40 km/h. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fuel_economy_in_automobiles#Speed_and_fuel_economy_studies and http://auto.howstuffworks.com/fuel-efficiency/fuel-economy/question477.htm

            There’s also a larger effect from congestion – speeding up and slowing down uses far more fuel still. Congestion doesn’t produce a steady 45 km/h – it produces waves of traffic at changing speeds. Go find someone whose car has a trip computer, and you can look at the real-time use of fuel. You’ll be amazed.

            Swan: it doesn’t matter what dollar value the price is. Obviously, road pricing will only affect the number of people using the road if it’s high enough to price some people off! The question is whether it’s fair to make poor people pay money (or not even be able to make a trip at all) so rich people can get where they’re going a bit faster. The best way to increase people’s ability to get around without suffering congestion is by building systems that don’t suffer from congestion to the same degree – e.g. rail, busways, bus lanes, and by planning our cities so we don’t need to travel long distances for so many trips.

            Goosoid: I agree. People often say “driving is a privilege, not a right”. Would that it were so, but in a city still built mainly around driving, not being able to drive (because you are unable, forbidden, or can’t afford it) is pretty much the same as having no right to freedom of movement. We have an awful chicken and egg problem, actually – we can’t charge too much people to use the roads because there’s no realistic alternative, but we need a whole pile of money to build the alternatives!

          • swan

            Steve D,

            I know it doesnt really matter in one sense, but it is worth thinking about what the number might be. I have discussed extensively above why this isnt a rich vs poor thing.

            The key point about the alternative systems is (as I explained above) – by making the roads congestion free they become the high quality alternative! Or more precisely, road based PT becomes a high quality alternative. 40 people on a bus will have a high willingness and ability to pay so will not be priced off the road.

          • Steve D

            Swan: It is entirely about rich and poor. Unless there’s an alternative to driving, pricing the roads to the extent that some people can’t afford it any more is just screwing those people over by making them lose their jobs. And the people who get priced off are – poor people!

            I agree that a road pricing system draconian enough to eliminate congestion would help buses somewhat, although we’d now have a pointless money-go-round with the council paying private bus operators to pay the council to use the roads. But there’s a way easier solution – green paint. Bus lanes and signal priority let buses bypass congestion, without needing pricing generally. Pricing also doesn’t do anything for the rapid transit network, which needs exclusive, grade separated rail and busways to work properly. Much like the ones described in this post.

          • swan

            What about the current system where poor people who travel off peak and subsidise peak users through petrol tax? And as you say, your condition only holds if there are no alternatives. But obviously there are.

            Help buses somewhat? I would go a bit further than that. A large pool of demand plus free flowing roads is pretty much all the buses would need. Not sure about the money go round – once we get to a zero subsidy transport system councils wont need to pay bus operators, they will be profitable.

          • SF Lauren

            Swan. People traveling inter-peak are the ones who get to drive on the road in ideal conditions, if anything they are the ones getting their trip subsidised.

          • Steve I stand corrected on speed and fuel efficiency. Do you have any sources on speed and lane capacity? Especially in practice.

          • Bryce P

            Here is some more info from the Singaporean example.

            “a. 85th Percentile Speed Measurement Method
            The current threshold speeds (45 km/h on expressways and 20 km/h on arterial roads) were set 10 years ago. Today, the threshold speeds are close to the point where traffic flow can deteriorate rapidly into the unstable zone where ‘stop-start’ conditions become common. In order to create a buffer, LTA will use a more representative method of measuring actual traffic conditions for ERP rate reviews, with speeds determined using the 85th percentile speed measurement method, instead of using average speeds as is done currently. The 85th percentile speed measurement method is also an international traffic engineering practice for assessing traffic conditions. With the revised speed measurement method, motorists will be assured of smooth travel on ERP-priced roads at least 85% of the time;”

            http://www.onemotoring.com.sg/press_release/2008/1948.pdf

          • Steve D

            Swan: obviously there aren’t. Other than to and from the city centre, and a few peak-only trips, public transport in Auckland, today, Friday 12 July 2013, is appalling. It takes hours and hours to get anywhere if a trip’s even possible at all. Making driving more expensive doesn’t magically improve PT, it just means that some people who can currently drive no longer can. I’d rather see PT improved to the point where people choose to use it instead of driving, because it’s actually better.

            Also if you expect buses to suddenly start operating without subsidy, and have to pay vast amounts in road tolls, fares would go through the roof. Screwing over poor people again.

          • swan

            Thanks Bryce, that is really interesting. I didnt realise Singapore had such a sophisticated system. They must be world leaders I am guessing?

            SF Lauren, that statement about subsidies makes no sense. It is not really in dispute that off peak users subsidise peak users.

          • SF Lauren – OK once again I am lost by your metaphor of internet/TV and public transport. Can you be less subtle and metaphorical please.

            SteveD – I agree with you 100% and that is exactly the point I was making but it has been lost a bit in all the dialogue.

            That point is that creating a system where one option (driving) is not economically viable is not discrimination as long as there are other options. And that is what the CFN provides. If we also put in place a decent cycle network then we create another great and even cheaper option.

            Of course everyone (well not me, but most people) want to be able to drive their big comfortable car up to a nice car park and walk straight into their shop/office/factory. Just like most people would like to live in a big house, surrounded by parks close to the city centre. Or everyone would like to send their kids to Kings – but they have options – Otahuhu College may not be as prestigious as Kings but it is a decent school and children have the chance to learn if they work hard (and have supportive parents). David Lange seemed to do OK.

            In other words, everyone wants to be rich. Surprise!!!

            That is capitalism. Supply and demand. I dont like it but we dont seem to have come up with anything else so far.

          • SF Lauren

            I don’t that is of much relevance here in Auckland. The issue we have is that we have too many closely spaced ramps along with using the wrong ramp types for their demand.

            On the northwestern for example some sections grind to a standstill even though they are only experiencing 1500vph per lane of demand.

            Certainly for most of our ramp meters they are designed to try and keep the 85% speed up in the range of 70-80 km/h.

          • SF Lauren

            Goosoid, to which metaphor do you refer? The clothes one or the internet or TV one?

          • SF Lauren

            Swan, what part doesn’t make sense?

            Also how are off-peak users subsidising peak users. From what I have seen peakurs get stuck in congestion and their trips can take twice as long as they should. It sounds to me tgsthat they are not even getting the product they are paying for.

            FYI I assume you are talking about the existing situation.

          • swan

            Getting stuck in traffic is irrelevant. It doesnt pay the bills. Peak users and off peak users pay the same in petrol tax, RUC and vehicle licencing. But the costs of infrastructure are largely associated with peak periods of demand. Therefore off peak is subsidising peak. It is generally a given to this type of discussion.

          • Steve D

            Patrick: no, sorry. Have a nosy around the NZTA site, maybe?

          • SF Lauren

            I’ll say this one last time, roads are not designed to be free flowing and congestion free at peak time.

            But as to your other point, people stuck in congestion can easily use twice as much fuel to make the same trip and so pay twice as much tax.

          • Bryce P

            Swan, the same could be said of PT as well, in that we really should be aiming to fill up off-peak a bit more and the way to do that is to make it cheaper. Also, the reason we need the CRL is to enable high frequency services at peak times so therefore, keep peak fares at a realistic level and drop the off peak fares. This is the way to keep farebox recovery up and also maximise the use of the network at off peak times. Peak (partially at least) offsets off-peak. Driving or using PT….

          • swan

            SF Lauren,

            Here are the facts from the NZTA website on VPT:

            “Improved travel times

            The current southbound capacity of the Victoria Park viaduct is 4,250 vehicles per hour, but demand in the morning peak is much greater. The result is significant congestion resulting in drivers sitting in stop-start traffic. This in turn results in frustration for drivers, costs to businesses whose goods and workers are delayed, increased air pollution from vehicles which are constantly accelerating and decelerating, and greater chances of nose-to-tail collisions.

            Once the tunnel is built, the motorway’s southbound capacity across Victoria Park will increase to 6,000 vehicles per hour. This is expected to save drivers up to 20 minutes on their trips during peak periods.”

            Sounds like its all about the peak to me?

          • SF Lauren

            Yes so it will be less congested. It doesn’t say it will be free from all congestion and flowing freely at 80-100km/h for the next 20 years.

            Certainly when it comes to trying to explain the benefits of projects to people talking about the change in peak conditions is the most relevant to most people which is clearly feeding the myth.

          • swan

            I dont know why you think your strawman about “free from all congestion for 20 years” is relevant to the discussion.

            What is the moprtant change to conditions a 9PM or midnight that we arent being told about?

          • SF Lauren

            Swan, what I’m telling you is that driving on a congested road during peak hour is not the intention of what we design for. Only some 20% of people use the road at peak hour and we are trying to get ideal performance for those 80% of users. During peak hour we accept level of service D and E but with an optimal target of C. Inter-peak users get to travel on the road during ideal conditions of C or better.

            Nothing strawman at all.

            If rail was treated the same way the current train system would already be more than desirable.

          • Swan

            SF Lauren, read the details on VPT. It’s about peak capacity. Sure some benefits also accrue to the shoulders. The point is it is about expanding capacity which is only utilised over short periods of time each day.

          • SF Lauren

            Swan, you couldn’t be further from the truth. Although peak time travel ultimately gets benefits that is not even remotely the driver behind roading projects.

          • Swan

            SF Lauren you are making a fool of yourself again. We are not breaking new ground in Auckland anymore. It is about capacity increases. Putting extra lanes through Victoria Park is about nothing other than increasing capacity. With the possible exception of Karaka Weymouth and Penlink though they are not really even on the table.

  • Wayne Mapp

    I have read all your material. It is a bit hard to tell whether you think there should be any spending on roads to be used by cars, light commercial vehicles and trucks at all. So far I can see, your proposal is entirely abut public transport. If that is true, it is totally unrealistic (but that of course is my view).

    I have put the proposition like that to find out whether you think compromise between your vision and the Govt, Mayor and AT plan is possible.

    It seems like you have put this up as an alternative to the Govt, the Mayor and AT. Certainly that is how it came across on Morning Report. Do you have any point of agreement other than CRL?

    In short do you want a dialogue with the Govt, the Mayor and AT? Or is this simply an alternative (essentially Green Party) view that is part of the political contest to be decided by voters at elections.

    The reason I ask is because I cannot tell which of the alternatives you are taking.

    If you are interested in this question, can you email me.

    • Hi Wayne

      Thanks for visiting. We are not opposed to some spending on roads and some of the current projects – like Waterview – are key to certain parts of our proposal. We do think that some of the current proposals are overkill though and a case of using a sledgehammer to crack a nut. I will email you in more detail shortly.

  • Along with the other issues raised here: http://transportblog.co.nz/2013/06/28/are-more-road-lanes-across-the-waitemata-a-good-idea/
    and elsewhere here’s an illustration of one important point that bears on how we best might add capacity across the harbour [or from anywhere to the city]: The big problem with adding any more traffic lanes to the city from any direction is that it simply encourages a thing that we are trying to reduce:

    This chart from CCFAS study doesn’t include ferry and walking and cycling for some strange reason, and with them the mode share for private vehicles to the CBD is now below 50% while the total is at the highest absolute number ever, and growing. See the huge change from 20 years ago with driving at 80%. That marks the high tide point of urban driving in Auckland. That age has already passed, and the new age can only accelerate from here, along with all its advantages.

    And this is very very important because it is only by the reduction of people accessing the city by private vehicle [yet giving them a quality range of alternatives] can all the improvements to the city over the past decade be continued.

    This reduction is the necessary foundation on which we can build better open spaces, more successful retail, and urban working, playing, and living environments that people and businesses, and critically their employees, want to experience. In short a more successful, prosperous, and thriving city.

    And the really important figure on that chart [along with the three missing ones] is the dark blue rail one because these people bring no vehicle onto city streets with them.
    The New Network, electrification, and ticketing changes, will grow that further, The CRL will really make it huge, and rail through Wynyard Quarter and to and through the Shore will make it the biggest mode by far.

    Basically buses are great for removing cars, but too much of a good thing causes its own problems as well as we see now in downtown Auckland. So rail, cycling, walking, and the ferries, are even better. And of course we should invest in what we want more of. And this very definitely includes cycling as transport; not just as recreation or exercise. A network of cycleways from the Skypath along Quay St linking with Tamaki Drive and a Hobson Bay route, and the Grafton Gully route being built now, is vital to this. And as cheap as chips, with a BCR that kills any other project by orders of magnitude.

    Auckland City and it’s satellites will be able to become much better places because of this. This is the revolution coming to Auckland over the next decade.

    What we feed grows. Bringing more cars to the city we don’t want at any price, and especially not for 5billion.

  • Real question on cost is: Can we afford not to? Not according to the IEA, the International Energy Agency:


    “As the share of the world’s population living in cities grows to nearly 70 percent by 2050 and energy consumption for transport in cities is expected to double, the need for efficient, affordable, safe and high-capacity transport solutions will become more acute,” said IEA Executive Director Maria van der Hoeven as she presented the report. “Urgent steps to improve the efficiency of urban transport systems are needed not only for energy security reasons, but also to mitigate the numerous negative climate, noise, air pollution, congestion and economic impacts of rising urban transport volumes.”

    http://www.iea.org/newsroomandevents/pressreleases/2013/july/name,39543,en.html

  • PMS

    Not to mention health benefits and potential savings to the DHB bill.

    http://download.journals.elsevierhealth.com/pdfs/journals/0749-3797/PIIS0749379710002977.pdf

    New Zealand has an obesity problem that will cost millions.

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10896871

    Transport changes are part of that solution it seems.

  • More from the IEA report [thanks to Kent]: via Nat Geo: http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/energy/2013/07/130710-iea-report-urban-transport/


    “The IEA report calls for incentives to reduce regular travel, increase use of non-motorized or mass transit, and boost the use of cleaner, energy-efficient vehicles. This “avoid, shift, and improve” strategy could, between now and 2050, help cities save at least $70 trillion because of reduced spending on petroleum, roadway infrastructure, and vehicles.”

  • You all watching Campbell Live? Instead of the usual ridiculous filler they have some “Meat” tonight. I reckon the Congestion Free Network and even one of the bloggers here will be showing up in a tic…

  • Jamie Walton

    Thank you to all involved in the Congestion Free network plans, etc. – I think it’s great.

    One query: Why is the Queen St-Dominion Rd tram/light rail station at “Newton” (Eden Terrace) to the east of the “Newton” railway station of the CRL? Both Queen St and Dominion Rd (and a the most direct line joining them, running along Virginia Ave East and through Basque Rd Reserve (possibly in a trench)) are to the west of this station. Is it just to give the diagram a cleaner appearance?

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