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What would you do competition – final results

Thank you to everyone who voted in our ideas competition poll. Overall I noted that there were a few particularly strong themes that came through:

  • Improving the speed of buses – this came through from both bus priority on the street and improving the boarding process to reduce dwell times. I would suggest that for quick wins to improve public transport patronage, some of these ideas should be high on the priority list.
  • Improving walking and cycling – this is primarily though changes that give pedestrians and/or cyclists greater priority and/or safety at intersections.
  • Improved information – whether through mobile applications or on stations/stops directly there was a lot of desire to make it easier for the public to get information about public transport

There was a fantastic response with almost 300 votes with the top three voted ideas happening to represent those three strong themes. Here are the results.

Ideas Competition Result

As you can see the two ideas voted for the most were to open up the real time data to third party developers which would allow for them to incorporate the data into the likes of smartphone apps. I imagine a dedicated developer could even use the data to address some of the other ideas requested, like using it to work out where buses are being held up. There were at least three different people who suggested this idea (and all within 20 minutes) so in the interest of fairness, I’ve awarded the prize to the first person to suggest it which was iiq374 with the other two who suggested it being Dave L and Steve D.

The second placed idea was to extend the bus clearways in the evening peak so that buses weren’t held up. The original idea suggested extending it only by ½ hour however I dropped that part for the competition. Personally I think extending the bus lanes and clearways (two different things) is perhaps one of the quickest and cheapest things we could do to improve the speed of buses in the evenings. However the idea came from our very own Kent Lundberg and so we have agreed in fairness to pass the prize on to the third placed person.

The third placed prize was for Auckland Transport to put some focus into fully completing a safe cycleway network in one single suburb – which I’m guessing the person meant as a demonstration project. I think the idea has a lot of merit. Currently the roll-out of the cycle network seems very piecemeal with every single project going through extensive consultation. I imagine that for most suburbs there could be quite a number of projects needed to complete a safe cycling network. By having a focus on a single suburb AT could combine many of the projects and community discussions in to a single process while also having the benefit of being able to access the success of the idea because all parts to the puzzle will have been slotted in to place. It was also suggested that the suburb selected could be picked by a competition. The idea came from Bryce P.

To iiq374 and Bryce I will be in touch to work out how to get the prize to you.

In addition to the poll result there were another couple of great ideas which will be added to the list to pass on to Auckland Transport.

To everyone thank for participating and hopefully it is something we will be able to do again on a fairly regular basis as it’s clear there are lots of ideas out there.

24 comments to What would you do competition – final results

  • S Walker

    Good stuff. Maybe another idea would be to add a simple ‘screen’ so that ticket machines that are in full sun are able to be used. Would surely pay for itself in about 1 week.

  • SteveC

    a very cheap way of extending bus lane hours is to look at places where benefits would arise from using existing lanes in the contra-peak direction, as employment spreads, there could be considerable gains in places

  • Kent Lundberg

    Real time data people, what are the best examples of apps from cities with an open data policy? Would be good to use as examples.

    • Bbc

      Wemlin is a great one in CH, the SBB app is also great allowing tickets to be purchased on your phone. Wheresmybus is a reasonable implementation too in the US,

  • Kent Lundberg

    Super-pedantic, but the first bullet point suggestions provided were about reducing delay not increasing the speed of buses. As a fleshy humanoid who uses city space in a variety of ways, I can attest that the last thing we need is more speed on our city streets.

  • Jennifer Ward

    Great competition – great result. Thanks.

  • Iiq374

    Was great to see some awesome suggestions on how to get some big impacts for not doing a lot. Sometimes it seems everyone is too focused on ‘big solutions to big problems’, rather than finding the real things that would make an impact even if they’re small.

    Like finding a way to let passengers get off a broken train rather than stranding them for a couple of hours… ;-|

  • Ari

    I can see number 1 having a great benefit, but I can see it being too difficult for various reasons, otherwise it would already be done by now.
    I would just mention that zebra crossings on slip lanes increases pedestrian accidents because it decreases pedestrian awareness. Even if vehicles are at fault, the increase risk is unacceptable. There needs to be other mitigating actions such as a raised table crossing, but these conflict with PT routes.

    • Steve D

      If slip lanes aren’t safe (and they aren’t), then we should be getting rid of them entirely.

    • Very few bus route use slip lanes at intersections. I can only think of three, View Rd onto Dominion Rd (which is already signallised), Blockhouse Bay Rd and New North Rd (already has a pedestrian crossing), and Queen St on to K Rd eastbound, which already has a pedestrian crossing (and the movement disappears with the new network anyway).

      So all good, lets start the zebras and tables immediately, starting with Tangihua St and Beach Rd.

    • Ari says: Pedestrian crossings on slip lanes increase accidents because they ‘decrease pedestrian awareness’
      FFS. Who has failed to be aware of the road markings indicating privilege; the driver or the pedestrian when a driver hits a pedestrian on a crossing? Good grief, what an upside down auto-centric view of the world.

      The real issue, and you know it, is that the slip lane says to the driver; go, and at speed, and encourages them to ‘overlook’ the pedestrian amenity. Slip lanes are inherently dangerous and wholly unwelcome in an urban environment. They represent the creeping ‘motorwayisation’ of city streets, the application of inappropriate engineering standards caused by the auto-dominant world view of last century and only viewing our streets from one perspective: Through the windscreen.

      I agree raised tables would really make a difference as they are much harder to ignore and will actually slow the driver, but then once this is achieved then there is no reason for the sweeping geometry which is the speed enabler. So why not go back to good old fashioned intersections that force the driver down to a speed that allows them to look both ways and not just to the right where other vehicle conflict comes from?

      This would also mean the scale of intersections can go back down and we can stop spending huge sums on more land and destroying the existing street fabric and buildings to accommodate these space eating sweeping vehicles speeders.

      • Steve D

        Who has failed to be aware of the road markings indicating privilege; the driver or the pedestrian when a driver hits a pedestrian on a crossing? Good grief, what an upside down auto-centric view of the world.

        I don’t think you’re eligible for the “comment of the week” prize since you work here, but hell, have it anyway.

  • Ari

    Steve, slip lanes without zebras are relatively safe because pedestrians are more aware of their surroundings instead of just stepping out in front of a vehicle, but it does depend on the pedestrian volumes. They shouldnt be in the CBD unless they are signalised.

    Nick, actually there are a few routes that would be affected, though I expect by 2016 it will be fewer than now. Tangihua is a MAJOR freight route as well as an over dimensional route, so a table is extremely unlikely and removal almost impossible from a political point of view. A signalised slip lane is more feasible.

    Patrick, slip lanes are not for speed but for reducing overall delay to all road users including pedestrians. Removing sliplanes guarantees longer waiting times for pedestrians, cyclists, cars, buses etc.
    However I do concede they are impossible for impaired pedestrians. I already pointed out that the driver is at fault but that doesnt remove the fact that we could still have a dead pedestrian. The road code also states that both parties must exercise caution. People are fallible and make mistakes. Winning the blame game is pointless if you are the dead pedestrian. The primary role of a traffic engineer is to avoid ending up with dead people. Putting zebra’s on sliplanes without any other mitigation is asking for trouble.

    • Frank McRae

      I doubt that having one or two less separate roads to cross, as well as a significantly shorter distance to get across the corridor would “guarantee longer waiting times for pedestrians”.

    • What heavy freight vehicles have any business turning from Customs St on to Tangihua?! Seriously, why should any truck be driving that route? (I’m talking Beach to Tangihua here, Tangihua to Beach forces the driver to slow and basically always stop). What usually tries to kill me as I dash across that crossing are self entitled car drivers who take the 60km/h design speed curve at 60km/h. I make that crossing at afternoon peak times twice a week and can’t recall ever seeing a truck use it. If that is actually a problem, then a table might be just what is needed to keep trucks to the freight route, if it really is an important freight movement then signalise it.

      Removing slip lanes only guarantees longer wait times for pedestrians if you assume traffic is sacrosanct and you can’t change their level of provision. If you are happy to reduce the traffic capacity a little you can maintain or improve pedestrian wait times while removing slip lanes, same for cyclists and buses. Not hard to design an intersection that prioritises pedestrians and cyclists (allow them to cross together with a cycle signal) and buses (usually just moving straight through).

      If you want to talk about long pedestrian wait times, come stand with me on the corner of Tangihua in the afternoon as car after car takes the unrestricted curve at high speed. It can literally take ten minutes to cross if you aren’t willing to dash out in front of one. Ok for me as a fairly sprightly guy, but my mother would find it impossible to cross the road there at all.

      If zebra crossings on slip lanes are actually such a risk why do we have them all over Auckland already?

    • Ari you can say as many times as you like that ‘slip lanes are not for speed’ but this is their actual outcome. Look at the geometry of them; they encourage driving at a speed that does not allow looking left as well as right. So the impatient driver only looks right where the threat to their wellbeing potentially comes from. Safety on slip lanes, striped or otherwise, is entirely left to the pedestrian as if they have no right to cross at all. Pedestrians get that they are unwelcome on these intersections and stay away…. further encouraging traffic engineers to optimise these places for driving, based on counts of vehicles versus other users. This is a self-fulfilling cycle of auto-dominance.

    • Steve D

      Yes, so slip lanes become safe for the same reason as motorways are safe – no pedestrians around to hit. There’s only four real paths to safety:

      * total grade separation, as we do on motorways and (ideally) railway lines
      * signalising absolutely everything (which somehow always seems to end up with cars getting the best phasing – but that’s not inherent)
      * by slowing cars down to the point that they aren’t a danger (perhaps GPS-linked speed governors? self-driving cars, one day?)
      * seriously draconian enforcement so that drivers have the right level of paranoia (not necessarily that great for the nation’s overall mental and civic health)

      Having unsignalised slip lanes doesn’t fit in with any of these. It’s a way of moving more cars at the expense of pedestrian safety, amenity and travel time. They don’t have a role anywhere, except for perhaps rural state highway intersections in the middle of nowhere where there’s never going to be any pedestrians.

      What traffic engineering needs to get is that it’s the cars that are causing congestion. They, and they alone, should suffer from it. We should only accommodate them on our streets in a way that’s safe for everyone, and if there are too many cars on the road, they should suffer the delays, rather than pushing the problem onto others by reducing the number and phasing of pedestrian crossings. How things generally work at the moment is:

      1. Traffic engineers identify a legitimate safety issue
      2. Implement a “fix” that mantains or increases car level of service at the expense of everyone else
      3. Driving is easier, everything else is harder
      4. More people drive
      5. More cars, more congestion, more expense, more pollution, more crashes

      What we want is:

      1. Traffic engineers identify a legitimate safety issue
      2. Implement a fix that maintains walkability, bikeability, PT priority, some access for deliveries, pick ups and drop-offs, and if possible within budget, allows for as much through car traffic as we can without conflicting with our other goals.
      3. Drivers bear the costs, like congestion, that they would have imposed on the rest of the city
      4. Since those costs are large and usually not worth it, fewer people drive
      5. Fewer cars, similar congestion but no impact of congestion on other road users, less expense, less pollution, fewer crashes.


  • Benidorm

    Hi Ari,
    I’m interested in understanding the way traffic engineer’s think.
    Are slip lanes (unsignalised) less or more dangerous than tight intersections like the type Patrick describes (11:14)?
    Does reducing overall delay to all road users take precendence over the primary role of the traffic engineer to avoid ending up with dead people?

  • Duncan McKenzie

    A slip lane that gives me the shits.

    The left turn from Great North Road into Blockhouse Bay Road at Waterview.

    There is no safe way to cross between the Oakley Creek Walkway entry and Heron Park .

  • Ari

    Frank, it is mainly a quirk of having pedestrian islands and traffic signals.
    Patrick, I don’t disagree with you. It is self-fulfilling.
    Benidorm, safety comes before efficiency. It is the national and regional directive to reduce the road toll. Actual costs of crash injuries to society exceed any estimated travel time benefits. I think it is difficult to gauge which is “safer”. Slips are hostile, therefore discourage pedestrian usage and increase pedestrian caution which combine to give lower actual accident rates. Normal crossings obviously encourage pedestrian usage (including greater numbers of impaired users) but also put the pedestrian into greater conflict with left turners. And because pedestrians have right of way they tend to exercise less caution. Many accidents involving pedestrians near intersections are blamed on the pedestrian for crossing when not permitted which can distort the statistics further. We don’t know pedestrian volumes so we can’t accurately determine which option results in fewer injury causing accidents. I don’t think we can categorically state either way because all sites are different. I don’t think one option suits all.
    Nick, Tangihua is one of the two main entrances to the port. Coming from Beach is the designated freight route and coming from Anzac St is the designated Overdimensional/overweight route. So both entries to Tangihua are heavily used by freight. The slip into Tangihua is so wide in order to accomodate those large vehicles. I am well aware of how hard it is to get across that slip lane, especially with the huge kerbs and the constant flow of vehicles. I’m not sure if the cycle way project is doing anything with that. I suspect it is in the too hard basket.

    • Frank McRae

      “safety comes before efficiency”

      Yes but it is always the safety of motorists not pedestrians. The only way any ‘safety’ is achieved is by making sure no one goes anywhere near a street unless they are in a car.

      If a traffic engineer was tasked with preventing drownings they would fill the best swimming beaches with sharks and watch swimming and therefore drowning disappear.

  • JohnP

    Just wondering did anyone suggest spending millions on an integrated ticketing system then withdrawing the cards, issuing a new one and stealing people’s balances off the old card? No? Didn’t think so.

    • jingyang

      JohnP : the reason the cards were withdrawn (ie the Hop/Snapper cards) were because they weren’t integrated at all. They only worked for NZ Bus operated services. NZ Bus unilaterally brought them in for its Wellington and Auckland services, and then tried to get the system accepted for all buses. The other operators, rather understandably. I reckon, balked at effectively subsidising their competitor NZ Bus, and refused to have anything to with Hop. Hence the new system AT HOP which covers all operators in Auckland. As I understand it, NZ Bus also did itself no favours with At or the other operators by trying to pull political strings to get its system accepted either – and the delay in getting an integrated system has been extended by NZ Bus’ actions too. As for “stealing people’s balances off the old card – that too, is an NZ Bus issue.

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