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Winston Peters show’s he doesn’t get HOP

Winston Peters shows that he clearly doesn’t understand HOP - although I guess that shouldn’t be surprising

New Zealand First is urging SuperGold Cardholders who travel for free on Auckland public transport not to waste their money buying a prepaid card.

New Zealand First Leader Rt Hon Winston Peters says seniors are being pressured to spend $15 on an Auckland Transport prepaid HOP card and advises those who have done so to demand their money back.

“SuperGold Cardholders should demand their money back if they paid $5 for the card and the minimum $10 prepaid credit because the HOP card is simply an attack on the elderly.

“Auckland Transport’s HOP-card campaign has already signed up 11,129 SuperGold Cardholders.

“That means Auckland Transport has fleeced more than $166,000 from seniors who gain no advantage from buying the tag-on, tag-off card,” says Mr Peters, who introduced the SuperGold Card in 2007. “It is a grand confidence trick.”

“All they need for travel on the bus or for a train or ferry ticket is their SuperGold Card. They can travel free in Auckland from 9am on weekdays and all day on weekends and public holidays.

“A SuperGold Cardholder told us she would never use the $10 she was forced to load on the card and quite rightly asked, what is Auckland Transport doing with all the money,” says Mr Peters.

There are in fact many good reasons for SuperGold cardholders to get a HOP card.

  • While most card holders will likely be travelling off peak, many still travel at peak and a HOP card allows them to pay for their fare (and get the HOP discounts).
  • Perhaps more importantly is a SuperGold concession can be loaded onto a HOP card that means it automatically gives free travel after 9am.

If you wish to travel using an AT HOP card, you can have a SuperGold Concession loaded onto your card. This will save you having to get a free SuperGold ticket before you travel on trains and ferries. You may only hold one AT HOP card with a SuperGold profile on it. Travel commencing after 9am weekdays and all day on weekends and on public holidays will still be free and you will be able to tag on and tag off with your AT HOP card.

Travel commencing before 9am will be charged at adult fares to your HOP Money balance on your AT HOP card with at least 10% discount off single trip paper tickets (excludes NiteRider and Airbus Express bus services). https://at.govt.nz/bus-train-ferry/at-hop/at-hop-concessions/supergold-concession/

  • Using a HOP card to tag on/off at a train station is also easier than having to go to a ticket machine – something some older citizens seem to struggle with.
  • On buses the HOP card speeds up boarding making for quicker trips, not just for those with SuperGold cards but for everyone else and as we’ve discussed before that can have potentially big benefits for operational costs.

The reason I highlight this, is not so much for this specific example but that I wonder if this type of lack of understanding is perhaps a symptom of just how poor our PT has been for such a long time. Many people simply don’t understand why developments like HOP are so vitally needed. It’s also something that we need to be especially mindful of with an election coming up. In this specific case Peters would be better advocating for a HOP card that looks like a SuperGold card so that those eligible only need a single card in their wallet.

Auckland Transport’s draft Statement of Intent for 2014-17

Every year Auckland Transport agree with the council a new Statement of Intent (SOI) with the council. It sets out their strategic approach, priorities and targets for the following three years. They are currently in the process of setting the SOI for the 2014-2017 period and there appear to be some quite concerning aspects in the documents - which are found in the various agenda items for the Council Controlled Organisations Governance and Monitoring Committee. My understanding of the process is that the Council send AT a letter of expectation outlining their key priorities, Auckland Transport are meant to incorporate that into a draft SOI which is then reviewed by council officers. The comments from them get responded to by AT and then goes to the council for a final decision.

Last year the biggest change to the SOI as the lowering of patronage targets, most notably for rail. It’s also something that backfired on them with the Ministry of Transport highlighting it their first review on the progress towards the CRL targets the government, suggesting it shows AT don’t believe rail can grow by the amount required.

So this year what do we see? The same thing is happening again with in some cases AT wanting to drop their targets for all PT modes. In the case of rail especially this is to almost absurd levels. For example in their current SOI their target is 11.4 million trips by the end of June 2014 (which they might meet if they keep growing they way they are) while by end of June 2015 they are expected to reach a total of just over 13 million. In their new draft SOI they want the rail target for 2014/15 lowered to just 12.1 million. The target seems way to low considering that:

  • We’re already going to be at ~11.1 million (as we hit 11 million before the end of March)
  • There’s 15 months to go before the end of June 2015
  • In that time electric trains are expected to roll out to the Onehunga Line, Manukau and Southern Lines

Here’s a graph to show how the rail SOI target has changed over the last few versions of the SOI and how we’re actually performing.

Draft 2014 SOI Rail Target

My guess is that we could potentially blow past the 13 million trip target and this isn’t something that should be changed. For the other modes there are similar outcomes. The targets proposed in the 2014/15 year go

  • Total patronage – 78.16 million -> 74.24 million
  • Busway (NEX) – 2.59 million -> 2.51 million
  • Other Bus – 56.63 million -> 53.70 million
  • Ferry – 5.90 million -> 5.94 million

So only the target for ferries goes up which is interesting in itself as they are the mode currently going backwards. Overall this seems like a cop out and the councillors shouldn’t accept this (especially no on the rail figures).

The issue of dropping patronage targets is something noted by the council officers and by Councillor Chris Darby in a memo he sent to other councillors which is also online.

Darby’s letter also highlights that many of the “Key Focus areas for 2014/15 for Auckland Transport” from the council’s letter of expectation are not simply not reflected on in the SOI. These include

  • A strategic review of public transport fares
  • Increased priority for pedestrians and cyclists, and improvement of walking and cycling facilities that improve access to public transport.
  • Identification of and reporting on the delivery of any improvements to the quality of urban design outcomes.
  • Effective management of hygiene factors in the public realm such as cleaning, mowing, and tree clipping.
  • Identifying surplus non-strategic properties for disposal in conjunction with ACPL

On the issue of cycling he notes that many of the timelines set for projects are quite at odds with the presentation AT gave the councils Infrastructure Committee just over a month ago on The Role of Cycling in Auckland. He highlights this in the following table

Draft 2014 SOI cycling issues

Lastly here’s the programme of works proposed in the SOI. Darby thinks that added to this should be planning and route protection for a North West busway along SH16, the Te Atatu bus interchange and the list of bus lanes that will be added. I agree with him.

1. Planning and route protection
1.1 Complete the Auckland Regional Land Transport Plan by June 2015
1.2 Undertake planning and route protection for major new transport initiatives, including:

  • City Rail Link.
  • South-Western Multimodal Airport Rapid Transit (SMART) network
  • Botany lo Manukau rapid transit network.
  • Mill Road corridor upgrade.
  • East-West Link (In conjunction with NZTA). including public consultation on the development and progression of a preferred option;
  • Penlink; and
  • Auckland-Manukau Eastern Transport Initiative (AMETI).

2. New transport infrastructure
2.1 AMETI:
Complete investigation and design of

  • Package 4 ( Panmure Roundabout. Lagoon Drive, Additional Panmure Bridge. Busway to Pakuranga, New Pakuranga Bus Station and car parking facilities, and Reeves Road Flyover) by 2017.

Complete construction of:

  • Package I Phase 1 (Panmure interchange) in 2014:
  • Package 2 (Sylvia Park bus lanes) by 2016:
  • AMETI Package 4 enabling works including local road changes and major utility diversions

Commence construction of Reeves Road flyover (to be completed by 2019)

2.2 Introduce new electric trains into service.

2.3 Local road improvements associated with State highway upgrades, including:

Complete construction at:

  • Tiverton Road to Wolverton Street upgrade by 2014 (Culvert upgrade by 2016); and
  • Te Atatu Road corridor improvements by 2017.

Complete design and acquisition for:

  • Lincoln Road corridor improvements by 2017.

2.4 Major local road improvements (over $5m). Including:
Complete construction of:

  • Dominion Road corridor upgrade Including dedicated bus lanes, 12 kin of parallel cycle routes, and 3 village centre upgrades by 2017:
  • Albany Highway North upgrade by 2017;
  • Murphy’s Road bridge improvement by 2016;
  • Brigham Creek corridor upgrade by 2017; and
  • North Western transformation protect (NORSGA) for the Northside Drive East, Westgate Bus Interchange, and Hobsonville Point Park and Ride by 2017.

Complete land acquisition for:

  • North Western transformation project (NORSGA) for Hobsonville Road by 2017.

2.5 Public transport Infrastructure, Including:

Complete construction of the following projects by 2016

  • Otahuhu bus/rail interchange;
  • Manukau bus interchange;
  • Parnell Station:
  • Pukekohe Station. and
  • Silverdale park and ride facilities stage 2.

Complete land acquisition and, subject to that acquisition, complete construction of:

  • Fanshawe / Albert / Wellesley streets bus Infrastructure improvements by 2017,

2.6 Complete construction of road safety Improvements at high-risk areas on the road network, including:

  • Great South Road / Bell Avenue Intersection ($09m) by 2014:
  • Piha Road by 2017 ($0.8m):
  • Ngapipi Road / Tamaki Drive Intersection by 2017; and
  • Whitford Road I Sandstone Road ($0.9m) by 2014.

2.7 Complete the construction to upgrade ferry terminals at:

  • Downtown by 2017;
  • Devonport by 2017; and
  • Half Moon Bay by 2016.

2.8 Extend the regional cycleway network. including:

Complete construction of:

  • Beach Road cycleway by 2017:
  • Dominion Road parallel cycle routes by 2015:
  • Northcote, Waitemata, Mangere. Mt Roskill, and Point England sate cycleway routes by 2017;
  • Upper Harbour Drive cycleway by 2016; and
  • Waterview cycleway connection (in conjunction with NZTA) by 2017.

Complete scheme assessment and preliminary design of:

  • Glen Innes to Tamaki Drive cycleway by 2017.

Getting HOP in the Hands of more people

Brian Rudman’s column on Friday about the completion of the roll-out of HOP had some good points, although also a few mistakes.

More than a year late, and about $13 million over the original $87 million budget, Auckland Transport’s pre-pay, Hop travel card has finally achieved 100 per cent coverage of the city’s train, ferry and bus network.

My understanding is the project was actually on budget with the reason for the difference being that the original plan didn’t include Auckland Transport paying for the installation of the system on to buses. It was initially planned to leave the bus operators to source their own HOP compliant readers. The issues that ended up occurring with Snapper (among other things) ended up seeing AT change the scope of the project to include buses too and so the project budget had to be increased accordingly.

The real reason of the piece was to highlight one of the real ongoing challenges and opportunities HOP has for Auckland Transport

 Meanwhile, earlier in the day, we commuters on the usually reliable 005 bus to town also had reason to celebrate. The wondrous new Hop reader on our bus had gone feral and we got a free ride. With a smile and a shrug, the driver just waved us on board, saying not to bother swiping our card, or opening our purses.

A couple of stops further on, the free rides suddenly ended. Presumably the system had clicked back to life.

I bring this up not to knock Hop – glitches happen. But what the brief period of free entry highlighted was the time saved when passenger interaction with the driver while boarding the bus is minimised. This is what a smart card system like Hop is supposed to achieve – a quick procession of customers, swiping their smart cards as they enter the bus, with hardly a pause.

Yet despite the now 100 per cent coverage of the public transport network, we’re a long way from this ideal. This was highlighted by Tuesday’s little technical hiccup. Once the driver started taking fares, the bus stop delays returned.

To me, the celebrations are premature.

What’s the good of a $100 million smart card system if more than a third of your passengers continue to insist on paying cash. On Tuesday, while the worthies celebrated, 98,000 journeys – 36 per cent of all trips – were paid for in cash. Over the previous 30 days, 40 per cent of travellers used cash.

Because of the narrow entranceway on most buses, it takes only one cash fare to stall the boarding process. One of life’s mysteries is why a disproportionately large number of cash fare payers seem to wait until they’re standing alongside the driver before remembering they have to give him some money. They then delve into their bags to find a purse, which they then scrabble around in for loose change.

Then there are the blokes who proffer large notes, then fume irritably when the driver punishes them with a cupful of small change.

Meanwhile, Hop card holders debate whether or not there’s room to squeeze past.

It’s extremely noticeable the impact that cash payers have on boarding times. I’ve seen 20 people board a bus in almost as many seconds only for everyone to be held up by a single person paying cash. On one of the buses I caught last week, one guy held up a bus full of passengers for 3-5 minutes while he checked his wallet and pockets multiple times trying to find the exact change before finally handing over a note to pay. He then did the same thing the next day.

HOP has the potential to save huge amounts time if more people were using it. That means faster buses which not only makes them a more convenient and attractive option but has some potentially important operational benefits. If buses can be sped up enough it can mean either the same number of buses can perform more runs each day for no extra cost or less buses are needed to provide the same level of service. Getting any of those benefits is a good outcome for everyone.

So why are people, like the guy described earlier not getting a HOP card and what’s more what are. Auckland transport doing about it?

AT has started a campaign to sign up more cardholders, but the miserable 10 per cent saving over the cash fare that is the main drawcard has hardly been a great success.

Nor has the minuscule and unpromoted 50c (no, not per cent) discount offered to those transferring from one bus or train to another using a Hop card.

Perhaps the answer lies in London, where the similar Oyster card is used for more than 85 per cent of all bus and rail travel.

There, the penalty for paying cash – or if you prefer, the discount for using the smart Oyster card – is so substantial it becomes a no-brainer.

I think fares and the levels of discounts are just one thing that AT need to be thinking about. I’ve talked before about the need to make HOP useful for more people by getting it used for other services like parking – which is something I know AT are looking at. But what I want to know is what other ideas readers have for getting HOP into the hands of more people (other than those discussed in the article).

Celebration time, HOP Rollout Complete

A very important milestone was achieved last week, the Airbus Express buses went live on AT HOP. That means that every public bus, train or ferry service in Auckland can now be boarded and paid for using the same smart card. It’s a milestone that’s been dreamed about for decades and one that has a lot of false starts along the way. While the current implementation has certainly had some issues along the way since. Examples include fare evasion on trains, the removal of passes, money collected from penalty fares and of course the numerous issues with snapper but it does seem like the worst of the issues are now behind us.

On a positive note I’m also already hearing stories of how the change is benefiting people. For example people waiting along Gt North Rd have started realising that they no longer have to wait for a specific service or bus company to get to town but can get just the next one that comes along. Personally I’ve already found it much easier to catch different types of services including combining bus and train trips. After all these types of scenarios are really some of the key reasons for introducing integrated ticketing in the first place.

Hop Card

With the ticketing system in place it also means that Auckland Transport should now be able to focus some of their attention to the actual fare system and in their latest board report they say:

  • Testing of a new AT HOP Day Pass is underway for targeted introduction by April 2014 across bus, rail and ferry. The pass will offer greater flexibility through three separate geographic zones compared with the existing and to be withdrawn paper Discovery Day Pass.
  • Following direction from the December 2013 Board meeting, analysis and finalisation of the two preferred options for integrated fares is underway (5 concentric ring zonal model and 4 concentric ring zonal model + short trip fare), including product and pricing scenarios. The business case is targeted for presentation at the April 2014 Board meeting.

I don’t think either of these two developments can come fast enough (providing they are priced right). My understand is that integrated fares are planned to be introduced at roughly the same time as the new bus network next year however I would really like to see it much sooner and it would be great if it could happen later this year.

Following on from fares, to me the next stage also has to be a focus on getting HOP cards in the hands of more people. This will involve improving  the marketing, price points, availability of the cards along with levels of discount they provide. In addition AT really needs to look at getting the cards introduced to the parking system so people can pay both their on and off street parking with it. Taxi’s and bike hire schemes (if they can be bothered setting a city wide one up) are other avenues they should look in to. At the end of the day the goal should be to have as many people as possible with a HOP card in their hand as that will help to reduce some of the barriers for people to try PT.

For today though, congratulations to AT for finally getting integrated ticketing rolled out.

February 2014 Patronage

The patronage results for February are out and overall they’re looking pretty good. It was helped in part by some of the major events that occurred like the Eminem concert and the NRL 9′s however even accounting for those the results were positive.

Auckland public transport patronage totalled 70,824,030 passengers for the 12-months to Feb-2014, an increase of +0.6% on the 12-months to Jan-2014. February monthly patronage was 6,070,570, an increase of 430,610 boardings or +7.6% on Feb-2013, normalised to ~ +5.1% accounting for additional special event patronage in Feb-2014 compared to Feb-2013. No normalisation required for business days due to equivalent business days in Feb-2014 compared to Feb-2013.

Rail patronage totalled 10,879,359 passengers for the 12-months to Feb-2014, an increase of +2.0% on the 12-months to Jan-2014. Patronage for Feb-2014 was 1,005,372 an increase of 216,295 boardings or +27.4% on Feb-2013, normalised to ~ +15.2% after adjusting for special events in Feb- 2014 compared to Feb-2013.

The Northern Express bus service carried 2,339,952 passenger trips for the 12-months to Feb-2014, an increase of +1.1% on the 12 months to Jan-2014. Northern Express bus service patronage for Feb-2014 was 196,539, an increase of 25,985 boardings or +15.2% on Feb-2013, normalised to ~+9.8% accounting for special events in Feb-2014 compared to Feb-2013.

Other bus services carried 52,060,766 passenger trips for the 12-months to Feb-2014, an increase of +0.5% on the 12-months to Jan-2014. Other bus services patronage for Feb-2014 was 4,408,736, an increase of 275,971 boardings or +6.7% on Feb-2013, normalised to ~ + 6.6% accounting for special events in Feb-2014 compared to Feb-2013.

Ferry services carried 5,543,953 passenger trips for the 12-months to Feb-2014, a decrease of - 1.6% on the 12 months to Jan-2014. Ferry services patronage for Feb-2014 was 459,923, a decrease of -87,641 boardings or -16.0% on Feb-2013. Ferry patronage on the Commercial Waiheke ferry service is showing a sharp decrease when compared to the same month last year. This anomaly is being investigated and will be reported back at the next board meeting.

The increase in rail is spectacular and continues a trend we’ve seen in recent months of strong rail growth – although some of it may be attributed to fare evasion being counted in. Even so my personal experiences combined with comments I’ve seen from others is that the trains do feel busier than they did in the past. The bus results are also pleasing as the annual figure appears to have turned a corner. It had been declining each month compared to the same point the previous year since Feb 2013. The big disappointment is of course the ferries which had been performing so strongly for quite some time. Let’s hope they can improve for the rest of 2014.

14 - Feb AK Annual Patronage

With a total patronage for the last 12 months of 70.8 million trips, it is just over 1 million trips short of the peak reached after the Rugby World Cup and almost 2 million more than the low in June last year of 69.1 million. Similarly on the rail network patronage is is only 100k short of the peak set post RWC in April 2012 of 10.98 million. I made a comment in January to a senior AT manager that I thought we would reach 11 million  rail trips by the end of the financial year (30 June) and his response was that while he hoped that would happen, he wasn’t confident. It’s now looking more and more likely and I think it might possibly even happen in April.

Of course as mentioned the NRL 9′s played a big part in the boost to rail figures however it’s noted that even without that and other events, patronage growth was strong at over 15%. This can also be seen in the average weekday passengers figure which shows a growth of around 5,000 trips a day over Feb 2013.

14 - Feb AK daily rail patronage

The event figures also show that over 50% of all people attending the NRL 9′s did so via PT which is a fantastic result.

14 - Feb AK NRL 9's patronage

All up there are some fantastic results were some fantastic PT results in February and I have a feeling that March will be good too.

Lastly on to cycling and again February saw a slight decrease in cycling numbers compared to Feb 2013 although the AM peak numbers has continued to increase strongly. Not sure if there is any particular reason for this. Perhaps the attention on cycling safety following the horrific accident in January has had an impact on casual cyclists.

14 - Feb AK cycling annual

IPENZ Transport Group and the CFN

The Transportation Group of the Institution of Professional Engineers New Zealand (IPENZ) publish a quarterly newsletter on issues related to transport in New Zealand. Despite not being an engineer,  this quarter I was invited to submit an article on the Congestion Free Network. The issue has now been published and can be read here. It’s also based around the same theme we used for our presentation to the Auckland Transport board. Here’s the first few paragraphs

Auckland can be one of the best cities in the world. We have some of the best ingredients that any city could hope for with a stunning natural environment and a decent climate. While our natural environment is superb, the one area that’s let us down has been our urban environment, the way that people interact with the city and its many suburbs.

In recent years we’ve started to see a change to this and recent projects as well as some underway will help to vastly improve the city. We’ve built some world class public spaces like North Wharf and the shared spaces that have become destinations in their own right. By drawing in people they’ve also been successful economically driving increased retail spending, for example hospitality spending in Fort St increased a massive 400% following the shared space upgrade.

On top of that we’re also overhauling our public transport systems with electrification, integrated ticketing/fares and we’re going to be getting a vastly improved bus network that provides frequent routes all across the city. It’s these kinds of public realm and transport projects that are helping to make Auckland a more liveable city.

Read the full article

CFN 2030A

Even if you’re not an engineer you can join to be a member of the IPENZ Transport Group and they’ve certainly had some interesting events over the last year or so that readers may be interested in or even attended).

Join up and get Roundabout and all the other member benefits (like invites to branch events on topical transport issues in your area).

Membership is open to anyone with an interest in transportation – you don’t need to be an engineer!

Go to www.ipenz.org.nz/ipenztg/members to fill it in online.

Auckland Civic Hackathon launched

You may remember that late last year we held a competition in conjunction with Auckland Transport to suggest and vote on some quick and easy ideas. The idea that achieved the most votes (28) was about opening up real time data to developers.

Well the fantastic news is that it’s going to happen. AT have been creating APIs for many of their data streams are going to open then up a civic hackathon they will be hosting called HACKAKL: Transport. It appears to be intended to be the first step for Auckland in opening up increasing amounts of civic data.

Welcome to HACKAKL:Transport, Auckland’s first civic hacking event. This is an open invitation to designers, software developers, architects, activists, innovators or anyone who wants to be involved to participate in a weekend of ‘hacking for good’.

In what we hope is the first of many, this event seeks to establish a community of innovators and developers who are interested in making an ongoing contribution to civic solutions that leverage open government data, from both regional and national sources. This is about thinking differently and leveraging the power of a community and creative problem solving.

If we are successful, not only will we have some cool ideas and creative solutions, but more importantly, we will have formed a community (HACKAKL) within a community (Auckland and New Zealand) that is willing to own the ‘civic hacking for good’ agenda going forward.

To give us some focus, the theme for this inaugural event is transport. Take a look at the challenges page for inspiration on the types of problems we could help solve. Keep visiting this page as we will continue to provide more information to contextualise the issues as we are approved to share it.

The mission of this weekend is multifaceted. Our goals include:

  • Providing an opportunity for personal development and network building
  • Enabling innovation for greater good
  • Support the evolution and democratisation of open government data
  • Supporting the government STEM agenda – Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics
  • Creating a new community and its self governance going forward

This event is for and about those that participate. You can choose to take a known challenge or render your own solution based on the data sets you think will bring value to the wider community in some new useful form.

They’ve also created a series of challenges they’re hoping to solve.

Public transport

  • Intuitive journey planning that allows users to leave at the last minute and navigate while on the move
  • The relationship between public transport and attractions/destinations
  • Ease of use for first time users and tourists
  • User loyalty and gamification of public transport
  • The linkage of walking, cycling and public transport as part of an overall journey
  • Helping commuters compare real costs of driving vs public transport
  • Journey safety

Walking and cycling

  • Journey planning
  • Safe routes
  • Promotion of cycling and walking as an alternative to driving
  • Linkages with public transport

Parking

  • User awareness of parking restrictions and cost in any given location
  • Availability and demand management

Driving

  • Journey planning and congestion
  • Roadworks and disruptions

I’m really looking forward to seeing some of the neat ideas you developers can come up with.

So if you’re interested go and register at http://hackakl.org.nz/

Oh and good on AT for doing this.

West Harbour ferry gets bigger

Some good news from Auckland Transport that ferry patronage out of West Harbour has increased to the point of needing a larger ferry.

A jump in passenger numbers means a bigger ferry has joined the run to West Harbour operated by Belaire Ferries for Auckland Transport.

Belaire Ferries Managing Director, Adam Tallentire, says the 90 passenger Spirit will now operate on the morning services along with 49 seaters Clipper and Serenity. “With this increase in capacity we are confident that even more commuters will consider the ferry as an alternative, a way to escape the on-going upgrade work on the North-western motorway.”

The new service was immediately popular, on the first sailing of Spirit on Monday 3 March there were 64 passengers (picture attached). The previous capacity on the sailing was 49 passengers.

The West Harbour service has seen a 56 per cent jump in patronage since capacity was last expanded in October 2011.

There are 14 return trips between West Harbour and Downtown each weekday.

A 56% increase in patronage over just a few years is fairly impressive, even if just off a small base. I imagine the service could be especially popular over the next few years now that the North Western motorway has been turned into a giant work site.

West Harbour new Ferry

How census mode share has changed over time

On Saturday we finally saw the first glimpses of information on the Journey to Work (JTW) data from the 2013 Census for Auckland (we received the national figures a few months ago). This morning Stu looked at how effective investment in each mode has been since 2006. For this post I’m going to look at how the trends in Auckland have been changing over time and I’ve managed to find the data from as far back as 1996.

First up we have the total number of people in each category.

2013 - Auckland Journey to Work - Total Chart

One thing that surprises me about this figure is just how little the “Worked from home” figure has changed over time. As a percentage of the total it has remained unchanged at 7% despite great advances in the ease and ability of people to work at home. It also defies the claims of those who argue we don’t need to invest in PT because more and more people will work from home in the future and not need to travel.

I’ve also simplified that by looking only at the modes that required transport and grouping similar ones together. I have included the “Other” column with PT as I understand much of patronage in that bucket is related to the ferries. You’ll also notice that I’ve dropped the “Working from home” and “Didn’t go to work” columns to only look at those who are going to work.

2013 - Auckland Journey to Work - Chart Simplified

So all modes had an increase but the fascinating thing is that there was a larger increase in PT than there was in Private Vehicles. Converting the figures above to mode share percentages we get.

2013 - Auckland Journey to Work - Percentage

and the simplified version

2013 - Auckland Journey to Work - Percentage simplifed

Private vehicles clearly still dominate the figures for how people get to work although that is slowly starting to change as more people use public transport, walking and cycling as those options improve. During the last census cycle we’ve had big improvements to the rail network and the construction of the Northern Busway, both of which have driven a lot of growth. By the next census AT should have completed the current tranche of projects that will really revolutionise PT in Auckland. These include Electrification, the New Network, integrated ticketing/fares and other customer experience improvements. Combined those improvements could quite possibly push private vehicle usage below 80%.

Further if the current trends continue then from these numbers we might be able to say that 2001 (or sometime around then) was the point when car dominance peaked in Auckland. Imagine just how much further that share would drop if we were to build the Congestion Free Network.

Lastly just to try and put the changes in perspective. What would have happened if the growth that occurred had of been at the same mode share percentage as 2006. By my calculation it would have meant we would have had just over 11,300 more private vehicle trips, 9,000 less PT trips and 2,300 less active trips. Most of the growth of active and PT trips has been to the city centre and so to accommodate those extra 11,300 private vehicles trips on the road network would have needed 2-3 extra lanes of road capacity, in other words effectively we would have needed another motorway to the city centre.

Census Travel to work results

Auckland’s journey to work data from the census was released yesterday by the council on their site www.censusauckland.co.nz. Journey to work is a useful metric but it does have some serious flaws in that as the name implies it’s only recording how people got to work whereas there are generally a lot of other trips at peak times, like to school. In Auckland for example tens of thousands of students enter the CBD each day to go to the Universities or other education providers and those students all have a big impact on transport networks. This can be quite important when looking at PT trends as students tend to be much stronger users of PT than other parts of the population.

I’ll go through the data and how it’s changed over time in the next few days but here are some images from the maps showing the results which in themselves are quite telling.

First up travel to work by car, truck, van or company bus. Unsurprisingly the lowest car use is in the areas surrounding the central city as well as the lower North Shore. Whenuapai West will stick out on many of the graphs which I assume is due to airforce staff having very localised trips. The area around Pakuranga/Howick/Botany really stands out as being quite car dependant which is unsurprising seeing as the PT network in that part of the city have been so poor.

2013 - Auckland Journey to Work - Car

Next we have trips by public bus. What I find most interesting – and completely unsurprising – is that the areas with the strongest bus usage also happen to be the same areas where the most bus priority and frequency exists. Of the dark blue areas, those that surround Dominion Rd happen to have the highest bus usage.

2013 - Auckland Journey to Work - Bus

On to train and that is obviously focused primarily on the areas next to the rail network.

2013 - Auckland Journey to Work - Train

For cycling the highest use is once again focused on the inner suburbs and on those along Tamaki Dr

2013 - Auckland Journey to Work - Cycle

Like many of the other measurements walking to work is something primarily seen in the inner suburbs although there are some stronger patches in some of the suburban centres.

2013 - Auckland Journey to Work - Walk

Lastly Other under which ferries sit and because of that it’s unsurprising to see the areas with ferry service stand out strongly.

2013 - Auckland Journey to Work - Other

As mentioned earlier I’ll be looking into the results in more detail in coming days however what is quite clear just from looking at these maps is that the areas with the higher quality PT, walking and cycling links also happen to be the ones with the lowest car usage. In other words giving people high quality alternatives will see more people choosing not to drive.