Auckland Transport have announced that they will spend $58 million to widen a 4km section of Albany Highway starting in September. The road is an interesting one in that some parts look like a typical suburban street while other parts don’t appear to have really changed since the road was a state highway. Here’s the press release:
Auckland Transport’s greatly anticipated upgrade of the northern section of Albany Highway is expected to begin this September.
The $58 million construction of the Albany Highway North upgrade involves widening a 4km stretch of the highway between Schnapper Rock Road and the Albany Expressway to accommodate four lanes of traffic and separated cycling and walking paths. The main aims are to cater for traffic growth, reduce congestion, improve safety for all road users and encourage alternative modes of transport, such as bus travel, cycling and carpooling.
About 15,000 vehicles, as well as cyclists and pedestrians, use Albany Highway every day, and it also serves the North Harbour industrial estate, five schools, Massey University and a cluster of residential estates.
The announcement is welcomed by the Upper Harbour Local Board, which says many locals are looking forward to the benefits the completed upgrade will bring to those living, working and commuting in the area.
“The local community – and in particular its 5,000 school students – can only benefit from improvements aimed at delivering safer and quicker travel options as this area of Auckland continues to grow,” says board chairman Brian Neeson.
The NZ Transport Agency is funding 53 per cent of the upgrade, which together with the agency’s current project to upgrade SH1 between Upper Harbour Highway and Greville Road, is part of a wider strategy to improve transport links on the North Shore.
The Transport Agency’s Regional Manager of Planning and Investment, Peter Casey, says: “This is a priority investment for the Transport Agency to help ease congestion and provide more reliable journey times for people in a very busy and growing part of Auckland”.
Features of the Albany Highway North Upgrade:
- Four traffic lanes (with two general traffic and T3 transit lanes)
- Signalisation of three major intersections (currently roundabouts) at Rosedale Road, Bass Road and Wharf Road
- Signalised pedestrian crossings and wider footpaths
- Dedicated cycle paths and footpaths, or shared paths where there is insufficient space
- Stormwater improvements to reduce pollution from the road flowing into local streams
- Relocation and undergrounding of main utility services (gas, water, telephone and electricity)
- Construction of a new four-lane bridge over the Oteha Stream (Days Bridge)
- Street lighting upgrade using energy-efficient LED lanterns
- New bus stops with shelters
The upgrade is expected to start in September, once the worst of the winter weather is over, and take about two and a half years to complete.
For more detailed information on the Albany Highway North Upgrade, visit www.at.govt.nz/albanyhighway
The section that’s being upgraded is in red below
Like so many projects this one seems to have some really good aspects and some not so good aspects. One one hand $58 million is a lot of money to be spending on road widening, especially seeing as the NZTA is currently in the process of widening the motorway northbound between Upper Harbour Dr and Greville Rd.
On the other hand, from what I can tell it might end up being one of the closest streets we have to a complete street that caters for all users. I understand that Cycle Action Auckland have fought hard for dedicated cycling facilities which AT are saying they are providing – although only through shared paths in some places. For a busy road like this mid-block pedestrian crossings are also quite useful providing they’re frequent enough.
If we are widening roads, making the new lanes T3 right from the start is a much better idea than just creating additional general traffic lanes – providing the T3 lanes are monitored of course. This is something I think Auckland Transport should have done for the Tiverton/Wolverton upgrade too. For this particular road bus only lanes would likely have been overkill as even with the new network, there won’t be that many buses using it. An idea of what the layout will be is below:
There are a number of before and after images on the AT website however they are quite small and hard to see the details of so I’ve not included them in this post.
Overall I do find the timing of this announcement quite odd as construction is still months away. We’ve seen the NZTA stealing the limelight recently with funding announcements for local road projects. Perhaps this is a case of Auckland Transport trying to announce the project before the NZTA does. Also worth noting is that this is a project we did list in the list of road projects that would still happen even if the CFN was adopted immediately.
The council’s Infrastructure Committee meets for the first time this year on Wednesday and one of the agenda items is the Role of Cycling in Auckland (or download the PDF version)
- Auckland’s population is forecast to grow significantly over the next 30 years. This highlights the need to provide greater transport choices to achieve a more resilient, efficient and reliable transport system.
- As the cycle network is still under development the current cycle infrastructure in Auckland does not provide a connected network of cycle ways and ranges in quality from excellent to poor. Recent cycle counts and customer surveys highlight that even with current infrastructure constraints there is a steady increase (10 percent per annum) in cycle numbers and a demand for safer and connected cycleways.
- Attachment A outlines Auckland Transport infrastructural projects that will deliver key sections of the Auckland Cycle Network (ACN) between 2014 and 2019.
- The ACN shown in Attachment B, developed by Auckland Transport, is the long-term blueprint for developing a well-connected, high quality cycle network. The current level of investment in cycleways will fall short of the Auckland Plan target of completing 70 percent of the ACN by 2020.
- Cycling and cycle infrastructure contributes to wider strategic objectives of the Auckland Plan associated with economic, social, environmental, land use, transport and infrastructure goals.
- Cycling contributes to economic development and growth by supporting urban vitality, increasing local spend and offers value for money with relatively low upfront investment.
- In the development of the draft Long-term Plan 2015-2025 and the Regional Land Transport Plan a number of strategic decisions will be required regarding allocation of road space and funding of cycleway programmes.
That the Infrastructure Committee:
- acknowledge the importance of cycling in contributing to the vision of creating the world’s most liveable city.
- support consideration of greater financial commitment to cycling in the draft Long-term Plan and Regional Land Transport Plan.
Ultimately this paper seems aimed at starting the discussion with the council to increase the level of funding for cycling projects in the next iteration of the Long Term Plan that the council is starting to work on. Later this year we will see a new government policy statement for transport which will set the funding bands for transport from 2015 onwards. It’s noted that the council, Auckland Transport and NZTA are all trying to get the government/ministry to increase the cycling band.
The discussion report provides a lot more information. A couple of things that stand out for me from it.
- As noted above the Auckland Plan target is to complete 70% of the regional cycle network by 2020. It has been estimated that 30% is already place (although to a debatable standard) but crucially based on the funding in the current long term plan only 40-50% will have been completed by 2020. That’s way short of the target the council set less than two years ago. We can’t blame AT for all of this though as it is also important for the council to provide their share of the funding needed to do the work.
- Some numbers show just how much opportunity there is for cycling, 2/3rds of all trips are less than 6km while 1/3rd are less than 2km. Those are easy cycling distances and even casual cyclists could do those distances in roughly 20 or 6 minutes respectively.
- As we’ve reported before, AT has split the proposed cycle network up in to three categories
- METRO – provide segregation from traffic along shared paths, off road routes and protected cycle lanes
- CONNECTOR – are not fully segregated routes and are the more traditional cycle lanes marked by painted lines
- FEEDER can be a mixture of segregation, shared paths and on-road routes but are located on quiet neighbourhood streets and where there are low traffic speeds. These routes link residential streets, parks and community facilities including schools. The Feeder network also aligns with Local Board Greenway proposals
- All up the proposed cycle network will be 293km in length which can be broken down to 95 km of cycle metros, 130 km of cycle connectors and 57 km of feeder routes
- In research done for Auckland Transport, 59% said safety was a barrier to them cycling, 79% agreed that more should be done to improve cycle safety and 55% said separated cycle facilities were a key priority.
The paper also provides some statistics that could be improved through getting more people cycling. This includes:
- Transport emissions are up 64% on 1990 levels and the social cost of poor air quality in Auckland was estimated in 2012 at $1.07 billion per year.
- The costs of physical inactivity in Auckland have been estimated at $402 million and cause 73 premature deaths per year.
- That if just 5% of adults travelling less than 7km switched from driving to cycling it would:
- Reduced vehicle travel by 223 million kilometres;
- Saving of 22 million litres of fuel and $37 million in fuel costs; and
- 50,000 tonnes less CO2 would be emitted and reductions in other pollutants.
Those are some pretty decent numbers.
Perhaps one of the most interesting things about this report to the council is that we get probably the clearest map yet of the total cycling network planned under the Metro, Connector and Feeder categories (there have been versions in plans like the ITP but they haven’t been easy to read). Remember the hierarchy is that the red lines are going to be the best and highest quality parts of the network,
A couple of things stand out here. First in the CBD it appears we’ll get a ring of separated cycleways around the CBD – including on Neslon St and the old Nelson St offramp – however we won’t get one through it. I would have thought that the Victoria St Linear Park would have had a separated cycleway along it. Also not sure why AT wouldn’t push for there to eventually be a full separated cycleway down Queen St now appears well over provisioned in road space for cars.
Moving out of the CBD some areas seem to be quite light on particularity feeder routes. This is a worry as many of the areas missing these feeder routes are also around current or future train or busway stations. One example is my local area (below) where no cycle routes are to be found connecting the station and local primary schools (green plus a heap of secondary schools just north of this image too). There are roughly 14,000 residents in this area along with some wide roads that would be easy to put cycle lanes on if on-street parking was removed (on-street parking only really seems to get used around the school start/end times anyway). Also note the Metro route in red isn’t practical for those mainly to the west of Sturges Rd.
Overall the long term cycle network is a damn sight better than what we have now but what we really need is for the council (and government) to support the construction of it. Something that will need to be pushed for in the long term plan discussions.
This morning we received the excellent news from Lester Levy that within the next three months, for the first time in Auckland Transports history it will have created a new bus lane. The purpose of this post is a bit of a reminder as to why investing in bus lanes is so critical for us to do as a city.
This issue has been one we have focused on for some time and when there is such a huge focus on improving public transport, increasing patronage and investing in alternatives to driving everywhere – the complete lack of progress on bus lanes is utterly bizarre. The other part of the reason why we focus so much on bus lanes is that they’re just so fantastic. With the use of just a bit of green paint and a few signs, a fast, reliable, high quality and attractive public transport route can be created. In many situations this can vastly increase the capacity of the roading corridor as people take up a whole lot less room when on a bus than they do one person to a car. There are many different versions of this image around but it is a good way of highlighting the efficiency that buses provide.
Locally we can see just how much of an impact buses have on roads into the CBD from the annual screenline studies that take place. Take a look at how many more people travel along Karangahape Road, Symonds Street and Fanshawe Street by bus than do by car:
Given that all three streets mentioned above are pretty packed out for cars at peak times, if it wasn’t for the buses carrying so many people each street would need to have twice the number of lanes it currently has. This has also been seen on the Harbour Bridge where the number of people crossing at peak times has continued to rise while the number of vehicles hasn’t, in large part due to the improvements in bus infrastructure on the North Shore making buses more attractive. Before the Northern Busway only 18% of those crossing the bridge in the peak did so on a bus, now that number is up over 40%. The image below is a bit old now but highlights the trend that has been occurring and that has continued to occur.
But maximising capacity is not the only reason why we should consider putting in bus lanes. Even where less than 50% of people moving along a corridor are on the bus, there’s still a big benefit of bus lanes providing a fast, reliable congestion free travel option. We haven’t shown all streets that should have bus lanes on the congestion free network maps, but in a way we should – because as long as the bus lanes are continuous (often they aren’t), have sufficient hours of operation (which often they don’t) and are supported by traffic signal phasing tuned to maximise public transport efficiency (something that happens overseas but generally not here), bus lanes can often provide a really good level of service for low-to-medium demand routes.
No congestion in this lane!
Furthermore, bus lanes should help improve operational efficiency of the bus network. The longer a bus takes to get from A to B, the more buses that are needed on that route to keep frequencies at the same level. During peak hours not only are more buses often required because of increased demand, but as buses get stuck in congestion and take much longer to complete their routes, even more buses are needed on the network to limit the gaps between services. And a whole pile of buses used only at peak times means a very expensive system to run. By taking the buses out of the congestion, not only will the service attract many more people (and their fares), fewer buses will be required to maintain the desired frequencies because the buses will be travelling so much faster.
So why aren’t we seeing more bus lanes? Of course the real beauty of bus lanes is also their greatest challenge: because they don’t need to require building more road space, they do involve taking that space away from other uses. Usually either peak hour private vehicle capacity (if there’s a clearway or other parking restriction) or on-street parking. Both of these uses are notoriously difficult to reallocate to bus lanes – even when there’s an utterly compelling argument. Over the past few years – while we haven’t been building any bus lanes – there certainly have been numerous arguments over the ones we have. This has led to things like a farcical number of signs around Grafton Bridge and the winding back of the Remuera Road bus lanes to T3 lanes.
In summary, we know that often there are compelling arguments for bus lanes based on logic – whether that’s maximising the capacity of the road corridor, significantly improving the quality of public transport along a route or improving operational efficiency. Or all three. However, we also know that implementing bus lanes can be tough due to petty politics and intense local debates over things like on-street parking. This situation reminds me of quite a bit of discussion in the past couple of weeks around the Council’s upcoming review of the Council-Controlled Organisations – of which Auckland Transport is the largest. Quite a lot of the arguments in favour of CCOs is that they’re able to operate a ‘step away’ from day-to-day politicking that can hold back progress. That they’re able to make the right decisions based on the greater good, rather than be held back by the vocal few. This is something that Lester touched on in his letter this morning.
One of the most salient messages that I took from Jarrett’s work is that bold initiatives, require courage and commitment (and perseverance) to ensure the benefits are in fact delivered. I was very interested in Jarrett’s point of view that what is in the greater public interest is not going to be in everyone’s interest. I happen to agree with Jarett and it is very important for Auckland Transport now and into the future not to jump and react to every issue raised, but rather to clearly define its direction and priorities, hold true to them and then focus on excellent and rapid implementation.
Progressing bus lanes is a great way for Auckland Transport to prove its worth.
Lester Levy has asked me to publish this note from him in full.
I want to take this opportunity to thank the Transport Blog, Generation Zero and Cycle Action Auckland for taking up my invitation to present the Congestion Free Network concept to our recent Auckland Transport Board meeting. The Congestion Free Network is a thoughtful and constructive concept and I thought it important that the Auckland Transport Board and Senior Executives had the opportunity to engage with your group directly, on this concept. The presentation was very clear and perfectly articulated by Patrick Reynolds.
It will be interesting for Auckland Transport to now examine the Congestion Free Network in more detail with you, but without a doubt this is a concept that helps create an environment of both more contestable ideas and generative thinking.
I believe that Auckland Transport needs to be more open to examining ideas from outside the organisation, a good example is the suggestion from Luke Christensen regarding bus lanes on Fanshawe Street, westbound from Albert Street to Nelson Street and on to Halsey Street. As many of your readers may know, there is currently a more comprehensive piece of work being undertaken to develop a potential busway from Beaumont Street, along Fanshawe Street to the downtown area, with a bus station on Fanshawe Street – but this solution is certainly some time away from delivery, so any interim and pragmatic relief is very sensible.
I asked Auckland Transport management to examine Luke’s suggestion (which was supported by the advocacy of Cameron Pitches from The Campaign for Better Transport) and management have concluded that it is possible to provide bus lanes over this section suggested, and that these could remain in place until an ultimate solution is provided. The City Centre Integration Group will coordinate this work with Auckland Transport and look to put it in place as soon as practicable. As always, there is a process around designating bus lanes, but I understand this can happen reasonably quickly.
Auckland Transport management had themselves been progressing a number of opportunities in respect of pragmatic interim solutions, but Luke’s suggestion was not on that early programme. I am very pleased with management’s response in that they quickly reviewed their programme and concluded that there would be value in doing the Fanshawe Street westbound bus lane improvements as soon as practicable. Once the planning regulatory processes have been resolved it is possible that we could have a solution in place within three months.
I have also noted that there is a subsequent transport blog item proposing more bus lanes on the Symonds Street corridor. Interestingly our team have been considering this already and there are some fairly significant infrastructure issues to overcome before we implement the solution there, but we are programming work to achieve this.
Increasingly we need to have pragmatic, interim solutions in place whilst we work towards the more time consuming, ideal and more complete solutions – this response is an exemplar of this type of approach. Thanks to Luke and Cameron and Auckland Transport’s management – an excellent virtual team.
You may recall that late last year I invited Jarett Walker (“Human Transit – How Clearer Thinking About Public Transit Can Enrich our Communities And our Lives”) to make a presentation to the Auckland Transport Board. Like the proponents of the Congestion Free Network, Jarett is a clear thinker and an articulate advocate for public transport. I was pleased with his positive view of what we are doing, in particular with the roll-out of the new, high frequency bus network (starting in South Auckland).
One of the most salient messages that I took from Jarrett’s work is that bold initiatives, require courage and commitment (and perseverance) to ensure the benefits are in fact delivered. I was very interested in Jarrett’s point of view that what is in the greater public interest is not going to be in everyones interest. I happen to agree with Jarett and it is very important for Auckland Transport now and into the future not to jump and react to every issue raised, but rather to clearly define its direction and priorities, hold true to them and then focus on excellent and rapid implementation.
Finally, I take this opportunity to thank and acknowledge the Transport Blog and all its contributors for adding – mostly constructively – to the vitality of discussion around how we are taking transport in Auckland forward.
Dr Lester Levy
Our presentation is here.
The CRL has been approved by the planning commissioners hearing the notice of requirement. I haven’t had a chance to look through the documents about the decision and won’t fit a little while yet so let me know if there’s anything interesting in them.
Auckland Transport has today welcomed a unanimous recommendation by independent planning commissioners that the land required to build, operate and maintain the City Rail Link (CRL) be set aside for the project.
The five commissioners, who heard AT’s planning application for the CRL, have recommended that the designation for the land be confirmed, subject to conditions that address issues raised by submitters.
The commissioners say they accepted the CRL would result in significant overall benefits to the people and economy of Auckland. “There was no evidence to challenge the benefits of the project and most submitters in opposition accepted the merits of the project.”
AT Chief Executive, David Warburton, says the recommendation and related conditions would now be considered by Auckland Transport. AT has 30 working days to confirm, amend or withdraw the notices.
There was overwhelming support for the CRL and many of those who submitted in opposition to ensure their particular interests were addressed, also voiced their support for the project.
David Warburton says when a decision is made, all affected landowners and submitters will be informed of the result. Submitters will have 15 working days to appeal the decision to the Environment Court.
The documents are here.
A few weeks ago I asked readers where in Auckland was in urgent need of more bus lanes.My first post regarding quick wins on Fanshawe Street has been quite successful so far, with several Councillors asking questions of the Auckland Transport chair. This resulted in Auckland Transport finally acknowledging that they were aiming to build a proper busway along here in the next few years, as well as a promise to see if the quick win idea was feasible.
Another area that came up regularly in the comments section of the first article was the area around Upper Symonds Street and Newton. This is especially topical this week with university starting back this week. I heard from several people that there were big delays here on Monday morning, and total jams here are not uncommon.
This area has very high bus volumes, with several of the highest frequency bus routes in Auckland converging at this spot. Looking up the timetables between 7am and 9am I found the bus volumes were as follows-
||2 hour volume
|Mount Eden Road
|New North Road
|Manukau Road (joins at Khyber Pass)
|Gillies Ave (joins at Khyber Pass)
This gives a total of 182 buses in the 2 hour morning peak, or one about every 40 seconds. The 2013 screenline survey (undertaken last March) showed that buses carried 6734 people into the city along this corridor between 7am and 9am. In comparison the latest vehicle count data for the area (from 2006) only found 984 cars in the busiest morning peak hour. While we can only guess at car occupancy rates (often estimated at 1.5), buses will certainly be carrying at least 2/3 of the people along this corridor. This is a strong case for continuous bus lanes along here.
So here is the map of the current bus lanes in Symonds St from Karangahape Road south to the intersection with Mount Eden and New North Roads.
current bus lanes along Upper Symonds Street
Bizzarely there are no northbound buslanes at all, while the southbound lanes stop at Khyber Pass, despite 83% of buses continuing to the New North/Mt Eden intersection.
However there is a very easy fix for most of this corridor. This area is lined with Clearways (seen in dark blue). These are parking during off-peak times, but general traffic lanes from 7am to 9am, and 4pm to 6pm. These could very simply be converted to bus lanes following the same time periods. Considering the statistics above this would result in a better outcome for most users of this corridor. These Clearways also continue down New North Road almost to the Dominion Road flyover so these should become bus lanes too.
The only issue comes near Alex Evans Street where the it narrows to 2 lanes, and there is a left turn into Alex Evans. This could either be a joint left turn/bus lane or the left turn into Alex Evans could be removed as there are plenty of other easy routes for left turning traffic.
At the intersection with Karangahape Road, general traffic gets 2 northbound lanes, despite them merging straight away into 1, while buses get a tiny advance stop box, which gets blocked by left turning traffic. So the easy solution is to make one of the straight through lanes into a bus lane, which matches what happens straight after the lights anyway. This can extend back to Alex Evans St, with a gap to let cars cross over into the ridiculously long left turn lane.
Again these are just short term fixes. In the longer term a more complicated solution will need to be devised, potentially a centreline busway with full stations. This could fit in with a major regeneration of the area in tandem with the Newton City Rail Link station (located directly opposite where Mt Eden Road ends). However it will be complicated to design an appropriate solution that matches the needs of increasing numbers of buses, much increased volumes of pedestrians and the need for separated cycleways.
Some more good news that the NZTA has agreed to help fund both the Manukau and Otahuhu interchanges.
Two keys projects linked to the upgrade of bus and rail services in Auckland south have received $1.6m in funding from the NZ Transport Agency
The Transport Agency will fund $780,000 for the design of a bus station at the Manukau transport interchange, and $831,000 for the design of the bus/rail interchange at Otahuhu.
The funding represents a 50% share of the design costs for both projects, which are being led by Auckland Transport as part of its comprehensive programme to improve public transport services across the city.
The Regional Manager for the Transport Agency’s Planning and Investment Group, Peter Casey, says providing people with more frequent public transport services was a key factor behind the funding decision.
“The development of Auckland Transport’s new interchanges at Manukau and Otahuhu will promote greater use of buses and trains,” Mr Casey says.
Auckland Transport’s Chief Development Officer, Claire Stewart, welcomes the funding.
“These two interchanges are an integral part of Auckland Transport’s on-going upgrade of transport infrastructure in the south. We want to provide facilities which will improve the experience for our customers,” she says.
Mr Casey says the Transport Agency provides funds for several of Auckland’s big public transport projects including the electrification of the rail network, the roll-out of the one ticket electronic HOP card, and the development of AMETI (Auckland Manukau Eastern Transport Initiative) to improve travel for both drivers and people who use buses and trains.
It would be good to see what the final designs are that have been approved.
Otahuhu interchange proposal
Manukau interchange plan
It’s also interesting that the NZTA are the ones making these announcements. The cynic in me wonders if three are softening us up for a big roads announcement.
Why is the CEO of Auckland Transport saying this? (comment was made to local board members).
He either means that they aren’t currently up to scratch as walking routes or more likely based on the tone of the tweet above (and from others who were there) he was meaning that they shouldn’t be walking environments. This is seriously concerning.
Here’s map from AT of all of the arterial and strategic routes in the city and there’s a lot of roads that we apparently shouldn’t be walking on.
Of course many of those arterial roads also have town centres on them, places we want locals walking to and around.
One possible explanation for this comment may come from the general approach to “roads” at AT as revealed in their new Draft ATCOP. While I haven’t been able to get through much of the 1,000 pages yet, in chapter 7 this is how they explain the road hierarchy:
“Arterials have an important strategic movement function and focus. Collectors and Local Streets have a combined movement/access function. Lanes/Service Lanes and Shared Zones/Spaces have an access/place emphasis.”
It’s hard to know how to comment on this since it is so far from a progressive understanding of streets.
There was also this tweet from Vernon but as he points out, it’s very concerning that the CEO of Auckland Transport would mix up motorways and arterials
In my post yesterday about the AT board meeting I omitted discussing one crucial agenda item – although I’m sure some of you picked up on it. It was
Presentation by Cycle Action, Generation Zero and Transport Blog on cycling Auckland
Both we and Cycle Action Auckland were invited late last year by the board to present to them on the Congestion Free Network and on Cycling. Both us and CAA believe there are huge synergies to be had between PT and cycling and so we agreed to combine our presentations into one (for which we were also given additional time than had we done them separately).
I also have to say a huge thanks to Lance Wiggs and his wife Su Yin for heroically helping us last minute to vastly improve the presentation.
You can see the presentation here (7MB) but as you will see it has a lot of photos and not a lot of text.
The general thrust behind the presentation was that
- Auckland has the right ingredients to make it one of the best cities in the world. What we need to do now is make that a reality and make Auckland more liveable.
- On top of that there are a lot of great things going on already with the likes of Wynyard, shared spaces, electrification, integrated ticketing/fares, new bus network etc.
- That we are at a tipping point, we’re seeing trends change with less people choosing to drive and more opting for PT, walking and cycling.
- That investments in a more liveable city are already paying off e.g. in Fort St where Hospitality spending is up 400% since the shared spaces were created.
- That the CFN builds on what AT is doing and does so primarily by re-prioritising the projects they already have.
- That the CFN is much cheaper than what is currently planned which will reduce/remove the need for much of the funding shortfall that the council will need to find.
- That the impact of the CFN can be greatly boosted by improving cycling (not just about feeding the CFN though).
- That improvements to PT, walking and cycling can make it easier for kids to get to school, thereby helping to improve traffic.
- That this is also what other cities are doing. As Patrick says, if a city like New York can do this stuff with the demand for space that they have then we certainly can.
- That it doesn’t have to be done with expensive road widening.
- That the boards leadership is needed to help make these improvements and that ultimately they are the ones responsible for/have the control to make Auckland the world’s best city.
The presentation was well received and we had a number of comments from board members afterwards saying they thought it was done very well. I could also definitely see a few of them nodding in agreement with what we were saying.
Perhaps one of the funnier moments was that we had talked about how parking needs to be addressed and that in some cases it should be removed. At the end of the presentation it was mentioned that a group from Freemans Bay were in the audience and who might disagree with us however they also approached us saying how much they agree. They could see that by improving the PT network we have that less people would want to or need to drive to inner suburbs to park their cars on residential streets (also known as hide and ride).
All up we were very happy with the outcome and the main thing is it is something that will be in the back of the minds of AT board members who will shortly be having internal discussions about their future strategy.
Now we just need to work out who we should talk to next, perhaps we should also try to present to the NZTA board (I know at least some have already heard about it).
Update: Google Drive doesn’t seem to be playing very nice with the images so have used Dropbox instead. Links updated or click here.
Patronage for January is out and there’s (mostly) positive news.
Auckland public transport patronage totalled 70,391,404 passengers for the 12-months to Jan-2014, an increase of +0.2% on the 12-months to Dec-2013. January monthly patronage was 4,653,153, an increase of 157,453 boardings or +3.5% on Jan-2013, normalised to ~ +3.3% accounting for one additional weekday and two less weekend days for rail in Jan-2014 compared to Jan-2013 (due to track closures). No normalisation required due to equivalent business days for bus and ferry.
Rail patronage totalled 10,661,048 passengers for the 12-months to Jan-2014, an increase of + 0.5% on the 12-months to Dec-2013. Patronage for Jan-2014 was 588,574, an increase of 50,087 boardings or +9.3% on Jan-2013, normalised to ~ +7.6% accounting for one less rail operational day in Jan-2014 compared to Jan-2013.
The Northern Express bus service carried 2,313,967 passenger trips for the 12-months to Jan-2014, an increase of +0.4% on the 12 months to Dec-2013. Northern Express bus service patronage for Jan-2014 was 146,740, an increase of 9,636 boardings or +7.0% on Jan-2013.
Other bus services carried 51,784,795 passenger trips for the 12-months to Jan-2014, an increase of +0.3% on the 12-months to Dec-2013. Other bus services patronage for Jan-2014 was 3,410,157, an increase of 154,385 boardings or +4.7% on Jan-2013.
Ferry services carried 5,631,594 passenger trips for the 12-months to Jan-2014, a decrease of -1.0% on the 12 months to Dec-2013. Ferry services patronage for Jan-2014 was 507,682, a decrease of -56,655 boardings or -10.0% on Jan-2013.
Perhaps the most pleasing aspect is that the 12m rolling figure for total patronage grew for the first time in over a year (although it may have done so in December but AT haven’t released those figures). This is pleasing as we’ve been seeing rail patronage recovering but bus patronage still has a way to go.
On rail patronage, we’re still not quite back to the peak (which was in April 2012) but we are getting closer to it and with the first electric trains just over two months away I’m guessing we might see it met/surpassed by the end of the financial year (June) and we may even crack the 11 million trips on rail mark.
The biggest disappointment was that compared to Jan 2013, ferry patronage was down 10% although with some strong growth over the last year or so the 12m rolling figure is still positive. Here are the graphs.
As mentioned rail patronage is climbing again and you can see it in this graph.
For some time now the AT reports have also been including bus patronage by sector being divided into North, West, South and Isthmus. The isthmus will definitely have some cross with the west and south as many routes of the routes from west/south pass through the isthmus and pick up passengers along the way, that patronage would be counted based on the sector the bus route assigned to. However when combined with patronage on the rail network it does provide an interesting proxy for patronage by area.
Unsurprisingly the Isthmus has the highest patronage (12m rolling total is 25.8 million) which will likely reflect it both having a higher population but also generally a more direct and higher frequency bus network, particularly along routes like Dominion Rd, Mt Eden Rd etc. This is followed by the south (17.4 mil), north (13 mil) then west (8.7 mil). What’s interesting is when you index the results back to the earliest date the data is in the reports which is Aug 2010 – just before AT came into existence. The west stands out due to the massive jump from the RWC but otherwise seems to generally follow the north and south areas in terms of growth. By comparison the Isthmus seems to do its own thing to a much greater extent. I’m not sure why it is different.
Lastly cycling numbers were down slightly on Jan 2013 however there has been continued strong growth in cycling numbers over the last year so the trend is still pointing up.