Finance Minister and Transport Minister say greater use of technology & directly charging for road use to be part of improving Auckland transport system

Finance Minister and Transport Minister say greater use of technology & directly charging for road use to be part of improving Auckland transport system

Here's the full statement from English and Bridges

Finance Minister Bill English and Transport Minister Simon Bridges have released a joint report with Auckland Council, setting out preliminary views on developing the city’s transport system.

“The report marks the completion of the second of three stages that make up the Auckland Transport Alignment Project (ATAP), a joint project between the Government and Council to agree an approach for developing Auckland’s transport system over the next 30 years,” Mr English says. 

Mr Bridges says it has found that achieving a step change in the performance of Auckland’s transport system will require a range of interventions. 

“It concludes that while ongoing investment in new road and public transport projects will clearly be needed, greater use of technology and in the longer term, road pricing – or directly charging for road use, will also be part of the toolkit,” he says.

“The final stage of ATAP will look at what additional projects could be brought forward in the next ten years to support Auckland’s growth. If the benefits of early investment in these projects are significant, there may be a case for the Government and Council to make extra funding available,” Mr Bridges says.

Exactly how that funding could be provided would need to be considered after ATAP provides its final report. 

“Auckland will need to accommodate an expected 700,000 additional people over the next 30 years. The emerging approach indicates a need to focus on ensuring transport enables and supports this growth, particularly through early investment in new growth areas in the north-west, north, and south of Auckland,” Mr English says. 

“The approach also looks to better target investment to strengthen strategic road, rail, and public transport connections, as well as ensuring we’re making the most of the existing network,” he says. 

Mr Bridges says the potential opportunities from current and future technology are exciting. 

“ATAP is finding that by embracing intelligent transport systems early, we can position Auckland to make the most of any future benefits from connected and shared vehicles. Technology could also enable a progressive move towards road pricing. 

“The final report due out later this year will make recommendations on how to implement the preferred strategic approach, and on areas that require further work,” Mr Bridges says.

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39 Comments

As a first and critical step to utilise existing road assets to the fullest - we need to change road users behaviour.

To do that we need to provide cash incentives.

The technology exists today as evidenced by the Northern Tollway to read vehicle registrations in real time.
This is the first and most logical step to increasing capacity from existing assets and can be implemented in short time frames at a fraction of the costs of new roading.

By introducing dynamic road pricing we offer immediate cash incentives to:

o - Share the trip with another traveller who pays the toll - reducing road traffic
o - Transfer to public transport - reducing road traffic
o - Generates a revenue stream to assist funding public transport
o - Alter the travel times to ahead or behind the peak flows so increasing the road capacity

The last reason above is critical as basic queuing theory as used on roads, telephones etc shows that marginal reductions in demand produce disproportionate reductions in queues as evidenced by the dramatic reductions in travel time around school and varsity holidays - exactly as theory predicts.

Without dynamic pricing the most important incentive is removed. A flat charge over 24 hours will never allow for the achievements possible from available technology today. The incremental costs of dynamic pricing are trivial once the capture has been executed - and that is what we have already in the Northern Tollway.

Allowing direct debit payments to the vehicle registration file so this can be automated for the larger volumes is assumed and a trivial extension to the existing system - soon to be expanded by the Wellington Transmission Gully.

It is interesting to note that no town that has introduced dynamic congestion pricing has ever taken it out which should be a good guide to it's effectiveness.

Perfect JB, I vote for you to be transport minister

How about doing the same thing to health care too? Pretend to charge people for 'peak use' when all you are really doing is making transport something only the rich can afford.

i think with our immigration settings they are under estimating the amount of people 700000 over 30 years thats 23000 per year , try 1/2 that time frame

While 40,000-50,000 Kiwis moved to Australia every single year over the last 15 years.

15% of the total New Zealand population lives in Australia. 650,000 Kiwis live in Australia & 1 million Kiwis in total live overseas.

You can't stop 1 million expat Kiwis from moving back home to New Zealand someday.

' ..... joint project between the Government and Council to agree an approach for developing Auckland’s transport system over the next 30 years,” Mr English says.'

Just more drivel from Bill English. There is no 'over next 30 years': Indeed, current economic arrangements cannot possibly persist for even another 10 years, let alone 30 years, because of global energy constraints.

And the other 'elephant in the room' that Bill is utterly determined to ignore is, of course, abrupt climate change:

.Daily CO2

June 19, 2016: 406.94 ppm

June 19, 2015: 401.67 ppm

Up 5.27 ppm (versus 2005-2014 average of 2.11 ppm).

The string of extraordinarily high atmospheric CO2 values witnessed over the past 6 months suggest humanity will break through the so-called upper safe limit of 450 ppm by 2030 at the latest (and perhaps well before then).

https://www.co2.earth/co2-acceleration

This 'strategy' has a total focus on transport (some would say "what do you expect?"). No reference to information technology, mobility and continued globalisation changing the way that people work, which will impact transport dynamics and requirements in the future.

Get freight back on rail
Dont allow kids to go to school out of zone - If you live there you learn there.
Let kids walk/ride/run to school - A bit of independence and risk taking is healthy.
Employers need to let employees work from home - no more lip service.
Getting the Trucks and remuera tractors off the road would solve 90% of the problem.

Have read the report, which at least suggests someone (but not really Mr English or Bridges) is trying to address Auckland's transport issues. To summarise as best I can:
Growth in Auckland, especially since 2013, has got way ahead of the government's thinking (or lack of), and the report acknowledges that the current congestion is already a "failed" system. On top of that the government has been pushing new housing areas in distant suburbs that are generally not employment centres, so west to south transport, and everywhere to the centre transport, will just get worse until 2026 when for some unstated reason, it will get better.
The obvious solutions are confirmed:
Widen most motorways, (including some busways) build a new harbour crossing, and tunnel around the central key arterial routes, allowing for electric driverless trains (this latter bit is my addition). The tunnelling would facilitate and encourage more house building in the centre; but in any case is essential to support growing employment in the CBD and surrounds, plus Uni, hospital, Newmarket. If the centre is clogged, everywhere suffers. The report bangs on about how expensive any of these obvious solutions would be, and is bordering on dismissive of them as a result, but equally acknowledges that any other solutions are tinkering, untested, and somewhat unlikely to work.
There is considerable talk of ride sharing coming to the rescue; we will all be quasi Uber drivers or riders it seems. And of connected cars. Which Google suggests means internet capable cars. The report doesn't really explain how connectivity might ease congestion.
Paying for access to roads at peak times is discussed. And that might actually be the catalyst for the ride sharing noted, but the report acknowledges that charging really only works if there are alternatives, and it also acknowledges that for many routes there aren't any, other than ride sharing.
The report seems to have been written by two authors- one who knows how transport works, and realises practical solutions will need very considerable investment; and a second author who doesn't want to spend any money at all.
Hence a report that states the problems, but has no solutions, but says that magically they will try and come up with some by August.
Which author will prevail I wonder?

It's a poor effort indeed.

I switched off at "the next ten years funding is already committed". Translated into English: "we aren't doing anything for over a decade." This was confirmed by Bridges' radio interview where he talked about getting some of the road pricing started after about ten years.

It's all twenty years too late. It looks like they know some technology is coming along that will make it possible to extract a step-wise improvement in road utilisation but they won't do anything until it's all clearer. In that context we now know that killing the regional fuel tax back in about 2008 was a huge mistake.

But the worst sin is that they had a chance to think about pattern of development in the wider Auckland region. They could have settled on a general design pattern (one centre, multiple centres, one monster highway with herringbone development or a mesh of smaller roads). Transport design should flow from that wider thought but this all looks ad-hoc

It's more bridges to nowhere.

It is very Ad Hoc, and absolutely no urgency. For instance, look at the ridiculous snarl up at hill rd south bound on SH1. #0 000's of commutters will sufferuntold trips of hour delays for the next 18 months, while a tiny contracting team of less than 30 workers, do daylight hours, monday to Friday on lane additions.
It should be full on 24/7 construction, with a large contracting team of hundreds,completing it in 3 months down to south of Drury,
The utter contempt for the working/commutting public,means a go slow under-budgeted, screw up in traffic flows, for 100 000 plus individual journeys,daily for the next 500 days,YES... It's happening all over Auckland, but no more obviously disastrous than Manukau and all of south from there.

It is very Ad Hoc, and absolutely no urgency. For instance, look at the ridiculous snarl up at hill rd south bound on SH1. #0 000's of commutters will sufferuntold trips of hour delays for the next 18 months, while a tiny contracting team of less than 30 workers, do daylight hours, monday to Friday on lane additions.
It should be full on 24/7 construction, with a large contracting team of hundreds,completing it in 3 months down to south of Drury,
The utter contempt for the working/commutting public,means a go slow under-budgeted, screw up in traffic flows, for 100 000 plus individual journeys,daily for the next 500 days,YES... It's happening all over Auckland, but no more obviously disastrous than Manukau and all of south from there.

Thanks for that Stephen. As a small team we can't cover everything in detail. So it's great to get some thoughtful analysis from readers. Cheers.

Hmm, no mention of allowing the NZTA to pay for rail as well as roads. So the only entity with any money to spend will still be spending all of it on roads when anyone that has ever stepped foot in Auckland knows the real problem is a lack of public transport

But don't worry, self driving cars will solve all our problems. Public transport will be extinct in ten years time and London and New York will be turning off their train systems.
Yeah right !

It would help if they invested in a helicopter with a big strong magnet to remove vechiles involved in accidents off the motorway, instead of slowing or stopping the flow off traffic, as for who is as fault etc,take a few quick photo's with a mobile or bring in a law that the person or people restricting the flow be fined $10,000, last week on the southern motorway I was stuck for 2hrs just great for lazy people but not me, Make a get Sh.t done lane I'm happy to pay a toll to use.

Today saw three funny looking NZ post mail vechiles, so I guess NZ post is helping with the O Beast ity epidemic now, I guess they can carry more mail in the boot, be interesting to see I my postie quits as she loves cycling to keep slim and fit.

Here's why this can't work. Pukekohe to Mercy Hospital for cancer treatment. Leave home 6.23 am walk 2km to bus (30mins) Bus to terminal. Walk 837m to Train station. 7.35 -Train to Papakura. Change train to Britomart. Arrives Newmarket Station 8.44. Walk 1.6km to Mercy Hospital. Walk up there? 15 days in a row doing this? Just bear in mind people the massive amount of people who are being poured into the Franklin area in SHA's let alone the massive amount of private subdivision, the development of Pokeno and then consider the comments some of you are making with your 10 minutes departures etc in the urban areas.

11
up

NZ has a stable population. Just stop the immigration. We don't owe the World a place to live, we can't save the World, STOP the immigration.
150,000 immigrants in 3 years equals 3 cities the size of Whangarei. The NZ taxpayer now has to build infrastructure for all these people.
Why should NZ'ers start paying tolls on roads we built and paid for years ago?
The northern toll road bypassing Orewa is privately owned and we will get charged to drive on that road forever more.
The babyboomers who built this countries infrastructure and had it all paid for before John Key got into power charged nobody for anything accept the harbor bridge. Once the tolls had paid for it, the tolls were removed.
What benefit to NZ is this population growth? Why turn our cities into a traffic jam? Why charge the people who built and have already paid for the infrastructure to now drive on their roads? Get rid of John Key, Stop the artificial population growth.

Need to get a few facts out on this issue.

The Northern Toll road is not privately owned.

NZ'ers never paid for their infrastructure but ran up very large external debts long before JK came to power.
In fact NZ's external debt to GDP ratios were attracting the rating agencies attention pre John Key.

The debt on the harbour bridge was never paid - Muldoon removed tolls unilaterally to win the North Shore electorates and retain power which he did very successfully.

gee i like your JK rosy glasses but this is just Plain wrong, unless you are going right back to muldoon with that statement
NZ'ers never paid for their infrastructure but ran up very large external debts long before JK came to power.
In fact NZ's external debt to GDP ratios were attracting the rating agencies attention pre John Key.

2008, National party took over Government debt of 10 billion.
9 years later the debt is 111 billion $$

Building infrastructure keeps people employed, paying tolls will ensure people will not undertake unnecessary travel. And the baby boomers that built the current infrastructure Should pay as the younger generation are buying your houses and paying your pension.This is a good way to force retirees out of Auckland and the poor that can't afford the tolls,just like rates, Yes Auckland not going to be any cheaper to live any time soon.

I agree mostly with your comment but how would it force retirees out of Auckland? They probably don't use the roads so much and have subsidized public transport.
I reckon we should build up the satellite cities like Whangarei, Hamilton and Tauranga as very friendly retiree zones to rather attract them there instead of force them. We could also do something similar with the poor and homeless - create new towns that focus on uplifting people by providing tailored facilities.

New towns for the poor and homeless. Sounds just like ghettos to me-out of sight,out of mind.

Glasgow built huge housing estates on the outskirts of the city and they proved to be a huge and costly failure. The businesses that would have been essential just didn't eventuate and there was little public transport.

People need more than that to be "uplifted" in life, having a purpose is very high, and being "farmed" by landlords is not a purpose.

I was thinking along the lines of uplifting them to position where they could have the opportunity to find their own "purpose" in life. But we probably shouldn't meddle and people really have to find their own Way.

Hi Zachary I agree , I tend to be a bit facetious at times, so take my comments with a grain.

How to Increase Traffic Flow:
A well proven method is simply increase the width/ and number of lanes. We have seen over many decades, even generations on motorways, regional roads , main highways.
How to Congest Traffic Flow:
Experiment with removing lanes...(and road side parking) to put in cycle lanes to "encourage other methods of transport" . Now we have cycle lanes where they are very rarely used.. couple cyclists a day even at peak times and school times.

Not only has this inconvenienced local residences who can not park outside their properties several kilometers either way, but destroying the viability local cnr shops... Which then has the effect of using cars to get to the local supermarket, over crowding the car parks

The advantage to putting cycle lanes that will never be used , is to increase congestion the argue that we now need to charge / toll these roads. Or put another way, brilliant manipulation by bureaucracy to crate another source of income.... to in effect pay for the huge expense of road works to finance this horrendous experiment
All we need now is some Uni student , looking for something to do their PhD to do an intensive study of just how effective these cycle lanes are... In particular on urban and residential and industrial main roads.
But dont expect funding from local bodies or Government... maybe local business and community associations, who dont have the surplus to do so.

So we should adopt LA's approach to fixing transport - just keep adding lanes to motorways. This approach failed for LA - they have realised this and are currently building significant public transport infrastructure. But Auckland is different, right?
'Auckland won't be the first to succeed in fixing congestion by building more roads - but it might be the last to try'

Cycle usage is increasing at up to 30% PA on cycleways in Auckland. Sure it is from a very low base, but if anything like that kind of growth continues it will soon be a reasonable share.
I quite often see road space that is dedicated to parking with only a couple of cars parked a day even at peak times and school times - but no one seems to complain about that poor use of public space!

That there is any public parking on main arterial routes, its simply silly,two lanes free each way, all hours,

In Bangkok they have an upstairs motorway pay a toll and cruise easy

I strongly believe that more should be done to encourage telecommuting where this is a viable option. For my role, I spend the day typing at my computer. If I need more information I either use the company intranet, the web, or I send an email to a subject matter expert in the appropriate department. Once in a blue moon I might have an actual face-to-face meeting, but even then this usually involves a teleconference that I could quite easily dial into.

In my particular industry I am pretty much limited to working in Auckland, Christchurch or Wellington, but I could quite happily work remotely from anywhere with a VDSL or UFB connection. Personally, I'd much rather live in a smaller town if there was the work.

I'm sure that I'm not the only person in Auckland that could easily work from home, or would rather live elsewhere given the opportunity.

But how many telecommuters do we need?
What counts for fx reserves is actually producing something and either selling products domestically or exporting.
How much can the internet via ADSL, UFB or marvel of light achieve?
There is a limit.

I work in a industry pretty similar except 90%based in Auckland, but could easily work remotely as our computer systems and email are internet and cloud based , we are pretty much almost paperless {could be except for a few dinosaurs that need a paper not a screen to look at)
But will never happen in my lifetime, maybe when the next generation makes it to the top jobs may happen

So email and computer systems.
A world of digital takeover,
So what?. Who makes the computers and manages the email?
Easy money. 1's and 0's can only go so far.

Tax Aucklanders but not to put tax on overseas buyers as a courtsey.

I think the Northern Busway sums up what is wrong with Aucklands transport system . The busway is great as far as it goes, but then the buses have to fight their way over the bridge with all the other traffic.
The should of had the balls to make one of the bridge lanes bus only , reversing direction to to suit the peak flow. Twice as many people would ride the buses , and other bridge users would actually be better off due to less cars despite having one lane less.

How about less people needing to use a bus. Are they really necessary?
Then those that have a car could use it. After all, it's why they bought a car in the first place.

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