Auckland says sustainable transport, National says motorways

I hopped along to the launch of the Auckland Regional Land Transport Strategy last week. I’ve blogged about the strategy before so won’t say much.

Basically it sets a different direction for transport in Auckland than that favoured by the National government. It prioritizes major sustainable transport projects like the CBD rail loop for funding and completion – rather than the motorways favoured by Steven Joyce.

Obviously, I think this is great as it’s right in line with Green transport policy. But the conflict between central and local government goals for transport in Auckland is going to cause some problems for the new Auckland Transport agency. This graph (taken from the ARLTS) sums the problem up nicely.

Basically, if the Auckland Transport agency tries to fulfil the Auckland Regional Land Transport Strategy (as it is meant to do) while relying on the government for funding then it will have too much money for state highways and not enough for passenger (that’s public) transport.

An obvious solution would be for National to listen to what local government in Auckland wants and then readjust it’s funding policies accordingly. Unfortunately, Vote Transport doesn’t suggest that will happen any time soon.

What do you think – will the government start putting more funding into sustainable transport in our major cities soon?

4 thoughts on “Auckland says sustainable transport, National says motorways

  1. Why do you assume that an underground CBD loop is more sustainable than rubber on road or rubber on rail solutions that combine both flexibility, with high efficiency and with intelligence?

    If you look at organic life the most sustainable species are those that are able to respond or adapt to change.
    Rail is simply the least flexible form of transport ever designed. They still have place when moving huge loads on huge trains over huge distances and from well established origins to well established destinations. Chicago and Portland are not about to disappear in the near future.

    Commuter rail in particular depends on massive concentrations of employment and those are all losing population in the developed world. And even in New York the Lincoln tunnel bus lanes carry more passengers per hour at peak than the rail lines. Buses can run at tighter headways – heavy rail takes a long time to stop.

    Sustainable systems are adaptable systems. I suggest you go to New Geography and read about trends in urban living (because living patterns dictate transport patterns and vice versa – especially Santa Fe-ing of the World. (two parts) at:
    http://www.newgeography.com/content/001582-santa-fe-ing-world
    I like this phrase:
    “The dominant forms of transportation today are the automobile, the jet plane, and the networked computer.”
    Think about it. And thing were it takes you. Especially if you are a genuine green environmentalist who loves gardens, fresh food and fresh air, and open space. The five story walk up doesn’t cut it – unless you are much younger than me.

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  2. What are you suggesting Owen, that we build the CBD tunnel as a busway tunnel? And then have to spend billions on converting our existing rail system to busways, just to reduce its capacity and increase its pollution/CO2 emissions?

    Great idea Owen, great idea.

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  3. Owen,

    That Santa Fe article is bizarre.

    Santa Fe’s big research park at Los Alamos was placed there by stalinesque govt decision because it was inaccessible. So to now give Santa Fe as a model of how it’s no longer important to be accessible via old transport links in order to have urban growth is just silly.

    A gorgeous small artists/authors/scientists city full of bike trails, equestrian trails is a wonderful thing. Great people like Roger Zelazny (*sigh*, my hero) lived/live there. It’s got huge research institutes that get bucketloads of govt money, so Nobel laureates hang out there. What it doesn’t have is, well, industry. It’s not an agricultural centre, a manufacturing centre, a financial centre, or a centre of IT development. It’s very far from being self-sufficient.

    The premise of the article you link to is that it’s an example of how old transport patterns don’t matter and how industries don’t need to cluster any more. That’s nonsense. Santa Fe is an atypical city with atypical industries: it had the Los Alamos labs, and that’s why it then got the Santa Fe institute. Really Owen, it’s still all about location, location, location.

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  4. “Why do you assume that an underground CBD loop is more sustainable than rubber on road or rubber on rail solutions that combine both flexibility, with high efficiency and with intelligence?”

    Owen, the CBD Loop is necessary – because the idiots in office failed to future proof Britomart properly when they had the opportunity, we have been forced down this road. Even compared with buses, there are only so many buses that you can fit in Auckland’s CBD, and it wouldn’t take much before we have bus gridlock.

    A train has the seating capacity of ten buses, so we can potentially generate ten buses worth of capacity for other routes.

    “Commuter rail in particular depends on massive concentrations of employment and those are all losing population in the developed world.”

    I am pretty sure that the likes of Brisbane and Perth have had increasing amounts of employment in their CBDs.

    Look at Brisbane’s rail system as it was back in the 1970s and what it is today; patronage nearly doubled on their network between 1979 and 1988, and has increased by another 50% since 2004. Also look at Perth’s rail system as it was back in the 1980s and what it is today; their patronage quintupled between 1991 and 2000 when the rolling stock on the system hit capacity and has increased by another 60% since 2004 and the acquisition of additional rolling stock.

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