Adding new roads to Auckland's transport network, or widening existing ones, is increasingly expensive and difficult. While investment in new infrastructure is required, existing transport corridors need to accommodate much of the increase in travel as Auckland's population grows.
Making the best use of our existing roads, rail, footpaths, cycle ways, ferries, ports and airports is therefore essential. This will require:
- increased investment in small-scale improvements that help to optimise the existing transport network
- ongoing support for initiatives that reallocate street space to the most appropriate modes
- a coordinated approach to freight planning
- robust asset management processes to ensure we look after existing infrastructure.
Our transport system is not used as efficiently as it could be. Most infrastructure is under-utilised outside peak periods, or used inefficiently by vehicles carrying a single person. To improve this, we need to change the demand we put on the transport system.
This means better balancing our need to travel with the capacity of the transport system and other important considerations, such as reducing transport emissions.
It is likely there will always be some level of congestion at times of peak demand. However, to limit the increase in congestion and reduce the need for valuable land to be used as parking, we need to encourage:
- greater use of public transport, walking and cycling
- an increase in the number of people travelling in each vehicle
- taking non-essential trips outside peak times.
- use of digital communications and technology to substitute trips, where possible and appropriate.
Travel planning, parking policies and more flexible working hours will help support these changes. However, to make a ‘step change’ improvement we need to provide a direct incentive to encourage people to travel more efficiently. This means moving away from the current 'flat-rate' way of charging people to use the transport system – through fuel taxes, road user charges, etc – to a system that varies the charge according to the time and location of each journey.
Before implementing this change, central government and Auckland Council will need to fully understand what effect this will have on people's travel costs so that issues of equity and affordability are understood and addressed.
How this can be done
We will make better use of existing networks by:
- prioritising the use of more efficient modes of transport, including walking, cycling and public transport
- identifying key routes for the movement of people, goods and services around Auckland and ensuring they operate as efficiently as possible
- increased investment into network optimisation initiatives that can deliver significant improvements through small-scale interventions, such as dynamic lanes intersection upgrades and road space reallocation
- progressively shifting to smarter transport pricing to use existing roads efficiently. Find out more at the Congestion Question
- continuing to improve the way Auckland's existing transport assets are maintained, and renewed, including better co-ordinating planned maintenance with improvements. Find out more about Auckland Transport Asset management.