Why transport and access is important
To lead successful and enjoyable lives, it is vital that people can easily, safely and sustainably reach the things that matter most to them, such as work, school, friends, recreation and healthcare.
To achieve this we need sustainable, resilient and efficient ways for people, goods and services to move within and across Auckland, throughout New Zealand and across the world.
For Auckland to be a truly accessible city we also need to make sure that people of all ages and abilities, including people with reduced mobility levels, can go about their daily lives and get from one place to another easily, affordably and safely.
This means tailoring the way
infrastructure and services are provided so they meet the wide range of Aucklanders' needs.
Find out more by visiting the
Auckland Design Manual and the
Office for Disability issues website.
Transport and access in the past
Our transport system is key to making Auckland more accessible, and for us all to benefit from growth. While great improvements have been made over the past 20 years, historic under-investment, combined with rapid population growth, means we still face big challenges.
Past decisions shaped Auckland into a relatively low-density city where private vehicles were the most viable or default option for the majority of trips.
Our car-focused transport system is put under significant strain by:
- Auckland’s continued population growth
- our challenging natural setting and urban form.
These factors cause harm to people and the environment.
Further challenges come from ongoing impacts of COVID-19 and the growing threat of climate change.
There is now widespread recognition that we cannot simply build our way out of these challenges.
Instead, making progress requires a combination of:
- additional investment rebalancing effort to prioritise low carbon transport modes that also avoid congestion
- focusing on changing our travel behaviour.
The opening of the Waterview Tunnel in 2017 largely completed the core motorway network, and increased investment over the past two decades has started to develop a quality public transport system. This makes it possible for people to avoid congestion when they travel by bus, train or ferry.
Auckland’s rapid transit network barely existed two decades ago, but investment in the rail network and construction of the separated busways mean this network now carries over 30 million passengers a year, with use continuing to grow strongly.
Over the last few years there has also been increased investment in cycleways and
making Auckland more cycle friendly.
In some areas there have been improvements for pedestrians as well, such as the
Te Ara Mua Future Streets project in Māngere, ranging from how traffic is managed, to better paving, lighting and safety. Also, the
Innovating Streets for People programme that aims to transition our streets to safer and more liveable spaces.
However, the legacy of past decisions is still felt today. Many projects that were first planned decades ago, such as the
City Rail Link, are only now being built and are faced with the task of both addressing existing infrastructure deficits and preparing the transport system. for future growth.
As a consequence, private vehicles are still the default mode of transport for many Aucklanders. Major chokepoints and bottlenecks also remain on many main roads.
A significant challenge for Auckland and globally, is that greenhouse gas emissions have continued to rise over the last century or two. We are now in a climate emergency which means we need to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels across all sectors and parts of society, whilst also preparing for the impacts on our climate.
The transport system is the largest source of carbon emissions. It emits over 40 per cent of Auckland’s total emissions. The bulk of these comes from road transport (86 per cent).
Transformational change to the transport system will be required to achieve Auckland’s climate goals.
To learn more, see
Te Tāruke-ā-Tāwhiri: Auckland’s Climate Plan.
How we can improve transport and access
An integrated strategy
Improving transport and access in Auckland requires an integrated approach and is a partnership between Auckland Council and central government. In 2016 the
Auckland Transport Alignment Project (ATAP) was established to develop a long-term strategic approach to address Auckland's transport challenges.
This work emphasised the need to focus on:
- getting much more out of existing
- maximising new opportunities to influence travel demand
- ensuring investment is targeted to the greatest challenges.