Background

1. What is ATAP?

The Auckland Transport Alignment Project or ATAP is a project focused on improving alignment between central and local government over the way Auckland’s transport system needs to develop over the next 30 years, including testing whether better returns from transport investment can be achieved, particularly in relation to the following objectives:

  • To support economic growth and increased productivity by ensuring access to employment/labour improves relative to current levels as Auckland's population grows
  • To improve congestion results, relative to predicted levels, in particular travel time and reliability, in the peak period and to ensure congestion does not become widespread during working hours
  • To improve public transport's mode share, relative to predicted results, where it will address congestion
  • To ensure any increases in the financial costs of using the transport system deliver net benefits to users of the system.

The agencies involved in ATAP are Auckland Council, the Ministry of Transport, Auckland Transport, the NZ Transport Agency, the Treasury and the State Services Commission.

2. What does the final ATAP report find?

The final ATAP report builds on two earlier documents:

  • The Foundation Report, released in February 2016, which outlined an agreed set of assumptions and identified the major challenges facing Auckland’s transport system over the next 30 years.
  • The Interim Report, released in June 2016, which set out the initial findings of the project. This included that changing the mix of investment would not achieve a step-change in the performance of Auckland’s transport system and it would be neither affordable nor cost-effective to build our way out of the problem in the long-run. The       report concluded that to achieve a step-change in performance, a greater focus on influencing travel demand patterns and maximising the benefits of emerging technology is required, alongside new investment and getting more out of the existing network.

The Final Report confirms the approach outlined in the Interim Report and emphasises that an integrated approach is required that better balances demand with the capacity of our infrastructure and services.

3. What are the most significant transport challenges facing Auckland?

Auckland’s rapid and ongoing population growth is putting significant pressure on the city’s transport system. This growth is expected to continue into the foreseeable future, with Auckland expected to accommodate around 700,000 people - or more than half of New Zealand’s total expected population growth - over the next 30 years.

ATAP has identified the most significant transport challenges facing Auckland over the next decade. These are:

  • enabling a faster rate of housing growth, particularly in new greenfield growth areas
  • addressing projected increased congestion and longer travel times for people living in large parts of West Auckland and some parts of South Auckland
  • addressing growing congestion on the motorway and arterial road network, particularly at inter-peak times
  • increasing public transport mode share on congested corridors.

Strategic Approach

4. What is ATAP's "Recommended Strategic Approach"?

The recommended strategic approach focuses on three main areas:

  • Making better use of existing networks by  improving throughput on key routes to increase productivity, and maximising the benefits from new transport technology
  • Targeting investment to the most significant challenges – particularly access to housing and jobs and tackling congestion through investing in strengthening strategic road and public transport networks
  • Maximising new opportunities to influence travel demand through better integrating houses, jobs and transport links, actively encouraging increases in vehicle occupancy and progressively moving to smarter transport pricing.

5. Does ATAP’s recommended strategic approach provide better returns from transport investment?

Analysis against the key project objectives of access to jobs, congestion and public transport mode share suggests better Auckland-wide results than would be achieved by current transport plans.

ATAP has identified a number of additional investments over the next decade that focus on addressing Auckland’s most significant transport challenges. Some of the greatest projected improvements are in West and South Auckland, which did not show good results under current transport plans.

6. Has ATAP improved alignment over the way the transport system should develop?

Yes. Government agencies, Auckland Council and Auckland Transport have agreed the major transport challenges facing Auckland, the priorities for addressing them over the next 10 years, and a strategic approach for the development of Auckland’s transport system over the next 30 years.

Indicative package

7. What is the indicative package?

The indicative package shows the types of transport investments and the amount of funding likely to be required over the next 30 years to deliver the recommended strategic approach.

The indicative package puts emphasis on the early focus areas (for the next 10 years) because we can be much more confident about our assumptions (e.g. growth) over this period compared with later decades.

It also provides an indication of how giving effect to the approach will need to change over time, particularly as new technology and new opportunities to influence demand become available.

It is not an investment programme as neither the Government nor Auckland Council are able to commit to funding over 30 years, and almost all transport investment needs to go through statutory processes.

The package will evolve over time as new information and further analysis occurs.

8. What projects are in the indicative package?

The indicative package includes substantial investment for projects which are either already under construction or for which commitments have already been made for the next decade (e.g. the Western Ring Route, the City Rail Link, the Accelerated Motorway Package, the Auckland Manukau Eastern Transport Initiative - in particular the South-Eastern Busway, the Puhoi-Warkworth extension of the Northern Motorway, the East West Link, and the Mill Road Northern Section.

Additional early priorities, envisaged for completion in the first decade, are:

  • Substantial new and upgraded roads to unlock land for housing in greenfield growth areas, particularly in the west and the south
  • The first phase of the Northwestern Busway from Westgate to Te Atatu to provide for growth, increased access into the city centre and help tackle congestion on the Northwestern Motorway
  • Motorway improvements to address congestion and support growth along the Southern Motorway (SH1) Papakura-Drury, the SH16/SH18 interchange near Westgate and along the Southwestern Motorway (SH20) Queenstown Rd-Dominion Rd to maximise the benefits  of the Waterview Connection and East West Link projects
  • Upgraded access to Auckland airport from the east on SH20B to address congestion, improve journey reliability and support public transport service improvements.
  • Ongoing investment to improve Auckland’s rail network for both passengers and freight, including more electric trains, extending electrification to Pukekohe and the Third Main Wiri to Westfield.

9. What does it mean if a project is identified as an early, medium-term or longer-term priority?

ATAP identified four key challenges over the next decade, relating to growth, access to employment, congestion, and public transport use on congested corridors. The projects identified as “early priorities” were those that were considered would best address these key challenges and offer the highest potential of delivering value for money if progressed in the next decade.

All potential investments still need to pass through a business case and statutory funding process, so the priorities identified by ATAP are not a ‘blueprint’ for what will happen. The indicative package highlights where efforts should be focused in the short term.

As further investigation and analysis occurs, it is highly likely that some projects will progress earlier than expected, and others later.

Technology

10. What transport technology could Auckland take advantage of going forward?

In the short-term, increasing our use of intelligent network management presents significant opportunities to get more out of our transport networks.

This means a more comprehensive real-time understanding of network use, better data processing capability to support network management decisions and more effective travel demand management tools - like adaptive traffic signals, dynamic lanes (e.g. which vary at peak times like the Auckland Harbour Bridge) and providing better information to travellers.

In the medium to longer-term, connected and autonomous vehicles, combined with increased ride-sharing, have the potential to fundamentally reshape the way transport is provided and used.

These technologies could dramatically increase vehicle throughput on roads, reduce traffic accidents, and improve travel time reliability.

Emerging transport technologies are developing rapidly. ATAP is the first time the potential effects of these new technologies on Auckland have been assessed in detail. Significant further work is required to better understand what their timing and impact might be.

Safety, Walking and Cycling

11. What does ATAP propose for safety, walking, cycling?

The Government and Auckland Council were already aligned on the approach and likely future funding levels for safety, walking and cycling. Current initiatives in these areas include the Safer Journeys Action Plan, the Auckland Road Safety Plan, and the Urban Cycleways Programme.

A substantial programme of investment in walking and cycling is currently being progressed in Auckland, funded by the Urban Cycleways Programme, the National Land Transport Fund and Auckland Council.

Next steps

12. What happens next? What's going to be done with this work?

The Government and the new Auckland Mayor and Council will need to discuss how to best to address the recommendations following the upcoming local government election.

13. What other information is available?

The Ministry of Transport’s website (www.transport.govt.nz/atap) contains all information on ATAP, including a companion document to the Final Report ‘Auckland Transport Alignment Project: Supporting Evidence’. This document provides the supporting information to ATAP’s conclusions.

Working papers developed throughout the project will also be made publicly available on the Ministry’s website over the next few weeks.

Indicative Package of ATAP projects

[JPG, 758 KB]Click the map to view the projects planned under the ATAP Final Indicative Package