How To Change Auckland in 100 Days


A door-to-door mini-bus based public transport system is advocated today in a 45 page report, from CEOs and member companies of the New Zealand Business Council for Sustainable Development.

The idea is to “review the (city’s) commuter train strategy to see if it really is the lowest-cost, lowest emission form of public transport for Auckland and investigate a mini bus hub and spoke system, linking with major transit corridors offering door-to-door service that most can order by a telephone text message. This home to work or education service will also reduce the need to park cars at your destination.”

It also calls for a link the airport directly with the CBD by  dedicated transit road and rail corridors.

It says the super city should look at tackling major transport issues, like congestion and rapidly diminishing capacity to handle the region’s freight growth, with measures like congestion pricing to use express lanes at busy times.

It cites similar systems overseas which have cut traffic 25% while growing retail sales by 6%.

The report contains policies the new council should do in its first 100 days to turn New Zealand’s first mega city into a greater economic power house, improve the new super city’s quality of life and environment at the same time.

Change Auckland for the better in 100 days

Ideas proposed on transport by its members:

  • have priority freight and high occupancy lanes on all major road corridors
  • create and consolidate priority regional freight hubs on the city’s northern and southern fringes
  • provide a new transport link across the isthmus north to south
  • optimise traffic light sequencing across the city to avoid delays
  • introduce time-of-use congestion charges for users of priority lanes where alternative routes exist, to cut congestion, remove costly bottlenecks and boost mobility and productivity
  • encourage all schools to have a virtual school bus and stagger educational institution starting times to flatten current traffic peaks

It says the new Mayor and super city councillors need to look at environmental incentives to:

  • change to less polluting, lower-emission fuels
  • provide infrastructure for new clean energy sources (including plug-in recharging stations, special parking and other incentives for the coming electric vehicles
  • encourage central Government to provide incentives to take the older diesel trucks, buses and cars out of the Auckland fleet
  • press central Government to only allow importation of used vehicles which meet the current Euro standards, or equivalent, for new vehicles
  • move the public transport bus fleet to cleaner fuels
  • dramatically reduce the number of trips taking children to and from school

It suggests we could copy other cities with a congestion tax/ toll on traffic entering the CBD.

“While Auckland has enjoyed some new travel demand management tools, like lights controlling motorway on ramps, signs reporting trip times and motorway events, web traffic cameras, an integrated traffic management system and projects like the Northern Bus way, the question of road pricing has been largely left to one side.

“Some years ago the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA) commissioned a study on co-ordinating traffic lights across the region. It found the benefits were massive, but the politics across seven cities were too difficult. With one city now, let’s get on with it.

“The region is literally ‘running out of road’ – yet some of its roading network does not run anywhere near its optimal capacity. Pricing can have a major influence on reducing or shifting demand, and reducing congestion. Tolling and congestion charges have been successful in Singapore, London, Stockholm and Oslo. Singapore introduced the world’s first significant road pricing initiative to control entry into its central business district in 1975.

On-board tags are used to identify vehicles. Zone charges reduced congestion in London by about 30% and in Stockholm with time of use charges by 25%, while both cities enjoyed a 10-20% cut in fuel use and road accidents.”

Other major recommendations tlak about:

  • A whole-of-life cost approach to buying the city’s goods and services, which would deliver power bill savings of more than $30 million a year and cut vehicle fleet costs by tens of millions
  • Changes to waste recovery, so current practices, like waste co-mingling which results in as little as 30% of collected glass being recycled and threatens some export-related jobs in Auckland
  • Using prices to encourage innovators and discourage those imposing costs on the community (like air polluters)
  • Using technology to create new opportunities, specially speedy and efficient electronic management of residents’ relationships with the council, including introducing all-electronic resource consents processing
  • Encouraging the use of rainwater tanks and home generated power to deliver major infrastructure investment savings and environmental and quality of life improvements.

You can read the full report here




  1. LucyJH says:

    I thought some of the ideas around waste in this report were good and it is definitely great to see the business community taking an interest in sustainability.

    But what I found a bit surprising was this ” investigate a mini bus hub and spoke system, linking with major transit corridors offering door-to-door service that most can order by a telephone text message. This home to work or education service will also reduce the need to park cars at your destination”

    I have not really heard of a single city overseas that has introduced such a system successfully. If they were advocating a grid type bus network with smart cards I’d say great. But it seems a trifle dicey to abandon a transport mix (rail and bus) we know has worked well overseas for a completely unproven method of transport.

    The system they’re proposing(among other things)also sounds like it would completely negate the health benefits of using public transport (which mainly come from walking to your bus/train stop and are SUBSTANTIAL when you consider cost of obesity/diabetes).

  2. Nick R says:

    The mini shuttle thing only sort of works in one city, Manilla. However even there they only follow main radial corridors, not some amazing point to point system covering the whole metropolis. The only reason it kinda works in manilla is the have a huge underclass who are willing to work for peanuts.

    One thing that proponents of shuttles seem to forget about is the labour costs involved where you have one driver for every six or seven people at best, it simply can’t work in a city with high standards of living for all sectors of the population.

    The ‘everywehere to anywhere direct’ concept is fundametally flawed, there just isn’t demand to go between any two points to maintain a good level of service: You either end up with only having one service run every two or three hours, or you have zillions of mini buses moving around empty for 98% of the time.

    Why does Auckland need a hub system of mini buses when there is a bus stop within 500m of just about anywhere already. They simply need to reorganise the existing bus and RTN links to support transfers, the hub and spoke already exists.

  3. LucyJH says:

    hi Nick. Yes, that is what I thought - that the only places I had seen systems anywhere like that (Bangkok) were places where the cost of labour was tiny… Also I thought it would be bad for environment (they say would be more efficient than trains) as occupancy rates would be so low..good to see you agree!


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