Global Experts Study Auck Transport


Auckland is going to get some global think tank help to develop a more integrated public transport system.

AECOM calls itself “an urban laboratory that goes beyond traditional practices.”

It’s a global provider of professional technical and management support services to a broad range of markets, including transportation, facilities, environmental, energy, water and government.

They’ve tackled Phoenix, Jeddah ( Red Sea port) and Beijing; they also proposed Sydney become a cycle city.

Each year, the Institute partners with a new city to explore urban issues of common interest.

And now they are going to help Mayor Len Brown meet his vision to make Auckland the world’s most liveable city.

AECOM has been chosen to  work with Auckland Council and the New Zealand Institute to develop thought-provoking ideas designed to challenge and inspire Auckland’s 30-year vision.

The three key objectives are:

  1. A more integrated transport system
  2. The economics of future growth opportunities
  3. Sustainable options for higher density living.

It has been told in its brief that Auckland is set to grow significantly over the next two decades and is projected to become home to almost 40 percent of New Zealand’s population by 2031 as half a million additional people settle in the city.

By 2050 Auckland expects a population of 2.6 million.

This is great news.





  1. Carl says:

    AKT, no offence on the post i will read in due time.

    but all the title screams to me is, blah blah blah, more fish heads talking about stuff that should already be done.

    enough talk, enough research.


  2. George D says:

    This is good. Obviously, the link needs to start now, and this will be part of things. There are other large and small picture changes to implement now too.

    But planning for the next 5+ decades? That’s important, and we need holistic thinking and to bring in the very best of the rest of the world. Very glad to hear Brown is doing this.

    I’ll send a link to what Brown is doing on his Australian tour in a bit too.

  3. Matt L says:

    Hopefully we will see some confirmation that the general direction we are heading in is correct but that we get a good list of quick wins.

    I wonder what the government/MOT reaction will be to the final report, probably sounds nice but we know better than the international experts.

  4. Carl says:

    and then once they get that report, along with the many other reports they have, what are they actually going to do? how many reports do they actually want?

    what is the cost of this reporting and checking and more reporting and checking?

    everybody who posts on here wants something done, simple improvements,

    tunnels, trams, electric, hams to auck system, its so clear.

    yet the people in charge are making us wait and wait longer, another 5 years, another 10. the price goes up, doubles and so on.

    traffic is heaving, more people are moving to the city or near it..

    yet they are asking for more reports…

    Boring with a capital B. If they need to get in more people to do reports, then maybe they need to take a look at themselves, because if they have to pay someone else to do the job, why are they in that position?

    im sorry but to much paper shuffling and not enough action.

  5. Pim says:

    I agree with Carl. More reports is great, the idea is great, but as Carl said, all this stuff should have been done years ago. We already know what we have to do. And if the purpose of this is to convince the government to do the right thing, well there ain’t a chance. You’d have to point a gun to Joyceys head to make him do something logical.

  6. Nick says:

    Hopefully they will find that we only need the car, Just make the roads wider to accomodate more cars, this works great in peak hour traffic. From being stuck in traffic from 3pm today, I have to wonder how this city is actually able to function. The wider economic benefits of the CBD railink would mean that there would be a lot less cars on the road surely.

  7. Matt L says:

    Carl - The big problem is money, with the government holding the purse strings so tightly there isn’t a whole lot we can do. One thing the post indicates they will look at is the economics of future growth opportunities, hopefully this includes looking at places where we can develop and use that development to help pay for some of the improvements we need i.e. I think we should build a NW busway all the way to Kumeu, the council could get involved in developing housing and business areas along that corridor in parts that are currently farmland and use the profits to help pay for the busway. After all this is how many cities in the world paid for the extensive systems they now have.

  8. Geoff says:

    It’s a waste of time, because unlike all the cities you mention overseas, Auckland has it’s main transport routes in the hands of central government.

    Transport policy in Auckland is largely controlled by central government, leaving AT as a lame duck.

    Auckland’s transport networks will never work properly until all modes between Warkworth and Mercer are firmly in the hands of AT, and that includes the motorways.

  9. Giel says:

    Auckland really is a consultants heaven. Wow - more reports from World experts. I think I’ll put Pink Floyds song “Money” on the stereo.

    Most business people other than the consultants who make a living of public sector incompetence shun this kind of stuff.

    New car, caviar………

  10. tbird says:

    It’s very kind of AECOM to perform this service for Auckland for free.

    Usually these things are money making junkets for mates of the mayor. Lots of overseas “research” for all involved - paid for by the ratepayer.

    Typically the only results are a list of objectives (often the brief repeated) with tons of buzzwords.

    I’m glad that in this case AECOM is completely legit.

  11. Giel says:

    No such thing as a “free lunch” - AECOM like many consultants see this area as a cash cow. They are making millions out of Auckland - Good business for them in all sorts of areas. Well done on their business acumen. They read the environment well.

  12. DanC says:

    Really? Another report. If these international professionals say the most beneficial piece new infrastructural to be built is everything but new roads will the government follow or will they say, no we know better!

  13. Carl says:

    Free? get of town

    tours of the citys
    whatever else they wants, oh let me guess they are probably going to arrive when the world cup is on

    oh look some tickets to the rugby.

    nothing is “free”

    we don’t need more reports, we need the idiots in charge to start watching the sundance channel, looking at tv series’s like e2 (from pbs) the stories in that latest series alone are worth more than any report.

    if they do come, honestly what are they going to tell us that we haven’t already been told or shown?

    Uni students can write reports for free. People complaining day in and day out about the service would be enough to keep someone employed full time writing reports.

    if they are not going to build a tunnel, then get the trams running up queen street again, get a congestion charge in and start fining boy races even more for wasting resources and degrading the roads they do laps on.

    If they keep racing up and down the city, the congestion charge will make these idiots piss off. We could have had a new bridge or a tunnel years ago if some smart cookie had of sorted out a cc in the early 90′s.

    the days of watching cars do lap after lap after lap was unreal. If anyone had 1/2 a brain they could have installed a cc system and charged every car.

    you don’t see boy racer types in london…..

    reports shamorts, just like wayne’s world’s theory “build it and they will come”

  14. George D says:

    Why so much hostility? If they bring in great ideas from around the world, isn’t that a good thing?

  15. Patrick R says:

    Yeah why the bitterness? Is this good old fashioned Kiwi anti-intellectualism? I’m keen to see what they think, might learn something…. I think we need broader views in NZ not narrower ones.

  16. Commuter says:

    AECOM are another bunch of engineering consultants who have an office here, so they’re obviously angling for a slice of the cake. They’re listed on the NY stock exchange so I seriously doubt this is a pro-bono thing and I’m not exactly certain that it’s going to be about providing a further critical dimension to thinking about Auckland’s transport needs. While I’m pleased that we’re getting a further international perspective I also feel that we’re getting into a consultant overkill situation, report fatigue, if you like. Aside from the four (?) reports on the CRL, we’ve recently also had reports from Jan Gehl, etc, etc. This is just another one, albeit from those nice people who gave Sydney its environmentally unsustainable desalination plant.

  17. Jon C says:

    @Patrick R I’m also surprised too at the negativity.
    We would be naive if we think we have all the answers. In the past there have been too many money- wasting trips by councilors and staff to overseas cities in which they have seen how other cities work but failed to implement the ideas.
    We need a fresh pair of eyes. Auckland has a long way to go. But there is now a will by the new Mayor to make things happen. Looking at the company’s site gives me enough confidence to think they may help at least cement the direction he wants to take us.

  18. Matt says:

    In the current environment (The Minister of Trucks, and his henchman the Minister of Double-Dipton), Auckland’s only hope of getting a transport system that actually functions properly is to bury Wellington under piles of reports from international consultants.

    If we had sane leadership, this would be moot. RODS would never have been conceptualised, Project Lifesaver would be a no-brainer, and the City Rail Link would’ve been put up for funding in the 2010 Budget.
    But we don’t, and with National likely to be clutching the purse strings for another three years it’s vital that Auckland have heavy-weight backing for the Council’s long-term vision. Because sure as hell there’s no long-term vision in National’s caucus.

  19. KarlHansen says:

    Agree - you guys are way too negative.

    I don’t know how much AECOM is going to be paid for this, but the New Zealand Institue bills itself as privately funded, so they certainly are to be applauded for not doing another “why we need roads!” study like everyone else. The stuff that is on their website seems pretty on to it, like the pro-CBD tunnel stuff - how great that there’s people out there countering the crap that comes out of “privatise everything and LET IT SPRAWL” think tanks.

    No studies alone don’t change things, but heck, I’d rather see the right studies than the wrong ones.

    See it as an advertising expense - the more we harp on about the benefits of PT, walking and cycling, the more people will realise these benefits exist. Kiwis are clueless about that still, so I don’t think we can discount that factor.

  20. Cam says:

    I think the negativity here is because there have been numerous reports into how Auckland should develop over the next 20 , 30 or 40 years. The issue is not a lack of analysis it’s a lack of funding to enable the recommendations.

    Another report is now being prepared. So what? The findings of this if they include heavy investment in public transport will just be swept aside by central government as others have. Reports are meaningless if the people with the pursestings are not listening.

  21. Carl says:

    ^ What he said.

    thats reasons for my comments, no bitterness, just sick of “oh another report”

    HOW MANY DO THEY HAVE TO HAVE, before they start reading any?

    why is this report going to be any different to the last one?

    woohoo an overseas company thats done something somewhere else.

    This is New Zealand, people use cars, how can we use trams / trains or light rail when we have never had any decent services in our life times?

    we don’t even have a daily inter-city train service.

    oh bu the report might tell us that…

    honestly another waste of trees on reports and more carbon pollution by flying a group of people out here to do something that has been done many times over.

    The whole “we don’t have the population” excuse is a load of BS…. Perth (again how many times does it get mentioned) is so much like Auckland, in area and population size (give or take 100-150,000 people).

    our system is amazing. Its what the Greater Auckland area should have.

    but what does Auckland do, it makes a semi upgrade on a system the doesn’t even cover the whole thing. nothing is ever going to work if you don’t do it correctly in the first place.

    there is a difference between bitterness and people like me who are sick of hearing “and now its time for another report”.

    Auckland I would fare say, would have to be the most reported and documented city in the world.

    the best report they’ll get this year is when the British Media rips this place apart come RWC time.

    that report is going to be done “for free”. Hopefully they send out people just to comment on public transport and rip it to pieces.

  22. Giel says:

    Auckland (and NZ generally) is becoming well known as a mecca for these types of consultants - it is a high growth market for them. I have concerns about value for money and real deliverables rather than a report that passes the paper weight test and not much other testing - AKA the CBD tunnel report which in the end didn’t seem that defendable. All have gone quiet on that one - I wonder why.

    The “honeymoon”‘ period for consultants reports on such things in Auckland is coming to an end. As taxpayers and ratepayers people are wanting to see real results for the many millions that have been spent on such things with consultants over the years. There seems to be way too much of it. However it is important to get things right so in the spirit of goodwill lets give it the benefit of the doubt one more time and see what it delivers.

  23. Mark says:

    I see a few issues here
    - firstly the real issue with consultants is, who writes the brief? get a hold of that to see if there is any real value
    Consultants are a dangerous area - firstly, they allow staff to shift blame/responsibility and in the end no one takes “ownership” - and without ownership nothing gets achieved.

    Also there is a subtle area at play which is staff getting relationships to further careers…..
    this is a big issue now with the single Council. Council staff have no where else to go now… a friendly consulting firm can be helpful.

    I’d rather see proper ownership at a senior staff level - they front the decisions / get political support and then make it happen. Ludo is a good example of someone who knows what they want, and has seen projects through - shared space etc….

  24. Jeremy says:

    I don’t see a problem with a few more reports, as long as they get them out of the way this year. They can pick the best ideas, consolidate them and move on. Then next year they can sort out the responsibilities of local boards, tie up any loose ends in the administration and have a proper review of the supercity structure.

  25. KarlHansen says:

    “Consultants are a dangerous area – firstly, they allow staff to shift blame/responsibility and in the end no one takes “ownership” – and without ownership nothing gets achieved.”

    While talking of BLAME - why then, do Kiwis constantly vote for politicians who argue that Council staff are a waste of space, until Councils are so bled dry of quality, motivated staff that stuff HAS to be given to consultants? Ask the free-marketeers (like the one who is our current Prime Minister, or the one who is our Minister for Local Government), what they think of the idea of doing these things in-house again!

    Disclosure: I am a consultant myself. And an advocate for a better city. And I would love Council to have more staff, and better staff. Even if my rates would go up for it, and my company get less outsourced work.

    “but what does Auckland do, it makes a semi upgrade on a system the doesn’t even cover the whole thing. nothing is ever going to work if you don’t do it correctly in the first place.

    there is a difference between bitterness and people like me who are sick of hearing “and now its time for another report”.”

    I actually do think you are bitter. The current electrification is all but half-baked. Yep, Pukekohe isn’t getting it, and National is dragging the chain where it can. But electrification of Auckland isn’t a “semi upgrade” - in years to come it will be seen that it was the real turning point.

  26. Mark says:

    A lot of the issue is Local Govt Act - in some ways central govts - of all flavours have set local govt up to fail.
    A Chair of the Transport Cmtee has almost no real power. Local govt doesn’t have the executive power that govt/cabinet has.

    While the last reforms gave a budget to the Mayor, he still has no executive power - and neither do any of the Councillors.
    That is why real power has always rested in the CEO / senior staff. And in my experience, it is that level which has often driven out the brighter go getters underneath…..

    Not sure what the solution is - but agree good key staff are crucial. And there are many good ones there, but often not the ones who get their ideas up in front of decision makers…..

  27. tbird says:

    Patrick R:

    Is this good old fashioned Kiwi anti-intellectualism?

    These consulting groups are full of marketing execs, bolshy fat bitches, narcissistic tossers, troughing wannabe-politicians and career committee members. Hardly what I’d call intellectuals!

    If anything, it’s anti-wankerism!

    A waste of money… More of Lenny helping his own.

  28. Patrick R says:

    Tbird I’m not sure you aren’t just proving my point. Such cynicism.

    During WWII men that were considered slow to enlist for the war were called ‘Deep Thinkers’. I love this story for two reasons: It’s a great example of great kiwi understated humour, and, It’s a perfect example of our pioneering culture’s distrust of the intellectual, and the value of thought at all.

  29. Pim says:

    I think all of these reports are great. They tell us what we already have been told about 100 times over. But if we want to change things, we need to change the mentality of the people. People in new Zealand don’t think ahead. They have no vision in general. Thats why a lot of people (my father included) don’t support these things until it’s too late.

  30. tbird says:

    Don’t get me wrong, I’d love it if this group came up with great answers and practical ideas that would then be speedily implemented.

    But history tells us that this is unlikely to be the case. Most people’s experience is that these groups are very self-serving. Anyone who has had consulting groups at their workplace knows the havoc they wreak - and they’re paid very well to do this!

    BTW, it is only right that the “doers” get respected more than the “thinkers”. Thinking’s good and well, but unless it’s followed by a concrete decision it is a waste of time (and in this case money).

  31. tiered person says:

    It does not really sound good news to me. AECOM is part of the team of making the APB&B report and this report is relating to CRL which is a very important part of the public transport system as we were told. My question is how could they review themselves and develop a better plan than building CRL? Or if they do why do they think CRL is the best option of all now?


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