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Auckland is one of the fastest growing cities in Australasia and is now home to more than 1.7 million people. Over the next decade Auckland is projected to grow by another 300,000 people, while over the next 30 years up to a million more people might call Auckland home – an increase greater than the rest of New Zealand’s population growth combined.

The Government has partnered with Auckland Council to address this through the Auckland Transport Alignment Project (ATAP), a $28 billion plan that will see a record amount of roads, public transport, rapid transit and walking and cycling infrastructure rolled out. It’s expected to reduce congestion and make peoples’ commutes safer and easier.

State Highway 1 is crucial to the future of Auckland and $700 million is being invested in the Northern Motorway, providing better links for travellers in Auckland and improving transport options on the North Shore for freight, cars, pedestrians and cyclists. Over $250 million is being invested in the Southern Motorway to provide a more reliable and safer trip for all road users through adding more lanes, installing safety barriers and upgrading the Takanini interchange.

Improving access and reliability of public transport and rapid transit is a key focus. Auckland has reached 100 million public transport passengers in a year, which means every day 270,000 trips are taken, reducing congestion and carbon emissions. More people using public transport frees up the roads for those who have to drive and we’re investing more than $2 billion in projects like extending the successful Northern Busway to Albany, light rail from the City Centre to Māngere, and in the Eastern Busway from Panmure to Pakuranga.

Having a liveable city where families can get around safely is important, which is why we’re investing more than ever before into walking and cycling infrastructure. SeaPath and a walking and cycling path over the Auckland Harbour Bridge will connect the North Shore with Auckland’s city centre and give more commuters a congestion-free option to get to and from work. Cycle lanes are being built in Henderson, Mangere East and Manukau, and on the central isthmus to help the 518,000 Aucklanders who bike get around easily.

Key initiatives in Auckland are:

  • Improving road safety
  • Expanding and upgrading the rapid transit network
  • Connecting communities as they grow
  • Improving walking and cycling
  • Enhancing public transport
  • Developing a more resilient and efficient network

These investments will help to make Auckland a better place to live, work, visit and raise a family.

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The number of deaths and serious injuries on Auckland’s transport network nearly doubled from 2012 to 2017, far outweighing growth in population and vehicle travel. There is an urgent need to improve safety for people, whether they are on foot, on a bike, in a vehicle or using public transport.

There is agreement at both local and central government level that a renewed focus on safety is required, and the National Land Transport Programme (NLTP) will invest in key initiatives for action with Auckland Transport. This will include the Urban Road Safety Programme and the introduction of new safety and red-light cameras, which will address the highest risk roads and intersections.

The Safer Communities and Speed Management Programme will address safety and operational deficiencies and implement a strategic speed management approach across Auckland’s road network.

The Transport Agency is working with local government on the introduction of new road safety education and awareness programmes. Key to the success of these programmes is its partnership with NZ Police to reduce road deaths and ensure everyone gets to their destination safely.

The Transport Agency investment programme will also include the $69 million SH16 Brigham Creek to Waimauku Safe System Enhancement, to improve safety and efficiency.

$50 million will be invested in safety improvements in the Dome Valley north of Warkworth to make the road safer for everyone who uses it. Part of the Transport Agency’s Safe Network Programme, there will be 13.5km of additional barriers, widened centrelines and 152km of new line markings and rumble strips. Work began in February 2019 and completion is expected in 2021

Work is also underway to improve safety at level crossings at Joyce Adams Place, Waimauku (near SH16); Kaukapakapa (SH16); and West Coast Road, Kaipara Flats (near SH16).

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Rapid transit network

Expanding and upgrading Auckland’s rapid transit network of rail, busways and, in the future, light rail to play a growing role in meeting Aucklanders’ travel needs is central to the ATAP programme. Rapid transit is uniquely well suited to shifting large numbers of people quickly, efficiently and reliably, unlocking critical housing and urban development opportunities and giving communities better access to jobs, health, education and recreation.

Delivering light rail in the City Centre to Māngere corridor will provide a modern, integrated public transport system with seamless connections. This is an opportunity to create a great transport system that can be part of the fabric of the city and improve people’s lives through transformational projects and initiatives that leave a legacy for future generations.

The Transport Agency is leading the delivery of the light rail programme. It is working in partnership with Auckland Council, Auckland Transport and HLC, to give people more choice about how they travel and to support the creation of more accessible communities.

The NLTP 2018-21 will invest in expanding Auckland’s rapid transit network. Alongside developing light rail, key initiatives are:

  • Delivering the Northern Corridor Improvements project to construct an extension of the successful Northern Busway to Albany, running in both directions along the eastern side of the Northern Motorway. A new station is also proposed to be added at Rosedale.
  • Progressing the Southwest Gateway Programme to improve access to Auckland International Airport and surrounding areas, including Airport to Botany Rapid Transit and 20Connect.

These projects will provide more choices for people and freight in their travel to and from the airport and surrounding areas both in the short and longer term. Improvements may include bus priority along SH20B to Puhinui rail station, an upgrade of the station, improved capacity and connections along SH20/A/B, interchange upgrades and rapid transit between Auckland Airport and Botany.

  • Progressing the Auckland Manukau Eastern Transport Initiative (AMETI), which delivers new dedicated busways and cycleways to improve access and safety in the area, unlocking housing development opportunities. Over the next three years work will focus on the Eastern Busway from Panmure to Pakuranga, including the Reeves Road flyover.
  • Introducing more electric trains to maximise the rail network’s capacity prior to City Rail Link completion.
  • Extending rail electrification to Pukekohe to support growth in the south and encourage mode shift to public transport.
  • Provision of a third main line between Westfield and Wiri and an upgrade of Westfield rail junction to provide better separation of passenger and freight services.

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Connecting communities as the city grows

Much of Auckland's strategic road transport network is now complete, however the Transport Agency is working to create targeted improvements at the same time as it prepares for the networks required to connect growth areas and ensure they are great places to live.

Key corridors around the city will continue to have strategic importance, especially as the city grows and changes. The NLTP 2018-21 will invest in the following key initiatives, which are aimed at connecting communities as the city grows:

  • The Northern Corridor Improvements project, which will complete the connection for the Western Ring Route to the north by providing a new continuous motorway link between the Northern and Upper Harbour Motorways.
  • The Southern Corridor Improvements, which will alleviate a key bottleneck by widening the Southern Motorway (SH1) between Manukau and Papakura, resulting in safer and more efficient journeys in the south. This project is due to be completed by the end of 2019.
  • The 18-kilometre extension of the Northern Motorway (SH1) from Pūhoi to Warkworth providing a safer and more efficient connection to Northland.
  • The SH1 Papakura to Bombay project will begin work to provide a third lane in each direction between Papakura and Drury, aiming to improve journey reliability, safety and network resilience.
  • Improvements along the Lake Road corridor will provide a better corridor between Devonport and Takapuna.
  • Improvements will be made to Lincoln Road to accommodate additional transit/bus lanes, intersection and safety improvements, and footpath widening.

Looking ahead, the Supporting Growth programme has been established to investigate, plan and deliver the transport networks needed to support future urban growth areas over the next 30 years. Through this collaborative programme with local government, the NLTP will invest in the initial preferred network that has been identified, including the Matakana Link Road connection between Matakana and SH1 near Warkworth. The Transport Agency will continue a staged programme of route protection processes, and future delivery of projects will then follow in line with ATAP’s priorities and the release of new land for growth.

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Improving walking and cycling

There is an upswing in cycling with 38% of Aucklanders riding bikes in 2018 – that is more than 518,000 people now cycling. The past three years have seen the continued implementation of the Urban Cycleways Programme, and more bikes means a more active population as people choose to access and see the city a different way and leave the car at home.

The walking and cycling programme will be strategically planned and delivered to achieve maximum impact for short trips to the city centre, public transport interchanges, schools, and local and metropolitan centres. A new footpaths regional programme will construct new and widened footpaths.

Several key infrastructure projects will enable more active ways for people to move safely and easily, including:

  • SeaPath and the Auckland Harbour Bridge Shared Path are key links in Auckland’s walking and cycling network that will connect the North Shore with Auckland’s city centre. Both projects will be delivered by the Transport Agency, enabling project efficiencies and improved coordination.
  • Work will continue on the Glen Innes to Tāmaki Drive shared path.
  • The Manukau Harbour Crossing dedicated walking and cycling link will be completed.
  • Delivery of cycle lanes by Auckland Transport in Henderson, Mangere East and Manukau, and on the central isthmus as part of the Connected Communities programme will be supported by Transport Agency funding.

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Enhancing bus and ferry services

Annual ridership on Auckland’s public transport system recently exceeded 100 million boardings for the first time since the 1950s. Nearly 80% of public transport trips are made by bus or ferry.

The NLTP 2018-21 will continue to invest in Auckland’s bus and ferry services, through the following key initiatives (in addition to those identified under ‘rapid transit’):

  • Development of the ‘Connected Communities’ programme that is intended to provide continuous bus lanes, cycle lanes and safety improvements along key arterial roads in central and southern Auckland.
  • Bus priority lanes along Wellesley Street and a new Learning Quarter bus interchange.
  • Proposed new and expanded park-and-ride facilities in peripheral parts of the city.
  • Completion of the Future Ferry Strategy for Auckland, and redevelopment and construction of a new downtown ferry terminal.

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More resilient and efficient

A key strategic approach of ATAP is to make better use of the existing network, and to explore new opportunities to get more out of what is already in place. This means looking at the whole Auckland transport system and understanding the way people want to interact with it, as well as a programme of optimisation to improve the efficiency and reliability of people’s journeys.

New technology is providing opportunities to do this. The Transport Agency’s investment in the Intelligent Transport Systems Programme will use emerging technologies to better manage congestion, improve safety and influence travel demand. The Network Optimisation Programme will provide a package of targeted small-to-medium scale infrastructure projects to optimise routes through synchronisation of traffic signals, optimising road layout, dynamic traffic lanes and managing traffic restrictions. Another key initiative is the Bus Route Priority Phase 1, which involves implementation of bus priority measures along the Frequent Service Network to improve capacity and speed.

While the Auckland Transport Operations Centre can effectively manage incidents and emergencies, there is an ongoing programme of work to strengthen its capabilities to reduce disruption and delay. Core technology upgrades will support and enhance systems such as Journey Planner, web and mobile applications, asset management, CCTV and network upgrades to improve performance, resilience and safety of customers.

As the climate changes, there will be an investigation to determine how to address the impacts of sea level rise on Tāmaki Drive and improve the resilience of state highway and local road networks.

In the last 18 months

  • Completion of the new $49 million Manukau Bus Station in April 2018 saw the opening of a brand-new state of the art facility to make it easier for people to switch between bus and rail and to get around the city without adding to road congestion.
  • Completion and opening of the SH20A shared walking and cycling path in June 2018 as part of the $190 million SH20A to Airport project, which included construction of the underpass to separate local and airport traffic at the Kirkbride Road/SH20A intersection and the transformation of the Landing Drive roundabout into an eight-lane intersection controlled by traffic lights.
  • Opening of the Quay Street Cycleway Extension in September 2018 provides cyclists with a safer ride into the city centre from east Auckland. The project extends the original two-way Quay Street Cycleway from Plumer Street, past Spark Arena, to near The Strand intersection.
  • The Ian McKinnon Drive Walking and Cycling Shared Path was opened at the end of 2018 and provides a dedicated cycleway from the end of the Northwestern cycleway through Suffolk Reserve and along Ian McKinnon Drive to Upper Queen Street.
  • The new $6 million Muriwai Roundabout opened in December 2017 to increase safety and efficiency on State Highway 16, Muriwai Road, and Waimauku Station Road. The project also included footpaths and fenced pedestrian refuge islands to provide safer crossing points, along with extra wide off-road cycle paths to help cyclists to safely navigate the area.
  • Auckland Transport’s (AT) roll out of the New Public Transport Network took place throughout 2017 and 2018 to provide a simpler, more frequent and better connected public transport network for the Auckland region. All areas except Waiheke have now been implemented.

Underway or about to start

  • Construction work has been underway since 2015 and will continue on the $268 million SH1 Southern Corridor Improvements project, removing existing bottlenecks on the Southern Motorway between Manukau and Papakura and creating a brand new shared walking and cycling path between Takanini and Papakura to connect communities and provide more travel options. This project will be complete at the end of 2019.
  • Construction is well underway on the $700 million Northern Corridor Improvements and involves transport improvements on the Northern Motorway (SH1), including a new SH1/SH18 motorway connection to improve access and reduce congestion on surrounding local roads. The Northern Busway will be extended to Albany and a new busway station will be constructed at Rosedale to provide more transport options in and around this busy industrial area.
  • Work will get underway to deliver light rail between the city centre and Māngere, and to Auckland’s northwest. Light rail will provide a high capacity, frequent and reliable public transport service, and enable accelerated urban development along these corridors.
  • Access to Auckland Airport and surrounding areas will be improved through the Southwest Gateway programme. This work includes Puhinui Rail Station improvements, investigation of rapid transit measures between Auckland Airport and Botany, and identifying improvements along state highways 20, 20A and 20B to improve journey reliability and provide more transport choices.
  • $240 million will be invested in the Auckland Manukau Eastern Transport Initiative (AMETI) Eastern Busway improvements. Construction on this stage of the project started in May 2019.
  • The Public Private Partnership (PPP) will continue to build the 18km extension of the Northern Motorway (SH1) from Pūhoi to Warkworth to improve safety and access to the north.
  • Through the collaborative Te Tupu Ngātahi Supporting Growth Alliance programme the NLTP will look to confirm and protect transport networks that are needed to support the development of new future urban growth areas over the next 30 years. There will be $46 million investment in the Matakana Link Road connection, and $140 million for the SH1 Papakura to Bombay programme.
  • To encourage a continued increase in people cycling in Auckland, $31 million will be invested in SeaPath, a walking and cycling connection between Northcote Point and Esmonde Road, Takapuna. There will be $67 million to develop the Auckland Harbour Bridge Shared Path, and investigations continue to construct a dedicated walking and cycling crossing of the Manukau Harbour to replace the Old Māngere Bridge. $56.6 million will be invested to complete the Glen Innes to Tāmaki Drive shared path.
  • Investment in new electric trains to provide for growth and reduce crowding that would otherwise occur. Investment will be allocated to the electrification of the rail line from Papakura to Pukekohe, and $119 million for the provision of a third main line between Westfield and Wiri and an upgrade of Westfield rail junction to provide better separation of passenger and freight services. There will also be funding for the removal of road/rail level crossings to better manage safety risks.
  • The SH16 Lincoln to Westgate project will be complete in late-2019 and will make improvements to the Northwestern Motorway between Lincoln Road and Westgate to support growth in the western suburbs and increased traffic using the Western Ring Route.
  • The NLTP includes co-investment in many local roads around Auckland, including $68 million for Lincoln Road Improvements in west Auckland. These upgrades will improve travel time reliability. There will also be investment in city centre bus improvements, including bus priority measures and new interchanges.

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Investment in Auckland

Forecast total investment $4.6 billion $6.8 billion
Forecast maintenance and operations $1.3 billion $1.3 billion
Forecast public transport investment $1.2 billion $2.3 billion
Forecast walking and cycling $108 million $277 million
Regional network improvements $1.5 billion $1.9 billion

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