Considerable work has been conducted over many years looking at options for both public transport connections and for new road crossings of the harbour. Initially it was widely assumed that previous options would be confirmed as the recommended way forward however we challenged this assumption.
Along with Aurecon and AECOM, we collaborated closely with Auckland Council, Auckland Transport and KiwiRail, the key stakeholders. Regular meetings and workshops ensured that all parties understood the vision and purpose of the project, the decisions that were being made and the reasons behind them. We followed the Waka Kotahi Business Case procedure, enhancing it to ensure potential options were included that addressed all identified problems. Our team challenged long-held views on the preferred form for both road and public transport improvements. Examples of this include the consideration of “trackless trams” for the enhanced busway option and the exploration of alternative future land use options to establish the sensitivity of assumptions on transport demands.
Our team produced five scoping papers: Land Use and Demography; Strategic Network Assumptions; Demand for Travel; Freight Demand; and Corridor Resilience. The long list assessment was established by the client and involved a strategic merit test of the following five scenarios:
- Do minimum
- Road Pricing only
- Road Improvements Only
- PT Improvements Only
- Road PT improvements together
Of these, only scenarios 4 and 5 were assessed as appropriate to deliver the required strategic outcomes and these were progressed to short list development. Technical Director Theunis van Schalkwyk led a team to workshop potential PT options and developed indicative alignments and stop locations, service patterns, frequencies and capacities to enable strategic modelling to inform the evaluation. The “short list” for detailed assessment comprised nine options, plus do minimum.
The team, led by Technical Director Phil Harrison, worked closely with the Auckland Forecasting Centre (AFC) to define these options for strategic modelling and analysed the modelling outputs to assess each option’s performance against the agreed KPIs. Our evaluation indicated that the best performing long term solutions against the investment criteria were either light or heavy rail on a new alignment complementing the busway. Assessment also indicated the need for shorter term capacity enhancements to the busway and showed that the resilience and productivity problems were not completely addressed by a PT-only option.
We proposed a programme of improvements over a 30 year timeframe, providing solutions for the short, medium and long-term. This included public transport improvements for the short and medium term and longer-term road capacity improvements.
The AWHC project involved several key stakeholders with substantially different views on the preferred transport connections across the harbour. Our modeneutral approach considered the best transport, economic, social and environmental outcomes for Auckland. While selection of light or heavy rail is influenced by external factors, a new railbased service is required to meet future demand and that it should complement not replace the existing busway.