Auckland’s light rail is poised to run from Auckland City Centre to Māngere and is intended to provide the backbone for future light rail to North and Northwest Auckland. We covered the light rail project in last month’s edition of InfraRead.

The government established the Auckland Light Rail Group earlier this year as part of a “fresh start” – the group has been charged with developing a business case and making recommendations for Auckland’s light rail. The Auckland Light Rail Group consists of Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency, the Ministry of Transport, Auckland Council, Auckland Transport, Kāinga Ora and mana whenua.

The Auckland Light Rail Group is currently holding community focussed “listening” sessions until 31 August, to understand what people want and build the project’s social licence. This engagement period is about finding the solution that gives the best transport, access, urban development, economic and environmental outcomes for everyone.

The government will make a decision about the route, mode and delivery entity later this year.

The question of mode is relevant as an autonomous rail transit system – or a trackless system – could be a running candidate instead of the traditional track railway system. A trackless tram system is a relatively recent Chinese innovation, and considered a cheaper and faster to build option.

Commercial operational lines are only found in a handful of Chinese cities, but autonomous rail transit systems are already being considered for the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar and are also being looked into by a number of Australian cities.

Autonomous rail transit systems could well serve as the technological disruption needed to ensure Auckland’s light rail is responsive and future fit.

Join us on 9 September for a virtual event to hear from the Auckland Light Rail Group on how the Auckland Light Rail project is progressing, what the timelines are, and what we can expect.

If you have not already received an invitation to this members-only event, please contact our Event Coordinator, Paige Hallam at