Survey findings demonstrate Aucklanders are willing to pay for better transport services and reduced congestion
17 April 2015
Colmar Bruntons survey of Auckland views on transport investment demonstrates a strong willingness to pay for better outcomes. The onus now is on the Auckland Council and Government to agree on objectives and deliver an aligned transport investment, land use, pricing and funding strategy that reduces congestion and supports the shift to public transport, says Stephen Selwood CEO of the New Zealand Council for Infrastructure Development.
Almost 60 per cent of Aucklanders say they are prepared to pay more to improve Aucklands transport system, compared to less than a third who are happy to continue business as usual. A similar number, 57 per cent, prefer that new transport funding is levied through a $2 average motorway charge, while just 31 per cent support new investment through increases to rates and fuel taxes. The survey questioned over 5000 respondents through February and March this year and has a margin of error of +/- 1.4%.
These are compelling numbers derived through a rigorous independent survey.
The Auckland Council has successfully brought Aucklanders over the line on the need to invest more in transport and even identified a mechanism to fund that investment.
However, there remains substantial work to do to ensure that additional investment meets the expectations of residents and the Government.
An earlier Colmar Brunton survey indicated that the top two priorities to achieving the worlds most liveable city was to improve public transport and reduce traffic congestion.
Yet even with the Councils preferred Auckland Plan investment programme in place, several key transport outcomes worsen noticeably in the future. Of particular concern is that congestion is not projected to improve beyond delivery of the Waterview Connection and in fact will deteriorate significantly beyond 2025.
Thats not what residents are thinking when they agree to open their wallets.
The only way of delivering on the strong message conveyed to decision makers through the Colmar Brunton survey is for the Auckland Council and Government to get round the table and agree an optimum demand management, land use and investment strategy.
The Council must be willing to review its Auckland Plan programme, including the release of brown and greenfield land for housing supply and transport priorities, as a means to persuading the Government to pass necessary legislation.
If the Government and Council can reach an accord on transport and urban development supported by a road pricing regime which optimises the transport network, we have a very good chance of delivering the worlds most liveable city, Selwood says.
Opportunities to deliver better outcomes for Aucklanders include:
- Project reprioritisation the sharp projected increase in congestion post 2025 and improvement post 2035 demonstrates resequencing is necessary,
- Project optimisation more needs to be achieved from the key investments,
- Road pricing variable pricing delivers a more efficient network and stronger economy,
- Development control and prioritisation brownfield development must be concentrated around rail and busway stations and staged to align with transport investment,
- Value capture property value improvements due to infrastructure and zoning decisions must be retained to fund services,
- Leveraging technology - the plan must fully exploit opportunities, from remote working and intelligent transport networks to electric and fully automated vehicles .