An academic has been given $345,000 to study ways of improving the politics surrounding Auckland’s transport network.
Massey researcher Imran Muhammad got the money from the Royal Society of New Zealand Marsden FastStart grant for the threeyear project.
He will investigate how local and central governments and communities can work together to build a better urban public transport system in Auckland.
‘‘Public transport in Auckland is topical, controversial and highly politicised,’’ Dr Muhammad says.
‘‘The failure to provide a high quality public transport system in the city has its origins in institutional challenges.’’
He says the city’s transport system has geographical and historical political challenges, including conflicting priorities at central and local government levels, differing political ideologies on transport strategies and funding systems and limited opportunities for genuine public involvement.
‘‘These challenges demand not merely incremental change but transformative change – a change in policy path.’’
He believes that while ambitious planning documents, political decisions and restructuring of local organisations have a place in developing public transport, quality democratic deliberations and the institutional capacity to redefine the problem and generate new solutions are more important.
Dr Muhammad, a senior lecturer at Massey’s School of People, Environment and Planning, says compared to overseas cities, particularly Perth, Auckland’s transport systems have lagged behind.