The $1.3 bil­lion traf­fic prob­lem

Central Leader - - SITUATIONS VACANT - SU­SAN ED­MUNDS

‘‘We need to at­tack con­ges­tion with ev­ery­thing we've got.’’

Auck­land’s econ­omy would get a boost of $3.5 mil­lion every day if its traf­fic con­ges­tion eased, a new re­port says.

The Em­ploy­ers and Man­u­fac­tur­ers As­so­ci­a­tion (EMA), Auck­land In­ter­na­tional Air­port, In­fras­truc­ture NZ, Ports of Auck­land and the Na­tional Road Car­ri­ers As­so­ci­a­tion com­mis­sioned the NZIER to carry out the re­port, look­ing at the so­cial and eco­nomic costs of traf­fic con­ges­tion.

The re­port found if Auck­land traf­fic could move on av­er­age between 50.5 kmh to 56.8 kmh dur­ing week days it would ben­e­fit the Auck­land econ­omy by nearly $3.5 mil­lion per day. At the mo­ment the av­er­age speed in the morn­ing peak is 41 kmh.

The city’s real GDP would in­crease by between $488m and $842m a year, it said.

It found that con­ges­tion had got worse over re­cent years and was ex­pected to de­te­ri­o­rate fur­ther.

Twenty-four per cent of the ar­te­rial net­work was con­gested dur­ing the morn­ing peak in the De­cem­ber 2016 quar­ter, from 18 per cent for the same pe­riod two years ago.

Auck­land Trans­port ex­pects the av­er­age morn­ing trip time to in­crease from 14.6 min­utes to 15.3 min­utes over the next 10 years. It now takes 67 min­utes to get into the city from Pa­pakura in the morn­ing, from 46 min­utes in 2013.

The con­ges­tion was also spread­ing through the day, the re­port noted.

In­fras­truc­ture NZ chief ex­ec­u­tive Stephen Sel­wood said the ac­tual pro­duc­tiv­ity gains might be higher than the $1.3 bil­lion a year the re­port sug­gested.

‘‘We know this es­ti­mate is con­ser­va­tive. The model only mea­sures con­ges­tion on five of seven days and of course business is a seven-day a week oper­a­tion. It also only val­ues your leisure trips at less than half the value of work time, a value I’m sure many Auck­lan­ders would agree un­der­shoots the cost.’’

Ports of Auck­land chief ex­ec­u­tive Tony Gib­son said the re­port showed a need for a multi-faceted ap­proach.

‘‘We need to at­tack con­ges­tion with ev­ery­thing we’ve got: In­vest­ment in road, rail, pub­lic trans­port, tech­nol­ogy, de­mand man­age­ment and so on. We also need to be much smarter and think fur­ther ahead in how we plan trans­port for the fu­ture.’’

The re­port said Auck­land’s con­ges­tion was on par with cities such as Melbourne, five times its size.

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