The $1.3 billion traffic problem
‘‘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.