Budget 2018: Infrastructure
Clear direction of travel for Auckland transport priorities
By Tim Arbuckle
Budget 2018 contains no surprises for transport and infrastructure in the City of Sails. And nor should it. Government has clearly signalled its direction of travel through its draft Government Policy Statement (GPS) on transport and a refresh of the Auckland Transport Alignment Project (ATAP).
The ATAP headline is a $28 billion 10-year transport investment package for Auckland (ATAP Package). It strikes a balance across all modes with more weight than its predecessor on public transport, active mobility and improving safety and environmental outcomes, consistent with the GPS. But roads are not forgotten.
Funding has been broadly allocated and will see Government tap into the National Land Transport Plan (NLTP) to meet its two-thirds share of the ATAP Package. The Regional Fuel Tax will help Auckland Council meet its share.
ATAP keeps its original purpose as a joint-government urban plan, integrating urban development, housing and transport. It also continues to take a supply and demand perspective, retaining transport pricing as a priority.
The refreshed ATAP adopts an integrated network or system approach to transport planning, similar to other major cities. A key focus is on developing existing and new rapid transit corridors as the network backbone to do the heavy lifting, while also creating urban and housing development opportunities as more people want to live in close proximity to frequent and reliable transport.
Budget 2018 does not specifically call out Auckland’s transport problems over and above what had previously been announced. However, there is recognition of the need for investment in infrastructure to address faster than expected growth and to make sure congestion doesn’t erode productivity. Key Budget 2018 commitments are in line with the GPS and ATAP, and not surprisingly, include the Government’s investment in the Auckland City Rail Link.
Deloitte research supports the importance placed on building the economic prosperity of Auckland, as urban centres across the world continue to account for a greater share of population growth. We have developed a picture of what transportation could look like in a smart, liveable and economically vibrant city and identified three key themes:
- Performance and resilience: Transport systems need to be efficient and integrated, with multiple transport modes for resilience.
- Vision and leadership: Urban mobility requires innovation, coordination amongst stakeholders and direction.
- Service and inclusion: Urban mobility should be affordable and accessible with widespread coverage.
We have studied how 40 cities perform against these themes and recently published the Deloitte City Mobility Index (DCMI) for 18 cities across a range of geographies, sizes and levels of economic development. City leaders can use the DCMI to identify areas that require greater focus, informed by the performance of other similar cities in the Index.
The health of any city’s transport system is a function of countless choices made over time and an embedded car culture. Having said that, cities can remake their mobility landscape when leaders come together to make decisions, often around innovation, technology and integration, rather than sheer investment. In other words, history plays a role but it is not destiny.
We expect to include Auckland in our next release of the DCMI planned for later this year. Early results rate Auckland well in terms of its regulatory environment and vision and leadership, as well as the progress made on integrating the city’s public transport network.
However, the social, environmental and economic costs of the city’s worsening congestion and poor safety record are impacting the liveability and economic prosperity of Auckland.
With the direction of travel mapped out in ATAP and the GPS, Auckland has the potential to be one of those cities that can remake its mobility landscape. But execution will be critical for delivering on the vision.
Explore the Deloitte City Mobility index at www.deloitte.com/nz/future-of-mobility