An Appreciation For Transport Planners

Talking Auckland Pays Tribute to Auckland Transport and Council Transport Planners

Some days Auckland Transport (and Council) Planners can drive us (Auckland) absolutely around the bend, The Mill Road de-facto motorway corridor project being one, Auckland Transport stalling over the Manukau South Link being another. However, there are other days Auckland Transport and Council Transport Planners where credit is due. The New Bus Network especially in southern Auckland being one where I give big credit to the transport planners.

I remember when the New Bus Network – South Auckland came out for consultation and the hearings after that. When the finalised network came out it was pretty spot on to most submissions including my own. Once the Otahuhu and Manukau Transport Interchanges are complete next year the full new network will be up and running.

It would be the New Bus Network – South Auckland and the detail of work the transport planners when through including taking into account the submissions (again very well) that would form part of an appreciation to our transport planners. The other part which would give me full appreciation would be the recently released Cities Skylines game (available on STEAM).

In short Cities Skylines allows you to build your city, set your economy and allow you to place down public transport routes (bus, subway, heavy rail). Each of the three public transport modes (citizens in Cities Skylines do walk and do “transfer” between modes) have their own pro’s and con’s to them and work most efficient to their settings. For example buses are most efficient for short distances and linking with the Metro stations (subway). The Metro system forms the back bone of larger cities and is most efficient at medium and some cases longer distances. Again Metro systems connect with the buses allowing transfers. Heavy rail is hit and miss on Cities Skylines. Passenger heavy rail is not really suited for commuting within itself and you should (as I found out) build an independent system to the inter-city lines. That is because the inter-city lines attract tourist trains as well as the cargo trains (which are needed for industry).

But placing down bus depots, stations, and building the tracks (above or below ground) is the simple part. As “THE MAYOR” you also place down the “routes” for the modes as well.

And this is where my appreciation for transport planners comes into play. Solaria is my current city and is deemed a “large” city at 152,000 as of yesterday. The city has grown somewhat ad-hoc as I am using it as an experiment city to hone tactics for my next city later on. But as a city grows ad-hoc or rather organically (I am not the biggest fan of micro-detailed master planning) so did the bus and subway system. Basically a new route was tacked onto the existing system under I had a complete muddle of 96 bus routes and 51 Metro routes serving three main centres. In effect only 8% of the Solaria was catching public transport in a system that made no sense what so ever (try 9 routes of buses piling into a bus stop and wonder why you had a bus jam on a 6-lane road).

So at the moment I am engaging on my own Solarian New Public Transport Network for both the Metro and Bus lines.

Solarian Metro System san routes Also old bus routes before New Network
Solarian Metro System san routes
Also old bus routes before New Network
Solarian Metro System san routes Also old bus routes before New Network
Solarian Metro System san routes
Also old bus routes before New Network

First up is deleting 51 old Metro lines and redrawing new ones to better serve Solaria. The three main centres are:

  1. City Centre
  2. Manukau
  3. Penrose (an industrial complex)

With Metro being best at medium and long distance (when backed up by heavy rail) I am going to look at a system that connects to the three main centres as the long distance lines then have smaller localised lines spawning from those three centre areas. This probably means some new actual tracks and demolishing some old ones and even new stations too.

Once that is done it is deleting 96 bus lines and reformatting them to served both localised areas (going no further than two districts) and feeding into the Metro stations for those transfers.

I can safely say it is going to take a week of game play to get the new routes sorted for both modes and that is with no consultation prior 😉

But in doing the Solarian New Public Transport Network and getting patronage to around 45% (the goal) it has given me appreciation to transport planners trying to establish new networks across Auckland. I certainly do not envy your task that is for sure.

My hat is tipped to you.

Solaria 19 04 2015
Solaria 19 04 2015