Jobs Within 30 Minutes using Public Transport. Auckland Has a Lot of Work to Do #AKLPols

Map from MRCagney shows we as a City have a lot of work to do


Note: This is independent analysis from material put into the Public Domain by MRCagney Limited. Talking Auckland thanks those from MRCagney Limited for putting the map together.


Last week MRCagney Limited (an urban and transport consulting firm) published a map last week that illustrates “A visualization  of public transport accessibility in Auckland, New Zealand on 2015-06-11. Displayed is every 2013 census meshblock in Auckland color-coded by the number of jobs accessible from that meshblock via a public transport journey of at most 30 minutes.” Basically how many jobs are accessible (within 30 minutes by public transport) to residents in a certain area.


Looking at this map you can see the rather stark contrasts:

Public Transport and Jobs overview Source: MRCagney
Public Transport and Jobs overview
Source: MRCagney


If I zoom in slightly and focus to the Auckland Isthmus and Southern Auckland where the bulk of residents and jobs are located we get this:

Public transport and jobs overview with focus to Central and South Source: MRCagney
Public transport and jobs overview with focus to Central and South
Source: MRCagney


If you live on the Isthmus, lower North Shore (except Devonport) and close to the Manukau (Eastern) and Southern Lines as far south as Manukau City Centre itself you I would consider be lucky to be within 30 minutes of ’employment’ by public transport. Live further north, west or south in Auckland and you are in tough luck. Remember it is about an hour by car from Papakura to the City Centre in the morning and 50 minutes by the Southern Line going the same way. For irony Manukau City Centre would be 14 minutes from Papakura by train if the Manukau South Link was built rather than 34 minutes by bus and about equally as long by train as currently you need to transfer at Puhinui to back track south before reaching Manukau Station.

Now let that sink in for a moment while I continue.


Below is a closer look at job accessibility by public transport:

Public transport and jobs central and south Source: MRCagney
Public transport and jobs central and south
Source: MRCagney


You can see the high accessibility towards the City Centre and following the Southern Line and in part the Manukau (Eastern) Line until you reach Manukau City Centre. Even the Western Line is not truly favourable pre City Rail Link in granting 30-minute access to the City Centre where the West goes for jobs (if they do not head to Onehunga, Wiri, the Airport or Manukau further south). Post City Rail Link the Western Line accessibility situation should improve to as far as New Lynn or even Glen Eden.


But these maps do not mean nor prove we need a massive as pile in on more City Centre and Isthmus Auckland jobs as this will not recognise:

  1. The public transport spines are still the same
  2. Southern Auckland commutes mainly within itself
  3. We lack Cross-City services at the moment
  4. The five big heavy industrial complexes in Southdown and further south.


Take a look at the commuter maps (and commentary) from a Ministry of Transport commissioned report:

Auckland’s Commuting Journeys – A Series. #Introduction

Auckland’s Commuting Journeys – A Series. #The City Centre

Auckland’s Commuting Journeys – A Series. #Major non City Centre Employment Centres Overview

Auckland’s Commuting Journeys – A Series. #Major non City Centre Employment Centres Overview 2

Auckland’s Commuting Journeys – A Series. #From Selected Residential Centres

Auckland’s Commuting Journeys – A Series. #Concluding Remarks


An extract from my concluding remarks which ties into the MRCagney Map quite well:

Concluding Remarks

Written by Ben Ross – Talking Auckland  September 8, 2014 

This post brings to an end the ‘Auckland’s Commuting Journey – A Series’ run of posts. Previously the series looked at commuting patters to the City Centre, major employment centres outside of the City Centre, and from key residential centres in Auckland. The Richard Paling Report commissioned by the Ministry of Transport showed for the most part where there is good public transport people will use it. This is shown through private mode share continuously dropping for the most part and public transport mode share going up (both along bus and rail corridors). Places not served well by public transport such as the Airport and Highbrook have higher than regional average private mode share which actually grew on the Census’s period. Furthermore subdivisions built prior to 1990 seemed to have a good public transport usage uptake. Compared to subdivisions built post 1990’s (North Harbour, Flatbush, Dannemora etc) the public transport uptake is relatively low compared to their older subdivision counterparts.

Land use and transport use policy from 1990 until about now (although still some legacy affects are there) was neo-liberal based from the USA where cul-de-sacs and cars were king above all else. Auckland (as well as the USA) have finally seen this and are both retrofitting existing subdivisions to be more public transport and people friendly, while new subdivisions (most likely post Unitary Plan in 2016) should return to our past in being more people friendly and accessible to existing or new public transport infrastructure.

The report also showed South Auckland being an enigma with its commuting patterns. While people and students (who don’t show up in the report and hence why Councillors Brewer and Quax are wrong with their interpretations about the 1.7% rail mode share) do commute to the City Centre or beyond from the South (just take an Eastern Line train between 7am-9am to see) the Auckland’s Commuting Journeys – A Series. #Major non City Centre Employment Centres Overview post illustrated South Auckland largely commuted within itself. This is most likely owing to large industrial complexes, the airport, and Manukau City Centre which are all moderate to large employment centres and those centres serving a diverse socio-economic sector more drawn to these centres than the City Centre would provide.


In the end the report showed three things:

  1. Not everything is City Centre based or heading to the City Centre as South Auckland would show. This means our transport (and land use planning) needs to be flexible to more cross city commuting and more localised commuting (especially with the South). The Manukau South Rail Link at a cost of about $6m backed up with feeder buses into Wiri would be an example of a quick win allowing a quick (14 minutes from Papakura to Manukau Station) trip from a major residential centre to a major employment centre. In a sense of irony if jobs were provided closer to home owing to good public transport links then the likelihood of cross city commuting decreases thus congestion on roads, buses and trains lessen.
  2. Where there is public transport people WILL use it so we must continue to stick it out and provide public transport links that work (something the new South Auckland Bus Network should do). Just because 1.7% commute by rail does not mean we should not invest in rail. It shows we should especially as rail is the most efficient form moving people over medium to long distances where as buses (without a bus way) is only good for feeders, short and medium distances.
  3. Our Landuse/Transport integration policy is still out of whack. Something I will highlight in the Spatial Priorities tie over below


First Look at the 10 Spatial Priorities

Through the Draft Long Term Plan 2015-2025 and no doubt the Auckland Development Committee (which would over see the execution) the Council is targeting its finite City Building resources into these ten spatial priority areas. These SPA’s would over time (so a new set of 10 every 5-10 years) would most likely get dedicated attention and resources funnelled into them as Council embarks on the City Building program. By using Spatial Priority Areas I believe the Council is trying to achieve best bang for buck in areas that at the time would handle specific growth challenges within Auckland. Here is the draft outlook at the first ten spatial priority areas:


They are essentially along rail or bus corridors which means we have a chance of marrying up that land/transport integrated planning. The Rail Corridor Census Area Unit used in the research paper can be seen below


So the first set of Spatial Priorities are focusing on Brownfield developments mainly along the Southern Line and Western Line rail corridors with the City Centre and Manukau City Centre also classed as spatial priorities as well.


Full article: Auckland’s Commuting Journeys – A Series. #Concluding Remarks


Those spatial priorities have manifested themselves into Panuku Development Auckland’s urban renewal program: I Will Be Watching The Auckland Development Closely in Regards to Development Auckland #AKLPols UPDATED.


My concluding remarks do illustrate three things:

  1. Our employment centres are spread around Auckland
  2. Our 10 Metropolitan Centres and five heavy industrial complexes are not that well served by frequent and reliable public transport as of yet
  3. Investment needs to be made into the public transport network to have more of urban Auckland within 30 minutes access to either the:
    1. City Centre
    2. Manukau and Albany Super Metropolitan Centres
    3. Eight other Metropolitan Centres (Takapuna, Westgate, Henderson, Newmarket, Botany, Sylvia Park, Botany and Papakura)
    4. Any of the big five heavy industrial complexes (Southdown-Onehunga, East Tamaki-Highbrook, Airport, Wiri and Drury South when that comes on stream)


Remembering that:

Panel Questions Spatial Applications of my Proposed Residential Zones #UnitaryPlan

Written by Ben Ross – Talking Auckland October 23, 2015

As for balance I had this from both Judge Kirkpatrick and Panel member Shepard on the spatial application of my proposed zones.

The bulk of that conversation will continue in Topic 081 (Rezoning) next year where I will answer Kirkpatrick’s balance question more extensively (has the Council got the zone balance right to which I gave my preliminary answer yesterday of “no.”_

Member Shepard’s answer was more on the long side given that the Unitary Plan debate is split in two:

  1. Those who want to keep existing residential areas of Auckland as is often citing heritage or character
  2. Those seeking more liberal controls that would allow urban Auckland to adapt to the changing environment as the City continues to grow


In short I answered that we can accommodate both sides in protecting genuine character areas of Auckland WHILE still allowing the City to evolve without willy nilly sprawl. To do this two things need to happen:

  1. The Centres especially the Metropolitan Centres and my two proposed Super Metropolitan Centre areas (Manukau and Albany) need to step up more and take the load with intensification.
  2. The application of the Residential Intensive Medium Density Zone surrounding the Super and normal Metropolitan Centres with further applications of that zone and the Residential Standard Medium Density Zone around major public transport nodes like bus or rail interchanges.

Given we are becoming more urban but still want to retain parts of suburbia as well if we did the above then we have a pressure relief situation to other areas that might be not deemed suitable for intensification.


Also given the public transport accessibility problem as seen below we still have a long way to go with our evolution towards a more urban environment:

Public transport and jobs overview with focus to Central and South Source: MRCagney
Public transport and jobs overview with focus to Central and South
Source: MRCagney


Source: Panel Questions Spatial Applications of my Proposed Residential Zones #UnitaryPlan


We have a lot of work to do to get more people within 30 minutes by public transport to a major employment centre. There is nothing worse than whether by car or public transport spending ling periods of time on a commute to or from work.