LGOIMA to Auckland Transport #1: Airport Rail Enquiries #AKLPols

Flushing out the methodology to the Auckland Transport study behind Airport Rail

 

With Auckland Transport announcing they want to do Light Rail to the Airport instead of extending the current and existing Heavy Rail system questions have been asked on why Auckland Transport has picked Light Rail.

For context thus far please read these two posts:

Auckland Transport Misses the Train – Again. Wants Inefficient Light Rail to the Airport

To Auckland Transport: Here is Your Heavy Rail to the Airport Route

 

There is a presentation that Auckland Transport gave to the Auckland Council Infrastructure Committee in 2015 with AT subsequently refusing to release it when asked. The presentation covered Auckland Transport’s supposed methodology on why Light Rail via Dominion Road instead of Heavy Rail via Onehunga or Otahuhu given apparently heavy rail is six minutes faster (more likely Light Rail is 21 minutes slower).

In any case I have filed a Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act Request to Auckland Transport on the Airport Rail situation asking the following:

Dear Auckland Transport,

Subject: Studies into Rail Options to the Airport

With Light Rail Transit (LRT) from the City Centre to Auckland International Airport via Dominion Road and State Highway 20 in place of heavy rail (see: Trams proposed for airport route http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11567299 ) I have the following questions for Auckland Transport:

  1. In 2015 you presented to the Auckland Council Infrastructure Committee a video showing the difference between Light Rail and Heavy Rail to the Airport from the City via essentially Onehunga and SH20/20A. Why have you not released this video into the public domain and will you release it into the public domain?
  2. In that video you claim the time difference between heavy rail using the existing electric trains and the proposed light rail via Dominion Road is six minutes. Can you please provide a full breakdown of the research methodology that resulted in that conclusion of the time difference please?
  3. Can you please a cost break down section by section for both light rail to the airport via Dominion Road, and heavy rail that would extend from the Onehunga Station? Please include the cost of track duplication and level crossing removal on the Onehunga Line and any Public Works Act purchases that might need to be made for either LRT or Heavy Rail? Please also include for LRT the cost of new trams and a tram depot that would be needed for servicing the Airport LRT Line while for heavy rail the cost of extra EMUs.
  4. Has Auckland Transport considered heavy rail to the airport from the North Island Main Trunk Link at Otahuhu Station and would run through Mangere East and Mangere before running alongside SH20A to the airport? If not why not? If so the methodology of your research that led to the Otahuhu to Airport route being struck out from further analysis and consideration to and by the Governing Body of Auckland Council.
  5. Finally has Auckland Transport done any study for bus or rail rapid transit from Manukau City Centre to the Airport via SH20B?

 

I look forward to your reply

……….

Source: https://fyi.org.nz/request/3519-airport-rail-methodology-and-video-release-for-the-airport-line

 

Auckland Transport must reply by February 15 with their full response.

I am also penning a letter to Ministers English, Bridges and Smith on the matter.

 

Airport Line Comparison  Red = LRT proposal by Auckland Transport Black  = Heavy Rail Route proposal Black dash = Via Mangere route to Airport instead of Onehunga Yellow = LRT to Manukau as part of Botany Line
Airport Line Comparison
Red = LRT proposal by Auckland Transport
Black = Heavy Rail Route proposal
Black dash = Via Mangere route to Airport instead of Onehunga
Yellow = LRT to Manukau as part of Botany Line

 

 

 

 

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4 thoughts on “LGOIMA to Auckland Transport #1: Airport Rail Enquiries #AKLPols

  1. I don’t think anyone is arguing we shouldn’t build LRT down Dominion Rd.

    The debate is what will provide the most benefit for the Southwest. An extension of the proposed LRT network or an extension of the existing Heavy Rail Network.

    I believe Heavy Rail does, because of the 8-14 mins travel time difference, higher reliability and capacity of heavy rail due to grade separation and larger rolling stock.

    The three aims of SMART are

    1) A rapid transit link to the Airport.
    2) Provide quality rapid transit to the 71000 people living in the Southwest with poor PT links.
    3) Provide quality rapid transit links for the 22000 jobs in the area projected to grow to nearly 40000 over next 2 decades.

    I believe Heavy Rail better meets these three objectives. The Light Rail would be to slow, it will be crowded from all the Dominion Road users, it would have little space for baggage & does not connect Auckland better with the Southwestern jobs.

  2. Surely they’ve undertaken a robust cost vs benefit analysis of the two (three) options to determine most appropriate option. I’m also sure that analysis factored in far more than simply cutting off a few extra minutes for airport commuters.

    The key in all this for me seems to be clear desire from AC and AT to open up the Isthmus, regenerate inner-city town centres and rid the inner-suburbs of traffic congestion. This is all focused around their overarching goal of creating a ‘compact city’. To enable this they need to remove buses from roads and come up with alternative transport options. Simply stopping light rail at the end of Dominion Road will not solve this, the entire transport network needs to operate harmoniously to ensure ultimate efficiency. Extending a light rail network to the airport seems like a sensible approach in my opinion and not dissimilar to approaches that have been adopted by other cities throughout Europe (i.e. Munich)

    Surely the benefits of light rail over heavy rail are:

    1. providing for the regeneration of inner-suburbs;
    2. removing heavy traffic congestion along main arterial routes of Dominion Rd, Mt Eden Rd, Manukau Rd and Sandringham Rd;
    3. focusing growth in our main inner-city town centres (including employment growth);
    4. reducing congestion on the South-West motorway;
    5. utilising existing tram designations and avoiding complex consent processes; and
    5. saving over one billion dollars in costs

    1. Surely they’ve undertaken a robust cost vs benefit analysis of the two (three) options to determine most appropriate option. I’m also sure that analysis factored in far more than simply cutting off a few extra minutes for airport commuters.

      No they havent from what I have been told to the point it is believed Auckland Transport might have fudged the numbers to show LRT in a favourable light. The LGOIMA I have filed asks for the full methodology AT used so we can make the determinations ourselves.

      The key in all this for me seems to be clear desire from AC and AT to open up the Isthmus, regenerate inner-city town centres and rid the inner-suburbs of traffic congestion. This is all focused around their overarching goal of creating a ‘compact city’. To enable this they need to remove buses from roads and come up with alternative transport options. Simply stopping light rail at the end of Dominion Road will not solve this, the entire transport network needs to operate harmoniously to ensure ultimate efficiency.

      You are confusing two very different things trying to solve again two very different things. LRT through the Isthmus to the City Centre does what you have said it will do in opening the Isthmus up and realising the goals of the Auckland and Unitary Plans. So many stops along the Dominion Road route does serve those commuting through or wanting to visit the Dominion Road shops. Where LRT fails is the length, speed restrictions and amount of stops compared to heavy rail.

      Heavy Rail from the Airport to Otahuhu with connections then north, south and east through existing Southern and Eastern Line services delivers what is needed: a fast, efficient limited stop service between the Airport, the CBD and several Metropolitan Centres including Newmarket, Sylvia Park, Manukau City Centre and Papakura.

      So:
      1. providing for the regeneration of inner-suburbs; (yes and I am not denying LRT for the Isthmus. But LRT serves the purpose you mention not a high express higher speed connection to and from the Airport)
      2. removing heavy traffic congestion along main arterial routes of Dominion Rd, Mt Eden Rd, Manukau Rd and Sandringham Rd; (as above)
      3. focusing growth in our main inner-city town centres (including employment growth); (I recommend reading my posts on South Auckland and Manukau especially the Commuting Series I did)
      4. reducing congestion on the South-West motorway; (No as that is a different dynamic to where those travellers are going)
      5. utilising existing tram designations and avoiding complex consent processes; and (writing a letter to the Ministers on the consenting front)
      5. saving over one billion dollars in costs (actually wrong very wrong. Heavy Rail via Otahuhu is cheaper owing to no Mangere Bridge duplication, new complete LRT rolling stock and support depots)

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