Something so simple eludes so many in Auckland Transport
In light of yesterday’s Auckland Transport to Miss Bus Patronage Targets maybe our transport engineers in Cities Skylines should pass a course in building a large city in the game with less than 50% of the traffic map in condition red (think the Southern Motorway parking lot at 5pm on a Friday afternoon). It with a bit of practice can be done so that your city does not seize up from traffic snarls. Yes there is still “congestion” which is the sign of a busy city but the city is still moving rather than seizing up like Auckland does.
In my current city – Neo Layton City there are four spots where I get a condition red on the roads with three of those spots due to industrial traffic from a near by industrial complex. The fourth spot is when the stadium finishes an evening game and everyone wants to go home.
As I said even I get the odd snarl up with this one being one of the main entry points to the City Centre and Downtown areas of Neo Layton City. The traffic congestion is generated by both the City Centre itself and the industrial complex with a cargo train terminal to the south (and out of shot) of this picture. As a result freight for the City Centre area often comes in by rail and transferred to freight trucks who then distribute the goods in the area. To compound it you have the main motorway interchange next door and more industrial traffic coming in to the left.
The other two snarl ups owing to industrial complex traffic are similar to the one above with a rail cargo terminal near by and freight trucks wanting to access the expressways to distribute the goods within the city.
So the question asked especially if you look at how Auckland Transport is going to miss their bus patronage targets by 4% for the year to end 30 June is how do I keep the city moving. Yes I can lay down light rail lines at cost and for even more cost the metro-subway system (which moves the most people in Neo Layton City across its seven lines). But the ultimate answer especially going for quick wins is the bus lane and the bus capacity!
Yes Neo Layton City has an extensive 24/7 bus lane system (that 2% of general traffic ignore) and a fleet of busses that have capacity from 40 to 115 plying some 45 routes. With the auto-budget set the amount of busses and capacity per bus is determined by the passenger demand on the respective route up to the grand total allowed in the main transportation budget. Meaning the system is flexible and if you do strike a bus that is full a less full one will not be too far behind. It is on rare occasions I have had to take manual control of a route and set more busses down due to a spike in demand.
The ultimate point being is that Neo Layton City moves due to a robust public transport system that adapts to the needs of its people. For the busses they have access to a comprehensive and enforced bus lane system right across the City something Auckland does not have. The auto-budget control allows the bus system to automatically adjust the capacity supplied to meet the passenger demand unlike Auckland. I review the public transport system to adjust routes, check capacity and even build new routes in place of old routes as the city continues to evolve, something again Auckland does not do.
Most of all I have never had to widen any of the 6-lane main inter-city motorways, never had to widen a 4-lane motorway I built at the beginning and not yet to have to widen a 2-lane expressway into a 4-lane motorway. Why? Because I keep up with the public transport and the freight (rail) systems to keep things moving.
So why is it so hard for Auckland Transport to build a proper bus lane system and be better at meeting the capacity concerns caused by surging demand?