Equity in Labour’s Transport Plan. Is it Present?

The answer is yes – providing the Auckland Plan has a key metric attached


Saeid Adli from MRCagney wrote a thought-provoking piece about Justice missing from Labour’s Transport Plan (that the Minister of Transport, Housing and Urban Development – Phil Twyford). Justice being accessibility to the transit network in Auckland.


An extract from Adli’s LinkedIn post:

Justice, the missing piece in Labour-led government’s transport plan.

  • Saeid Adli

The new Labour-led Government has announced new plans for Auckland’s public transport (PT) network including a multibillion-dollar investment in light rail to the airport and West Auckland. These project has been part of Labour’s transport policies to make “Auckland a world-class city”.

In Labour’s transport manifesto, PT is about giving choices to people, having less congestion, reducing wasted time and fuel costs. The new transport services are expected to be “cheaper, less stressful, healthier and environmentally friendly” alternative to driving. In total, there will be an extra $3.3b investment over the next 20 years.These projects are expected to make Auckland a “better” place to live.

But the question is better for who?

Fairness in Auckland PT system

Auckland Plan values fairness and equality in many contexts including PT planning. A fair PT provides a good access to employment, healthcare, and education.

To realise the capability of our diverse population and communities, we must be a fair and inclusive city, and an accessible and well-connected city … Auckland to be viewed as a city of prosperity and opportunity, and an inclusive, safe, tolerant city, which promotes equality. (Auckland Plan, p 70)


A technical breakthrough for analysing the distributive benefits of PT services happened with the introduction of General Transit Feed Specifications (GTFS). GTFS is the only worldwide standard format for public transit stops, routes, and schedules (for full description see Google’s GTFS Reference). GTFS can be used to measure the cumulative opportunity, or potential, approach and sums the number of essential destinations reachable within certain times by PT. This is exactly what I have done for Auckland’s PT services (the map below is also available as a web map here).

Accessible Jobs within 30mins Source: Saeid Aldi


Now, the question is how the new PT plans are going to change this distribution? who benefits more from these billion dollar investments? The Labour government needs to be able to justify the fairness in their plans otherwise the connection between what is promised in the Auckland Plan and what is happening in practice can be weakened. I have to clarify here that I expect the new PT plans promote justice. However, when justice is not the main concern any improvement, if not a coincident, is only a random side effect and might be ignored.


Source: LinkedIn


I replied:

We sure Justice as you put is not the natural outcome of what Labour has proposed in the first decade?

As I have mentioned here https://voakl.net/2017/11/02/auckland-transit-gathers-pace/ the Government has focused on three Lines: The Southern Airport Line linking the Airport to Puhinui, Manukau and Botany by 2020 and 2023 respectively, the Northern Airport Line (Airport to the City Centre) and the North West LRT from the City Centre to Westgate. The NW LRT opens up areas in West and North West Auckland to transit that they can not get as they are too far away from the Western Line.

The Southern Airport Line was a clincher for me (and a key push point to Labour) as it was the Universal Access line to the Airport for pretty much all of Auckland including the North Shore until the Northern Airport Line is extended to the North Shore (becoming the Central Line under the CFN 2.0) The Southern Airport Line links up the Airport and Airport Industrial Complex to its main pool of worker in the South and East who are reliant on the car right now.

Could one of your GIS maps above be done for the Southern Airport Line right out to Botany please (the SE BRT in the CFN) that factors transfers at Puhnui and the Manukau Bus Station.

It would be interesting to see how the map pans out and answers the Justice question

The Three Lines committed to by Labour
The NW LRT Line, the Northern Airport Line and the Southern Airport Line.
Source: AKL Urban Development via Twitter
Note: Stations are not final


Congestion Free Network 2.0
Source: Greater Auckland


It is of note that the Auckland Plan Refresh currently has this:

Auckland Plan Refresh with transport connectivity
Source: http://infocouncil.aucklandcouncil.govt.nz/Open/2017/11/PLA_20171107_AGN_6727_AT_WEB.htm (Page 75)


So a key indicator will be that their will be jobs accessible within 45 minutes from a workers home.


That is a pretty big indicator and the Government’s commitment to the Southern Airport Line certainly will help that accessibility indicator. In short the Auckland Plan Refresh and the Government’s commitment to the Southern Airport Line answers Saeid ‘s justice question right off the bat. If the Southern Airport Line continued on to the Northern Airport Line (meaning light rail from Manukau to the Airport then out to the City Centre) accessibility rates increase again as Southern Auckland workers have a two seat ride to the Airport industrial complex on State Highway 20A rather than a three seat ride (a cumbersome transfer at the Airport).


Another quick but more drawn out win for accessibility was the Manukau South Link:

Manukau South Link catchment close up by Saeid Adli
Link: https://twitter.com/SaeidAdli/status/658893255061323776


What do you think?

Do you think Saeid’s justice questions with Labour’s transport plan have been answered sufficiently?