Rapid Transit Verse Bus Rapid Transit. NZTA Sets Tenders for Light Rail But Terminology Counts

Quite a bit to unpack – Airport to Botany Rapid Transit picks up Southern Gateway Program name

 

Last week was a very busy week with Official Information Act requests coming back on the Airport to Botany Rapid Transit Line (Southern Airport Line) and State Highway 20B improvements. You can see both OIAs by clicking on the link below:

Auckland Transport also replied from their side of the Southern Airport Line ledger, they replied pretty much the same as NZTA although they did give the 2018-2021 and 2021+ breakdown which consisted of:

  1. Airport to Manukau bus improvements and Puhinui Interchange by 2021 (funded for $68m)
  2. Full Airport to Botany Rapid Transit 2021+ – unfunded as funding and planning documents in New Zealand are written every three years. Given the most recent iteration is 2018-2021 and the next one is 2021 it does all make sense.

Late last week the Registrations of Interest (the first steps in the tendering process by seeing which parties are interested in design, finance, build, operations and related support services) were sent out by NZTA through the Government Electronic Tendering System or GETS.

This is what NZTA have to say:

2018411 – Auckland Light Rail

Details

RFx ID : 19929997
Tender Name : 2018411 – Auckland Light Rail
Reference # : 2018411
Open Date : Thursday, 19 July 2018 2:30 PM (Pacific/Auckland UTC+12:00)
Close Date : Monday, 30 July 2018 4:00 PM (Pacific/Auckland UTC+12:00)
Department/Business Unit : New Zealand Transport Agency
Tender Type : Registration of Interest (ROI)
Tender Coverage : Sole Agency  [?]
Categories :
  • 72140000 – Heavy construction services
Regions:
  • New Zealand
Required Pre-qualifications : None
Alternate Physical Delivery Address  :
Alternate Physical Fax Number  :
Overview

The NZ Transport Agency is leading the procurement and delivery of the Auckland Light Rail programme with the support of our partners Auckland Council, Auckland Transport and HLC. To support the development of our procurement strategy, we will conduct market engagement with interested suppliers and industry participants in August 2018.

The engagement will kick-off with an industry briefing in Auckland, New Zealand on Tuesday 31 July 2018. This will be followed by market engagement meetings in Auckland and Sydney with selected participants.

The industry briefing is open to all local and international suppliers with delivery expertise and capability in the following categories relevant to light rail:
• Professional services providers
• Civil works and infrastructure contractors
• Rolling stock, systems, operations and maintenance providers
• Infrastructure investors and financiers

The briefing will include information on the overall project, the project’s anticipated timelines and major milestones, and the market engagement process.

Please register your interest by completing the online form at http://www.nzta.govt.nz/light-rail. Further information will be provided to registered parties. Registrations close on Monday 30 July 2018.

Source: https://www.gets.govt.nz/NZTAHNO/ExternalTenderDetails.htm?id=19929997

 

Okay so we have that but now for the interesting part from that online form:

Auckland light rail

Introduction

The Auckland Transport Alignment Project (ATAP) has committed to providing light rail between the City Centre and Māngere and to Auckland’s northwest within the next ten years (2018-2028). The NZ Transport Agency is leading the development of a business case for the City Centre to Māngere line with the support of our partners Auckland Council (AC), Auckland Transport (AT), and HLC.

Light rail is like a tramway but runs on its own dedicated right-of-way. This means it isn’t affected by traffic speeds and congestion. It will likely have fewer stops than buses, but greater capacity and more frequent, reliable services. Light rail will help to unlock critical housing and urban development opportunities, giving communities better access to jobs, health, education and recreation.

It is a first for New Zealand that will provide a modern integrated public transport system with seamless connections and helping make Auckland’s transport network comparable with international cities like Adelaide, Brisbane, Perth, Vancouver and Portland.

More details about the City Centre to Māngere line, including a preferred route, cost and funding, are being finalised and will be released later this year. We will shortly be conducting industry engagement for the Auckland Light Rail programme.

We are committed to early, proactive and consistent engagement with communities along the route throughout the planning, procurement, design and delivery of light rail.

Key facts – City Centre to Māngere Light Rail line

  • The route options for the City Centre to Māngere Corridor are subject to the business case currently under way, however it will connect Queen Street in Auckland’s city centre with Dominion Road, Mount Roskill, Onehunga and Māngere.
  • Parts of this alignment will run on-street, primarily along Dominion Road and Queen Street and other parts may have dedicated corridors, similar to the Northern Busway.
  • Light rail will work alongside the Southwest Gateway programme to support travel to, from and around the airport for people and freight.
  • The Southern Gateway Programme is prioritising a bus/rail interchange and rapid transit corridor between the existing Puhinui Rail Station and the airport.
  • A rapid transit connection from the airport to Botany town centre will connect people to the city and east.
  • The City Centre to Māngere line will connect with this expanding rapid transit network.

Benefits

  • More reliable – as light rail runs on a dedicated corridor separated from other traffic.
  • Better access – easier for passengers to get on and off, compared to buses and heavy rail.
  • More choice and better connections – light rail connects seamlessly with other transport modes such as heavy rail, buses, and shared walking and cycling paths to give people more choice about how they get around their city.
  • Reduced bus congestion – without light rail, bus congestion on key arterials such as Dominion Road, will increase to levels that affect reliability.
  • Supports sustainable growth and enables urban development – the light rail network will support sustainable growth by enabling development of the land along the route, including housing and development that results in vibrant, liveable communities.
  • Improved amenity – light rail is an attractive, modern mode of transport that will help to create high amenity communities with better access to health services, jobs, schools and recreation.

Upcoming industry engagement

The NZ Transport Agency is leading the procurement and delivery of the Auckland Light Rail programme with the support of our partners. To support the development of our procurement strategy, we will conduct market engagement with interested suppliers and industry participants in August 2018.

The engagement will kick-off with an industry briefing in Auckland, New Zealand on Tuesday 31 July 2018. This will be followed by market engagement meetings in Auckland and Sydney with selected participants.

The industry briefing is open to all local and international suppliers with delivery expertise and capability in the following categories relevant to light rail:

  • Professional services providers
  • Civil works and infrastructure contractors
  • Rolling stock, systems, operations and maintenance providers
  • Infrastructure investors and financiers

The briefing will include information on the overall project, the project’s anticipated timelines and major milestones, and the market engagement process.

Register your interest by filling in the form below. Further information will be provided to registered parties. Registrations close on Monday 30 July 2018.

Source: https://www.nzta.govt.nz/roads-and-rail/rapid-transit/auckland-light-rail

 

Not every day you will see me blog on a Tender process on any given project. However, given this bit of a nugget below we need to do some unpacking:

Key facts – City Centre to Māngere Light Rail line

  • The route options for the City Centre to Māngere Corridor are subject to the business case currently under way, however it will connect Queen Street in Auckland’s city centre with Dominion Road, Mount Roskill, Onehunga and Māngere.
  • Parts of this alignment will run on-street, primarily along Dominion Road and Queen Street and other parts may have dedicated corridors, similar to the Northern Busway.
  • Light rail will work alongside the Southwest Gateway programme to support travel to, from and around the airport for people and freight.
  • The Southern Gateway Programme is prioritising a bus/rail interchange and rapid transit corridor between the existing Puhinui Rail Station and the airport.
  • A rapid transit connection from the airport to Botany town centre will connect people to the city and east.
  • The City Centre to Māngere line will connect with this expanding rapid transit network.

……..

We get a name for Airport to Puhinui leg of Airport to Botany Rapid Transit Line – the Southern Gateway Program. We also see NZTA are looking at tying in both the City Centre to Mangere Line to the Airport to Botany Line (so Northern Airport Line to Southern Airport Line) (see: Should the Southern Airport Line be Light Rail or a Busway?). What is not mentioned but I am aware of as well is that NZTA are trying to tie the Southern Gateway Program (so the Southern Airport Line/Airport to Botany Rapid Transit) into Regional Rapid Rail – the Auckland to Hamilton and Tauranga Inter City rail service.

Rumours are going around about a Government announcement on RRR in September but for Regional Rapid Rail to work effectively it would need to tie into the Airport to Botany Rapid Transit Line (see: Rapid Regional Rail and the Southern Airport Line). So watch the Regional Rapid Rail and Airport to Botany Rapid Transit space as there might be a large announcement on both coming out soon.

 

Regional Rapid Rail and the Southern Airport Line
Source: Greater Auckland

 

Language matters

While a good Twitter friend of mine from Wellington (yes you Chamfy) might call me a Pedant I am somewhat a stickler for language. That is the right language is used and the right language is framed in crucial debates.

In this case it comes down to the meaning of Rapid Transit and Bus Rapid Transit. When I was outlining a draft report on Rapid Transit before it got sent for proofing I asked what did Rapid Transit mean to a few people. For them Rapid Transit meant rail (light, heavy or metro), to them it did not mean bus at all. When I then asked what did Bus Rapid Transit mean they knew straight away it was a bus way.

So I did some quick checking and yes they were right:

Rapid transit

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Rapid transit or mass rapid transit, also known as heavy railmetroMRTsubwaytubeU-Bahn or underground, is a type of high-capacity public transport generally found in urban areas.[1][2][3] Unlike buses or trams, rapid transit systems are electric railways that operate on an exclusive right-of-way, which cannot be accessed by pedestrians or other vehicles of any sort,[4] and which is often grade separated in tunnels or on elevated railways.

Modern services on rapid transit systems are provided on designated lines between stations typically using electric multiple units on rail tracks, although some systems use guided rubber tires, magnetic levitation, or monorail.[citation needed] The stations typically have high platforms, without steps inside the trains, requiring custom-made trains in order to minimize gaps between train and platform. They are typically integrated with other public transport and often operated by the same public transport authorities. However, some rapid transit systems have at-grade intersections between a rapid transit line and a road or between two rapid transit lines.[5] It is unchallenged in its ability to transport large numbers of people quickly over short distances with little to no use of land.

….

Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rapid_transit

 

Bus rapid transit

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia 

Bus rapid transit (BRT), also called a busway or transitway, is a bus-based public transport system designed to improve capacity and reliability relative to a conventional bus system.[2] Typically, a BRT system includes roadways that are dedicated to buses, and gives priority to buses at intersections where buses may interact with other traffic; alongside design features to reduce delays caused by passengers boarding or leaving buses, or purchasing fares. BRT aims to combine the capacity and speed of a metro with the flexibility, lower cost and simplicity of a bus system.

……

Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bus_rapid_transit

 

NZTA has referred to Airport to Botany as Rapid Transit. Noting the terms above and the fact the Northern Hemisphere follows these terms I would caution NZTA and make sure the correct terms are used especially for those who might bid for the tender. Is the Southern Gateway and full Airport to Botany going to be Rapid Transit (Light Rail) even if it starts as bus improvements in the first few years or will it always be BUS Rapid Transit? This matters as it can also impact on wider Integrated Land Use/Transport Planning – that is what kind of urban developments are we looking to do around the transit corridors (see: We are doing the Airport Lines All Wrong Part 2: Where is South Auckland’s Green Line?)

Integrated Land use/Transport Planning in the GPS. Source: NZ Government

 

Using Transport to create public spaces. Source: GPS via NZ Government

 

The next few months are going to be busy and interesting as both Airport lines draw closer to shovels in the ground and eventual operation!

 

Source: @TransitSleuth

 

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2 thoughts on “Rapid Transit Verse Bus Rapid Transit. NZTA Sets Tenders for Light Rail But Terminology Counts

  1. I very much hope it doesn’t get called the ‘Southern Gateway Program’. While you might be considered a pedant with language, you should also consider tightening up on spelling. Americans spell it ‘program’, but NZ spells it ‘programme’. When someone says its ok to spell it either way, I hear someone who is making excuses for poor spelling.
    Other than that I have to say this is very informative and interesting! Thank you!

Comments are closed.