Not ‘Back of the Napkin’: Greens Transport Policy Brings Sanity (and Relief) to the Cities and Regions

Why drive when one can sit back and enjoy the ride

Back of the Napkin? The National Party’s Road’s First policy might be back of the napkin stuff (given the projects have no funding behind them) but calling the Greens’ transport policies back of the same napkin – okay that is a new one given those polices are or would be fully funded. Anyhow!

Yesterday the Green Party announced their transport policy not just for the cities but also the regions as well. Let’s take a look:

Future of Transport

We know we are running out of time to address the climate crisis, and our Future of Transport Plan goes a long way to ensuring that we’re doing our bit in New Zealand to keep our climate stable. 

Right now, we have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to make healthier, vibrant communities a reality while tackling the climate crisis and rebuilding the economy after the COVID-19 pandemic. 

By making smart decisions now, we can deliver truly fast, frequent, low-carbon transport alternatives that put our communities on the path to net-zero emissions by 2050. 

With our Future of Transport Plan, we will get around better, pollute less, and create better jobs for our communities. 

Our Future of Transport plan would set Aotearoa up for the future by: 

  • Investing in large scale rapid rail to reboot the regionsbetween major cities 
  • Accelerating transformational public transportnetworks within our major cities, including busways, light rail, and rail
  • Setting up a $1.5 billion Cycle Superhighway fund to provide safe, separated cycleways, with the capacity to be used by thousands of people each day
  • Introducing a target date for only zero emission light vehicles to be able to be imported to Aotearoa, and linking this to the date set by the UK, likely to be 2030
  • Incentivise heavy freight to transition to zero emissions vehicles and be 100% powered by renewable energy by 2050
  • Setting up a nationwide Go Anywhere transport passthat works on all public transport, and provides access to electric car share, e-bike subscriptions and e-scooters in the main cities across the country

Reducing the cost of public transport by making it free for people over 65, under 18 and community services holders, by reducing the cost by 50% for students, and by setting up weekly payment limits – so no one pays for more than eight rides a week.

Read the full policy here

Regional rail fact sheet

Source: Future of Transport by The Greens

Essentially the policy pulls this nation up by its bootstraps and delivers a transport policy that is not only more equitable but would bring us on par with our overseas cousins who are engaged in large transit investments as Covid continues to up-end old behaviours (or entrench old ones that need shaking).

Auckland-wise what the Greens propose is similar to the Congestion Free Network MK2 by Greater Auckland and their allies, although this time round the staging and costs are clearly shown. Let’s take a look given the ATAP and Auckland Plan 2050 follow these alignments in a loose manner:

Auckland’s Transport Future

As our biggest city, with well-known transport issues, it’s crucial we act now and ensure people living in Auckland can get where they need to; no matter where they live or how much money they have. 

We’ve already seen that if we invest in fast, frequent public transport people will flock to it. Our Future of Transport Plan will take the recent improvements to Auckland’s transport system further, giving Aucklanders more choice to get around and making public transport faster, all while helping our largest growing city transition to a low carbon city.  

Here’s what we’re proposing for Auckland’s Transport Future:

  • We’ll fast-track bus priority measures on seven proposed rapid transit routes to deliver faster, more frequent bus services that can by-pass traffic congestion for most or all of the route
  • We’ll build light rail from the city to Mangere and from the city out to Westgate
  • We’ll create a dedicated busway from Botany to Manukau and the Airport, and from Henderson to Westgate and Constellation
  • We’ll build a second harbour crossing for light rail to Takapuna and Albany
  • We’ll build rapid intercity rail between Auckland to Hamilton, Tauranga, and eventually to Whangārei
  • We’ll create a $1.5 billion Cycle Superhighway fund to provide safe, separated cycleways with the capacity to be used by thousands of people each day
  • We’ll set up a nationwide Go Anywhere transport passthat works on all public transport, car share systems, bike-share systems and e-scooter share systems throughout the city, and
  • We’ll reduce the cost of public transport by making it free for people over 65, under 18, and community services holders and by reducing the cost by 50% for students. 

Read more about what we’re proposing for Auckland

Read more about our Future of Transport Plan

Our Transport Plan for Auckland

Stage 1

Auckland Transport Plan   Stage 1
Stage One of the Auckland Transit Network. Source: The Greens

Stage 2

Auckland Transport Plan   Stage two
Stage Two of the Auckland Transit Network. Source: The Greens

Auckland’s Network of Cycle Superhighways

Auckland Transport Plan   Cycle Super Highways
The Cycle part of the Auckland Network. Source: The Greens

Inter City Rail

UPDATED policy maps2
Inter City Rail. Source: The Greens

Source: Auckland’s Transport Future

Funding for the Auckland parts of the policy:

Source as a PDF: Auckland Transit Costings

Couple the Green’s Transport Policy with upgraded rail freight and coastal shipping, transit oriented developments, and better Spatial Planning I say we are onto a winner that is not only affordable but also equitable to the population regardless of income.

Taking the Friday train from Papakura to Tauranga, hiring a car in Tauranga for the weekend, then returning back to Papakura on the train I would definitely take compared to driving the monotonous and often dangerous State Highways 2 and 29 as done currently.

But is this back-of-the-napkin stuff from The Greens?

The above is the Congestion Free Network 2.0, and Regional Rapid Rail both from Greater Auckland. The Greens transport policy looks very similar to this with the Greens even going one step further and telling us how all this will be staged and where the coin will come from. The policy is also close to the alignment of the Auckland Transport Alignment Program, and the Auckland Plan 2050 which are official Planning documents that Council follows. And with those in mind it gives a basic template on how Spatial Planning by Spatial Planners like myself can be implemented (basically what and who goes where – when). So no this is not-back-of-the-napkin stuff at all but rather a serious attempt in getting Auckland into the 21st Century!