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Looking ahead – transport for future growth areas

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A strategic transport plan for the major growth areas in Auckland’s northern, north-western and southern areas has reached a major milestone.

The Boards of Auckland Transport and the NZ Transport Agency have approved the overarching 30 year plan for supporting future urban growth areas. The plan was formerly known as the Transport for Future Urban Growth programme (TFUG).

Auckland Transport, Auckland Council and the Transport Agency collaborated to identify the transport networks needed to support future urban areas in the north, northwest, and southern Auckland. The programme will help to support growth that is on a scale never seen before in the region – comprising 15,000 hectares of ‘greenfields’ (undeveloped) land, with a capacity for 110,000 new homes and 50,000 new jobs.

The programme will begin delivering some of the key priorities laid out in the Auckland Transport Alignment Project (a collaboration between Auckland Council and the New Zealand Government). It also supports the council’s Future Urban Land Supply Strategy which sets out a programme for sequencing the release of future urban land to house Auckland’s growing population as infrastructure becomes available.

Whenuapai is one of the earliest future urban growth areas for development, with the plan anticipating 8,100 to 9,600 dwellings and 8,600 jobs over the next five to 20 years. Public feedback on the Whenuapai Structure Plan, which is being used to guide development, stressed the importance of key transport links, improved public transport and walking and cycling connections.

Auckland Council’s Chief of Strategy, Jim Quinn, says, “Our ability to plan for Auckland’s residential and commercial growth has been accelerated by this joint-working approach. It is this co-ordinated approach that has enabled us to ensure that land use and transport are well integrated before development occurs and we maximise the potential to create new communities that are great to work, live and play in, with easy access to jobs and the rest of the region.”

Auckland Transport’s Project Director for Key Strategic Initiatives, Theunis Van Schalkwyk, agrees the three agencies working together are focused on planning transport that makes these future communities well-connected, great places to live.

“Since last year we have worked closely with a wide range of stakeholders, as well as mana whenua, local boards, businesses and local communities, to develop their aspirations for each of the growth areas and to comment on the transport initiatives recommended.”

“That feedback was invaluable. People wanted us to look at more public transport options for the new growth areas, while balancing improvements to local and state highway networks and walking and cycling improvements. We have taken that on-board and have begun to prioritise public transport programmes for early funding,” he says.

“For example, we will be further investigating the possibility of expanding the rail network in new growth areas in south Auckland and bringing forward the electrification of the rail network to Pukekohe.

“Now that our 30-year transport network plans have been approved by the Boards of Auckland Transport and the Transport Agency, we will work on the design and construction of individual projects over the next five to 10 years.”

The Transport Agency’s Auckland Regional Director, Ernst Zöllner says the Agency is already playing a key role in proactively addressing the growth challenges laid out in the recently announced Auckland Transport Alignment Project.

“Planning and delivering infrastructure for Auckland’s growing population can’t happen in isolation, it takes many agencies working collaboratively to tackle these challenges and the alignment project has shown that a clear set of priorities can be laid out when agencies work together.”

For more information please visit the NZ Transport Agency project site or the Auckland Transport project page (external link) .

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