Auckland is growing fast with an additional 700,000 to 1 million people expected to call it home over the next 30 years (Statistics NZ medium and high growth projections, 2013), requiring about 400,000 new homes and 277,000 new jobs.
As New Zealand’s largest city, Auckland is home to about a third of the nation’s population and continues to be the country’s fastest growing region.
While most of Auckland’s growth will take place within the existing urban areas, around 15,000 hectares of greenfield (mainly rural) land has been identified in the Auckland Unitary Plan (Operative in part). The majority of this growth will go into existing areas (60%) and the remainder into future growth areas (25%) as well as existing rural, coastal and country areas (15%).
The 15,000 hectares of greenfield land includes areas zoned ‘future urban’ (rural land zoned for future urban development), as well rural land that has been ‘live zoned’ (zoned for urban development now). We expect there will be around 110,000 new homes and 50,000 new jobs in these future growth areas over the next 30 years (The decision version of the Auckland Unitary Plan (external link) (external link) provides for greater capacity should this be required).
Auckland Transport, Auckland Council and the NZ Transport Agency have been collaborating to develop the transport network plan needed to support future urban areas in the north, northwest and south Auckland. The plan was formerly known as the Transport for Future Urban Growth programme (TFUG).
Transport network plans for all the growth areas will act as overarching planning tools that will guide the transport investment, consenting and development. The ongoing planning process link into all other planned transport initiatives for the wider north, west and south Auckland areas.
The programme will begin delivering some of the key priorities laid out in the Auckland Transport Alignment Project (external link) ( a collaboration between Auckland Council and the New Zealand Government to improve alignment on a long-term strategic approach to transport in Auckland). It has also worked closely with the “three waters” providers (water supply, stormwater, wastewater) to ensure it is aligned with the wider regional plans being developed for the city.
The programme supports Auckland Council’s Future Urban Land Supply Strategy (external link) which sets the order in which land is supplied for development in future growth areas to house Auckland’s growing population as infrastructure becomes available.
Developing the transport network in these growth areas will:
- Make the existing transport network safer
- Better integrate public transport, roads, footpaths and cycleways
- Manage the existing network in a way that gets the most out of what we already have
- Contribute to creating strong communities and centres with local jobs and improve access to employment and essential services
- Provide greater transport choice for people living in growth areas and allow for high frequency, high quality public transport
- Support the economic growth of Auckland by maintaining travel time reliability for freight to key industrial areas and ports
- Help provide certainty for when future growth areas will have transport network in place and be ready for urban development
- Improve arterial road connections to future urban areas, and the rest of Auckland.
What happens next?
Now there is a preferred network, projects will be delivered to support Auckland Council’s development timeline for each area, and the strategic direction of the Auckland Transport Alignment Project.
Right now we are implementing a number of short term projects that support the growth pressures already being experienced in Special Housing Areas and the areas ‘live zoned’ under the Auckland Unitary Plan. Funding for these projects will need to come from a range of sources to support development at the right speeds.
Many of these immediate short term projects are already being progressed, including:
We are taking into account the preferred transport network in land use planning for areas such as Whenuapai. We are also seeking to confirm funding for local road network development and improvements in Whenuapai and other urgent live zone or ‘next in line’ areas like Wainui.
Our next step will be to “make the most of what we already have” which is in line with the Auckland Transport Alignment Project recommended strategic approach. This means:
- Improvements to the motorway network, particularly in the north west and south
- Extension of electrification to Pukekohe to serve growth in the south
- Improving safety by removing some road/rail level crossings.
At the same time, we will also look at protecting land for longer term ‘new’ routes. This will help to provide certainty to communities and developers on where new routes will go. It also means organisations such as utility providers and government agencies like the Ministry of Education can better plan their infrastructure, and property owners and developers have the information they need for their own decisions.
Information for property owners
At this stage there are no confirmed plans, only ideas and options. There is no way to tell if a certain property will be affected in the future by one of these transport projects. Over the next few years as we start to develop design plans for the suggested projects, we will engage directly and early with potentially affected property owners to let them know our intentions regarding designation, consenting and property impacts.
The way we approach transport planning means there are several stages during the planning process where we seek the public’s opinion. We are right at the very beginning and there are plenty more opportunities to have your say and influence the design plans that will come in future years.
To learn more visit Auckland Transport. (external link)