The GPS 2018 includes a new rapid transit activity class which anticipates investing about $4 billion over 10 years in busway and light rail infrastructure capable of moving large numbers of people. Forecast investment is about $468 million during the 2018–21 period.
Moving large numbers of people more efficiently around cities and urban areas is a key focus of the GPS. Rapid transit (on dedicated corridors, by bus or light rail) provides an opportunity to achieve this in major centres, while also easing congestion across the transport system for other users and helping to reduce harmful emissions from transport. Rapid transit is also a significant component of the Government’s stated direction for modal shift to public transport, which will have benefits for all users of the transport system.
In Auckland, the Transport Agency is working through the multi-agency Auckland Transport Alignment Project to ensure investment through this NLTP delivers the transport vision of Auckland Council and the Government. The goal is to provide a modern, integrated public transport system of buses, metro rail and light rail, with seamless connections across all transport options.
Establishing dedicated corridors for buses or light rail, for example from Auckland’s CBD to Māngere, will increase capacity along with more frequent, reliable access to two of New Zealand’s largest employment areas, supporting business, growth and tourism. The dedicated corridor will be largely unaffected by traffic and congestion, and will have fewer stops than current bus services.
Investment in rapid transit will include the planned extension of the Northern Busway as far as the Albany Park and Ride, supporting the extension of the Eastern Busway to Pakuranga, and progressing the development of a further new rapid transit corridor to improve access to the northwestern suburbs. This will unlock housing development opportunities and provide a critical connection for these suburbs in the form of a high capacity, frequent and reliable public transport service.
In Wellington, the Transport Agency is working with local government, through the Let’s Get Wellington Moving initiative, to investigate options for an appropriate mass transit solution for Wellington City that integrates seamlessly with existing bus and rail services.