$7.3 billion forecast total investment

In September 2021 a record $24.3 billion investment in Aotearoa’s land transport system was announced as part of Ngā Kaupapa Huarahi o Aotearoa (2021–24 National Land Transport Programme).

Activities funded through the National Land Transport Programme (NLTP) aim to make New Zealand’s roads safer and more resilient, provide you with healthier, more environmentally friendly ways to move to the places that matter to you and keep freight flowing.

Investment in Auckland’s land transport system during the 2021–24 NLTP will focus on continuing to deliver the Auckland Transport Alignment Project (ATAP) to support population growth and the development of new communities with better access to more sustainable travel choice.

ATAP is a 10-year programme which will see $31.4 billion invested in critical transport infrastructure and services across the city. The focus is on a rapid transit network, walking and cycling facilities, better public transport services and improving safety.

More than a third of New Zealanders already call Auckland home, with the population expected to grow by 260,000 during the next decade to reach 2.4 million by 2050. Working in partnership with Auckland Council, we recognise the importance of the transport system being able to deliver broad economic, social and environmental outcomes for the city.

During the last five years significant progress has been made on improving transport in Auckland. Record levels of investment have supported more people using public transport, a reduction in deaths and serious injuries and being able to maintain congestion levels, despite the growth in population.

Rail makes up the majority of Auckland’s current rapid transit network and plays a key role in moving large numbers of people, especially at peak times to the city centre, as well as being a critical part of the national freight network. The rail network will become even more important in meeting growing travel demand and shaping urban form in the future. City Rail Link (CRL) will have a further transformational impact on the rail network by removing the key city centre bottleneck to the rail system.

Investment in the 2021–24 NLTP critical to CRL will fund wider rail network upgrades, provide additional electric trains to significantly improve travel times for train passengers, and remove level crossings to improve safety and travel times.

During this NLTP period, we will be completing significant strategic state highway projects, such as the Northern Corridor Improvements, which will provide new public transport and walking and cycling options; the Panmure to Pakuranga section of the Eastern Busway; public transport improvements to the SH16 Northwestern Motorway; a replacement walking and cycling bridge between Māngere Bridge and Onehunga; and the Pūhoi to Warkworth Motorway extension to strengthen inter-regional freight links.

Work will begin in 2021–24 on planning for rapid transit for Auckland Light Rail; to protect the future Airport to Botany rapid transit corridor; continuing to develop the city’s walking and cycling network; and improvements to make bus journeys into Auckland’s city centre more efficient and reliable.

Through the Supporting Growth Alliance, we’ll progress route protection for the transport networks required to support Auckland’s Warkworth, northern, northwest and southern growth areas, as well as planning for the investment required to support brownfield growth areas, especially Mt Roskill, Māngere and Glen Innes/Tāmaki.

Map showling locations of Tāmaki Makaurau | Auckland projects funded by the 2021–24 NLTP

Better travel options

During the next three years, the investment focus will be on:

  • expanding and upgrading Auckland’s rapid transit network to provide more frequent and reliable public transport that is nor impacted by road congestion
  • continuing to roll out bus priority improvements, particularly in the city centre and along busy arterial routes to make travel by bus quicker and more reliable
  • delivering key walking and cycling projects to fill the gaps in the network and make travel by active modes safer and more attractive.
  • investing in a state highway optimisation programme in Auckland to deliver a range of targeted small-scale projects to keep people moving by increasing productivity, enhancing travel choice, reducing transport-related carbon emissions and enhancing safety on the existing transport network.

Key investments will be:

  • City Rail Link (CRL) – investment in the NLTP 2021–24 will fund wider network upgrades and additional electric trains to support CRL. This transformational project will significantly improve travel times for train passengers, open up rail access to new parts of the city centre and double the rail network’s capacity.
  • Auckland Light Rail – this project will progress planning and design for a new rapid transit corridor from the City Centre to Mt Roskill and Māngere (CC2M) to move more people, connect communities and provide better travel options. Planning work will also progress on the Northwest Rapid Transit Improvements along the Northwestern Motorway (SH16).
  • Northern Corridor Improvements – the next three years will see the completion of this project, including the final phases of the extension of the popular Northern Busway from Constellation Drive to Albany, along with construction of a new busway station in Rosedale to provide more travel options for commuters in this busy commercial area.
  • Eastern Busway – the Eastern Busway will provide a new rapid transit connection from Panmure to Pakuranga and Botany. This project will improve travel choices by making public transport, walking and cycling safe, and improve connections within the area and to the rest of Auckland. It will also help reduce traffic congestion and vehicle emissions. The next three years will see completion of the Panmure to Pakuranga section and the consenting process for Pakuranga to Botany will be progressed, including the Pakuranga bus station.
  • Airport to Botany (A2B) – this rapid transit programme will improve travel choices and journey times for people in south and east Auckland. Stage one of this project has already delivered a new bus-rail interchange at Puhinui, bus and transit lanes between Manukau and the Auckland Airport precinct, including a new high frequency electric AirportLink bus. In the next three years work get underway to protect the future A2B rapid transit corridor, between Auckland Airport and Botany via Manukau, and extending the new AirportLink bus to Botany via Te Irirangi Drive.

Walking and cycling

  • Progressing the planning delivery of walking and cycling infrastructure as part of the NZUP projects, including Penlink and Papakura to Drury.
  • We will complete the Old Māngere Bridge project in this three-year NLTP period to provide a high quality walking and cycling link connecting communities in Onehunga and Māngere Bridge. We will also complete Auckland’s Urban Cycleways Programme early in this NLTP period. This programme is delivering projects such as Urban Cycleways Projects and the Meadowbank–Kohimarama connectivity project, brownfields, airport access, and other cycling investment projects.
  • Completion of more than 7kms of new walking and cycling paths along SH1 anf SH18 a part of the Northern Corridor Improvements project.

Bus and ferry improvements

  • SH16 Northwest Bus Improvements – this project (part-funded by the Covid-19 Response and Recovery Fund and 2021–24 NLTP) will improve [public transport options and reliability in the Northwest, including interim bus interchange facilities developed at Lincoln Road and Te Atatu, a new bus station at Westgate and improved bus shoulder lanes along the Northwestern Motorway.
  • Connected Communities – this programme will deliver comprehensive bus, cycling and safety improvements along critical arterial road corridors in Auckland.
  • Midtown Bus Improvements – this investment will make bus travel into Auckland’s city centre more efficient and reliable by providing bus priority along Wellesley Street and a new bus interchange in the Learning Quarter.
  • Ferries – Investment in purchasing more ferry vessels and progressing associated infrastructure improvements.

Improving safety

During the next three years, about $72 million will be invested to make 135kms of Auckland’s state highway network safer through infrastructure improvements and speed management to reduce deaths and serious injuries.

This builds on our investment during the last three years, where:

  • new speed limits were put into place on State Highway 22 between Drury interchange and Paerata
  • a new variable speed limit outside Kaukapakapa School in SH16
  • new and safer speed limits were introduced on more than 600 roads, including the central city, as part of AT’s Safe Speeds programme
  • infrastructure upgrades to improve safety progressed on several high-risk roads in the region, including SH1 Dome Valley and SH22 Drury to Paerata.

The SH16 Brigham Creek to Waimauku safety project will get underway in this NLTP period, making it safer for all users by installing flexible road safety barriers and flush medians, adding extra lanes, making intersections safer and creating more space for people on bikes.

Work is ongoing in the next three years on Auckland’s speed reviews on roads where safer speed limits could make a big difference in preventing deaths and serious injuries, including high-risk roads such as SH16 Wellsford to Waimauku.

Safety improvements valued at $67 million, including median safety barriers, wider road shoulders and new right-turn bays are being installed on SH1 Wellsford to north of Warkworth through the Dome Valley, making this section of the highway safer and reducing deaths and serious injuries by 40% by 2030, in line with targets set by the national Road to Zero strategy.

During the next three years $67 million will be spent throughout Auckland on improving safety across three corridors.

Projects include:

Climate change

Investment in infrastructure and services to encourage greater use of lower emission public transport and walking and cycling options, will make the greatest contribution in Auckland to climate change in this NLTP. But this investment alone will not be sufficient to substantially reduce emissions in Auckland.

The introduction of a vehicle fuel efficiency standard for light vehicle imports by 2025, the introduction of a biofuel mandate, policy to decarbonise the public transport bus fleet by 2035 and a reduction in the government’s own vehicle fleet will all be critical to reduce emissions.

AT is progressing plans to electricity the bus and ferry fleet and the Papakura to Pukekohe electrification project will see the end of diesel passenger trains in Auckland. (This excludes Te Huia, the new diesel passenger service between Auckland and Hamilton.

Improving freight connections

More than 76.3 million tonnes of freight were moved within, to, from and through Auckland in 2017–18 – and that volume is expected to grow substantially during the next three decades to 108 million tonnes by 2046. This is largely as a result of population growth.

About 84% of this freight is moved within Auckland, the balance being move into or out of the region by air or sea. The majority of freight movements in Auckland are over relatively short distances, 90% being by road and the remainder by rail. Critical for the future will be improving the efficiency of connections to major freight hubs and limiting additional congestion.

Through the NZ Upgrade Programme, a number of the state highway and rail improvements will improve capacity on the freight network, reducing rail-road freight conflicts throughout the region and improving access to road and rail freight hubs.

One of these projects is the $315 million Wiri to Quay Park upgrade which will improve both freight and commuter services by easing congestion on the busiest parts of New Zealand’s rail network, improving links to key freight hubs and providing additional capacity for the City Rail Link. Preparatory work began in late 2020 and is expected to be completed by 2024.

During the 2021–24 NLTP, we will continue to improve inter-regional freight connections and global export connections through improved freight access to and from Auckland International Airport and connections to the Onehunga-Penrose area.

Discussions about the future of Auckland’s port will have a significant impact on the city’s long-term freight network.

Under the Rail Network Improvement Programme, work will be undertaken to increase the resilience of the rail networks in the Auckland region, particularly in areas where there are high volumes of freight and/or passenger traffic. Resilience works will be carried out on two bridges on the North Auckland Line; 2kms of mainline track will be re-sleepered and 6km of mainline re-railed; and other track and infrastructure works will be carried out across the mainline and in KiwiRail’s freight yards to reduce derailment risks. Track on the Mission Bush spur line (servicing the Glenbrook Steel Mill) will also be renewed.

Investment highlights for 2021–24

  • Pūhoi to Warkworth motorway extension – we will complete 18.5km extension of the existing SH1 Northern Motorway from the Johnstones Hills Tunnels to just north of Warkworth in 2022. It will improve access, reliability and safety to and from Northland, Warkworth and northeast Rodney.
  • Northern Corridor Improvements – we will also complete this project in 2022. It provides a new SH1/SH18 motorway-to-motorway connection, a widening of the Northern Motorway (SH1) between Constellation Drive and Oteha Valley Road, and new public transport and walking and cycling options to offer more travel choices for the local community.
  • Mill Road Corridor – funded through the NZ Upgrade Programme, Mill Road is expected to involve an upgrade of two lanes between Flat Bush and Alfriston tying in the existing urban Redoubt Road dynamic lanes. There will also be targeted safety improvements between Alfriston and Papakura.
  • Penlink – funded through the NZUP, this new two-lane proposed toll-road between the Northern Motorway and Whangaparāoa Peninsula will support development in Auckland’s northern growth area and provide significant time savings and network resilience for people living on the Whangaparāoa Peninsula.
  • SH1 Papakura to Drury South improvements – this project is also funded through the NZ Upgrade Programme and includes upgrades to SH1 and a shared walking and cycling path. Construction of SH1 Papakura to Drury Stage One has begun and is expected to be completed in 2026. Three new rail stations (two in Drury plus Paerata) are expected to be completed in late 2025.
  • City Rail Link (CRL) investment in the NLTP 2021–24 will fund wider network upgrades and additional electric trains to support CRL. This transformational project will significantly improve travel times for train passengers, open up rail access to new parts of the city centre and double the rail network’s capacity.
  • Auckland Light Rail – this project will progress planning and design for a new rapid transit corridor from the City Centre to Mt Roskill and Māngere to move more people, connect communities and provide better travel options. Planning work will also progress on the Northwest Rapid Transit Improvements along the Northwestern Motorway (SH16).   
  • Northwestern Bus Improvements – will improve the public transport experience for people travelling by bus to and from the northwest and the city centre by delivering a more reliable, resilient and better-connected bus service.
  • Eastern Busway – the Eastern Busway will provide a new rapid transit connection from Panmure to Pakuranga and Botany. This project will improve travel choices by making public transport, walking and cycling safe, and improve connections within the area and to the rest of Auckland. It will also help reduce traffic congestion and vehicle emissions. The next three years will see completion of the Panmure to Pakuranga section and the consenting process for Pakuranga to Botany will be progressed, including the Pakuranga bus station.

Summary of achievements from 2018–21

  • Southern Corridor Improvements – the $250 million project was completed in 2021 and provides more reliable and safer trips for road users and includes more lanes, new walking and cycling paths, better safety barriers, new noise walls and an upgrade to the Takanini interchange.
  • Old Māngere Bridge replacement project – starting in 2019, the replacement of the Old Māngere Bridge in the Manukau Harbour has progressed well to create a new, dedicated walking and cycling link that will connect local communities and create an iconic landmark for the area. Construction is expected to be completed in 2022.
  • Puhinui Station upgrade – completed the new Puhinui Station, a major bus and train interchange to improve travel to and from the airport and its surrounding areas by providing more reliable, timely and emission-free travel choices.
  • Completion of the new Hibiscus Coast Bus Station in early 2021 provided more transport options further north to help reduce private vehicle use, ease congestion and benefit the environment.
  • Te Atatu Road corridor upgrade was completed in 2018. This major $30 million project has transformed the Te Atatu area, making improvements for private and commercial vehicles, public transport and cycling.
  • Franklin Road upgrade was completed, transforming one of Auckland’s iconic central city streets, with cycle paths and safe pedestrian crossings.
  • Infrastructure upgrades to improve safety progressed on several high-risk roads in the region SH1 Dome Valley and SH22 Drury to Paerata.
  • SH20B road corridor improvements – completed improvements to the SH20B road corridor, part of the Southwest Gateway project. The $70 million SH20B early improvements project provides additional bus and high occupancy vehicle lanes and new walking and cycling facilities between Pukaki Creek Bridge and SH20.

Read about a few of the ways that previous investment has delivered for Tāmaki Makaurau (Auckland) communities and New Zealand