This research explores the potential for the ‘network-planning’ approach to the design of public transport to improve patronage of public transport services in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch. Network planning, which mimics the ‘go-anywhere’ convenience of the car by enabling passengers to transfer between services on a simple pattern of lines, has achieved impressive results in some European and North American cities, where patronage levels have grown considerably and public subsidies are used more efficiently.
Three overseas cities provided examples of ‘best practice’ in public transport service design to compare with services in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch. The comparisons revealed that New Zealand’s three largest urban regions had considerable potential to build on the increases in public transport patronage and mode share that have been achieved during the last decade.
Current public transport operating practices in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch were assessed and key areas were identified in which public transport planning could be improved – namely: