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Auckland light rail

Project updates

Media release - Auckland light rail process ended(external link)


Light rail is a frequent, reliable, high-capacity travel option that isn’t affected by congestion as it runs on its own dedicated right-of-way. It will connect communities to unlock critical housing and urban development opportunities, giving people better access to jobs, health, education and recreation.

It is a first for New Zealand that will provide a modern integrated public transport system with seamless connections and helping make Auckland’s transport network comparable with international cities like Adelaide, Brisbane, Perth, Vancouver and Portland.

City Centre to Māngere Light Rail

On June 24 2020, the government announced a Cabinet decision to end the twin track Auckland Light Rail process, asking the Ministry of Transport to do further work on this project.

The Ministry of Transport and the Treasury will report to the next government after the general election on the best option for this project to be delivered by the public sector. The work done by Waka Kotahi as part of this process will continue to inform the options the next government receives on this project, including advice on arrangements for delivery of rapid transit in any city where it is needed in future.

The Ministry of Transport and the Treasury will work with Auckland Council and Auckland Transport, the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development and other agencies to prepare options for the new government to consider.

Auckland Light Rail remains a project in the Auckland Transport Alignment Project (ATAP). 

More information on the project is available at the Ministry of Transport’s website(external link)

City Centre to North West Light Rail

The April 2018 update of ATAP identified a rapid transit corridor for the City Centre to North West following State Highway 16 between the City Centre and Kumeu/Huapai. It is scheduled for delivery in the first decade between 2018-2028.

Factors that are important for the corridor include:

a. How best to support growth and desired land use outcomes for the North West area.

b. Opportunities and constraints provided by the current SH16 state highway corridor.

c. Integration with and opportunities provided by the wider proposed transport network.

Benefits of light rail

  • More reliable – as light rail runs on a dedicated corridor separated from other traffic.

  • Better access – easier for passengers to get on and off, compared to buses and heavy rail.

  • More choice and better connections – light rail connects seamlessly with other transport modes such as heavy rail, buses, and shared walking and cycling paths to give people more choice about how they get around their city.

  • Reduced bus congestion – without light rail, bus congestion on key arterials into the city will increase to levels that affect reliability.

  • Supports sustainable growth and enables urban development – light rail will support sustainable growth by enabling development of the land along the route such as housing to create vibrant, liveable communities.

  • Improved amenity – light rail is an attractive, modern mode of transport that will help to create high amenity communities with better access to health services, jobs, schools and recreation.