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Transport challenges - videos

How can we make Tauranga as safe and easy as possible for people of all ages and abilities to move around? These short videos look at some of the challenges.

Can we fix the traffic?

As we upgrade and build new roads, instead of asking “what’s the best way to move more cars around the city?” we’re asking “what’s the best way to move more people around the city?”

‘We can’t fix the traffic because there’s not enough room in the city for all the cars. There never will be.”

We’re expecting the number of vehicles per day on each of our main roads will increase by at least an extra 20,000 vehicles over the next decade (Tauranga Transport Model 2016). At the moment around 40,000 vehicles per day move along Hewletts Road, and around 25,000 move along Cameron Road.

When we add more road capacity to any section of the transport network, we need to consider the effect this has on congestion further downstream. The increase in vehicle numbers also increases the demand for car parking. It is not a cheap exercise to provide car parking – the council has invested over $26 million to build a parking building for 550 cars in the city centre. We need to find ways to move more people more efficiently through our narrow road corridors.

“Tauranga’s population will grow to at least 180,000 people over the next 30 years.”

By 2050 our city is projected to grow to nearly 187,000 residents. This will require another 36,000 homes. (Tauranga Urban Strategy).

If you think about how much Tauranga has grown over the past 30 years, consider that a similar amount of growth is about to happen all over again. We know that our transport network will get more congested as the city grows, especially during the morning and afternoon peak. The only way to keep congestion from getting worse is to make it easier for more people to move around the city without always needing to rely on private vehicles.

“When we upgrade or build new roads, instead of trying to move more cars around the city, we’re asking what’s the best way to move more people around the city.”

The Government’s transport priorities support a shift from private vehicles towards more efficient, low cost modes like walking, cycling and public transport. In line with this, Tauranga City Council and the NZ Transport Agency have jointly committed $20M towards improving the city’s cycle networks over the next three years, with potential additional funding for the following six years. Tauranga City Council has adopted a transport investment programme (Long Term Plan 2018-28) that will see new road capacity mainly used for buses, high-occupancy vehicles and freight.

Please see our video Why bus lanes? to learn more about why public transport is so important to Tauranga’s transport future.

Sharing is caring

When we’re upgrading or building new roads, one part of your journey might get a lot better, but elsewhere you might need to wait a bit longer so other people can travel safely too.

“Tauranga relies on cars more than any other city in the country.”

A NZ Household Travel Survey found that 92% of journeys in Tauranga between 2011 and 2014 were undertaken in a private vehicle. This was between 9% and 33% higher than other main centres. Journey-to-work data from the 2013 census showed 91% of Tauranga commuters travelled by car, excluding those who worked at home or who did not go to work. This is the most recent travel data available that specifically compares commuter travel modes – we’re hoping to see these figures improve in the coming years.

“Tauranga residents are the most frustrated in New Zealand when it comes to traffic.”

The 2018 Quality of Life survey is a partnership between eight New Zealand councils that measures people’s perceptions about their quality of life. Results for Tauranga showed the highest overall satisfaction with quality of life across all cities. However, 56% of Tauranga respondents said their city had become a worse place to live over the previous 12 months, with the two main reasons cited being increase in traffic congestion and increase in population. At 83%,Tauranga’s score for traffic frustration was significantly higher than any other city, with Auckland coming in next at 36%. The survey results are at www.qualityoflifeproject.govt.nz

“Tauranga’s population will grow to at least 180,000 people over the next 30 years.”

By 2050 our city is projected to grow to nearly 187,000 residents. This will require another 36,000 homes. (Tauranga Urban Strategy).

If you think about how much Tauranga has grown over the past 30 years, consider that a similar amount of growth is about to happen all over again. The only way to keep congestion from getting worse is to make it easier for more people to move around the city without always needing to rely on private vehicles.

“People tell us they want to see better public transport, safer cycleways and safer intersections.”

Through the 2017 Tauranga Transport Plan consultation, people were asked if they thought public transport, walking and biking options should be prioritised sooner rather than later. The result was overwhelmingly in favour of bringing investment for these things forward, with 77% (1781 people) answering ‘yes’, versus 8.69% (201 people) answering ‘no’. 331 people left this question blank. It’s worth noting that of the 2313 respondents, 85% said they typically travelled by car.

Similar feedback came through the 2017 Cycle Plan consultation which revealed a very strong community mandate (90% out of 1570 survey respondents) for the council to prioritise safer biking networks throughout the city.

Following consultation on the Long Term Plan (2018-28) the council voted to significantly increase funding for the city’s cycle networks. The council also adopted a transport investment programme that includes projects to increase road capacity but where the additional space is mainly to be used for buses, high occupancy vehicles and freight.

“It’s not going to be easy”

Regardless of general support to improve public transport and biking options, it can get difficult once we start looking at how to deliver these things on the ground. There’s not usually enough room to add new bus lanes and bike lanes without compromises – compromises that many people may not feel ready for because we’re still putting the infrastructure in place to make it easier for them to leave their cars at home. It can get a bit chicken-and-egg. There will be a transition period during which we will all need to make some trade-offs at some point.

“Sharing is caring”

Our top priority is to create a safe environment for every person, no matter how they are travelling. When it comes to improving travel times, our goal is to make everybody’s daily journey more convenient most of the time. We can’t make one person’s entire trip as convenient as they would probably like because it would mean unreasonable disruption for people who are travelling in different directions or using other forms of transport.

Why bus lanes?

We’re supporting the Bay of Plenty Regional Council’s new bus service to help make it easier for more people to move around Tauranga.

“Tauranga is one of New Zealand’s fastest-growing cities.”

It is predicted that by 2050 Tauranga’s population will increase by another 50,000 people. (Tauranga Urban Strategy)

“Even if all we ever do is build new roads, there will never be enough room for everyone to drive a car.”

We should probably clarify this statement to say that there will never be enough room for everyone to drive a car without getting incredibly frustrated. Population projections and traffic modelling point to congestion only ever getting worse if people continue with their current travel habits. There is a limit to the amount of space the city has for roads and car parking.

“Public transport is an essential part of the solution.”

Traffic modelling shows that we need at least one out of every ten people to start leaving their car at home if we are to keep congestion at current levels.

The Tauranga Transport business case (February 2018) compared projected results of different transport investment programmes. The best-case option where traffic congestion doesn’t get better – but doesn’t get much worse – relies on an improved biking network and 9.3% public transport patronage. Refer Report DC 352 Attachment A PBC short list assessment.

“That’s all changing as the Bay of Plenty Regional Council brings on more frequent bus services and new bus routes to suit more people.”

The Bay of Plenty Regional Council is launching a new, improved bus network in December 2018. The new Tauranga Western Bayhopper Network has undergone its biggest overhaul since 2008. Bay of Plenty Regional Council knows there may be some tweaks required once the roll-out has taken place and if needed they would be completed by the end of March 2019. More information and timetables at www.baybus.co.nz

“There will be some places where people in cars need to wait for the bus.”

It won’t always be practical for the bus to pull to the side of the road to pick up passengers, especially when the bus is in a narrow street or alongside a separated bike lane. In these situations we will ask people to be patient and let the bus pause in the lane.

Who are the roads for?

We want more people to be able to move safely and easily around Tauranga, no matter how they’re travelling.

“What’s the best way to make this neighbourhood a safer and easier place for the people who live here?”

Road upgrades won’t necessarily result in a faster car journey. In fact, we are more often looking to slow down the traffic flow through urban centres.

Our top priority is to create a safe environment for every person, no matter how they are travelling. As for travel times, our goal is to make everybody’s daily journey a bit more convenient most of the time. Whether you need to walk a bit further to get to the pedestrian crossing, whether you need to wait for the lights on your bike to get across a busy road, or whether you need to slow down when driving through a neighbourhood shopping area, there will always be a few compromises. It’s all part of living in a community where everyone has different needs, and where everyone has the right to travel safely.

“Over half of the available land space in the Tauranga city centre is devoted to roads and car parking spaces.”

The total land area of the Tauranga city centre (Cameron Road to The Strand, and Harington Street to First Avenue) is 37.77 hectares. As at July 2017 the land area used for roading, vehicle accessways and car parks (public and private) was 19.42 hectares.

“Healthy streets”

We’ve borrowed this phrase from The Health Streets Approach, developed by Lucy Saunders through her research into the health impacts of transport, public realm and urban planning. The healthy streets model has ten indicators that show what really matters on all streets, everywhere, for everyone:

  • Everyone feels welcome
  • People choose to walk and cycle
  • People feel relaxed
  • Easy to cross
  • Clean air
  • Not too noisy
  • Places to stop and rest
  • People feel safe
  • Things to see and do

Tauranga City Council has not formally adopted this approach but the principles and aspirations are have general support through the transport planning industry. More information about Health Streets

“Most of Tauranga’s carbon emissions come from cars and trucks.”

This comes from a Tauranga Community Carbon Footprint study. The vast majority of the city’s emissions are related to transportation (61%) followed by stationary energy (23%), waste (8%), industry (5%), agriculture (2%) and forestry (<1%).

Most of Tauranga’s transport emissions (97%) come from the use of petrol, diesel and LPG for vehicle transport. Tauranga’s per capita emissions for transport are higher than Wellington’s and Dunedin’s, possibly due to lower records of commuter trips using public transport, walking and cycling.

 

 
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