City Centre Future Access Study

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1 City Centre Future Access Study STUDY TECHNICAL REPORT EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

2 1. The Auckland City Centre will face significant access issues across all entry points from as early as This constrained access will limit Auckland s potential growth through: Increasing travel times for commuters trying to access employment in the City Centre Reducing the efficiency for freight and commercial road users who need to access the port, move around the City Centre, or just pass through using the Central Motorway junction. Pushing employment to locations other than the City Centre which will reduce productivity and lead to a less competitive economy. By 2041, constrained City Centre access to the south, west and east will: Fail to deliver 15,200 employees and students who would otherwise have come into the City Centre. This is the equivalent of removing all the employment presently catered for on the Terrace, Molesworth Street and Hawkestone Street in Wellington. Increase car commuting times for those that do go to the City Centre by 30-50% Reduce speeds in the City Centre for commuter, freight and commercial vehicles by 75% The City Centre Future Access Study investigates how these future access problems can be addressed. Three options are considered in detail. Each has a headline option of a single mode of public transport supported by additional, but less significant investments in other public transport modes: Underground Rail, connecting to the existing rail network. This headline option delivers the highest number of people, involves the smallest land take and has the most beneficial impact on car commuters and freight. It is the only headline option with any capacity after It is also the most expensive capital cost option at $2.4 billion. Surface Bus, with and without improved access outside the City Centre. This option delivers some capacity, but reaches its limits between and costs up to $1.13 billion. Including approaches also entails significant land take in suburban Auckland. It is the best of the bus options. Underground Bus, with and without improved surface access outside the City Centre. This option delivers some additional capacity, but reaches its limits between and costs up to $ 2.34 billion. Including approaches also entails significant land take in suburban Auckland. It is not considered a viable option. None of the headline options tested fully addresses City Centre access. However, taking an Integrated option of the Underground Rail option and filling in gaps with the best operational aspects of the surface bus option will effectively address City Centre Access for the next 30 years and beyond from the south, east and west as well as the central and southern isthmus. PAGE 7

3 1.1. Introduction The City Centre Future Access Study (CCFAS or Study) was commissioned to develop a robust and achievable multimodal programme for transport into the Auckland City Centre which considers a thorough analysis of alternatives and identifies the optimal mix of modes to meet future demand. This included consideration of the prioritisation and sequencing of projects. The Study has focussed on a number of multimodal transport options based around a series of headline public transport modes. In particular, these are: Underground rail infrastructure Surface bus infrastructure Underground bus infrastructure Each one of these headline modes has been developed with a suite of other multimodal measures including private vehicles. The key objectives in developing each option have been to design a programme that: Provides for future City Centre growth and employment, recognising that the City Centre is a critical part of the Auckland and New Zealand economy Supports regional growth objectives by providing access for targeted residential growth areas Delivers not just benefits for public transport users, but benefits for all transport users including private motor vehicles, commercial vehicles and freight The CCFAS sits as part of a network-wide work programme investigating the need for a City Centre transport solution for Auckland. Improved access to, and within, the City Centre has been an issue for Auckland s growth and productivity for a number of decades. Modelling indicates that this will become a more significant issue in the future. It follows work undertaken on route protection and analysis of the costs and benefits of a City Rail Link (CRL) between 2009 and The CCFAS builds on this work, by taking a network-wide, multimodal view of City Centre access. As such, much of the analysis in the CCFAS is different to the previous work undertaken. The Study has been undertaken using best practice transport study methodology, with the accepted NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) approach to transport economic evaluation currently used in New Zealand. Key assumptions have been agreed across local and central government and modelled using Auckland Transport (AT) and Auckland Council (AC) models. PAGE 8

4 1.2. Strategic context Auckland as New Zealand s largest city and largest employment centre plays a pivotal role in the social, economic and cultural wellbeing of New Zealand. Residential growth Auckland is projected to grow by nearly 700,000 new residents to 2.16 million by 2041, using a medium growth scenario. The Auckland Plan (AP) caters for up to an additional 400,000 dwellings by 2041 including: Up to 280,000 (70%) of the additional dwellings located within the 2010 Metropolitan Urban Limit (MUL). Up to 160,000 dwellings planned for outside of the MUL. Employment and the City Centre The City Centre plays a critical role in the region s economy. It accounts for 17% of Auckland s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). By 2041 it is estimated to account for 25% of Auckland s GDP at a time when Auckland s GDP is growing at 2.4%pa. It is a residential location, employment hub, education hub and the most important tourism and cultural destination in the region. The employment numbers and the residential population of both the City Centre and City Fringe are projected to almost double between 2011 and Employment growth is shown in Figure 1-1. Added to this are a further 15,000 (on top of the current 50,000 Equivalent Full Time Students (EFTS)) students planned for as the tertiary institutions. PAGE 9

5 Figure 1-1 Auckland employment by area Source: Auckland Transport Regional transport challenges While the AP and the forecast growth discussed above support greater intensification, the fundamentals of the Auckland region require a transport system that services dispersed travel patterns and residential locations as well as the City Centre. The Auckland City Centre is not only the most important destination in the city, but is also the most important transit route. Many commuters, freight and commercial trips have origins and destinations outside of the City Centre and pass through the City Centre and City Fringe. In improving access to the City Centre, particularly via public transport, those who pass through the City Centre (including those using the Central Motorway Junction) also benefit. Freight in particular is advantaged by removing private vehicles from the network. While current and committed transport investment leaves Auckland with a more balanced network that is likely to deliver acceptable levels of service for the next 5-10 years, the ongoing challenge is to cost-effectively address medium to long term issues. This challenge has a number of economic, social and environmental components. At a high level, the challenge is threefold: PAGE 10

6 Ensure future region-wide growth is accommodated. Deliver a network that supports targeted growth areas. Deliver a network that allows economic growth and focuses on high economic returns in the future. A Deficiency Analysis was undertaken to identify future constraints on access to the City Centre. This Deficiency Analysis concluded that there are significant and pressing access issues to the City Centre. By 2021: o o o Most bus networks approaching the City Centre, as well as within the City Centre itself are at capacity and some are over capacity in terms of what can physically be provided for within the existing road corridor (i.e. it is not just a matter of providing additional buses on existing roads). Private commuter, freight and commercial vehicle speeds in the City Centre are more than halved from 16 kph in the morning peak (2010) to just over 7 kph. The rail network has reached the maximum number of services possible due to the Britomart constraint of a maximum of 20 trains/hour/direction. Some patronage capacity remains by building up the remaining peak mainline train services (southern, eastern and western lines) to 6-car Electric Multiple Units (EMUs), assuming that has not already been done by Figure 1-2 below highlights the public transport network and indicates the volume to capacity ratio (VCR) on the key links in the morning peak hour in A VCR of 1 indicates that the corridor is at capacity PAGE 11

7 Figure 1-2 Morning peak hour public transport VCR plot (2021) Source: CCFAS Deficiency Analysis By 2041: o o o o The bus network is significantly over capacity. Private vehicle, freight and commercial vehicle journey times to the City Centre have increased by 30-50% since 2021 from the west and south, with an extra 30 minutes each way from the Southern Growth Area 2. The addition of the AWHC improves overall journey times from the north. Journey times from the isthmus are forecast to increase by 20-30% over the same period. Average vehicle speeds in the City Centre drop to 5 kph in the morning peak the equivalent of walking pace. While there is spare patronage capacity on the rail network coming into Britomart, there are capacity issues on rail outside the City Centre, with volumes exceeding capacity on the Western Line and approaching Puhinui, Penrose and Newmarket Stations on the Southern Line. 2 The Southern Growth Area is an area of greenfield growth in the Franklin area identified in the Auckland Plan PAGE 12

8 Figure 1-3 below highlights the public transport network and indicates the VCR on the key links in the morning peak hour in Figure 1-3 Morning peak hour public transport VCR plot (2041) Source: CCFAS Deficiency Analysis The impact of the City Centre in terms of general traffic speeds is summarised in Table 1-1. Table 1-1 City Centre summary 3,4 Reference Case Auckland population 1,462,000 1,722,000 (+18%) 2,161,000 (+48%) Number of vehicle trips in CMJ cordon, morning peak hour 26,600 37,900 (+42%) 41,800 (+57%) Average speed (kph), morning peak hour Note that these speeds are modelled based on best estimates. The absolute speeds may have some variability but the relativities are more important to consider. 4 Average traffic speed in central London, with the congestion charging scheme in operation, was below 15 km/h in Prior to the congestion charging scheme, average traffic speed in central London was below 13 km/h. PAGE 13

9 Source: City Centre SATURN model, CBD cordon statistics, morning peak hour Modelling Assumptions The Study modelling is premised on a medium population growth scenario, with 60% of that growth inside the MUL and 40% outside. The modelling also includes all major projects outside of the study area included in the Auckland Plan (for example, the Additional Waitemata Harbour Crossing (AWHC) is included and providing significant capacity and improved journey times to the City Centre from the north). As such, it is an analysis at the more optimistic end of the scale in terms of the ability of the City Centre to accommodate demand. Higher and lower growth scenarios were also modelled. These included: High population growth with a 70:30 split High population growth with a 60:40 split Low population growth with a 60:40 split The results of these sensitivity tests are discussed in detail in Section but the key conclusion is that the relative differences between the options remained the same which ensured robustness of the conclusions of this Study Long list assessment A long list of potential options was identified within a number of parameters: Mode: Including bus, rail, light rail and personal rapid transit (PRT). Scope: With options ranging from optimisation of existing assets through to additional infrastructure. Location: Overlaying these modes, underground, surface and above ground variations were considered. Critically, the long list also included consideration of approaches outside of the City Centre and City Fringe. The long list and the evaluation criteria were developed in consultation with Auckland Transport and Auckland Council and central government in a series of workshops. The method used to consider the long list was a multicriteria analysis. This approach is consistent with international best practice for transport projects. It is also consistent with NZ Treasury guidance for long list option development contained in their Better Business Cases toolkit. 46 options were identified for the long list. Through the two long list option evaluation workshops and revising the evaluation approach to incorporate both quantitative and qualitative assessments, the options to take forward to the short list for more detailed modelling and assessment were agreed by all stakeholders: PAGE 14

10 1.4. Short list option assessment A multimodal package was developed for each of the broad short list headline options. To enable the relative economic performance of the options to be compared, a Comparative Benefit Cost Ratio (CBCR) has been produced. This is not be compared to a standard or traditional funding BCR as its sole purpose is for comparison between the options and it is the relativity of the CBCRs which is important. During a Detailed Business Case process a funding BCR would be produced which would compare the full benefits and costs of any option using parameters in line with the NZTA EEM. Balanced Reference Case The Balanced Reference Case was developed following the Deficiency Analysis and subsequent discussions with central government in an attempt to provide a more realistic reference point than the initial reference case, based on bus volumes that could be provided without the need for large scale infrastructure within the City Centre. It contains significantly greater improvements to the regional transport network than would normally be included in a traditional base case (eg. It includes the AWHC). When comparing the short listed options against the Balanced Reference Case, their benefits would likely to be lower than if compared against a traditional base case. Underground Rail (CRL) The CRL comprises a proposed 3.4km rail tunnel from Britomart to Mt Eden at an estimated capital cost of $2.86 billion (when fully inflated to the year of spend, or $2.4 billion in $2012). The CRL will connect Britomart to the existing Western Line with three new underground City Centre stations in the Aotea Square, Karangahape Road and Newton areas. The CRL is required as the existing terminus at Britomart limits line capacity to 20 trains per hour, and significantly constrains the rail network s potential in servicing planned growth in the Auckland region. Overall the CRL option produced the highest benefits but also has the highest costs. In particular it provides the greatest multimodal capacity to get people into the City Centre, has the highest road network speeds within the City Centre and is the longest-lasting solution in terms of capacity. It does little to improve access from the North Shore or central and southern Isthmus which are primarily serviced by bus. This option also had the highest cost. Its Comparative Benefit Cost Ratio (CBCR) is as follows: CBCR CRL NZTA Economic Evaluation Manual without Wider Economic Benefits 0.4 NZTA EEM including WEBs 0.9 Surface Bus (SB1) (SB2) The surface bus options aim to provide a high quality bus based access strategy for the City Centre by providing bus priority at the expense of general traffic and increasing capacity at identified PAGE 15

11 bottlenecks. As investment is focused on improving bus performance, the rail network is not developed further following electrification. SB2 adds regional approach corridors and bus priority measures outside the City Centre. The surface bus options are the lowest cost options and provide improvements in the short term. The options best meet the needs of those travelling from the North Shore. They also improve access from the central and southern Isthmus. However, the options reach capacity very quickly. In most cases, the infrastructure investment buys only three to five years of extra capacity after the currently funded bus network improvements with most services at capacity by 2025 and nearly all by By requiring road space used by general traffic, the surface bus options also significantly degrade vehicle speeds for private motor vehicles, freight and commercial vehicles in the City Centre, making them worse than the Balanced Reference Case (i.e.it is worse for private vehicles compared to doing nothing). A significant amount of additional residential and commercial property is also required to provide the regional approach corridors for SB2 and the bus marshalling / staging areas within the City Centre. CBCR SB1 CBCR SB2 NZTA Economic Evaluation Manual without Wider Economic Benefits NZTA EEM including WEBs Underground Bus (UB1) (UB2) The underground bus option is based on a high level of bus priority in the City Centre, by providing a dedicated bus tunnel along the Wellesley Street alignment with associated at grade infrastructure and service improvements. UB2 adds to this by improving the regional approaches identical to SB2. These options provide for marginally more public transport capacity than the surface bus options, and improve amenity within the City Centre relative to the surface bus options. They also require less land in the City Centre and do not reallocate as much of the City Centre road space to buses. Therefore their impact on congestion in the City Centre will be less. They are, however, significantly more expensive than the surface bus options with little long-term capacity improvement. CBCR UB1 CBCR UB2 NZTA Economic Evaluation Manual without Wider Economic Benefits NZTA EEM including WEBs Multimodal programme and sequencing Each of the options developed and taken through to the short list are multimodal and are premised on a 2021 implementation time. PAGE 16

12 Analysis suggests that a multimodal programme combining the CRL and surface bus headline (the Integrated option) would best meet City Centre access needs in a sustainable manner. This option would include the CRL improvements but would also involve incremental bus improvements. The Integrated option is the only one that meets the total demand for public transport travel into the City Centre. If the CRL and improvements to bus facilities on Wellesley and Symonds Streets are in place by 2021, vehicle speeds in the City Centre can be maintained at a similar level to the Balanced Reference Case, while providing access for significantly more people by public transport. The CBCR of the Integrated option would be similar to the CRL option which performed the best of any of the individual short list options. CBCR Integrated option NZTA Economic Evaluation Manual without Wider Economic Benefits 0.4 NZTA EEM including WEBs 0.9 In terms of considering later implementation dates than 2021, it is clear that the transport demand impacts are significant very early in the analysis period and delaying addressing these would impose increasing costs on access to the City Centre. The effect of this will be to: displace employment, restrict growth, forgo benefits of agglomeration. City Centre access also sits within a wider suite of transport projects and other headline projects which are already committed or are outlined in the AP, the CCMP and the Integrated Transport Plan. In the following timeline, projects of significant scale and those that involve large tunnel construction have been highlighted. PAGE 17

13 The construction of a City Centre access solution in the early part of the 2020 s has the strongest strategic fit with other key initiatives in Auckland both in terms of transport and in a wider context. It is unlikely that multiple large construction projects involving tunnels could sustainably be run or funded in parallel. This indicates that an optimal timing for CRL construction would see opening in the early 2020s. PAGE 18

14 Table 1-2 Summary of short list option evaluation, 2021 inbound morning 2 hour period 2011 Balanced Reference Case CRL Surface Bus Underground Bus Integrated (CRL + Surface Bus) City Centre speeds 5 (kph) Total motorised City Centre 71,800 95,400 98,800 98,500 97, ,900 commuters ,100 (55%) 44,000 (46%) 42,400 (43%) 42,500 (43%) 42,900 (44%) 40,700 (40%) 8 Included in above figure 3,200 (3%) 3,200 (3%) 3,200 (3%) 3,200 (3%) 3,200 (3%) 5,600 (8%) 12,100 (13%) 19,300 (20%) 11,200 (11%) 11,500 (12%) 18,100 (18%) 23,400 (33%) 32,500 (34%) 30,400 (31%) 38,500 (39%) 36,700 (38%) 36,000 (36%) 3,700 (5%) 3,600 (4%) 3,500 (4%) 3,100 (3%) 3,300 (3%) 2,900 (3%) 5 Within City Centre cordon (excluding motorway) morning peak hour (City Centre SATURN model). The speed for 2011 is actually from the model base year of Excludes those commuters who originate within the City Centre, as the figures below relate to those commuters crossing the City Centre screenline (both for observed (2011) and modelled). This may slightly underestimate car and PT commuters in the future years due to zone/screenline correspondence. 7 Private vehicle passengers figure is from screenline counts, modelled figures are the number of vehicles multiplies by 1.3 (persons per vehicle) 8 For 2011, HCV s are included in the car passengers, as the screenline survey does not differentiate by type of vehicle. Modelled HCVs are not impacted by the options at this level of strategic modelling. PAGE 19

15 Capital cost ($m 2012) Comparative Benefit Cost Ratio 2011 Balanced Reference Case - - 2, CRL Surface Bus Underground Bus 477 (SB1) 1,135 (SB2) 0.4 (SB1) 0.3 (SB2) 1,677 (UB1) 2,336 (UB2) 0.2 (UB1) 0.2 (UB2) Integrated (CRL + Surface Bus) 2, Table 1-3 Summary of short list option evaluation, 2041 inbound morning 2 hour period 2011 Balanced Reference Case CRL Surface Bus Underground Bus Integrated (CRL + Surface Bus) City Centre speeds 9 (kph) Total motorised City Centre 71, , , , , ,200 commuters ,100 (55%) 49,400 (42%) 46,200 (37%) 47,200 (39%) 47,800 (40%) 43,300 (34%) 12 Included in above figure 3,900 (3%) 3,900 (3%) 3,900 (3%) 3,900 (3%) 3,900 (3%) 5,600 (8%) 18,200 (16%) 31,200 (25%) 17,400 (14%) 17,500 (15%) 29,900 (24%) 9 Within City Centre cordon (excluding motorway) morning peak hour (City Centre SATURN model). The speed for 2011 is actually from the model base year of Excludes those commuters who originate within the City Centre, as the figures below relate to those commuters crossing the City Centre screenline (both for observed (2011) and modelled). This may slightly underestimate car and PT commuters in the future years due to zone/screenline correspondence. 11 Private vehicle passengers figure is from screenline counts, modelled figures are the number of vehicles multiplies by 1.3 (persons per vehicle) 12 For 2011, HCV s are included in the car passengers, as the screenline survey does not differentiate by type of vehicle. Modelled HCVs are not impacted by the options at this level of strategic modelling. PAGE 20

16 2011 Balanced Reference Case CRL Surface Bus Underground Bus Integrated (CRL + Surface Bus) 23,400 (33%) 40,300 (35%) 37,400 (30%) 48,300 (40%) 46,300 (39%) 45,000 (36%) 3,700 (5%) 4,700 (4%) 4,600 (4%) 4,200 (3%) 4,300 (4%) 4,100 (3%) Capital cost ($m 2012) - - 2, (SB1) 1,135 (SB2) 1,677 (UB1) 2,336 (UB2) 2,877 Comparative Benefit Cost Ratio (SB1) 0.3 (SB2) 0.2 (UB1) 0.2 (UB2) 0.9 PAGE 21

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