“ATAP accelerates delivery of Auckland’s rapid transit network, with the aim of unlocking urban development opportunities.”
Auckland in New Zealand has approaved a $28bn NZ (£14bn), decade-long transport plan to help the country’s most populous city cope with a rising population and to “underpin economic development”. The Auckland Transport Alignment Project (ATAP) has been welcomed by the minister of transport, Phil Twyford, following what he called years of underinvestment, signalling the release the funding over the next ten years that will see $8.4bn NZ (£4.3bn) allocated to rapid transit that includes rail, light rail and bus networks.
Situated on New Zealand’s North Island, Auckland, whose 1.7m population is expected to grow by one million over the next 30 years, will as part of the plan build a new light rail city-airport connection; improve rail interchanges; and provide infrastructure that will power the next generation of electric trains.
“We need to do things differently to what has been done in the past,” said Twyford. “ATAP accelerates delivery of Auckland’s rapid transit network, with the aim of unlocking urban development opportunities, encourages walking and cycling, and invests in public transport, commuter and freight rail and funds road improvements.”
The 2028 plans originate from an initial agreement set out in 2016 that sought to make better use of existing networks, target new investment to the most significant challenges and maximise new opportunities that will influence travel demand. To help do this, Auckland’s ATAP plan will extend rail electrification to the southern region of Pukekohe, track upgrades from the south to the north of the city between Wiri and Quay Park and introduce a third mainline to boost capacity. Also included will be rail network resilience improvements, station remodelling and upgrades to level crossings, all of which are expected to cost in the region of $940m (£483m).
“ATAP accelerates delivery of Auckland’s rapid transit network, with the aim of unlocking urban development opportunities that encourages walking and cycling and invests in public transport, commuter and freight rail and funds road improvements,” added Twyford.
Not just focusing on the economic and efficiency improvements the upgraded transport network is expected to bring, those behind the ATAP plan have promised to improve the worrying death rate on Auckland’s transport network – nearly doubling from 421 in 2012 to 813 in 2017. Around 70% of those deaths and injuries took place on the city’s road network and it’s hoped that the ATAP infrastructure plan will deliver a 60% reduction in deaths and serious injuries, which would take the number below 400.
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