Personal reflections on urbanism, urban life and sustainable urban design in Wellington, New Zealand.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Making the switch

Greater Wellington's Regional Land Transport Strategy Annual Monitoring Report for the 2005/06 financial year has just been released, and while that doesn't sound like the most exciting document, the following headline figures are well worth noting:
  • The total number of cars travelling into the Wellington CBD during the morning commuter period decreased by 8%
  • Greater Wellington's road congestion dropped to 2003 levels across most periods of the day
  • All-day average congestion decreased 17% (from 25 seconds to 21 seconds delay per kilometre travelled)
  • Peak-time passenger trips by all public transport modes increased by more than 1.9 million trips (11.6%)
So why exactly do we need all those expensive new roads? Of course, that was before petrol prices started dropping again, and before Metlink's confusing and controversial fare rises and restructuring, but it's a clear sign that shifting from private to public transport can reduce congestion, and that given the right economic incentives, Kiwis can give up their "love affair with the car". We just need to make sure that the public transport system can cope when that happens.


At 9:09 am, October 03, 2006, Blogger Br3nda of coffee.geek.nz said...

ah - - but will the reports of reduced congestion cause more people to decide to drive?

At 9:25 am, October 03, 2006, Blogger Tom said...

Damn, you're right! I should shut up about it!

My worry is that the trains and buses have been unable to cope with added passengers (because we've been underfunding them, because "no-one's going to give up their car"), so new passengers' experiences with crowded, unreliable transit will drive them back to their cars now that petrol's gone down again.

At 2:08 pm, October 03, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If today's report is anything to go by (Dompost, so probably not) the train authorities have considered ripping out seats in their carriages in order to be able to carry more people - I wonder if you would get a discount for travelling in 'cattle class'??

At 3:08 pm, October 03, 2006, Blogger Tom said...

Yes, I saw that article, and it does appear to be true. I've written a bit more about the subject in a new post.


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