Aucklanders are moving to public transport during construction of one of the country’s largest roading projects.
Stage 1 construction of the $1.4 billion Eastern Busway is running on time and on budget – and recently released travel time data shows that disruption to the travelling public has been kept to an absolute minimum and bus patronage is improving in the local area.
Auckland Transport has used GPS information and point-to-point camera technology to measure the traffic disruption caused by the roadworks.
Earlier this year, measures to minimise travel disruption caused by construction and provide more journey options were introduced. These included a temporary T2 lane on Pakuranga Road, new express bus services between Howick, Pakuranga and Panmure Station; as well as a Park and Ride at Lloyd Elsmore Park.
The newly released travel data showed disruption was kept to a minimum:
- The impact on journey times for single-occupant vehicles has been minimal since the T2 lane was introduced
- Journey times have been an average of three per cent slower month-by-month since the lane was introduced earlier this year
- Improvements to bus journey times and increased local bus patronage of seven per cent during peak travel time since construction started. The new 728 and 729 express services - introduced to support the T2 / bus lane - are the largest contributors to this increase
- Journey times across the wider East Auckland area, including Waipuna Bridge and Lagoon Drive, show very little impact on journey times for single-occupancy vehicles, or public transport, as a result of construction of stage one
- For the month of October, journey times for the wider network have been four per cent slower
- Multi-occupant vehicles and buses using the T2 lane have experienced faster journey times.
AT Programme Director, Duncan Humphrey, says a significant amount of planning was undertaken in the build-up to construction – to provide more travel options.
“An important part of our approach is using real-time traffic data to assess the level of impact on the travelling public, and to see how well the T2 lane and express bus services are working to minimise construction impact.”
The first stage of the Eastern Busway project includes transforming Panmure Roundabout into a safer, signalised intersection.
Further works include construction of the busway along Lagoon Drive and Pakuranga Road, a new bridge across Tamaki River, shared cycling and walking paths, a new reserve at the end of Bridge Street in Panmure - along with improvements at key intersections.
“We have been monitoring the new T2 lane and have seen increased bus patronage and minimal impact to the travel times of general traffic along Pakuranga Road,” says Mr Humphrey.
“We have also been reviewing journey times across the wider East Auckland area - including Waipuna Bridge and Lagoon Drive - and there has been very little impact on journey times for cars or buses as a result of construction.
“This shows that people are taking advantage of the new travel options and are changing their journey behaviour.”
The Eastern Busway will bring rapid transit travel options to one of Auckland’s fastest-growing areas. The congestion-free, high frequency, busway will carry more than 7500 passengers during peak hours - between new stations in Botany, Pakuranga, Panmure and onwards, to other parts of the region.
When all stages of the project are completed in 2025, the busway will reduce journey times by up to one third by bus and train, between Botany and Britomart.