The pathway to lower transport emissions in Auckland

Publish Date : 15 Aug 2022
TERP Cyclist

Updated: 18 August 2022, 3pm

Auckland Council's Environment and Climate Change Committee has today adopted the Transport Emissions Reduction Pathway, to give effect to Te Tāruke-ā-Tāwhiri’s required 64 per cent reduction in transport emissions.

Chair of the Committee, Councillor Richard Hills, thanks everyone involved for developing an ambitious plan for Auckland.

"This is big for our city, the communities of Auckland have told us they want this, and are the ones crying out for change.


An Auckland where kids can walk or ride safely to school, where public transport is efficient and equitable across the entire region, where we all have more choice in how we travel, and where we are collectively less vulnerable to global risks; that’s the vision outlined in the proposed Transport Emissions Reduction Pathway.

The Pathway, which has been developed by Auckland Council and Auckland Transport (AT) in response to te Tāruke-ā-Tāwhiri Auckland’s Climate Plan, sets out what will need to happen for the region to reduce its transport emissions by 64 per cent by 2030, what it will look like when we get there, and identifying the barriers to achieving it.  

It also recognises that tackling climate change requires transformational rather than incremental change, and that all sectors have a role to play, including central and local government, business and industry, agriculture, NGOs, local communities, and individuals.

Auckland Mayor Phil Goff says the Pathway is crucial to achieving the strong climate action that Aucklanders have called for.

“Aucklanders understand and have told us that we have to move further and faster on climate change if we are to avoid an environmental disaster and create a sustainable future for our kids and grandkids,” he says.

“In Auckland, the biggest single source of carbon pollution is our transport system, which accounts for more than 40 per cent of our region’s overall emissions.

“In a city where people once used to rely more on public transport, urban spawl and motorway development from the 1960s has locked in car dependency and resulted in Aucklanders driving much more than in many comparable cities overseas. The Pathway shows how we can give transport choices back to Aucklanders.

“As well as reducing carbon emissions, this change will make it easier and cheaper to get around the city for everyone. It will enhance regional productivity for those who do need to drive, such as tradespeople, freight operators and essential services, and will reduce congestion, helping to give back the average 80 hours a year that Aucklanders spend stuck in traffic.

“It will reduce our reliance on expensive, imported carbon fuels and our vulnerability to soaring fuel prices caused by constricted supply chains, such as is occurring now due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

“It will also make our roads safer for all users, reduce pollution which currently contributes to the deaths of more than 3300 New Zealanders a year, and make Auckland a greener and healthier place to live, work and visit.

“Achieving the goals set out in the Pathway is essential if we are to meet our emissions reduction targets, but council can’t do it alone—it will require commitment and cooperation from all sectors. The Pathway lays out what is required. Now it is up to all of us to play our part.”

Actions required to achieve our transport emissions targets by 2030 include:

  • making the majority of our local trips (under 6km) by sustainable modes
  • converting 30 per cent of the city’s vehicles to electric, especially commercial vehicles
  • a 10-fold increase in active travel (walking and cycling)
  • a five-fold increase in the number of public transport trips taken – aided by a three-fold increase in the number of services on offer.

Chair of the Environment and Climate Change Committee Councillor Richard Hills says it’s important that Auckland Council and Auckland Transport support Aucklanders to make the necessary changes.

“By putting the infrastructure and public transport systems in place across the entire region, we can reduce Auckland’s long-standing over-reliance on cars by giving people more choice in how they travel.

“By creating neighbourhoods that people want to be in, instead of drive through, and by ensuring the things we need are closer to the places we live, we can reduce the number of short trips we take by car.

“That’s what the Emissions Reduction Pathway is all about – it isn’t about taking cars and car parks away from people, it is about unlocking our roads for those who need them, it is about how we can improve our air quality so we can all live healthier lives and it’s about us spending more time with our families than stuck in traffic. Ultimately, it is about how we can, and will, create a more liveable Auckland.”

The Transport Emissions Reduction Pathway is a strategic document that will be used to guide planners and decision makers across the council group during the development of future transport plans, helping to ensure they meet the objectives outlined in Te Tāruke-ā-Tāwhiri.

It sets out 11 areas for transformation that will see Auckland achieve its 64 per cent reduction in emissions over the next eight years. These are:

  • Supercharging walking and cycling
  • Using public transport much more
  • Prioritising and resourcing sustainable transport
  • Reducing travel where possible and appropriate
  • Making neighbourhoods safer, with less traffic
  • Putting things closer to where people live
  • Electrifying private vehicles
  • Enabling new transport options
  • Making buses, trains and ferries low-emissions
  • Making freight and services cleaner and more efficient
  • Helping Aucklanders make sustainable transport choices

Auckland Council Chief Sustainability Officer Matthew Blaikie says if we achieve what is laid out in the Pathway, we will be more resilient to the impacts of external factors in the future.  

“Fuel prices are higher than they’ve ever been and will likely continue to rise. Our over-dependency on cars means that when this occurs, Aucklanders have very little option but to pay more at the pump, which adds to existing financial pressures and makes Auckland less liveable.  

“If we achieve what we hope to achieve, Aucklanders across the whole of the region will have more choice in how they get around, leaving us all less vulnerable to global factors such as oil shocks that are outside of our control. It is one of the ways we can make ourselves more sustainable and resilient in the long term.  

“We recognise that some of the required behaviour change simply isn’t possible until our city is equipped to give Aucklanders more options for how they get around. The pathway gives us direction to put the necessary infrastructure and transport systems in place to help us achieve the level of change needed.

“However, with such a big challenge in front of us, there is no time to waste, and we should all be thinking about the changes we can make now, to help us get the journey underway.”

Some of the funding needed to implement the Transport Emissions Reduction Pathway will come from the reallocation of existing budgets. Implementation will also require additional funding from central and local government sources.

Exactly how much will be determined as the details of specific interventions are developed through the established processes (such as the Regional Land Transport Plan).

You can read a summary of the Transport Emissions Reduction Pathway here

Back to News