What is the Auckland Transport Alignment Project (ATAP)?

ATAP is a strategic exercise to align the transport priorities of the Government and the Council. It includes an indicative package of transport investments (the ATAP package) to inform statutory processes and individual project and programme business cases. This package includes all operating expenditure, asset renewals and new projects delivered by public agencies in Auckland.

In 2016, ATAP developed a strategic approach for transport in Auckland, based on three integrated components. These were making better use of existing networks, targeting new investment to the most significant challenges and maximising new opportunities to influence travel demand. 

Why has the ATAP package been updated?

An update of the ATAP indicative package has been carried out this year at the request of the Government, focusing on the next decade from 2018 to 2028.  The latest update puts greater weight on the following priorities:

  • accelerating the development of Auckland’s rapid transit network (rapid transit is defined as public transport capable of moving a large number of people, with frequent services on largely dedicated routes), particularly to unlock housing and urban development opportunities.
  • encouraging walking and cycling and making these active modes safer for Aucklanders.
  • delivering improvements in health, safety, the environment and access, including disability access.
  • ensuring the indicative package delivers the best possible value for money, including broader non-monetary costs and benefits.

These are shared priorities of the Government and Auckland Council and align closely with the draft Government Policy Statement on land transport and the draft Auckland Plan.

How is this ATAP update different to previous work?

This update represents a shift in approach to transport investment, with a greater focus on the broader health, safety and environmental benefits enabled by transport. This includes the important role of transport investment in supporting and shaping growth, thereby helping to address Auckland’s housing challenges.

Who is involved in the work?

The work was undertaken by the ATAP Agencies; Ministry of Transport, Auckland Council, Auckland Transport, NZ Transport Agency, The Treasury, KiwiRail and the State Services Commission.

What projects are in the updated ATAP package?

Delivering a greater focus on public transport (especially rapid transit), walking and cycling, safety, and broader health, environment and growth outcomes requires some changes to the priority of major investments.

The major investments for the next ten years are:

  • Committed projects including the City Rail Link, Puhoi to Warkworth motorway, northern motorway improvements and extension of the Northern Busway to Albany.
  • An allocation of funding to Light rail, with the priorities being the city to airport and northwestern routes
  • Eastern busway (Panmure-Botany)
  • Airport-Puhinui State highway upgrade, including high quality public transport link to an upgraded Puhinui bus/rail interchange
  • Bus priority programme, to more rapidly grow Auckland’s bus lane network and support faster, more reliable and more efficient bus services
  • Albany-Silverdale bus shoulder lanes
  • A lower cost East West Link to address key freight issues in the area
  • Papakura-Drury motorway widening
  • First phase of the Mill Road corridor
  • Penlink (which will be part funded through tolling)
  • Significant programme of walking and cycling improvements to expand the network and complete key connections (e.g. SkyPath)
  • Significant programme of safety improvements to reverse the sharp increase in deaths and serious injuries on Auckland’s roads
  • A focused programme of investments that enable the most critical greenfield growth areas that link into the rapid transit network
  • Network optimisation and technology programme to make the best use of our existing network
  • Rail network improvements including electrification to Pukekohe, additional trains and other track upgrades

How does the updated ATAP package compare with the previous version?

The ATAP package builds on previous work. However, this package has a clear weighting towards public transport (rapid transit in particular), walking and cycling, safety and the environment.

The approach is also different as the ATAP package focuses on what can be funded. It is supported by additional revenue expected from the Regional Fuel Tax, National Land Transport Fund and Crown Infrastructure Partners. The previous ATAP package did not prioritise within a funding envelope. A direct comparison is therefore not possible.

What results are expected from the updated package?

The updated package is expected to encourage a stronger shift towards public transport usage, a higher proportion of journeys by bike, more urban development around rapid transit corridors, improved safety outcomes and reduced environmental harm.

What evidence is there to support the ATAP package?

The ATAP agencies have undertaken focused transport modelling, reviewed the latest and active business cases and engaged with both internal and external experts. The ATAP package has been through an assessment process and each project will still require completed business cases.

How long will it take to deliver the indicative package?

The ATAP package has been developed for a 10-year horizon. It identifies projects that are expected to be delivered and completed over the 2018-2028 period.

How does this work sit alongside the draft Government Policy Statement on Land Transport, the Auckland Plan, Auckland Council’s 10 Year Budget and the draft Regional Land Transport Plan?

The ATAP package provides a signal of strategic priorities that will inform each of these processes. The draft Regional Land Transport Plan is expected to broadly reflect the ATAP package.



Is light rail included in the ATAP package?

Light rail is a high priority in the ATAP package. ATAP has proposed an allocation of funding to light rail that can be used to leverage financing to deliver these projects. The light rail priorities for the first decade are the city to airport route and the city to northwest route.

What is planned for the area around the Airport?

The ATAP process has identified the need to improve access to the growing employment area at and around Auckland Airport.

The State Highway 20B corridor, which provides access to Auckland Airport from the east, would be upgraded and will include a high quality public transport link between the airport and Puhinui rail station in time for Auckland’s hosting of major events in 2021 including APEC and the America’s Cup.

Introducing light rail on the city to airport corridor will provide an important connection to the airport, as well as unlocking significant growth potential along the corridor, especially around Mangere, Onehunga and Mt Roskill.

What is happening with the review of the East West Link project?

The NZ Transport Agency is currently reviewing the East West Link to identify options to provide a lower cost, better value solution to the transport problems in this area of Auckland.

The Government’s announced review of the East West Link is still underway. While the exact form of this investment is not yet known, it will generally focus on addressing the most significant congestion and freight access problems in the area in a way that better optimises existing infrastructure.

For the purposes of our work, we have allocated approximately $800 million, compared to the earlier proposal’s cost of $1.75 billion.

What about congestion pricing, is this still being considered for Auckland?

Yes, a joint Government and Auckland Council-led project is investigating whether to introduce congestion pricing in Auckland. The Congestion Question project delivered its phase one report in November 2017 and the Government and Auckland Council have now agreed to proceed to the second phase of the project, where pricing options will be developed and evaluated.

You can find out more here



How will rapid transit change the way people live and travel?

Many successful cities around the world, including Vancouver, Toronto, Washington DC, Sydney and Brisbane, have used rapid transit to shape the way their city develops.

Rapid transit can provide a step-change in access to jobs, education and leisure activities and provide choices for people in terms of where and how they choose to live. It significantly improves the volume, speed and frequency of public transport and encourages less single occupant vehicle travel, which has flow-on benefits for freight and business travel.

What evidence is there to suggest that investment in public transport infrastructure can encourage behaviour change?

We have already seen behaviour change in Auckland as a result of investment in rapid transit infrastructure. Improvements to the rail network and construction of the Northern Busway over the last decade have led to an increase in annual boardings on both the rail network and the Busway from 6.8 million in 2008 to 26 million in 2018.

How will the ATAP package help to achieve broader benefits from transport investment?

The ATAP package is expected to contribute to better health, safety and environmental outcomes through the provision of healthier, safer, lower carbon alternatives to travel and encouraging less single-occupant vehicle travel.



What is the size of the funding gap now?

The ATAP package has been developed based on funding expected from current plans. This means that the ATAP package does not have a funding gap.

A $1.8 billion funding allocation for light rail is intended to be leveraged for financing to deliver parts of the light rail network.

In addition, the ATAP agencies have provided recommendations for what further priority investments could be progressed for Auckland as new funding becomes available.  

What has happened to the previous funding gap?

Since the previous work, decisions around a regional fuel tax for Auckland and the draft Government Policy Statement on land transport has provided around $4.6 billion of additional funding for transport in Auckland. This has enabled the ATAP agencies to develop a package that marks a significant step towards a transformative programme for Auckland’s transport system, and can be funded from current and proposed revenue sources.

What are the next priorities for Auckland as additional funding becomes available?

ATAP recommends that as further funding becomes available, priority investments would include:

  • increased funding for greenfield growth infrastructure projects.
  • more extensive cycling, bus priority and network optimisation programmes.
  • upgrades to the rail network to enable frequent express trains to and from the south, and support inter-regional service between Auckland and Waikato.

What kind of new funding and financing tools are being investigated?

At this stage, all options are under consideration, including public-private-partnerships, special purpose vehicles and value capture.

How is the new Regional Fuel Tax being taken into account?

The ATAP package includes projects that could be funded by $1.5 billion of additional revenue collected through the new Auckland Regional Fuel Tax.



What’s next?

The ATAP report details the next steps. These include:

  • Aligning statutory plans with the updated report. This includes the Auckland Plan, Government Policy Statement on land transport, Regional Land Transport Plan, National Land Transport Programme and Long-term Plan.
  • Further work on funding and financing through a joint Government-Council workstream.
  • Further work on transport planning, funding arrangements, project evaluation tools, business case processes, growth planning, and the communication of goals and targets.