Submission on the Draft Land Transport Policy Statement

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On the 14th of March, the Ministry of Transport released their draft Government Policy Statement ("GPS") on Land Transport. This document sets out the government’s priorities for expenditure from the National Land Transport Fund over the next 10 years.

The key strategic priorities identified are:

  • Safety - the system is safe, free of death and serious injury
  • Access - the system provides increased access to economic and social opportunities, enables transport choice and is resilient

The supporting strategic priorities identified are:

  • Value for money - the system delivers the right infrastructure and services to the right level at the best cost
  • The environment - the system reduces the adverse effects on the climate, local environment and public health

Key areas proposed for funding are public transport, active modes of transport (walking and cycling), road safety promotion and demand management, rapid transit, and transitional rail.

As we have a vested interest in land transport, we made a submission regarding the draft GPS. 

Read the full draft Government Policy Statement on Land Transport 2018-2028 here and then read our submission below:

Summary

  • Yourdrive strongly supports the GPS. It signifies a positive shift towards a safer and more inclusive transport system in New Zealand.
  • We support the strategic direction and four main objectives of the GPS. We also support the emphasis on integrated planning and the improved funding balance across different transport investment areas.
  • Shared forms of mobility must be considered in the New Zealand’s transport system. New Zealand needs to encourage choice in the transport system and reduce reliance on private car ownership. The GPS is a step towards this, promoting investment in public and active transport options that will enable more transport choice for Kiwis. Shared mobility services work alongside public transport options to help form an accessible transport system.

Safety

  • New Zealand is experiencing an unprecedented increase in serious injuries and deaths on our transport network. Yourdrive supports efforts to reduce harm on the network.
  • We support the recognition of the need to improve safety across all modes, particularly the safety of walking and cycling. This will help to increase the use of these travel modes.
  • We note the final point in paragraph 43 “reviewing vehicle classifications to ensure safe and appropriate road use by different vehicle types.” Within classes i.e. Passenger cars (class MA) there are currently differences in safety standards between private use and the various commercial uses i.e. WoF and CoF requirements.
  • With the increase of shared mobility, the lines between vehicle uses are blurring. We are seeing a rising number of vehicles being used for multiple uses i.e. as a private hire vehicle, a rental vehicle, and for private use. As we head towards an autonomous vehicle future, vehicles will increasingly be used for a variety of uses. Standardising safety standards to a single test of vehicle fitness regardless of use should be considered.

Access

  • Yourdrive strongly supports placing strategic priority on “access” as a key transport objective.
  • We agree with the acknowledgement of the links between land-use and transport. Processes such as the Auckland Transport Alignment Project (ATAP) support alignment between land use planning and transport.
  • The New Zealand transport system has historically been skewed towards personal vehicle use delivering transport objectives. Section 2.3 highlights the importance of choice in the transport system. A transport system where users have real choice enables people to select the transport that best suits their needs and this will ultimately reduce costs to the user.
  • To enable true choice in the transport system and reduce reliance on personal car use we need a variety of public transport, cycling, walking, and shared mobility options for users. There is a large psychological barrier to overcome to shift people away from car ownership.
  • If certain trips are not provided for, a multimodal transport system will fail as the personal vehicle will provide more freedom. To achieve the objectives of the GPS it is important to look at all trips and journey types and support providers catering to them.
  • Walking and cycling are very effective for short local trips and we support the increased investment and efforts to promote these. Increasing funding for local public transport options (buses, trains, ferries) creates access through higher frequencies and more reliable services.
  • Shared mobility services also play a critical role in providing reliable alternative choices to vehicle ownership. Rideshare services provide options for short trips in the city when less flexible public transport options do not suffice.
  • Car share services offer access to a vehicle when it is required and allow users to conduct multistep and out-of-city trips. As noted in paragraph 86 many journeys in New Zealand still require access to a vehicle. It is essential that the rules which govern access to the transport system are tuned to support sharing.
  • High-quality regional transport also plays a key role. Proposals such as such as Greater Auckland’s Regional Rapid Rail should be considered.
  • We support efforts to reduce subsidies and incentives for vehicle ownership such as reductions to parking minima and the introduction of road pricing and congestion charging.

Sustainability

  • The existing transport system in New Zealand is unsustainable from an environmental perspective. The current levels of environmental impact are not acceptable and efforts need to be made to address this. We support making the environment a strategic priority.
  • We note the advantages public transport and active transport have from an environmental and health outcome point of view. We strongly support efforts to improve access to these sustainable transport options.
  • We encourage support for shared mobility solutions that are shown to work in conjunction with public transport, walking and cycling.
  • We note the OECD International Transport Forum’s modelling for Auckland found that shared mobility coupled with great rapid transit could halve congestion and emissions in Auckland.

Value for Money

  • We support the emphasis on value for money in the GPS. Given the other focuses of the GPS it is critical we re-evaluate the concept of “value” in the transport system.
  • The current cost-benefit ratio system is flawed and creates undesirable outcomes.
  • The funding system needs to support the other objectives of the GPS. “Value” needs to measure the contribution that projects and initiatives have towards the wider GPS objectives.

Shared mobility

  • Shared mobility is noted as supporting the objectives in various sections of the GPS. We support efforts to support shared mobility services.
  • We particularly note the alignment of shared mobility solutions to the priority areas of “Access” and “Environment”. Shared solutions such as car sharing, ridesharing, and bike sharing are critical to reducing reliance on private car ownership.
  • The GPS should enable investment in pilot initiatives that support sharing and encourage a reduction in private vehicle use. For example, co-funding of a “Welcome Home” package which provides a mixture of public transport and sharing (ride share, bike share, car share) credits to encourage new residents make the leap to a car-lite lifestyle.
  • More emphasis should be placed on the digitisation of transport services, and to making them available in real time. Industry participants should be able to undertake driver and vehicle safety checks in real time. The lack of instant access via a public API currently creates a delay in users being able to access shared mobility services.
  • The government should prioritise public technology investment in systems that enhance competition, investment, and innovation by the sector.

Submissions on the draft GPS have closed. The release of the final GPS 2018 is expected by 30 June 2018.

What do you think about the draft GPS and our submission? We're keen to hear your thoughts so, get in touch.


Posted by Oscar Ellison on 7th of May, 2018