In my previous post I showed maps demonstrating how we could get an additional 50,000 people to be within a half hour bus ride of the CBD, if only bus frequencies and speeds were improved.
This map summarises my previous post, showing the areas that could be brought within a half hour commute of the CBD just by increasing frequencies and speeds of buses (red).
In this post I look at how introduction of passenger rail would affect this.
I used the same methodology, and just added 3 routes using the existing railway lines:
- West to Rolleston
- North to Rangiora
- East to Lyttelton
I did add one new line – a stub going from the Moorhouse Ave station into the CBD. If rail were ever done it would need some form of connection to the CBD, whether that was extended heavy railway lines, light rail, buses or shuttles. As long as it’s quick and doesn’t have too much transfer time, then the mode doesn’t actually matter for this assessment.
I assumed a 40km/h average speed (in line with Auckland’s southern line), and just placed stations where I thought looked sensible at first glance (some probably aren’t sensible but let’s not get hung up on that now…).
This map shows in purple what areas could be brought within a half hour commute by introducing passenger rail.
It shows increases along the three routes, bringing another 7,000 residents within a half hour commute of the CBD to a total of 170,000 (49% of Christchurch).
One thing to note is that my simplistic methodology isn’t great at handling transfers between buses and trains, especially smaller feeder routes– if these were modelled better there may be some extra purple areas open up on the bus routes that connect to train stations.
Although the new areas that trains would open up are quite large, a lot of them don’t currently have many residents living in them– many are in the middle of Christchurch’s big southern industrial belt. In time, passenger rail might change this as these areas became more attractive as residential space.
My half hour threshold means none of the satellite towns like Rolleston and Rangiora make it into this analysis. In reality, servicing those satellite towns is one of the main reasons you would do heavy rail. Maybe in future I could repeat the exercise using a longer cut-off (Auckland uses a cut-off of 45 minutes for their planning).
I think this shows that rail is worthy of further investigation. It brings several new areas of the city into a half hour commute of the CBD, as well as providing a whole lot of other non-travel-time-related benefits that I haven’t gone into here (like comfort, reliability, general attractiveness). Exploring the potential for land use changes around stations (densification, converting industrial areas to residential etc.) would have to be an important part of it.
Next Post – What about light rail?
Do you think passenger heavy rail is a good idea for Christchurch?