Previously I have written about the 2017 strategic business case for the future of public transport in Christchurch.
Now I’m going to summarise the next step of this – the programme business case. This was completed late last year. It considers the problems and benefits that were identified in the strategic case, then recommends a programme of works that will address these.
The first half includes some more good graphs and statistics that further describe the problem we find ourselves in. I quite liked this graph of predicted population growth by distance from city centre.
It shows the bulk of the growth happening between 6 and 10 km from the city centre, and big chunks out in Kaiapoi, Rangiora and Rolleston as well. The central city (2km) will also roughly quadruple from a low base of 5,000 to close to 20,000 residents by 2048.
This one shows where employment growth is predicted to be – mainly in the central city.
This chart of housing density is quite interesting. Brendon Harre spoke at the rail workshop about different housing densities here (have a look at slides 53-58). He spoke about how the new Hobsonville development in Auckland is roughly 5 times the density of our new Longhurst development here in Christchurch. This table shows that, even if you only consider our key centres, there is still a wide range in densities, with Riccarton being twice as dense as Hornby and Shirley.
The case considers the following components. It notes that congestion pricing is outside the scope of consideration for this study. It also identifies 5 benefits to try and achieve.
It then recommends a 3-stage approach:
- Foundations – initially increase bus frequencies, upgrade vehicles and stops, make minor bus priority improvements, trial demand responsive transit. This is sort of what we already doing but investing more so that we can do it better.
- Rest of Network – Increase number of core high-frequency routes from 5 to 9. Try to make the bus lanes better (more continuous) on the Riccarton and Papanui Road corridors, identify and protect rapid transit corridors, multi-modal interchanges (park’n’ride, bike share and bike parking), more vehicle upgrades, higher frequencies and extended operating hours, and demand responsive transit. Building carparking facilities to offset the parking losses due to bus lanes is also mentioned.
- Mass Rapid Transit – it is stressed that this is mode-agnostic. It also states that, although the “corridors” are fixed as per the diagram below, the “alignments” may change, which is understood to mean that the existing rail corridors are not being ruled out.
Here is the timing for the three stages.
Here are the costs of the three stages.
Here are the benefits of the investment (as calculated according to the Transport Agency Economic Evaluation methods).
Combining these benefits with the costs, means the benefit-cost ratio will exceed 1 as long as mode share of 5.1% is achieved by the time it is finished. Currently public transport in Christchurch carries around 2.25% of trips, so that represents slightly over a doubling. For context, public transport carries 4.5% and 5.7% in Auckland and Wellington respectively.
Stage 1 (the Strategic Case) – considered the question “Is there a case for change?” The answer was yes there is a case for increased investment in public transport in Christchurch.
Stage 2 (the Programme Case) – considered what programme of investment should be considered (i.e. what type of investment is needed). The answer given is Rapid Transit to the north and south-west, and improved bus services to the rest of the city. Whether Rapid Transit uses the existing rail lines, existing roads or a brand new corridor will be considered in the next stage.
Do you think this network is what Christchurch needs? Or would you like to see something different?