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Auckland Council revealed on Monday its proposed plan for the Transport Emissions Reduction Pathway, which aims to achieve a 64 percent reduction of transport emissions for the city by 2030. 

Mayor Phil Goff believes the plan is achievable, though “hugely ambitious.”

motorists warned about potential changes to auckland driving, transport emissions reduction pathway revealed, news, auckland central, cars, green, life, motoring, national, traffic, transport, driven, driven nz, cars, car, nz, new zealand

The plan is intended to guide council planners for the development of future transport plans to ensure objectives outlined in te Tāruke-ā-Tāwhiri: Auckland’s Climate Plan are met. 

It outlines the pathway to having fewer high emitting vehicles on Auckland roads by transitioning 30 percent of the city’s vehicles to electric, seeing a ten-fold increase in walking and cycling, reducing traffic in suburbs, and aiming for an increase in public transport usage five-fold. 

The funding for this will come through the reallocation of existing budgets, with additional funding to come from central and local government sources. 

There are eleven specific changes that the Transport Emissions Reduction Pathway outlines for the transport sector, including: 

  • Enabling Aucklanders to make more sustainable choices when it comes to public transport
  • Electrifying private vehicles 
  • Prioritising and resourcing cleaner and more sustainable transport options
  • Encouraging the use of public transport
  • Enabling more public transport options
  • Making public transport services such as busses, trains and ferries lower emitting 
  • Making freight and services cleaner and more efficient
  • Reducing travel where possible
  • Encouraging active travel – ie. walking and cycling. 
  • Making suburbs safer by reducing traffic
  • Putting things closer to where people live

Goff says that while the plan is “hugely ambitious, but I’m told that it is achievable”. But he adds that it’ll only be achievable if Aucklanders contribute.

motorists warned about potential changes to auckland driving, transport emissions reduction pathway revealed, news, auckland central, cars, green, life, motoring, national, traffic, transport, driven, driven nz, cars, car, nz, new zealand

“The public at the moment is saying to us, you need to do more and you need to do it faster. The crunch point comes of course when we start to affect the way people live.”

“You’ve got to be prepared to make changes in your lifestyle in order for this to happen. So this will be a combination of incentives to make alternative forms of transport more attractive, but it will involve some pressure the other way, and things like congestion charging, obviously, that’s going to have an impact,” Goff told Checkpoint.

He also says that transport pollution contributes to 40 percent of the city’s overall emissions.

“In a city where people once used to rely more on public transport, urban sprawl 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,” says Goff.

He acknowledged that about 50 percent of trips made within the city are less than 6km long, with a third of all trips less than 2km. 

“That’s where you want to start, isn’t it? Because in the old days, particularly when we were at school, a journey like that you’d walk or cycle. Today, only three percent of kids are cycling to school.”

Goff says that the key to making the plan successful will be making alternative public transport options accessible and more attractive to commuters, but acknowledges that enforcement measures such as the congestion tax would also play a role.

motorists warned about potential changes to auckland driving, transport emissions reduction pathway revealed, news, auckland central, cars, green, life, motoring, national, traffic, transport, driven, driven nz, cars, car, nz, new zealand

He also says that the plan will have benefits beyond emissions, as it’ll help in reducing traffic congestion. 

“You need to have public transport that is reliable convenient and affordable… as our city gets bigger so too does the problem of congestion so this plan deals not only with the problems of emissions but we need something to deal with congestion which is increasing year-on-year to the point that we’ll reach gridlock,” Goff says. 

Richard Hills, Environment and Climate Change Committee chair councillor, says the council and Auckland Transport need to support Aucklanders to adapt their transport decisions. 

“The Transport Emissions Reduction Pathway 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,” he says. 

Matthew Blaikie, Auckland Council chief sustainability officer, says that the plan will ensure the city is more resilient to external factors too.

“If we achieve our transport emissions reduction goals, Aucklanders across the whole of the region will have more choice in how they get around, leaving us all less vulnerable to 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,” says Blaikie.

The decision will be made tomorrow about whether or not the plan will be adopted by the council’s Environmental and Climate Change Committee.

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