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Decision Digest – February 2024 Auckland Transport Board Meeting

Published: Thu 29 Feb 2024 09:57 AM
The Auckland Transport (AT) Board held its first meeting for 2024 on Tuesday, welcoming new Board Chair Richard Leggat. In his introductory comments, Mr Leggat acknowledged the recent passing of MP and former Auckland Councillor Efeso Collins.
The Board heard public statements from Vernon Developments’ Cameron Vernon about the potential of recycling pavements and aggregates, and from parent representative Boopsie Maran about school and student perspectives on safe speed limits.Standing items
Chief Executive Open Business Report: The Board heard from Chief Executive Dean Kimpton about AT’s current performance against Statement of Intent targets. Mr Kimpton noted that AT is expecting to achieve all its SOI targets and is within ‘striking’ distance of delivering 90% of our capital programme this financial year.
Public transport
The Board heard that AT achieved 96% of our public transport boardings target last week, and that we’re well on track to meet and exceed our targets this year.
The Board Chair raised the challenge of fare evasion, observing a more than modest proportion of people are not paying for use of public transport. The Chief Executive highlighted work under way to make paying for public transport easier, including the introduction of open loop (contactless payments) and the National Ticketing Solution, and increased presence of Transport Officers to encourage compliance.
AT’s focus on long-term transport challenges
Mr Kimpton reiterated that AT’s focus is on working to address longer-term, challenging issues around congestion, network productivity, climate change and sustainability, our transport funding model, and on delivering a safe transport system.
Work with KiwiRail to address rail reliability issues
The Board heard that AT is working closely with KiwiRail and Auckland One Rail with the objective of ensuring our passenger rail network is meeting customers’ expectations. There has been good progress addressing heat-related track issues, with more to come on signalling.
Mr Kimpton explained that AT is supporting KiwiRail to address underinvestment that has occurred over decades and that we are working with them to support funding applications as part of our strong working relationship.
More common-sense approach to delivering pedestrian safety improvements
The Board heard that AT is not stepping back from work to improve safety outcomes, but that moving away from a one-sized fits all approach would deliver safety improvements at a lower cost to ratepayers (which the Mayor has called for) and in a way that better meets local needs.
A recent review of AT’s pedestrian safety approach found that a previous one-sized-fits all approach had dominated - reinforced by the NZTA funding model. This approach tended to recommend a raised pedestrian crossing in every case, when there are a range of solutions available to deliver safety outcomes, and a raised crossing was not always the most cost-effective or practical approach.
AT estimates there will be a reduction of around 30% of raised pedestrian crossings required compared to the current pipeline of projects. In all cases alternative safety measures will be considered to achieve the same outcomes and be monitored closely. Examples of this may include signalised crossings and other speed calming measures.
The final list of projects and alternatives is yet to be determined. Mr Kimpton emphasised that AT needs to take account of local board perspectives and feedback and factor this into decision making.
AT delivering raised pedestrian crossings at lower cost
AT has also adopted new practices enabling it to deliver raised crossings at a lower cost. One example of this is a raised pedestrian crossing recently installed as a pre-cast crossing unit. This reduced the cost of the crossing by 10 percent and removed temporary traffic management costs and traffic disruption because the pre-cast unit could be installed in one night rather than over a number of weeks. AT is now investigating opportunities to roll out this approach more broadly wherever possible.
Cost of temporary traffic management (road cones) to no more than 10% of a project
It was also noted that as part of the review of projects AT had set a new target for cost of temporary traffic management of no more that 10% of the total project. The target is already driving greater innovation in the approach being taken by suppliers, including at the early design stage and how projects are scoped, and is expected to deliver significant savings.
Implications of removing the regional fuel tax
Mr Kimpton updated the Board on the effects of the removal of the regional fuel tax (RFT), representing a reduction of future funding of about $1.2 billion once co-funding is included. The Board were notified that the remaining fuel tax funds are likely to be spent on the Eastern Busway and new train purchases ahead of opening of the City Rail Link.
The Board heard about the two options for reprioritising AT’s capital programme in light of the RFT removal – either a reprioritisation of RFT-funded projects only or a broader reprioritisation of the capital programme. Mr Kimpton explained that the latter option was his recommendation to the Board, particularly in light of what is expected to be a constrained Crown funding position addressed in the yet to be released GPS - transport.
A detailed discussion on the impact of the RFT removal on individual projects occurred in confidential session of the AT BoardItems for decision
Auckland Transport Sustainability Strategy: Murray Burt and Dr Cathy Bebelman updated directors on the role of the Sustainability Strategy and how it will be used to help inform AT decision-making. Dr Bebelman explained that AT has achieved a 50% reduction to date towards the carbon emission targets (scope one and two). The Board discussed how strategies like this align with other strategic documents such as the Government Policy Statement on Land Transport.
Decision: The Board supported the Auckland Transport Sustainability Strategy 2024-2031
Road Stopping – Disposal of a Strategic Asset: The Board
Decision: The Board approved the disposal of the strategic asset, being land that is part of the road described in the Board paper, if the road is stopped under the Public Works Act 1981 or the Local Government Act 1974.
Katoa, Ka Ora: draft Auckland speed management plan 2024-27 updated targeted focus: Management updated the Board that AT has refined the approach for Katoa, Ka Ora to be more targeted and focussed on speed limit changes around schools and marae. The Board heard about AT’s engagement with Aucklanders to develop this plan over the past two years. This work included the review of all requests AT received for speed limit changes and two rounds of local board input.
Decision: The Board endorsed Auckland’s draft speed management plan Katoa, Ka Ora for consideration by the Regional Transport Committee, focused on schools, marae and Karioitahi Beach, subject to a review of proposed changes against community and Local Board feedback.
Statement of Intent: The Board observed that the amendment to the 2023 Statement of Intent was an auditing requirement that did not change the KPIs.
Decision: The Board noted the proposed approach to preparing the Statement of Intent 2024 – 2027, delegated authority to the Finance and Assurance Committee to assist officers in preparation of a draft document, and approved the revision to the Statement of Intent 2023 – 2026 financial statements as requested by Auckland Council following advice from Audit New Zealand.
Tier 1 Policies: The Board noted it will review the Delegations Policy at a future meeting. The Board heard about the key changes to the Climate Change Policy, which is an operational policy intended to provide technical information to staff. The Board discussed whether the Climate Change Policy could be a Tier 2 Policy.
Decision: The Board approved the Climate Change Policy for adoption as a Tier Two policy, approved the Conflicts of Interest Policy for adoption, approved the retirement of the COVID-19 Response Policy, noted that the Auckland Transport Pandemic Plan will be updated and refreshed, with a final review to be completed by the Chief Executive.
Finance and Assurance Committee Performance Evaluation and Report to the Board: The Board heard about the Committee’s work to support a fundamental change in approach in response to the 2023 Letter of Expectation and as signalled in the 2023 Statement of Intent and its role in supporting management to respond to financial challenges.
Decision: The Board noted the Finance and Assurance Committee performance review and approved minor updates to the Finance and Committee charter to reflect job title changes.
Safety Business Report: The Board heard about recent trends in personnel safety and road safety performance, and acknowledged the pleasing low lost time injury record. The Board requested more information in future about AT’s work to address violence, threats and aggression.
Decision: The Board received the report.
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You can find the agenda with all the details on each item here: Meetings & minutes.
The next meeting of the AT Board will take place on 26 March 2024.

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