“Tauranga relies on cars more than any other city in the country.”
A NZ Household Travel Survey found that 92% of journeys in Tauranga between 2011 and 2014 were undertaken in a private vehicle. This was between 9% and 33% higher than other main centres. Journey-to-work data from the 2013 census showed 91% of Tauranga commuters travelled by car, excluding those who worked at home or who did not go to work. This is the most recent travel data available that specifically compares commuter travel modes – we’re hoping to see these figures improve in the coming years.
“Tauranga residents are the most frustrated in New Zealand when it comes to traffic.”
The 2018 Quality of Life survey is a partnership between eight New Zealand councils that measures people’s perceptions about their quality of life. Results for Tauranga showed the highest overall satisfaction with quality of life across all cities. However, 56% of Tauranga respondents said their city had become a worse place to live over the previous 12 months, with the two main reasons cited being increase in traffic congestion and increase in population. At 83%,Tauranga’s score for traffic frustration was significantly higher than any other city, with Auckland coming in next at 36%. The survey results are at www.qualityoflifeproject.govt.nz
“Tauranga’s population will grow to at least 180,000 people over the next 30 years.”
By 2050 our city is projected to grow to nearly 187,000 residents. This will require another 36,000 homes. (Tauranga Urban Strategy).
If you think about how much Tauranga has grown over the past 30 years, consider that a similar amount of growth is about to happen all over again. The only way to keep congestion from getting worse is to make it easier for more people to move around the city without always needing to rely on private vehicles.
“People tell us they want to see better public transport, safer cycleways and safer intersections.”
Through the 2017 Tauranga Transport Plan consultation, people were asked if they thought public transport, walking and biking options should be prioritised sooner rather than later. The result was overwhelmingly in favour of bringing investment for these things forward, with 77% (1781 people) answering ‘yes’, versus 8.69% (201 people) answering ‘no’. 331 people left this question blank. It’s worth noting that of the 2313 respondents, 85% said they typically travelled by car.
Similar feedback came through the 2017 Cycle Plan consultation which revealed a very strong community mandate (90% out of 1570 survey respondents) for the council to prioritise safer biking networks throughout the city.
Following consultation on the Long Term Plan (2018-28) the council voted to significantly increase funding for the city’s cycle networks. The council also adopted a transport investment programme that includes projects to increase road capacity but where the additional space is mainly to be used for buses, high occupancy vehicles and freight.
“It’s not going to be easy”
Regardless of general support to improve public transport and biking options, it can get difficult once we start looking at how to deliver these things on the ground. There’s not usually enough room to add new bus lanes and bike lanes without compromises – compromises that many people may not feel ready for because we’re still putting the infrastructure in place to make it easier for them to leave their cars at home. It can get a bit chicken-and-egg. There will be a transition period during which we will all need to make some trade-offs at some point.
“Sharing is caring”
Our top priority is to create a safe environment for every person, no matter how they are travelling. When it comes to improving travel times, our goal is to make everybody’s daily journey more convenient most of the time. We can’t make one person’s entire trip as convenient as they would probably like because it would mean unreasonable disruption for people who are travelling in different directions or using other forms of transport.