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Connected Centres programme

The Urban Form and Transport Initiative (UFTI) is a collaboration between SmartGrowth and Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency formed in 2019, aimed at unlocking much-needed capacity for housing development and resolving transport issues in the sub-region.

UFTI’s task was to develop a long-term, integrated masterplan for urban development and transport in the western Bay of Plenty, that is fully aligned with the Government’s transport policy statement and urban growth agenda.

The Connected Centres programme, released in July 2020, was chosen as it offers the best outcome for people to live and move around the sub-region and connect to the upper North Island in the future. The programme articulates two main concepts:

  • increasing the number of houses in existing urban and new growth areas, to maximise available land and support a well-functioning transport system; and
  • enable everyone to access local social and economic opportunities within a 15-minute journey time, and sub-regional social and economic opportunities within 30-45 minutes.

These concepts encourage strong local centres and connected neighbourhoods. On the ground this would translate to:

  • creating four high frequency public transport routes in the existing North, East, West and Central corridors which better link people to their place of living, work, and recreational locations
  • further developing urban communities around Omokoroa, Matua/Otūmoetai, Arataki, Pāpāmoa, Wairakei, and around wider Te Puke, which will also be connected by safe and accessible walking and cycling facilities.

The release of the Connected Centres programme concludes the work of UFTI, and was received by all SmartGrowth partners, Waka Kotahi, Kainga Ora and the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development.

Find out more about UFTI

Overview of the connected centres programme (UFTI final report)

Delivering the programme

The programme will be integrated into the SmartGrowth joint spatial plan and delivered over time via the partner councils’ Long-Term Plans, the Regional Land Transport Plan, and the National Land Transport Programme, along with land use planning initiatives like the Te Papa spatial plan and the Tauriko West and Te Tumu new communities.

The programme creates opportunity for central and local government to work together, along with the private sector and tangata whenua partners, to ensure the programme can be delivered.

Waka Kotahi NZTA, Bay of Plenty Regional Council, Western Bay of Plenty District Council and Tauranga City Council are working together to implement the transport component of the programme. The 30-year Western Bay of Plenty Transport System Plan outlines a transport system that supports future ‘up and out’ development and connects existing and new urban centres in a way that makes it easy to move around to work, learn and play in the western Bay.

Find out more about the Transport System Plan

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