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Auckland Transport

Sustainability Framework Sustainability Framework

The Sustainability Framework outlines the mandate for AT’s sustainable vision and presents the goals, focus areas, and actions to deliver on these aspirations. It identifies what we can be held accountable for and what we can achieve through our influence on others.

About the Sustainability Framework

There are many pressures on Auckland in terms of dealing with the transport demand from increased growth, prudent fiscal management and congestion management. Alongside these increasing demands there is a growing awareness of sustainability, and good corporate citizenship.

AT’s legislative purpose is to contribute to an effective, efficient and safe Auckland land transport system in the public interest. The Government Policy Statement on Land Transport 2015-25 defines public interest as ‘where it supports economic, social, cultural and environmental wellbeing’.

The Auckland Plan sets out a range of targets in terms of greenhouse gas emissions, safety, social, environmental, economic and cultural outcomes. AT has sustainability targets and initiatives for some projects. For example sustainability is embedded throughout the City Rail Link project. However, a consistent organisation-wide approach is needed to realise best value, liveability, resilience, achieve efficiencies and enable more sustainable delivery for across AT.

Within the above context, the Sustainability Framework identifies goals and objectives for the transport network and focus areas and key actions for AT to embed within our policy development, operations and delivery.


Since AT was formed in 2010, we have focused on delivering and improving the transport system for Auckland. A number of key milestones have been achieved in terms of improvements including: rail electrification, new public transport services, key infrastructure projects, the start of construction of the City Rail Link and improvements in road network efficiency.

AT has a number of initiatives that contribute to cultural, social, environmental and economic benefits, including:

  • Growth in Rapid transit – Rail and Northern Busway patronage growth rates have increased by 20% each year for last 10 years providing congestion free alternatives to car travel. Patronage is forecast to continue to grow.
  • Energy efficiency savings - AT are replacing 45,000 of the existing traditional streetlights. The project is expected to save $32 million over the 20-year design life of the LEDs. We have signed an agreement with the Energy Efficiency & Conservation Authority (EECA) to help drive further energy savings throughout our organisation, including in the construction of CRL.
  • Sustainability plans are now embedded within our Road Maintenance contracts. These include reporting on greenhouse gas emissions, energy use and materials use, and encouraging less impactful ways of maintaining our roads.

It is important to note that Te Kōhao o te Ngira Mana Whenua Framework was developed in 2007 by Mana Whenua in response to Auckland’s sustainability framework. This has been referenced in the AT’s Framework to provide insight into this unique and important view.

Key elements of the Sustainability Framework


Our aim is to offer transport choices for a growing, vibrant Auckland.


  • Conserve and enhance the natural environment;
  • Meet the social and health needs of Aucklanders;
  • Foster jobs, growth and economic productivity;
  • Celebrate Auckland’s unique cultural identity.

Focus areas

The focus areas included in the framework are the key target areas of control and influence for AT. These are summarised below:

  • Land use and transport – Integrated land-use and transport planning is the key to ensuring that living, working, social and recreational spaces are developed closely together. This integration provides multiple transport options between places where we work, live and play to improve accessibility and reduce reliance on individual car travel.
  • Financial stewardship - We will continue to strive to ensure our projects offer good value for money and consider whole of life costs. Careful planning and management will ensure assets are functional and will continue to benefit future generations.
  • The existing network - Implement actions to optimise the existing transport network whilst recognising the importance of place will contribute to sustainability outcomes and optimise investment.
  • Low emission transport choices - Providing people with lower emission travel choices and improving the connectivity between transport modes which will contribute towards better sustainable mobility in the future.
  • Design, construction and maintenance - Sustainable designs add environmental, social, economic and cultural value to the lifespan of an infrastructure project and aims to minimise impacts during construction, operation and maintenance. Current infrastructure projects are envisaged to last between 50 to 100 years. These structures therefore must be resilient and adaptable to the changing environment and needs of society over this time.
  • Innovation and technology - We will use innovation, technology and data to achieve improved sustainability outcomes. Utilising available data to improve the operation of our transport system, and develop intelligent and shared mobility approaches to improve transport choices and make Auckland’s transport system more efficient and resilient.
  • Our own organisation - AT will lead by example by striving for best practice for AT’s people, buildings, fleet and practices. AT will share these learnings to help others.

Top 13 actions

For the 2015-16 financial year, a review across each of the focus areas was undertaken and a set of top actions were prioritised. They reflect where AT wants to address key gaps or where work is already underway that can be elevated and enhanced through focus and contribution to sustainability.

The top 13 actions to be delivered from 2016-17 in no particular order are:

  1. Embed sustainable strategic outcomes within AT Procurement Framework.
  2. Develop an emissions roadmap to support the uptake of low emission buses.
  3. Develop an emissions roadmap for AT’s own fleet.
  4. Increase the proportion of renewals that coordinate or add value to other delivery programmes or objectives.
  5. Develop best practicable options for AT to contribute to improved outcomes for water.
  6. Embed sustainability principles in the Transport Design Manual through requirements, standards and service levels.
  7. Develop a technology strategy for AT.
  8. Develop a programme for continued level of investment in cycling networks across Auckland.
  9. Develop a ‘Make Walking Count’ programme for Auckland.
  10. Appoint an Energy Manager and develop an energy plan to save 2.85 GWh by January 2019 in addition to savings already being achieved with LED streetlights.
  11. Develop and deliver a Sustainability Champions programme trial.
  12. Develop AT’s Māori Responsiveness Plan.
  13. Embed Sustainability within major projects including the City Rail Link.

Peer review and publication

A previous version of the Sustainability Framework has been peer reviewed by some stakeholder agencies and subject matter experts. Whilst supportive of the document, feedback highlighted areas where we could have been bolder. Examples include: CO2 and air quality targets and stronger social and cultural targets.

AT’s conservative approach is a deliberate strategy designed to build confidence in the delivery of initiatives under this framework. This is also why we are undertaking a soft launch of the draft framework. This allows us to readily capture our baseline, strengthen our targets and develop the culture and performance environment needed to successfully achieve our sustainability goals.

Continuous improvement

A sustainability governance group has been set up to oversee the development and achievement of the framework. It is supported by a working group as well sustainability champions spread across the business to foster and embed sustainability in daily activity.

A sustainability achievement report will be produced annually to track progress and demonstrate achievement.

The framework as set out will be substantively reviewed in no later than three years’ time.