Te Atatu (south) T2 and bus priority lanes
Aucklanders have told us that moving around our city safely and easily is important to them. To help with this we are proposing some improvements to the southern section of Te Atatu Road. The proposed changes are located on Te Atatu Road between Bridge Avenue and McLeod Road, and a section of Edmonton Road.
The proposed changes will align with the Northwestern Bus Improvements project, and will improve the level of service for active modes as well as improving the overall operation and safety of the corridor.
To encourage a shift towards public transport, it is important that the bus services have a good level of service in terms of travel time and reliability. Bus priority measures such as Transit Lanes are required to allow these services to operate with an efficiency aimed at making bus transport an attractive alternative to private vehicle travellers. T2 Transit Lanes also benefit private vehicle drivers by reducing travel times for vehicles with two or more people in them, and encouraging car-pooling reduces the number of vehicles on the road.
Auckland Transport has created a strategy to improve the efficiency of the bus network to meet the projected population growth and the demand for public transport in the coming years.
Project aims and benefits
The Te Atatu T2 lanes project will:
- A more efficient public transport system
- Public transport is a more competitive option for trips to, from and within the northwest
- Improved public transport uptake to, from and within the northwest and reduced emissions
- Better connected city, improved access for people to opportunities.
- To increase the efficiency and reliability of public transport to, from and within the Northwest and make public transport a competitive option for journeys to, from and within the Northwest.
- To improve public transport patronage on the Northwest Rapid Transit Network corridor by providing efficient connections to the proposed bus interchange at Te Atatu Road.
- To improve travel times and reliability for vehicles carrying two or more people, buses and motorbikes.
- To cater for more people to travel via Te Atatu Road, in fewer vehicles.
By 2046, there will be nearly triple the number of people travelling along the Northwestern Motorway (SH16). More people need to travel by bus and multiple occupancy vehicles, or congestion will get worse, and journeys will take longer. This project aims to:
- Improve bus travel times and reliability, including for services that connect to the high frequency bus services on SH16.
- The T2 lanes will save buses up to 13 minutes between 7am-10am.
- The changes will improve bus reliability, so buses are less likely to run late one day then on time the next. This makes planning a bus journey easier and will often avoid the frustration people feel when the bus is running late.
- The T2 Lanes will directly benefit buses. Northbound: 34 buses (7am-10am); 25 buses (3pm-7pm). Southbound: 19 buses (7am-10am); 37 buses (3pm-7pm). That’s a bus every 5-6 minutes northbound in the morning peak, also as patronage increases, we will continue to improve bus frequencies.
- Better utilise limited road space and reduce the need to expand existing roads (expanding roads is not a feasible option to accommodate ongoing traffic growth).
- This project will significantly increase the people carrying capacity of the road as it will encourage more people to travel by bus and multiple occupancy vehicles. AT’s Urban Street and Road Design Guide shows the space efficiency of each transport mode:
- Based on surveys in early 2021, 41%-60% of people currently using this road will be able to use the T2 Lanes. The 60% figure is people travelling towards the motorway in the AM peak. As the project will make travel by bus and multiple occupancy vehicle more attractive it is likely that the T2 Lane will benefit a higher percentage of people over time.
- Help reduce emissions from transport. If more people travel by buses and multiple occupancy vehicles, carbon emissions and air pollution, per person, will be reduced.
- Minimise travel delays to vehicles using the general traffic lane.
- The current congestion is predominantly caused by the limited capacity of the motorway onramp signals and the motorway i.e., vehicles waiting to enter the motorway. This proposal does not reduce the number of vehicles that can access the motorway from Te Atatū Road during a green phase of the onramp lights, so overall traffic congestion should remain similar on Te Atatū Road. However, the general vehicle lane will experience some delays as buses and multiple occupancy vehicles move to the front of the queue.
- The T2 Lane is likely to encourage more people to travel by bus and high occupancy vehicles, which over time will help reduce the number of vehicles using the general traffic lane.
- A primary aim of the project is also to maintain and enhance the safety of all road users, particularly vulnerable road users such as pedestrians and people on bikes.
- Mid-November 2021 – consultation opens
- 5 December 2021 – consultation closes
- February 2023 – Public feedback report published
Proposed T2 and bus lanes along Te Atatu Road (south)
- Northbound T2 Lane that starts at the Te Atatu Road/McLeod Road intersection and finishes opposite Covil Ave. Operates AM (7-10am) and PM peak (3-7pm) traffic times.
- Southbound T2 Lane that starts at the Te Atatu Road/Bridge Avenue intersection and finishes before Lynhurst Road. Operates AM (7-10am) and PM (3-7pm) peak traffic times.
- Northbound on Edmonton Road, create a short stretch of T2 Lane at the approach to its intersection with Te Atatu Road. Operates AM (7-10am) and PM (3-7pm) peak traffic times.
The Te Atatu Road T2 Lane project is made of four sections of work. These are:
- Te Atatu Road between Edmonton Road and Bridge Avenue
- The intersection of Te Atatu Road and Edmonton Road, with a short stretch of T2 Lane on Edmonton Road
- Te Atatu Road between McLeod Road and Edmonton Road
- The intersection of Te Atatu Road and Roberts Road
Benefits of Priority Lanes, such as T2 Lanes
Efficient allocation of space
As roads become increasingly congested, more road capacity has been traditionally provided to meet this demand by adding extra lanes or building new roads. If existing road lanes are managed to give priority to cyclists, high-occupancy vehicles or freight vehicles, as appropriate, this enables more people and goods to move more quickly. Additionally, if modal shift occurs from general vehicles with only one occupant to high-occupancy vehicles, then the overall amount of traffic will also reduce.
Encourage mode shift
Reallocating road space to more efficient and effective modes, such as high-occupancy vehicles or cycles, can make these options more attractive to those using the general traffic lanes.
Fuel consumption will be reduced for those vehicles using the priority lane, as travel speeds will increase and overall travel time will reduce.
Enabling motorised traffic to flow freely, especially trucks and buses, will reduce the amount of harmful emissions and carbon dioxide. Where higher occupancy vehicles are using the lanes, overall emissions per person will also reduce.
Prioritising the use of lanes by different modes at different times of the day optimises network flows and can help to keep congestion levels down.
Detailed overview of proposed work
Te Atatu Road between McLeod Road and Edmonton Road
- Install a 3.5m wide northbound T2 Lane operating 7am-10am and 3pm-7pm, Monday-Friday.
- The T2 lane would be available to buses, vehicles with two or more occupants, motorbikes, and people on bicycles. Outside of its operating hours the T2 will revert to parking.
- The space for the T2 Lane is achieved by:
- Removing on-street parking on both sides of the road for the entire length of the T2 Lane; note parking will be available on the west side of the road outside the operating hours of the T2 Lane and will be able to accommodate parking demand. Surveys show that during the proposed operating hours of the T2 Lane parking occupancy along the route peaks at 0%-17% of parks occupied in the AM period, and 0%-25% in the PM period. Parking surveys and observations show that there is plenty of capacity on side streets during these times to accommodate any displaced demand.
- Changing the widths of the traffic lanes. In some locations the general traffic lanes will be narrowed and in some locations the general traffic lanes will be widened.
- Moving the painted median eastward/southward.
- Narrowing the painted median in some locations. For most the route the painted median remains roughly the same width (sometimes slightly narrower but often slightly wider). However, it is proposed to be narrowed from 2.6m to 2m around the right-hand bend at 155 Te Atatu Road. The buffer on the outside edge of the road also narrows from 1.4m to 0.7m in this location.
- Relocation of the existing bus stop and shelter from outside 117 to 115 Te Atatu Road. And installation of broken yellow lines (no parking across the frontage of number 113. The new bus stop will also be located in the general traffic lane, but there is space in the painted median for vehicles to pass buses picking up/dropping off passengers. Relocation of the bus stop from 114 to 116, 137 to 135 Te Atatu Road and the relocation of the shelter from 206 to 204 Te Atatu Road.
- Relocation of the existing bus stop and shelter from outside 197 to 215 Te Atatu Road. The new bus stop will be located in the general traffic lane, but there is space in the painted median for vehicles to pass buses picking up/dropping off passengers.
- Relocation of the existing bus stop and shelter from outside 234 to 244/246 Te Atatu Road. The new bus stop will be located in the T2 lane.
- The signalisation of three existing zebra crossings outside 134, 210, and 250/252 Te Atatu Road.
- Reconfiguration and signal optimisation of the Te Atatu Road/McLeod Road intersection.
Edmonton Road/Te Atatu Road intersection
- On Te Atatu Road in the northbound/eastbound direction, remove the ability for general vehicles (except T2 vehicles) to make a right-turn into Te Atatu Road from the outside/kerb-side lane. Buses will be allowed to turn right from this lane, general vehicles will be permitted to use this lane to turn-left or go straight-through the intersection.
- On Edmonton Road, northbound:
- At the existing northbound combined straight-through and left-turn lane, restrict straight-through movements to T2 Lane vehicles. The T2 lane will operate 7am-10am and 3pm-6pm, Monday-Friday, outside these hours it will revert to a combined straight-through and left-turn lane for general traffic. All vehicles will be permitted to use the lane to turn-left into Flanshaw Road at all times. This section of T2 Lane is required to prevent general vehicles using it to go straight onto Te Atatu Road, as they will not be eligible to use the T2 Lane on Te Atatu Road so need to merge into the general traffic lane before the intersection.
- Retain the existing cycle lane.
Te Atatu Road between Edmonton Road and Bridge Avenue
- Install a 3.5m wide northbound T2 Lane operating 7am-10am and 3pm-7pm, Monday-Friday.
- A 3.4m-3.5m wide southbound T2 Lane operating 7am-10am and 3pm-7pm, Monday-Friday.
- Buses, vehicles with two or more occupants, heavy vehicles over 3500kg, motorbikes, and people on bicycles will be permitted to use the T2 Lanes. Outside the operating hours the lanes will revert to general traffic lanes.
- Install a 0.4m wide buffer between the southbound cycle lane and the T2 Lane. The buffer will be a mixture of raised and painted treatments to allow access to driveways. The cycle lane will remain 1.5m wide.
- Changes to the painted central median:
- A new section of painted central median between Lyndhurst Road and Jaemont Avenue.
- A new section of painted central median between Jaemont Avenue and Covil Avenue.
- The space for the T2 Lane and cycle lane buffer is achieved by:
- Converting the outside general traffic lane in each direction to the T2 Lane.
- Narrowing the existing northbound kerb side traffic lanes by up to 0.5m.
Te Atatu Road/Roberts Road Intersection
- Extension of existing footpath on the western side of Te Atatu Road to property boundary.
- Proposed cycle by-pass including on and off ramps in the northbound direction on the southern arm of Te Atatu Road.
- Proposed T2 lane in the northbound direction on Te Atatu Road
- Proposed advanced cycle boxes on the approach lanes from Roberts Road and Te Atatu Road south.
- Kerb build out on the southern side of Roberts Road to reduce number of approach lanes from two to a single lane.
- Extension of existing traffic island to the east on Roberts Road to prevent right turn movements out of the shop carpark.
- Proposed signalised intersection with pedestrian crossing provisions across all three arms.
- Kerb cut back along the eastern side of Te Atatu Road from the shop carpark entrance to the existing bus stop southern of the intersection to provide space for a cycle lane in the southbound direction. The greening of the cycle lane is proposed to extend through the intersection.
- Proposed traffic island separating southbound lanes and shop carpark on the northern arm of Te Atatu Road.
- Realignment of the zebra crossing across the carpark exit with a new raised zebra crossing.
Complimenting the Northwestern Bus Improvements project
In August 2021, Auckland Transport and Waka Kotahi started work on the Northwest Bus Improvements project. This project will:
- Deliver a resilient and reliable bus journeys with improved connections locally and into the city centre.
- Improve journey times and encourage more people to take the bus, with the flow-on effect of reducing traffic congestion and carbon emissions.
- New bus stops on Te Atatu and Lincoln Road interchanges provide people with easier access to a bus stop that has more frequent services within close proximity to where they live or work.
- Extended existing bus shoulders on the Northwestern Motorway (SH16) between Westgate and Newton Road to fill the gaps and provide a more reliable and quicker journey for people taking the bus into the city centre.
The first stage of the project involves changing the road and footpath layouts at Te Atatu and Lincoln Road interchanges to build new bus stops, footpaths, and pedestrian crossings. The bus shoulders on the Northwestern Motorway (SH16) between Westgate and Newton Road will also be extended to make it quicker to travel by bus along the motorway. Construction work for this part of the project is expected to be completed in March 2023.
Click here for more information about the Northwestern Bus Improvements project.
Listening to what you have to say is important to us. Your local knowledge can help us make better decisions, so together we can achieve the best outcomes for your neighbourhood.
Feedback closes 5 December 2021.
- We will analyse all of the feedback and use it to help refine the proposal.
- We will prepare a report on the feedback received and any changes made to the proposal which will be published online. If you provided your contact details when giving us feedback, we will notify you when the report is available.
What happens next
- We’ll consider all the feedback we receive, and then decide the best way to move forward.
- We’ll post the outcome of this proposal and a summary of community feedback on this webpage.
- We will send a copy of the consultation feedback report to everyone who provides feedback.
Will the T2 lane cause issues for people heading towards the Northwestern motorway or turning left onto side streets?
This proposal will open an additional lane for northbound buses and T2 vehicles between McLeod Road and Edmonton Road and does not reduce capacity for other vehicles along this section. Between Edmonton Road and SH16 is congested for most of the morning peak period and repurposing the kerbside lane as far as Covil Avenue will help buses and T2 vehicles get through more efficiently without reducing capacity at the bottleneck at the SH16 interchange..
All drivers, regardless of how many people are in their vehicle, can legally use the T2 transit lane for 50m before they turn.
Traffic eligible for T2 lanes (buses, 2+ people in cars, cyclists) are a small percentage of traffic so shouldn’t the proposal prioritise cars?
Transit lanes are designed to prioritise the movement of more people. Cars can still travel in the T2 lane provided there are 2 or more occupants. Transit Lanes often carry more people than the adjacent traffic lane, but with fewer vehicles and without the queues.
Why not install a Clearway at peak times instead of T2 Lanes?
A Clearway would not cater for the growing population because it wouldn’t allow more people to travel the corridor in peak times. The capacity of Te Atatu Road is limited by the bottleneck at the SH16 interchange and congestion on SH16 and a Clearway would not reduce delays, it would just allow for queuing in two lanes instead of one. Providing travel time benefits for vehicles that carry more people will increase the capacity of the road.
Why is the bus lane operating during peak traffic periods (7–10AM and 3–7PM, Monday to Friday)?
The lanes are proposed to operate during those hours because traffic is heaviest during these periods. In terms of the specific hours of operation, they have been set this way because:
- Keeping the T2 lane operating beyond 9am is likely be beneficial on days where the peak traffic time extends later into the morning, such as when there is an incident on the road network.
- As the population of the area, and Auckland as a whole, grows the duration of the peak periods is expected to extend out, starting earlier and finishing later. Allowing a little additional time now means that the T2 lane hours are less likely to need changing in the future.
Why are you not installing a Bus Lane or a T3 lane?
- A T2 Lane is expected to benefit more people than a Bus Lane or T3 Lane and will still achieve significant travel time savings. Based on traffic and vehicle occupancy surveys of Te Atatu Road;
- Northbound AM Peak: If T2 then 22% of cars and 60% of people will benefit. If T3 then only 5% of cars and 41% of people will benefit.
- Northbound PM Peak: If T2 then 18% of cars and 47% of people will benefit. If T3 then only 4% of cars and 32% of people will benefit.
- Southbound AM Peak: If T2 then 13% of cars and 41% of people will benefit. If T3 then only 2% of cars and 26% of people will benefit.
- Southbound PM Peak: If T2 then 18% of cars and 44% of people will benefit. If T3 then only 3% of cars and 22% of people will benefit.
To provide the T2, could you remove the painted median instead of removing parking?
- We looked at both options (removing parking or removing the painted median) but prefer removing the parking because:
- During the operating hours of the T2 Lane there is low parking occupancy along this stretch of road (0%-25%) and there is enough spare parking on the side streets to accommodate displaced vehicles. During all other times parking will be available on the west side of the road and will be able to accommodate parking demand.
- Retaining the painted median will likely be better for traffic flow, as vehicles waiting to turn into driveways will not block the traffic lane.
- Retaining the painted median reduces the chances of head-on crashes, as well as rear-end crashes while vehicles wait to turn into driveways.
- The painted median provides space for vehicles to pass buses dropping-off/picking-up passengers at bus stops.