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Source: Auckland Council

In 2020, a report by the Ministry of Transport found that time of use charging could transform Auckland’s roads by reducing traffic by 8-12%. This could mean our motorways could function as they currently do during the school holidays, all year round.  

Time of use charging is one option the council and Auckland Transport are looking into to tackle congestion. Today, councillors at the Transport and Infrastructure Committee gave the go-ahead for a scheme to be designed for the Auckland region. Endorsement was given for the scheme’s objective to better manage travel demand and achieve an improvement in road network performance by:  

  • reducing congestion 
  • increasing the movement of people and goods 
  • improving the reliability of the road network.  

Time of use charging is a charge for driving on heavily congested roads, which could apply at different times or in different locations. It’s being used in cities around the world, which are seeing fewer cars on the road, better public transport use, reduced carbon emissions, and less time spent sitting in traffic. 

Auckland Mayor Wayne Brown says: “This will make roads less congested for Aucklanders. It will lead to speeding up Auckland traffic without waiting for more expensive and unaffordable motorways. It’s about making the most of what we have and bringing Auckland in line with similar cities. It’s a tried and tested solution, and one that’s relatively low-cost.”  

Investment in public transport

This kind of initiative needs to be supported by reliable public transport that gives people a choice as to how they reach their destination.  

If the scheme is successful, it is due to launch alongside the City Rail Link (CRL) in 2026. The CRL will increase train capacity in the city, offering an additional quick and easy route to its centre.   

Elsewhere, investment is happening across Auckland – on dynamic lanes, bus lanes, new and improved cycleways and the region’s rapid transit network, such as the Eastern Busway, giving more ways for people to get from A to B. 

You can have your say until 17 June 2024 on the additional transport programmes you’d like to see funded in the Regional Land Transport Plan.  

Fairness and accessibility  

While time of use charging is a tried and tested solution in cities around the world, we need to make sure it will work for Aucklanders. Formal public consultation will be a key part of developing this process, and the views of communities across Auckland will help to shape the scheme. 

It must reflect the needs of those using the transport network, ensuring they’re still able to get to where they need to be, when they need to be there. 

What happens next 

The Transport and Infrastructure Committee has endorsed the time of use programme objectives, and for work to progress to the next stages. This includes designing the scheme, firming up the details, and working with local boards, Mana Whenua and key stakeholders to help craft it. The council and Auckland Transport will also work with central government. 

Extensive engagement and a formal public consultation will follow. This will give the people of Tāmaki Makaurau a chance to share their views on a proposal for how time of use charging could work in Auckland. It will show how much support there is for the scheme and any concerns. This will help to shape the final design and how it will be implemented. 

There is still a lot of preparation work to be done. This includes working with communities to understand their concerns. Community feedback will help to shape the scheme, that could bring big changes to Auckland’s roads. It’s certainly one to watch!