Teaming up to tackle Auckland’s transport challenges

19 June 2017
Auckland Transport Challenge-1
Transport forum panelists (L-R) Helen Huang, Ministry of Transport, Dr Doug Wilson, Faculty of Engineering, Liz Halsted, Auckland Transport, and Dr Selena Sheng, Energy Centre, with host Prof Basil Sharp, Energy Centre director.

Transport is a leading economic and social challenge for Auckland and finding solutions will call for collaboration between a wide range of stakeholders.

That was the consensus at a recent forum at the University of Auckland attended by around 100 Aucklanders from diverse backgrounds.

The event was hosted by the University of Auckland Business School and the Energy Centre, a multi-disciplinary research and education centre supported by the Energy Education Trust and industry partners.

Attended by university staff and students and representatives from across the public and private sectors, the discussion featured experts from the Energy Centre and Faculty of Engineering, as well as Auckland Transport and the Ministry of Transport.

Led by Energy Centre Director Professor Basil Sharp, the discussion’s starting point was that transport is a key challenge for a rapidly-growing Auckland.

Congestion alone costs over $700 million a year. Vehicle-related air pollution contributes to premature deaths, restricted activity days and over $200 million in annual health costs. Transport also accounts for over 40 percent of Auckland’s gross greenhouse gas emissions.

Discussion of the solutions touched on the role of automated and electric vehicles, congestion charging and other forms of transport demand management, along with the need to grow public transport, cycling and walking and long-term planning and investment in transport infrastructure.

Speakers agreed that the challenges facing Auckland are complex and there is no silver bullet to tackle them. Finding lasting solutions and funding will require collaboration between multiple stakeholders spanning local and central government, the private sector, mana whenua, community and transport user groups.

Professor Sharp says that, with its wide expertise across the Business School and Engineering, as well as schools or departments such as Architecture and Planning, Population Health and Environment, the University has a valuable role to play in bringing key people together.

“The University can contribute to addressing some of the challenges. We are interdisciplinary. I see a real opportunity to bring groups together to address issues.”

The forum on Auckland Transport follows other recent awareness activities by the Energy Centre focused on World Environment Day and World Water Day.

View Prof. Sharp’s video about addressing the increasingly critical challenges faced managing New Zealand’s water resources.