Any plan that is considered for Wellington needs to include options for how mass transit could be developed in the future. Mass transit is a high capacity, high quality form of public transport, usually separated from other traffic. It could be either light rail transit (LRT), new generation electric buses, or another form of mass transit.
We have investigated what the future demand for mass transit could be, when it would be needed and the best route for it to travel. Our work has confirmed that the best route is from the railway station to Newtown and Kilbirnie/airport via the Golden Mile and the Basin Reserve.
Current growth rates for the city suggest the point at which demand would justify mass transit is about ten years away. In the short term, we need to improve the quality and reliability of buses on the preferred route. This means separating buses from other traffic and giving them priority.
To move to mass transit in future, we need to make changes to our road network at the Basin Reserve and through Mt Victoria so mass transit vehicles don’t get held up by other traffic. Scenario A does not provide a pathway to mass transit, but Scenarios B, C and D do.
The cost estimates for our scenarios assume an enhanced bus mass transit system on this route. An extra $350 – $500 million would be needed for LRT.
Trigger points for investment in mass transit relate to passenger demand, and the potential for urban development along the route. These need to be built into our planning, so we are prepared for the investment when the trigger points are reached. Our planning should also take account of rapidly changing technology and the opportunity for new forms of mass transit.
Possible mass transit route
Cambridge and Kent Terrace
Mt Victoria Tunnel