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Light rail to future-proof Auckland transport


The New Zealand Government has announced plans to progress light rail from Auckland’s CBD to the airport, while creating a linked-up rapid transport network as part of a 30-year plan.

Deputy Prime Minister and Infrastructure Minister Grant Robertson said with Auckland’s population projected to rise to two million by early next decade, a well-planned and connected infrastructure was needed to move people around the country’s largest city safely and efficiently.

“We have deliberately chosen this option for Auckland Light Rail that will integrate with other major infrastructure projects across Auckland, like the additional Waitematā Harbour crossing, the Auckland Rapid Transit Plan and Kāinga Ora Large Scale Projects,” he said.

Transport Minister Michael Wood said a linked-up rapid transit transport network would make it faster to move through the city, connecting communities, providing greater access to businesses, all while reducing congestion.

The Government is proceeding with the option recommended by the Auckland Light Rail Establishment Unit, which will see light rail in a tunnel from Wynyard Quarter to Mt Roskill, which comes to the surface and runs alongside the SH20 motorway to the airport.

“Alongside the City Rail Link, the underground network will bring Aucklanders transport infrastructure into the 21st century, allowing faster trips and reduced emissions. City Rail Link is the heart of Auckland’s transport network, and light rail will now form the spine of what will be a fully integrated rapid transport network that will lead us into the future,” Wood said.

Features of the chosen light rail option include:

  • 24km route with up to 18 stations or stops from the City Centre to Māngere and the airport, running every five minutes so people can turn up and go.
  • Capability to carry up to 15,000 passengers per hour at peak, which is four times more passengers than a dedicated busway or trackless trams.
  • Removal of up to 13 car lanes or taking 12,000 cars off the road, which is a great result for local streets, communities and carbon emissions.
  • Integration with current train and bus hubs and the City Rail Link stations and connections. Light rail can also be extended to the North Shore and North West without having to transfer from one line to the other.
  • Estimated building of up to 66,000 new homes by 2051 and opening up housing along the corridor in Mt Roskill, Onehunga and Māngere.
  • Creation of up to 97,000 new jobs by 2051.