Private vehicles are the main form of transportation within Auckland, with around 7% of journeys in the Auckland region being undertaken by bus (2006 data), and 2% undertaken by train and ferry. Usage is however heavily skewed towards travel to and from the Central Business District, where more than half of trips are undertaken by public transport. Auckland still ranks quite low in this regard, having only 46 public transport trips per capita per year, while Wellington has almost twice this number at 91, and Sydney has 114 trips. This strong roading focus results in substantial traffic congestion during peak times.
Regular trains operating along four lines travel between the CBD and the west, south and south-east of Auckland, with longer-distance options scarce. In 2007 approximately NZ$5.3 billion worth of large-scale projects were underway or planned (and budgeted for) in the Auckland area to improve rail and public transport patronage over the next decade, 31% of the transport budget. However, policy changes in early 2009 by the incoming National government have meant a shift in emphasis to more highway construction, and have removed the provision of a regional fuel tax that was to pay for ARTA's public transport upgrades. While the government has promised to fund the rail electrification, the process and associated tenders were delayed by approximately one year, and some rail station upgrades and the funding of the integrated ticketing upgrade were in doubt. The lack of future funding also forced ARTA to hand over the Auckland region's rail stations to government control. Electrification is now underway however, with electric trains scheduled to be running in the next 18 months.
Auckland's ports are the second largest of the country, behind the Port of Tauranga, and a large part of both inbound and outbound New Zealand commerce travels through them, mostly via the facilities northeast of Auckland CBD. Freight usually arrives at or is distributed from the port via road, though the port facilities also have rail access. Auckland is a major cruise ship stopover point, with the ships usually tying up at Princes Wharf. Auckland CBD is connected to coastal suburbs, to the North Shore and to outlying islands by ferry.
Auckland has various small regional airports and Auckland Airport, the busiest of the country. Auckland Airport, New Zealand's largest, is in the southern suburb of Mangere on the shores of the Manukau Harbour. There are frequent services to Australia, and to other New Zealand destinations. There are also direct connections to many locations in the South Pacific, to the United States, Asia and to Santiago in South America.
Research at Griffith University has indicated that in the last 50 years, Auckland has engaged in some of the most pro-automobile transport policies anywhere in the world. With public transport declining heavily during the second half of the 20th century (a trend mirrored in most Western countries such as the US), and increased spending on roads and cars, New Zealand (and specifically Auckland) now has the second-highest vehicle ownership rate in the world, with around 578 vehicles per 1000 people. Auckland has also been called a very pedestrian- and cyclist-unfriendly city, though some efforts are being made to change this. At the same, high-profile gaps in the network, such as the inability for pedestrians and cyclists to cross the Waitemata Harbour, will probably remain for the foreseeable future, with councils generally not considering the costs involved as sensible expense.
The State Highway network connects the cities in the Auckland urban area through the Northern, Southern, Northwestern and Southwestern Motorways.
The Auckland Harbour Bridge (Northern Motorway) is the main connection to the North Shore, and also a major traffic bottleneck. The Harbour Bridge does not provide access for rail, pedestrians or cyclists, which has repeatedly (most recently in 2008) led to campaigns for and investigations into retrofitting the structure.
The Central Motorway Junction, also called 'Spaghetti Junction' for its complexity, is the intersection between the two major motorways of Auckland (State Highway 1 and State Highway 16).
Auckland has four main railway lines, serving the general western, southern, south western and central eastern directions from the Britomart Transport Centre in downtown Auckland. It is the terminal station for all lines, and connects them to ferry and bus services.
Church Bay Road
366 State Highway 16
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