There is a lot of info to download in the latest swag of reports from Aecom, the folk doing the Passenger Transport Spine Study. Most of Wellington won’t read it – certainly the writers to Stuff haven’t read it, as they blithly mouth off without a clue. I’ll tell you what – I’ll give it a go to read it, and then I’m going to post some snippets of the reports online, cos I’m like that. Awright geeza?

First up: Here is the plan of areas that the report refers to in the CBD. It’ll help you decipher the info below:

Secondly: One of the things we should be grateful for, is that the Spine report has tossed out the options of Pods and Minibuses. Here’s what the “PTSS Long List Evaluation Report” says:
AECOM Wellington Public Transport Spine Study
20 April 2012 – p27-28

“5.3 Modal Assessment, ULTra/PODS
ULTra/PODS have been discounted due to the inability of the system to provide adequate capacity for forecast demand. ULTra/PODS provide a capacity to move approximately 800 people per hour from a single access point. Approximately 8,900 passengers per hour are forecast to travel into the CBD by rail in the 2031 morning peak. More than two thousand passengers transfer onto buses, to service these passengers by ULTra/PODS would require three loading stations. The remaining rail passengers walk to their final destination with approximately 2,000 travelling along the waterfront and 2,000 to The Terrace. If half of these passengers transferred to ULTra/PODS then a further three loading points would be required.
A further limitation to the ULTra/PODS ability to provide for forecast demand is the need for a segregated area. This would either create a congested single area (given forecast demand), or would require the development of a number of areas to serve the area which would create congestion and accessibility issues for other users.”

“5.4 Modal Assessment, Mini-bus
Mini-buses have been discounted due to the increase in the number of additional vehicles required to service forecast demand. Forecast (2031 AM) patronage in the centre is highest through the Manners Mall area with approximately 3,000 passengers per hour (northbound). Given occupancy of 25 people per bus the required capacity would be 120 min-buses per hour. Given the current congestion caused by buses queuing through this area mini-buses are unlikely to provide an adequate level of service and would not support any increase in demand. Even if alternative areas were also investigated it is unlikely that mini-buses would provide a saleable solution.”

OK? That all seems fair enough doesn’t it? I have no quibbles with that. The next bit, though, makes me cautious:

“5.5 Compatibility, MRT Central Area
MRT extending though the Golden Mile has been discounted due to the implication of taking heavy rail, at grade through Featherston Street. It is likely that heavy rail would need to be fully segregated and this would create significant severance for pedestrians and other road users. The land required and the impact on the CBD would likely have a significant negative impact on the viability of the CBD as an attractive place to work and locate business. It is envisaged that there would be significant issues in extending the rail line through a central alignment, both technically and with respect to either going through the existing Station or to the east of it.”

“5.6 Compatibility, Bus-on-street, BRT, LRT Underground
Underground options for bus, BRT and LRT have been discounted due to the benefits of these systems integrating with other modes. It is viewed that underground options are unlikely to provide any benefits to a system other than the heavy rail which has a longer distance set service that could benefit from continuing this through to the Central CBD.”

So: MRT (Mass Rapid Transit – ie a London style “Underground”) has been discounted. Also, underground options for Bus, Bus Rapid Transit, and Light Rail have also all already been discounted. Despite this graph:

The next steps that will be taken are these (from Table 8):

Process: Further analysis of eight options to inform additional rationalisation. More detailed level assessment based on concept design, cost estimates, land use
and urban design and traffic modelling analysis. Additional process will also be followed in terms of identifying more detailed assessment criteria and the MCA framework, appropriate for the Medium List evaluation.

Business Case Requirements: Evaluation against technical and planning criteria.

Patronage demand and traffic modelling: Assessment of modes against KPI’s with forecasted WTSM (2011) and WTPM.

Urban design and Land Use: Understanding of the interdependence between land use and PT and what the triggers are for one to support the other. Identify ways in which designs should be influenced with WCC urban designers to influence future form and design of the area.

Concept Designs: Scope out options at a high level based on design and operational criteria derived through the international review process.

Social and Environmental Assessment: Effects based assessment to identify the merits and weaknesses of each option (as part of the MCA).

Cost Estimation: At an elemental level in order to compare options. The cost estimates will be based on a broad definition of scope and functionality including a scale plan with typical cross sections. Elemental rates will be derived from international reviews and adjusted for local conditions. Risk contingency will be based on a general contingency.

Stakeholder Communication and Community Engagement: Engagement with a narrower group of stakeholders. Stakeholders would be informed of the option specification, and costing results.”

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