Wira Wai: Co-designing affordable, sustainable mobility solutions for harbour commuters.

An Auckland University of Technology project in partnership with Generation Zero, Fullers Ferries and The Southern Initiative.

The Auckland region is home to over one third of New Zealand’s people, with high levels of immigration contributing to rapid population growth. A preference for using private vehicles has typified the commuter culture of Auckland, however, roads and motorways are heavily congested and further expansion is severely constrained. In addition, transport accounts for almost 40% of the Auckland’s greenhouse gas emissions, with current emissions from the transport sector 64% higher than 1990 levels.

An increasing number of commuters across central Auckland are choosing cycling as a more affordable and environmentally-sound transport choice. However, this option is less feasible for commuters from Auckland’s North Shore travelling into the CBD. This project used a co-design methodology to investigate opportunities to support these commuters.

Initial concerns around road safety and lack of expansion opportunities on a main arterial route through Northcote led to the design of a protected cycleway using alternate side-roads. The planned cycleway linked up to Auckland Harbour Bridge, where the New Zealand Transport Authority has approved the development of SkyPath, a dedicated walking and cycling lane attached to the bridge. However co-design participants identified that the bridge incline was likely to be too steep for many commuters. The redesigned strategy bypassed the SkyPath altogether, and proposed that the side-road cycleway lead to an existing wharf, to be serviced by a new designated bike-ferry service. The ferry would berth at the lower CBD, and bikes stored at creatively designed ‘sheds’ near universities and other central hubs across the city. Such initiatives are vital to address Auckland commuters’ over-reliance on unsustainable private vehicle use.

Academic Supervisor: Lisa McEwan (AUT University).

Student designer: Scarlett James