If Tauranga residents were asked to identify one thing about their city that annoys them, it’s highly likely that traffic congestion would come out on top.
Our rapid growth, geography and high dependency (compared to other New Zealand cities) on private motor vehicles are major contributors to that situation. Because there’s little scope for increasing the number of lanes on most of our roads, we have to look for other solutions to our congested transport network.
What we’re thinking about
Experience elsewhere in the world has shown that variable road pricing, or SmartTrip, could be part of our traffic congestion solution. Essentially, SmartTrip is a system which would charge vehicle owners for using Tauranga’s highway corridors, with higher costs during peak travel times and lower costs when demand is less. Its intent is to encourage people to think about their road use and, where they can, change their travel time, work from home, share their vehicle use, or use another transport mode (like public transport, cycling or walking).
It would also mean road users who don’t live in Tauranga would be contributing to the local cost of transport network improvements.
However, any future SmartTrip implementation would need a change in government legislation to allow the introduction of variable road pricing (noting that there is bipartisan support for this across the major political parties)
Work with Waka Kotahi and Government to further investigate SmartTrip through a business case investigation. This would confirm the benefits variable road pricing could provide and identify solutions which would address any potential negative impacts; and help us make a future decision on whether SmartTrip should be introduced.
Or we could...
Decide not to proceed with a SmartTrip business case and continue with our planned investments in transport network improvements.
While this would mean no cost to city ratepayers for the development of a business case, without a circuit breaker to address our existing transport network issues, road congestion is likely to continue to worsen. All of the local share of the cost of transport network improvements would also continue to fall on Tauranga City ratepayers, rather than all road users.
What do you think?
Give us your feedback on this proposal
Make a submission now
For more information on what we’re proposing go to page 56 of the consultation document
Full consultation document (8.9mb pdf)