Traffic study background information

2004 - 2008

The 2009 update of the 2001 Regional Land Transport Strategy has been a protracted process for Nelson, stemming mainly from the Environment Court’s decision in March 2004 to turn down Transit’s (now the New Zealand Transport Agency) application to designate the route of the old railway reserve over Bishopdale a State highway. This potential traffic route has been known locally as the “Southern Link.”

Nelson North to Brightwater Corridor Study

Following this decision, NZTA, Nelson City Council and Tasman District Council embarked on a combined Nelson North to Brightwater Corridor Study in 2004 to coordinate transport planning in the region and to determine possible alternatives for the future transport network between Annesbrook roundabout and the city.

The Nelson to Brightwater Strategic Study used a TRACKS transport model to assess the impact of a wide variety of options on the network. The base model determined that unless changes were made, the key roads and intersections (particularly SH6 from Whakatu Drive to QE II Drive, Waimea Road and Salisbury Road) in the region would be subject to increased pressure, with travel times increasing and becoming less reliable.

The first stage consultation (November 2004) of the study provided the community the opportunity to provide their views in the transport issues, options and alternatives.

The second stage consultation (October 2005) was based on an issues, options and alternatives paper that included four main packages comprising individual elements or projects.  The objectives of the stage two consultation were to

  • provide information to interested parties on the alternative scenarios and the evaluation process
  • provide an opportunity for the community to express its views and preferences on the scenarios being considered

Stage three consultation (July 2007), on a preferred package (walking, cycling, travel demand management and public transport components) and two roading options generated 5,628 responses and a degree of controversy between those for and against the alternative roading options into the city. 

At this time Tasman District Council resolved to withdraw from the joint Regional Land Transport Committee (RLTC) and the Corridor Study.  In doing so TDC advised that whatever decision NCC came to on the roading options between Annesbrook roundabout and the city, they would accept. 

Approximately two thirds of respondents favoured the Southern Link as the preferred option. Just fewer than 30% favoured peak hour clearways on SH6 and Waimea / Rutherford Street. 

Subsequently NCC convened a Transport Forum with key stakeholders to discuss the substantive issues raised by the stage three consultation.  While no unanimous decision on a way forward was obtained, the Transport Forum generally agreed that the preferred package should be progressed, noting that there was sufficient time to enable the two roading options to be parked for five years.  This advice was provided to the RLTC in March 2008, where it was adopted by the Committee and used as the starting point for developing the Regional Land Transport Strategy 2009 – thus ending the Nelson to Brightwater Corridor Study.

2009 - present

In December 2008 the Regional Transport Committee completed the draft Regional Land Transport Strategy.  The strategy proposed a significant improvement in passenger transport services between Nelson and Richmond and acknowledged that if there is a need for additional roading capacity, the Southern Link was the logical potential route.  The strategy proposed to annually monitor/review the need for a new road along the “Railway Reserve” (Southern Link) or high occupancy vehicle (HOV) clearways on SH6 and Waimea Rd/Rutherford Street routes.

In February 2009, Council considered the draft Regional Land Transport Strategy and, in doing so, identified that the potential benefits to the city of enhancing the waterfront area of Nelson required further consideration. Council also resolved to advise the Regional Transport Committee (formerly the RLTC) of its intention to commission a study into the effects of arterial traffic flows between the CBD/Port and Annesbrook roundabout. 

Council adopted the Regional Land Transport Strategy in June 2009.

Regional Land Transport Strategy 2009

The 2009 Regional Land Transport Strategy (RLTS) moves away from ‘predict and provide’ transport solutions to one that helps the community shift to more sustainable forms of transport. It placed great emphasis on encouraging more public transport use, providing better walking and cycling facilities and introducing travel demand management mechanisms.

In recognition of the RLTS, the 2009-19 Council Community Plan provided for a ‘transitional’ public transport service from 2009/10 to 2011/12 and a Phase A public transport service from 2012/13.  The Phase A public transport service is described in the Council Passenger Transport Network Plan appended to the 2009 RLTS.

However, NZTA, in publishing their National Land Transport Fund (NLTF) announced that they were not funding any improvements to the current public transport service.

2009-19 Nelson Community Plan

In considering how it will achieve the Community Outcomes in the Nelson Community Plan, Council has identified the arterial traffic study as one of its key initiatives.

National context for the transport study

The Local Transport Management Act (LTMA) provides the long term context for the study and should specifically demonstrate how the outcome contributes to each of the following:

  • assisting economic development
  • assisting safety and personal security
  • improving access and mobility
  • protecting and promoting public health
  • ensuring environmental sustainability

It is important that studies and strategies provide a strategic outlook that plans for the long term and that they demonstrate integration between land use and transport needs.

The Government Policy Statement (GPS) on land transport funding is a key government document for influencing the planning and funding of land transport. The purpose of the GPS is to detail the government's desired outcomes and funding priorities for the land transport sector. This is achieved through setting the level of funding available to particular activity classes over at 10-year period. The GPS provides the short to medium term context for studies and strategies.

The 2009/10 - 2018/19 GPS as amended in May 2009 reflects the government's commitment to increase the overall investment in land transport by over $1 billion over the next three years. The document contains the following impacts on which the government will focus:

  • impacts that contribute to economic growth and productivity
  • improvements in the provision of infrastructure and services that enhance transport efficiency and lower the cost of transportation through:
    • improvements in journey time reliability
    • easing of severe congestion
    • more efficient freight supply chains
    • better use of existing transport capacity
    • better access to markets, employment and areas that contribute to economic growth
    • a secure and resilient transport network

Other impacts

  • reductions in deaths and serious injuries as a result of road accidents
  • more transport choices, particularly for those with limited access to a car where appropriate
  • reductions in adverse environmental effects from land transport
  • contributions to positive health outcomes

Developing a land transport system that will achieve the short to medium term impacts set out in the GPS requires planning and evaluation processes that take account of the following factors:

  • the government's priority to support national economic growth and productivity, which includes the national roading priorities set out in the list of Roads of National Significance
  • considering networks from a national perspective
  • achieving value for money
  • encouraging integrated planning
  • making best use of existing networks and infrastructure
  • implementing and fostering a coordinated approach
  • considering the impact of volatile fuel prices