Future Rapid Transit Services
Over the next 30 or more years urban growth will mean that North Auckland will need a range of new and improved transport choices to help new communities move around.
We’re planning now because it’s important to protect the land needed to build new transport connections over the next three decades as urban development occurs.
At the heart of the long-term future transport network for North Auckland, is a proposed rapid transit corridor between Albany and Milldale. The intention is to provide fast, frequent, reliable and high-capacity public transport services for future communities in Milldale, Silverdale, Ōrewa, Wainui East and Dairy Flat.
The mode of the future rapid transit corridor is still to be decided, it could be either a busway or light rail and will connect to the Northern Busway at the Albany Bus Station. It would be supported by a safe, separated walking and cycling corridor connected to it.
The Rapid Transit Corridor is a long-term project and is yet to be prioritised for funding with construction expected around the next 10 to 30+ years.
Why do we need rapid transit?
North Auckland is growing fast. Areas identified for future urban growth in Silverdale, Dairy Flat, Wainui and Ōrewa are expected to accommodate 41,000 new homes, 22,000 new jobs and 110,000 new residents. This means that the total population could grow to more than three times the existing population. As these future urban areas develop and grow, they will need well-designed transport.
Rapid transit forms the backbone of Auckland’s regional public transport network – it provides reliable public transport services along a dedicated corridor separated from general traffic and free from congestion.
Protecting the land needed to develop a future rapid transit corridor in North Auckland from Albany to Milldale is an important step towards a low-carbon transport system by giving more people the choice to travel by public transport, as well as on foot and by bike.
In the long-term, the proposed rapid transit corridor for North Auckland could connect current and future residents to jobs, social opportunities and their city, and help Auckland’s northern suburbs grow in a way that is orientated around multiple sustainable transport choices.
In the short term, interim bus lanes on SH1 from Albany to Silverdale would help increase the efficiency of the public transport network (before the rapid transit corridor from Albany to Milldale is in place). Once the RTC is complete, this additional lane could be used for public transport, high occupancy vehicles or freight.
Rapid transit can also help to:
- Improve public transport travel times to the North Shore and the city centre.
- Provide a reliable low-carbon travel alternative so people don’t need to rely on cars.
- Form the backbone of North Auckland’s wider public transport network.
- Unlock urban growth. It would help to improve access to, and support urban development opportunities within Dairy Flat, Silverdale West and Milldale.
Where could it go?
From Albany Bus Station (just south of Oteha Valley Road) it could follow State Highway 1 initially before diverting through the future urban areas of Dairy Flat to provide accessible public transport services for people living and working there as well as the newly developed Milldale area.
This is a long-term transformational project for North Auckland that would integrate with Auckland Council’s land use planning, including the draft Spatial Land Use Strategy for Dairy Flat and Silverdale and the Silverdale West Dairy Flat Industrial Area Structure Plan.
In the future, the new rapid transit corridor could eventually connect with rapid transit networks across Auckland to the city centre and the North West.
Rapid Transit Corridor sections
Albany to the Dairy Flat future growth area
From Albany, the rapid transit corridor would tie in with the Albany Bus Station. It would travel north on the western side of State Highway 1. Just before Bawden Road it would divert further west into the Dairy Flat future growth area.
The southern section of the rapid transit corridor could be similar in appearance to the existing Northern Busway:
- Approximately 20m wide allowing for rapid transit in each direction and separated walking and cycling, adjacent to SH1.
- Not have any stations located along this part of the route, as it is not an urban area.
- Cross over Oteha Valley Road on a bridge structure.
Cross sections are indicative only
Through the Dairy Flat new growth area and Silverdale West
The rapid transit corridor would travel through the Dairy Flat Future Urban Zone area identified in the Auckland Unitary Plan. From just south of Bawden Road, the rapid transit corridor would shift further west away from its route alongside SH1 to connect into this future urban area.
From the southern boundary of the Silverdale West Dairy Flat Industrial Structure Plan, the corridor would travel north through the planned heavy industrial area west of Postman Road towards Wilks Road.
This central section of the rapid transit corridor could:
- Be approximately 20m wide allowing for rapid transit in each direction and separated walking and cycling.
- Include two or three stations (locations to be confirmed at a later stage in the future) along the route.
- Be supported by local bus services to help people living in future communities get to the rapid transit stations.
- Be supported by a dedicated walking and cycling path to help people access the future Dairy Flat metropolitan/town centre and the rapid transit stations for onwards travel.
Cross sections are indicative only
Silverdale and Pine Valley to Milldale
The northern section of the rapid transit corridor would travel from the Wilks Road intersection, through the Pine Valley East area and past the Silverdale interchange on the western side of SH1 to a new station at Milldale.
Due to the very high ecological and cultural values along the edges of the Wēiti River (riparian margins) in this section, we’re proposing to separate the walking and cycling path from the rapid transit corridor here. This would mean the walking and cycling path would be on the eastern side of SH1 with connections at the Silverdale interchange.
This section of the rapid transit corridor would:
- Be approximately 20m wide allowing for rapid transit in each direction.
- Include one or two stations in the Pine Valley East area and a final station at Milldale (locations to be confirmed at a later stage in the future). One of the Pine Valley East stations has potential to provide for park and ride facilities.
- Be supported by feeder buses to help provide access to the rapid transit stations.
- Be supported by the SH1 cycleway.
The sections of the rapid transit corridor could look like this, with light rail or buses shown as examples of the type of modes that could be used along the corridor:
Cross sections are indicative only