Planners want to manage lanes. But drivers say that’s not enough.
In the Travel strategy environment we live in a world of experts. They range from operational through to theoretical, all typically highly qualified. Then we have the customer and obviously we want to understand our customer’s needs and what lies behind them.
Many customers have all the answers and I believe there are some very good answers. We want to know what customers need and what they think to add into the melting pot and today with words like agile and scrum bandied about like hot potatoes we are looking to create an environment that allows us to test new ideas fast, which is great as long as it doesn’t risk lives.
I tend to drive to work because I sometimes use my car for meetings, I never know when I will start or finish my work and I also want to experience being a customer. With a bus station handy between the two offices I frequently visit I am also a regular bus patron.
Yesterday I had the pleasure of using a T3 lane driving onto a motorway, bypassing many cars and not having to use a ramp signal. It was wonderful. If I was in a hurry I would find this very helpful, but as the article says, these are very expensive so the trade off is highway optimization and cost.
The question I have is whether it s possible to have HOT lanes, certainly in our small economy. We have experimented with exclusive bus lanes, so far pretty successful, but we need to increase patronage so we can put in even more buses, or manage the pricing so that people don’t all go to the park and ride to catch the bus, because they are very quickly full. That in itself proves the demand and it must be cheaper to grow a car park than a highway.
A HOT lane that could only be used by a vehicle with 3 or more users in it, could be combined with the bus lane in such a way that the cost of being on it was relatively high. It would need to exact strict penalties from those who used it when they didn’t meet the criteria. Then comes the question of should there be freight only lanes and how do you structure a highway that has freight, bus and HOT on the same freeway that gives them all access on and off without having to cross into normal lanes or requiring other vehicles to merge through them.
The biggest argument for tolls seems to be to try to force people into either public transport or to change their driving times or get them into car sharing or pooling. The other point of tolls is all these exercises cost a truck load of money, if you’ll pardon the pun. They seem to be working in some parts of the world. I’m all for solutions that give customers better journeys but don’t turn our cities into noisy concrete jungles. Auckland is growing as fast as it is able and this comes at a price. I don’t want Auckland to look like Los Angeles. I want a city designed for people, not for cars. A city where I have viable choices and I don’t mind if those choices include economic decisions such as ‘do I make it a multi-modal journey, for example using car, bus and or train?’ It does also have to be economically viable for me and the city. The economy and the livability of the city won’t flourish if we all stay home in our non working time.
What do you think?