The cost of traffic congestion in Auckland is reaching towards $2 billion a year, according to the latest Employers and Manufacturers Association (EMA) report.
In recent years, traffic bottlenecks have taken a severe toll on the largest city in New Zealand. The decrease in efficiency has prompted a pressing need for politicians to alleviate traffic problems and remedy its damaging effects before the situation worsens further.
The EMA report outlines a great inconvenience common to all Aucklanders. Journey times are increasing day by day and transportation companies are expanding to cope with the traffic. Moreover, consultants NZIER projects $0.9 to $1.3 billion to be spent on weekdays annually. As such, free-flowing traffic – although unrealistic – could potentially save Auckland up to $1.9 billion a year.
As Employers and Manufacturers Association chief executive Kim Campbell warns, the effects of traffic congestion in Auckland go beyond transportation.
“Here we see in one report, very clearly articulated, one single thing that we could do to make almost a 30 percent difference to productivity across the entire economy, is do something about congestion,” Mr. Campbell explains.
Part of the great difficulty which Auckland Council and the government face includes the growing population in Auckland. Stephen Sellwood from Infrastructure New Zealand points out,
“Another million people, so if you can contemplate that sort of painstaking decision-making process to meet that huge demand, we are going to be in huge strife.”
“If it’s costing us $1.5 to $2bn a year, today costs us in the future”, he adds.
For now, officials and economists from the Auckland Council are actively preying into potential fixes such as new projects, new funding and smart business changes. Chief economist David Norman recommends businesses to amend their working hours or to relocate to areas that are more convenient for their staff members.