Maintain and enhance the safety and efficiency of the region's transport networks, while minimising adverse environmental effects.
Pressures and state
· The present transportation network includes 6,530 kilometres of road, a rail link from Auckland via Whangarei to Otiria, a deepwater port at Marsden Point and commercial airports at Whangarei, Kerikeri and Kaitaia.
· Minimal public passenger transport services due to a limited rating base, repetitively small dispersed communities, and a high rate of both private vehicle use and ownership in Northland.
· The safety risks posed by Northland's narrow windy roads, narrow bridges, roadside hazards and lack of adequate cycle and walking facilities.
· The increasing amount of development/urban growth in rural and coastal environments placing pressure on the existing roading infrastructure.
· The human health and environmental effects from unsealed roads, vehicle emissions, stormwater run-off and spread of roadside pests, weeds and litter.
· A recent study approximates that vehicle emissions contain 104 kilograms of particulate matter and 8.6 tonnes of carbon monoxide per day in the Whangarei Air Shed (includes city centre and urban area). Earlier results estimated daily carbon monoxide emissions for the entire Northland region of 41.6 tonnes/day.
· The impact of vehicles and land transport projects on beaches and other sensitive environments.
· Traffic volumes in the region are increasing with annual increases of two to five percent being recorded on State Highways and with an estimated annual daily traffic growth of up to 5.7% on SH1 south of Whangarei.
· There has been a steady increase in the use of the Whangarei Bus Service since it was introduced in 2000.
· Proposal underway for rail link to Marsden Point Deep Water Port in an attempt to reduce the amount of heavy freight trucks on Northlands roads.
Areas for improvement
· Encourage the reduction in vehicle emissions from private vehicle use by promoting alternative transport modes.
· Completion of the Draft Regional Walking and Cycling Strategy to promote walking and cycling in Northland, especially as there has been a decrease in people cycling or walking to work based on census data for 1996, 2001 and 2006.
· Support the adoption of the Code of Practice for the Minimisation of Stock Effluent on Roads and provide stock truck effluent disposal sites throughout the region.