Preparing and undertaking a study tour of a sample of cities on the West Coast of North America, and Texas
Participating in the American Public Transport Association's Light Rail conference in Portland, 16 - 18 November
A report on the tour in the format required by the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust (a major sponsor)
An ideas book for the future development of Wellington public transport
Video presentations in DVD format.
This website will include as much as possible of this output, and will evolve into a resource for the development of sustainable transport in Wellington.
A bit more detail Wellington, the capital city of New Zealand, has a well developed public transport system consisting of electric suburban train services, diesel commuter rail, electric trolleybuses, diesel bus services and a short funicular cable car line (for more information about Wellington's public transport services, click here) . The Wellington Region has a hilly terrain and only two major transport corridors feeding into a compact and confined city centre. For this reason, public transport usage is much higher in Wellington than in other New Zealand regions of similar size.
The rail system is recognised as the indispensible spine of the transit system. However, despite its importance to the City and Region, there has been little infrastructure investment and only one rollingstock upgrade for the rail system since 1960.
The geographic coverage of the rail network also falls short of what is needed. In Wellington City it stops short of the core of the central business district, forcing the maximum number of passengers to transfer to buses or walk a significant distance. Thousands do this, but thousands more don't bother, and drive instead. I am convinced that extending rail services through the CBD, using light rail, is the most important issue facing Wellington transport. Which is why light rail forms such an important part of WELL-TRACK.
The CBD of Hutt City, the second-largest city in the Region, is also not directly served by the rail network. There are proposals being floated for light rail through this as well, providing a direct centre-to-centre rail service between the two cities.
As well as rail upgrades, Wellington is about to renew its trolleybus fleet, using new locally-built low-floor vehicles and electrical control equipment. The traction motors and axles will be salvaged from the existing vehicles. The innovative work being done to renew the electric fleet will be helped by contact with the three largest North American trolleybus operators visited during WELL-TRACK.
As well as the issues above, Wellington needs to move forward in commuter rail, local rail freight, financing of transit expenditure, station design, passenger information systems, ticketing, etc - the items to be covered are discussed on the Topics page.
Born Christchurch, New Zealand, 54 years ago
Member of the Tramway Historical Society (trolley museum group) since 1963
Standards and documentation manager in the electricity utility industry until 1998
Now self-employed, operating as TechMedia Services, a technical writing and documentation consultancy
Long-time rail and transit advocate
Co-ordinator, Transport 2000+ NZ - 'the national sustainable transport campaign'