Category Archives: Transportation

Post card from Hann. Munden Rail station

In 2015 I spent the best part of a week in Hann. Munden. This post benchmarks its rail service compared to what we could have in Hamilton NZ (pop 156,800: density 1,400 p/km2).

To help understand the population base that supports the Hann. Munden rail service, let’s first note there are two rail services between the city of Gottingen (pop 116,891: density 1,000 p/km2) and the city of Kassel (pop 194,747: density 1,800 p/km2). The blue line is a direct service (19 minutes, distance of about 50km), which then continues on to Frankfurt. I interpret this as a fast, two trains per hour service. Link – Gottingen to Kassel time table

The second is the green line, which is a local Gottingen to Kassel (60 minutes) service passing through the rail station at Hann. Munden (pop 23,668: density 200 p/km2). I regard this as an hourly service. Link – Hann. Munden station time table

Hann Munden Rail Map

Now to bench mark this against a Hamilton rail service, listing equally sized population bases as in the table below.

City/Town – Population Population base Distance
Hamilton – 156,800

Morrinsville – 7,490

Tauranga – 124,600

288,890 100 km
Kassel – 194,747

Hann. Munden – 23,668

Gottingen – 116,891

335,406 50 km
Hamilton – 156,800

Ngaruawahia – 5,100

Huntly – 7,670

Pukekohe – 29,000

Manukau – 375,700

574,270 100 km

The challenge Hamilton faces is that it is twice the distance to reach a supporting population, making the travel time between cities over 1 hour.

But is this a real issue? The blue line in the Hann. Munden map is a fast city-to-city service; the green line is about picking up people in smaller towns. The Hamilton to Auckland service should be very much about servicing the towns between our main centres; we must not just focus on travel between the two major cities, but more on supporting the people in the towns between, where most would be happy to choose journeys of about an hour. This would include trips between Te Kauwhata and Hamilton (50km) or Mercer and Ellerslie (50km).

Hann Munden cantus train Hann Munden Train ticket ATM

Image: Cautus train Hann.Munden station & Ticket machine on DB train to Kassel

It’s also important to note that Gottingen and Hann. Munden are in the state of Lower Saxony, while Kassel is in the state of Hesse. These are very different places, with different histories, but are focused on giving access to the maximum number of people travelling between their cities.

The New Zealand approach often feels as though it limits the movement of people that live between city centres. Outside of Auckland we get very good funding to support road traffic, which is OK unless you need to visit Auckland. Then you are wasting time. Once in Auckland, only a local can predict travel times; for an outsider the motorway network can feel like being in a swampy river-mouth lagoon at high tide.

Beerescourt census area land use

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“Land uses and transport infrastructure are the most powerful factors that govern the patterns of metropolitan growth” (from transportblog photo-of-the-day-the-model-demonstrates)
Through the heart of the Beerescourt area is the transport infrastructure of Ulster St/Te Rapa Rd and the ribbon of businesses attracted to it. This allows people to mix local business with city, regional business and courier delivery routes.

beerescourt Land Use

It should be noted that in the Beerescourt area, there are no areas with safer speed limits, even though Awatere Ave and Macdiarmid Rd do have traffic calming, giving them a highly desirable safer design speed.
Should speed limits be used to reinforce street calming? The Safer journeys – safe speeds website states “speed limits will better reflect the use, function and safety of the network.” Speed limits and design speed should come together, but when is something of an unknown. If Hamilton is a follower of world trends in road safety, it will come, as it has in many cities including New York. Under the Vision Zero plan – the speed limit in NYC was reduced from 30 MPH to 25 MPH https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_York_City_Vision_Zero