Category Archives: Public Transport

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 bright spots

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Beerescourt is a place divided by a transportation corridor, with very limited places to safely cross as a pedestrian. It is a road that limits contact between the residents east and west of the road. However, it does not appear to have an effect on the type of change we see in the images below.

Beerescourt Pop Change 01-13 beerescourt Age Change 01-13 Beerescourt Income Change 01-13

The mesh block census areas that show positive growth in population and income, and have also attracted younger people between the years 2001 and 2013 include the streets surrounding the high ground of Beerescourt Park on the river side of the Ulster/Te Rapa traffic stream, while on the west side of Ulster St / Te Rapa Rd we have the area around Beerescourt Bowling Cub and Beerescourt tennis club. Hobson Street (photo below), being tree-lined, has an additional attractiveness and desirability.

Hobson St

What makes this area dangerous is having the Ulster St/Te Rapa Rd transport corridor through the centre of it, with bus stops on both sides of the road (which is sensible) but safe crossing places a kilometre apart. There needs to be a change in priorities for pedestrian bus users, to allow people to cross to use the sister bus stop on the opposite side of the road. People naturally try to travel the shortest distance and will attempt to cross at convenient places, sometimes taking risks. This type of risk-taking behaviour is well-known to highway engineers, but often the remedial measures are missing for pedestrians, as discussed in the NZTA report. Safety Implications of Flush Medians in Auckland City: NZTA report 312

Page 80: Pedestrian crashes are likely to increase by about 31% if a flush median is installed on a four-lane road, unless other remedial measures are applied.
Page 35: Installing median islands at regular intervals along the flush median might mitigate this, but the question arises whether it is advisable to leave a gap in the island, which may encourage less mobile people to attempt to cross the road.

Ulster St Bus