Keeping the City Moving - From a Transport Perspective

Keeping the City Moving - From a Transport Perspective

A research project on the traffic and transport planning undertaken to support the rebuild of Christchurch's horizontal infrastructure by keeping traffic disruption to an acceptable level while maintaining accessibility to key amenities and limiting congestion.

A number of processes, procedures and tools were developed and implemented to keep traffic flowing during the post-earthquake infrastructure rebuild in Christchurch.

A Masters of Engineering research project documented those methods and detailed the challenges and solutions implemented during a period of intense construction activity in the central business district (CBD).

At the height of rebuild activity, more than 100 SCIRT work crews were distributed across the city. About 45 crews were based within the CBD. A fine balance was required to deliver rebuild work within the road corridor and keep traffic moving.

The extent of the damage caused by the destructive February 2011 earthquake was widespread, with significant liquefaction, experienced predominantly in the city centre and the eastern suburbs, causing extensive damage to Christchurch's infrastructure. The city's infrastructure and transport network was highly impacted during the rebuild and caused accessibility and network capacity challenges.

The aim of the below report is to document the processes, procedures and tools developed and used to keep traffic flowing during the post-earthquake rebuild activities from 2011 to 2016. It catalogues the challenges faced and solutions implemented during this time of increased construction activity.

These practices have since been applied to the wider Christchurch area. The challenges of the horizontal infrastructure repairs causing multiple work sites in a relatively confined area were amplified within the CBD and the eastern suburbs and required some more detailed analysis.

Close working relationships with the Christchurch Transport Operation Centre (CTOC), SCIRT delivery teams, local businesses and the community have been an integral part of achieving behaviour change around work sites and by commuters, with the goal of keeping Christchurch accessible and vibrant during the rebuild.

The report identifies the Forward Works Viewer as one of the most important tools. It supports detailed analysis of raw data to ensure the transport network has sufficient capacity to accommodate the planned works. It will also alert the transport planning and communication stakeholders of the times when excessive congestion may result from specific work activity. Knowing where upcoming works were located, and the impacts of that work, has helped to deploy area-wide traffic management and communicate accurately and in a timely manner with the community.

The developed methods in traffic planning and management, together with coordinated communication strategies, are not only suitable for post-disaster rebuild response but also applicable to situations where increased construction activities occur in residential and/or business districts. They will greatly assist accessibility and manoeuvrability needs while the work is being undertaken.