Tauranga transport authorities are looking to spend an extra $1.4 billion over the next 30 years to achieve a ''balanced'' approach between building new roads and making the city more attractive to cyclists and bus users.

This balanced approach to city transport needs was recommended to Monday's meeting of the council's transport committee.

However, the decision was postponed until early next year after the number of committee members needed to make a decision fell below the legal minimum.

Chairman Rick Curach revealed to the Bay of Plenty Times that several councillors left the meeting during workshops on a final roundup of the issues.


The preferred option emerged from a study involving the council and its transport partners - the New Zealand Transport Agency, the Western Bay District Council and the Bay of Plenty Regional Council.

''It will provide a base for future funding decisions,'' Councillor Curach said.

Improving the city's cycling infrastructure had gained traction because of the public's desire to look at alternatives to cars, he said.

Figures provided to the meeting showed that the ''balanced'' option spent $400m to $670m less on new roads than the option that put more emphases on increasing the capacity of roads to absorb more traffic.

A public survey on city transportation earlier this year revealed that 85 per cent drove to work but would look at alternatives if the infrastructure was better.

''If cycling was safer and more attractive, the potential for people to hop on bikes would be quite large,'' Curach said.

The recommended option also fitted planned improvements to Bay Hopper bus services. ''We will see a significant enhancement in the bus service at the end of next year.''

A report to the transport meeting said the ''balanced'' transport programme built on investments already planned for Tauranga. It would increase capital works by up to $798m over the 30 years, to reach $807m to $1.42 billion.


Additional operating costs for public transport were estimated at $700m to $760m over the 30 years, with another $110m to $130m for travel demand management costs.

The ''balanced'' approach assumed increased investment in public transport and walking and cycling infrastructure. Other measures included increasing the occupancy of cars and travel demand management.

Key concerns driving future investment included traffic growth on key routes threatening the viability of the port and the high proportion of crash deaths and serious injuries that involved intersections and vulnerable road users.

Monday's meeting saw Toi Te Ora's health improvement adviser Rebecca Culliford say that roading congestion led to personal, economic and social suffering.

She said the ease of driving a car was not good for people's health, the transport system and the environment. Nearly a third of New Zealanders were obese compared with 9 per cent 40 years ago.

Culliford said 260 premature deaths in New Zealand could be prevented every year if cycling and walking trips increased by 60 per cent over current levels.

Breakdown of capital costs for next 30 years
Public transport: $524m - $880m
Walking and cycling: $155m - $260m
Roading capacity improvements: $69m - $115m
Safety and efficiency: $99m - $166m
Travel demand management: $1m - $2m