Matt Heath: There is no traffic problem in Auckland

Publish Date
Monday, 21 May 2018, 9:34AM
NZ Herald

NZ Herald

There is no traffic problem in Auckland. None at all.

In fact we're so far from a traffic problem it's stupid to even talk about one.

Our streets are empty. Well, compared to Bangalore they are anyway.

I'm over here in India to watch the Royal Challengers play The Sunrisers Hyderabad in the IPL and I tell you Bangalore has big, grown man's congestion.

We have little wussy baby congestion.

Sure the city has 11 million residents, Auckland a mere 1.4. But it's more than a population thing. It's not just that they have a billion times the cars. It's per vehicle intensity too.

The people of Bangalore love honking.

Honking is rare in New Zealand. We only do it when someone nearly kills us.

It's dangerous to honk. If you honk too much someone will wave their middle finger at you.

In Bangalore people honk just to let you know they are behind you, beside you or in front of you.

Kiwis only honk once every two weeks or so. In Bangalore you can't get 10m without honking. But it's never in rage.

Here people use their horns for the intended purpose: safety. To let your fellow driver know where you are. We use our horns purely as a "f*** you".

Like everything else in this world congestion is a matter of perspective. Perspectives can be changed.

So instead of spending billions on tunnels, bridges and overpasses maybe we should fly every driver in Auckland to India for a look. A quick sniff around and you'd never complain about New Zealand traffic again.

All congestion solutions are expensive. So let's crunch the numbers on this plan. See how it stacks up against bridges, tunnels, trains and new roads.

How much would it cost to get everyone over here for a visit? Let's say there are one million drivers in Auckland (there are probably not that many but that's a nice round number).

Now say a return airfare and some decent accommodation in Bangalore is about $5000 a head (we will buy bulk).

That's 1,000,000 x 5000. A mere $5 billion. A drop in the bucket for any governmental infrastructure plan.

Plus success is guaranteed. Everyone will come home and declare: "There is no traffic in Auckland." Like I am doing now. Our traffic problem would disappear in a puff of perspective.

What's more, we will all have a great time hanging out in Bangalore. What an amazing city it is. The garden of India. Stunning. Just make sure you don't drink the water or you'll mainly be hanging out in the bathroom.

Like me right now. It's hot in here. So hot. It's 38C with 99 per cent humidity outside. But in this cubicle it has to be twice that. So much sweat. I really need something to solidify my situation.

There are other traffic innovations we could borrow from Bangalore.

The traditional Auckland way to get around is the "one person per massive Ford Ranger" technique. People also use the "one person per Audi Q8" technique and the hugely popular "one person per Toyota Highlander" technique.

In India they prefer the "three dudes on a 50cc scooter" method. They also pull off a sweet "half dozen people on an auto rickshaw" method. We could kill congestion if we only filled the trays of our utes with humans.

There have been many attempts to solve the traffic "problem" in Auckland. Some more successful than others. Maybe it's time to think outside the box. Outside the country.

Like most things in life our traffic suffering is just a matter of perspective. Maybe it's time to fly everyone to Bangalore for a week. Enjoy the culture, food and wonderful people.

It's a beautiful place and once you see the traffic here your commutes back home will fade into insignificance. Ouch, my guts.

This article was first published on and is republished here with permission.