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The MRCagney Blog


A Just Now: Equity and transport in a changing climate

Mon, October 30, 2023  |  Climate Change and Emissions Reduction   | Equity  | Inclusion  | Public Transport 

MRCagney launch the white paper authored by Bridget Doran, Principal Researcher.

Climate concerns have rapidly become more prominent in transport policy and planning. As we work to promote sustainable transport, it is also important to consider the needs of people left behind by history policy and investment decisions.


The path to progress on inclusion in transport

Thu, September 28, 2023  |  Inclusion 

Bridget writes of the importance of inclusion in transport engineering. As part of her role in the Engineering New Zealand Transport Group, Bridget helped to establish an annual Summer internship for a disabled person interested in a career in transport. The article she wrote for EG Magazine's September issue describes the first intern's experiences working at Beca in Tauranga.


Researching Integrated Planning - Evaluating planning effectiveness using discourse analysis

Tue, September 19, 2023  |  General  | Housing  | Parking  | Public Transport  | Rapid Transit  | Research  | Urban Design  | Walking and Cycling 

In this article we reflect on the stocktake and the method we chose for evaluating a broad range of documents and processes, against how well they embodied effective ILUT planning.


Business land gives us the business

Wed, May 24, 2023  |  Housing 

Give someone the business

American English


'to make difficulties for someone'


Why we clarified our purpose

Mon, May 22, 2023  |  General 

We're on a mission to create a world where we can all thrive without cars.

If you've known us for a while, that statement won't be a surprise for you. But if you've just discovered MRCagney, and you're considering working with us or for us, it may help to understand what makes us tick. MRCagney MD Jenson Varghese introduces the firm's purpose for the future.


Researching Integrated Land Use and Transport Planning

Thu, April 6, 2023  |  Research 

Why do development outcomes not match the vision laid out by our strategies and plans? Why do more people not have the choice to travel by alternative modes? 

These are underlying questions that we delved into with a recent research project we did for Waka Kotahi on integrated land use and transport planning (ILUT) planning in New Zealand.


Introducing B Corper @MRCagney.works

Mon, March 27, 2023  |  General 

Certified B Corps are leaders in the global movement for an inclusive, equitable, and regenerative economy. To become certified, a company must go through a rigorous assessment where governance, employee representation, and environmental impact are evaluated.  


Our B Corp Journey

Tue, March 21, 2023  |  General 

Why we all need the transport and urban planning sector to step up and walk our sustainability talk, and how B Corp can help us all be better businesses.


Thinking more broadly around resilience

Thu, March 9, 2023  |  Climate Change and Emissions Reduction  

May you live in interesting times: this saying is offered up as both a challenge and a curse and each form rings true in Aotearoa New Zealand this year. We are facing multiple challenges – what some describe as a ‘polycrisis’ – from long-term challenges like providing affordable housing at scale in ways that ease the grip of car-dependence, to the urgent need to repair damage wrought across the motu by Auckland’s recent flooding and Cyclone Gabrielle.  


Successfully Implementing Public Transport Networks - The devil is in the detail

Thu, February 23, 2023  |  Public Transport 

MRCagney launch the white paper authored by Pippa Mitchell, Technical Director & Anthony Cross, Public Transport Specialist.

Significant work has been invested in designing public transport networks, but without the correct implementation, these networks are not used as widely and effectively as they could be.


We need dignified, inclusive access for everyone

Wed, February 22, 2023  |  General 

We caught up with our newest team member Darren Davis to find out more about his background, how he became involved in the transport sector, and what some of the key transport challenges facing Aotearoa are.


Reflecting on life with a Bakfiets - Part 1

Wed, February 15, 2023  |  Walking and Cycling 

I will never forget my first ride down a busy street in Amsterdam testing out a bakfiets. We hadn’t planned on buying a cargo bike, but I was 24 weeks pregnant, and my husband and I love riding bikes, so perhaps it was always going to be the natural progression.


MRCagney welcomes Darren Davis as a new Technical Director

Thu, January 19, 2023  |  General 

We are delighted to welcome Darren Davis to MRCagney as our Technical Director for Public Transport Planning.

As a leading transport planner in Aotearoa, Darren joins MRC to expand the services we offer to our clients in public transport planning, land use/transport integration and urban strategy.


Development Insights – Lower Hutt housing and the removal of parking minimums

Mon, December 19, 2022  |  Housing  | Parking 

Hutt City Council were one of the first councils in Aotearoa to remove parking minimums in September 2020. This decision, in combination with upzoning to allow medium density housing, has proven to be extremely successful in supporting more homes to be built with fewer carparks per dwelling. 


How much is “free”​ parking?

Thu, December 15, 2022  |  Parking 

I recently came across a tweet that said free on-street parking in New York City was equivalent to a subsidy of $500 billion (that billion with a ‘B’).


Development Insights - Auckland City Centre Residential Parking

Mon, December 12, 2022  |  Parking 

The Auckland City Centre is changing. My research indicates the average car park per unit ratio in new private residential developments over the past decade is around 0.65. This is lower than the regional average which is slightly above 1 car park per unit as of 2022.


Introducing the Induced demand calculator

Wed, November 30, 2022  |  Climate Change and Emissions Reduction  

Building new roads creates more space to drive, and results in more people driving. But how much more road creates how much more driving?
Supporting public conversations about reducing transport emissions is important to MRCagney. Simple visualisations of complex transport systems are essential for keeping these conversations centred around evidence.
Today we are excited to introduce our latest visualisation, the Induced Demand Calculator.


Transport2035 - Or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Assumptions

Mon, November 21, 2022  |  Data Science 

Predicting the future isn’t easy. Modelling complex systems isn’t quick. Yet tackling the climate emergency requires decisive action based on an uncertain future. How can we resolve this paradox together? 


Transport 2035: Insights from a transport planner

Wed, November 9, 2022  |  Climate Change and Emissions Reduction  

Transport 2035 was developed by MRCagney and Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency. It’s a tool to help people understand the range of options we have for slashing transport emissions in Aotearoa New Zealand.

Three things came to mind when I had a go with the tool...


Accessible public transport: the whole of journey approach

Mon, November 7, 2022  |  Equity 

Access to public transport is a complex issue. For many disabled people, the extra effort they must exert to make a journey can mean public transport is not an accessible option. There are lots of little things which can go wrong, and having multiple agencies manage distinct parts of a journey only adds to the complexity. 


How to talk about urban transport

Tue, November 1, 2022  |  General 

Big changes are needed in our cities so people can travel in ways that are better for the environment, better for our health, and that enable everybody to move about easily, including people who can't drive or can’t afford a car. Building support for these changes depends on how we talk about them. 


Why we don’t get nice things from transport in Aotearoa

Sat, September 10, 2022  |  General 

Over the last year I’ve been hosting Transportation Group ‘Chair’s Conversations’ to explore why we don’t get better outcomes from transport.


Density Done Well

Mon, August 29, 2022  |  Housing 

“These are just future slums” is a common response to articles these days regarding medium or high-density housing. While these comments are far from the truth, they often stem from genuine concerns from residents about the change that could occur in their neighborhood.


Why density is critical for our future

Wed, June 29, 2022  |  Housing 

The past two years have seen a significant shift in central government policy to intervene in land supply for intensification with the National Policy Statement on Urban Development (NPS-UD) and the Medium Density Residential Standards. While media discussion around these changes has focused on housing affordability, these moves are essential for many other reasons. We should view enabling density as an opportunity to improve our town and cities.


Te Huia - A review and an eye to the future

Fri, April 1, 2022  |  Public Transport 

This week I had the pleasure of using Te Huia train service from Tāmaki Makaurau down to Kirikiriroa. Here is my review. 


A love letter to Hamilton East

Thu, October 21, 2021  |  Housing 

Hamilton East is my favourite suburb in the whole world. No competition. I love the iconic 1940s weatherboard houses, the mature trees, the winding streets, and the huge gardens. My ultimate fantasy is to live in a cottage in Hamilton East with a flock of chickens, where I can walk from my vege garden to Hayes Common for a coffee and bike across the bridge to get to work (this fantasy gets better if the pedestrian bridge ever gets built).


“Gender diversity” shouldn’t be code for “women”

Sun, September 26, 2021  |  Inclusion 

Gender equity initiatives in the transport sector currently focus on the differences in how men and women use the transport system and promote equity between men and women. This isn't radical and it's not going to solve our equity issues. Instead, I ask that we focus on challenging the gender binary in our profession and create a transport system that is genuinely universally accessible.


Road pricing: a boost for Auckland’s transit?

Wed, September 15, 2021  |  Public Transport 

The idea of a road pricing for Auckland was in the news last week as the select committee reported back on its inquiry into the Congestion Question report. In this post I’ve looked into how the Auckland public transport network might look like if road pricing was implemented and the revenue was used to boost alternatives to driving.


Novelty mugs and New Zealand’s problem with public open space

Wed, September 15, 2021  |  Data Science 

How does the layout of our cities affect access to public open space? Do we have enough parkland to go around?


We should allow three storeys EVERYWHERE

Thu, September 9, 2021  |  Housing 

We should allow three storeys to be built everywhere and by everywhere, I mean everywhere! Your place, your Nan's house, Jacinda’s house, everywhere! Think of any site in urban Tāmaki Makaurau-Auckland and my answer to you will be yes, we should allow at least 3 storeys to be built there. 


Sex(uality) in the city: Planning for queerer public space

Thu, August 19, 2021  |  Inclusion 

In the spirit of Eleanor Mohammed’s NZPI 2021 conference address which called on planners to hear different ideas and distinct voices, I write from my perspective as both a Pākehā queer femme and a planner to consider how planners can make public spaces safer for queer communities.


Until we measure exclusion we won’t get inclusive transport

Mon, July 26, 2021  |  Equity 

A recent article "Just build a ramp" got me thinking about how we provide for accessibility. The world didn't evolve with ramps and other universal design accommodations in place by default, so we relied on decades of advocacy and incremental enlightenment to develop transportation design codes that provide for inclusion.

Unfortunately for disabled people and our future selves - over half of us will be disabled by age 65 if we are fortunate enough to live that long- the world is not inclusive yet. So how can we accelerate progress?

Pedestrian Street Christchurch

Reimagining pedestrian cut throughs and pedestrian streets

Thu, July 8, 2021  |  Urban Design  | Walking and Cycling 

If you know your neighbourhood like the back of your hand, you know where the pedestrian cut throughs are. You also know which ones feel scary, and which ones you would avoid. Why is this? If a cut through is put in place to improve access, shouldn’t it be inviting, safe, and functional? As our cities change, we have an opportunity to improve the humble cut through, fundamentally changing the role that space plays.


Equity in Auckland’s Transport System: LGBTQI+ Communities

Thu, July 8, 2021  | 

Queer people love the bus. I’m not sure how a love for cramming into the so called ‘loser cruiser’ with 40-odd strangers made it into queer culture, but somehow it did.


Improving walkability to rapid transit

Thu, July 8, 2021  |  Walking and Cycling 

How far are you willing to walk to access your nearest public transport stop? How much extra distance are you covering, because the most direct link isn’t there? Maybe this infuriates you every day, or maybe you’ve never considered it. Either way, this small question has huge implications for how many people can access our public transport network.


A shuttle for the Onehunga Branch Line?

Thu, May 13, 2021  |  Public Transport  | Rapid Transit 

This post from Nicolas Reid, our Principal Public Transport Planner, was originally posted on LinkedIn. 

This article explains the constraints of the Onehunga Branch Line and raises the question of the trade off between higher frequencies but requiring a transfer or lower frequency but a one seat journey to Britomart.


The Auckland Harbour Bridge clip-ons, planning disaster… or best practice?

Thu, May 13, 2021  | 

This post from Nicolas Reid, our Principal Public Transport Planner, was originally posted on LinkedIn. 

This article covers the history of the Auckland Harbour Bridge and outlines the benefits of the staged expansion.


A interim option for an Auckland Harbour Bridge footpath and cycleway?

Wed, April 21, 2021  | 

This post from Nicolas Reid, our Principal Public Transport Planner, was originally posted on LinkedIn. 

This article outlines a potential option to add separate walking and cycling paths to the Auckland Harbour Bridge, as an 'minimum standard' interim until a new bridge can be built. 


Queer language tips for planners and researchers

Mon, February 1, 2021  |  Inclusion 

But I thought “queer” was derogatory?!

If you want to begin engaging with queer or LGBTQIA+ communities but are anxious about using the wrong language, this compilation is for you. I’ve included resources which provide you with an introduction to terms you might hear in your engagement and places you can go for in-depth exploration of different identities.


Introducing Transport2030.org

Mon, May 11, 2020  |  Climate Change and Emissions Reduction  

I’ve been working from home now for 6 weeks. Even though I did work at home a little before lock-down, it was by choice and a chance for quiet work than for any other reason. Working from home is one thing but being at home trying to work is something else as I'm sure many of us have discovered.


MRCNZ15: Milestones

Mon, May 6, 2019  | 

Last year we celebrated 15 years of MRCagney in New Zealand. As part of that we looked back on some of our favourite and most influential projects. 

Auckland northern busway

MRCNZ: The Northern Busway

Tue, February 19, 2019  |  Rapid Transit 

This set of blogs celebrates our 15th birthday, but in 2018 there was another anniversary close to our heart. 

Women in urbanism on bikes

MRCNZ15: Women in Urbanism Aotearoa

Thu, February 7, 2019  |  Inclusion 

Today for MRCNZ15 Emma Mcinnes writes about Women in Urbanism Aotearoa, and organisation we are proud to support.

MRCagney, the company I work for, is celebrating 15 years in Aotearoa. As part of this, we have been asked to choose some of our favourite MRCagney projects and initiatives. Our cities, communities and families are important to us as a company, and to me personally. I am proud to say Women in Urbanism Aotearoa is one the community initiatives MRCagney has helped to get off the ground. 

Rethinking parking

MRCNZ15: Rethinking Parking

Tue, October 30, 2018  |  Parking 

In our first blog on parking (an issue close to our hearts) Anthony writes about two groundbreaking city-shaping parking projects in Auckland we have worked on. 

Current busway scheme


Thu, October 18, 2018  |  Rapid Transit 

As we look back on our favourite or most influential projects over the past 15 years #MRCNZ15, Luke Chistensen looks at AMETI and bus rapid transit to East Auckland.

NZLVM rural urban polygons

MRCNZ15: The New Zealand Land Value Model

Thu, October 11, 2018  |  Data Science 

Phil Donovan and Peter Nunns write this week's entry in the MRCNZ15 project- The New Zealand Land Value Model

Local Path Design

MRCNZ15: Local Path Design Guide

Thu, September 27, 2018  | 

Today's lookback for our 15th anniversary comes from Lukas Adam, who is writing about the Local Path Design Guide, which we worked on with Resilio Studio and you can check out in full here.

Affordability map

MRCNZ15: The Affordability Map

Tue, September 18, 2018  | 

In this weeks article celebrating the 15th anniversary of MRC in New Zealand, Alex Raichev writes about The Affordability map, which you can try for yourself here

One of my favorite projects that I’ve worked on at MRCagney is Affordability in New Zealand, also known as the Affordability Map, a public education tool illustrating the spatial nature of affordability and how big a role transport plays in it. It combines analysis, visualization, open source software development, and public education, all things I enjoy.


MRCNZ15: Electric Vehicles

Wed, September 12, 2018  | 

Todays #MRCNZ15 celebration comes from Alex Raichev and Danielle Gatland, who are looking back on three of our projects focussed electric vehicles :

One of the joys of working at MRCagney is the variety of topical projects that come our way. In this post we describe three such projects concerning electric vehicles.

Walking and cycling

MRCNZ15: Researching Autonomous Vehicles

Sat, September 1, 2018  |  Research 

This week as part of our 15th anniversary in New Zealand celebrations, Danielle Gatland looks back at last years Autonomous Vehicles Research Report, now including GIFs.

Auckland cycling

MRCNZ15: The Auckland Cycling Investment Programme (In Gifs)

Thu, August 30, 2018  |  Walking and Cycling 

For this week's #MRCNZ15 we have two exciting entries on the Auckland Cycling Investment Programme.  Click here for Karl Bakers in depth look at the business case.

For another perspective on the project, Emma McInnes has summarised the report in GIF’s.

Who are we building for

MRCNZ15: Making a case for future investment in Auckland cycling

Tue, August 28, 2018  |  Walking and Cycling 

For our 15th anniversary celebrations Karl Baker writes about creating the Auckland Transport Cycling Business Case. Check back on Thursday for another perspective on the project…


MRCNZ15: The New Network Schematic

Fri, August 24, 2018  | 

Continuing our look back on the New Network, Nic Reid details how we tackled the problem of communicating the many benefits of the revolutionary integrated network to the public. 


MRCNZ15: The New Network

Tue, August 21, 2018  |  Public Transport 

Our first entry looking back at 15 years of MRCagney in Aotearoa. Jenson introduces a presentation by Anthony Cross, Auckland Transport’s Network Development Manager (Public Transport), looking back on the New Network for Auckland. 


Announcing MRCNZ15

Thu, June 7, 2018  | 

It's the 15th anniversary of our Auckland office, so we are having a trip down memory lane. Regional Manager Jenson Varghese explains all in the video below.