With its vibrant beauty, culture and economy, Auckland, New Zealand, often ranks as one of the world’s most livable cities. But Auckland is also a booming city outgrowing its infrastructure, with a population of 1.4 million that’s expected to double in the next 25 years.
That growth is making the job of Auckland Transport, the agency that oversees transportation, an enormous challenge. With 800 new cars on the road in the narrow, coastal city every week, the public agency is working hard to reduce traffic, ease commutes and help people navigate by car, bike, foot, bus, ferry and train.
“At Auckland Transport, our vision is toward a digital city through mobile applications, data, websites and other means of communication to help people get from one place to another,” said Roger Jones, chief technology officer at Auckland Transport.
The organization began working with Microsoft two years ago to build online services and apps that help residents find the shortest and least congested routes by car and public transportation. Since then, rail ridership has increased, drivers are finding parking spots more easily, and wait times for buses, trains and ferries have shrunk.
Powered by the Microsoft Cloud, the agency’s digital strategy includes gathering and analyzing weather and real-time traffic data to help commuters get around and city officials to make informed decisions about infrastructure.
“We have a vision that when you wake up in the morning, you should know what mode of transport and what’s my best options,” Jones said. “If [you’re] catching a ferry home in the evening, we will know if you’re likely to catch the bus that’s waiting at the other end.
“I value the partnership with Microsoft because they bring the capability and the depth of experience and support to the company.”
For Auckland Transport, improving commutes with cloud technology highlights the concept of “public cloud for public good,” while making sure New Zealand’s largest city stays livable.
“Our most important role is to provide an urban environment that people want to live in and allow them to be connected in a way that suits their particular lifestyle,” said David Warburton, chief executive officer of Auckland Transport.