20 Years of Cycle Training in NZ!

A little milestone passed last week – it was 20 years since we delivered the first Cycle Planning and Design industry training course back on 3 June 2003 in Christchurch! Things have certainly changed a bit in terms of content and delivery since then...

10 years ago we reflected on the first ten years of cycle industry training courses. At the time, nearly 1000 people had been trained either in the Fundamentals one-day course or Advanced two-day course. Since then, the pace of delivery has slowed for various reasons; nevertheless, over 1500 people have now attended the courses to date (with more planned in the future courses coming up this year)

20 years of cumulative numbers

Over the past ten years, there have been a number of interesting developments to the original recipe:

  • In late 2015, in conjunction with the NZ Transport Agency, three one-day industry seminars were presented on Delivering Successful Cycleway Programmes, building on the significant funding recently announced for the Urban Cycleways Programme (UCP). This was delivered to 79 attendees.
  • Auckland Transport and Greater Wellington arranged for regular in-house courses, with numbers supplemented by outside participants as well.
  • With Glen Koorey joining ViaStrada from 2016, he took over the main development and coordination of ViaStrada's industry training programme in collaboration with the Transport Agency.
  • There was a slight pause on proceedings in 2016–17, as the Transport Agency reviewed their training offerings after the launch of the new Cycling Network Guidance (CNG)
  • Glen continued to deliver the course material regularly to the Masters programmes at both the University of Canterbury and University of Auckland.
  • A revamped Advanced Cycle Intersection Design one-day workshop was introduced from late 2017, building on the previous Intersections advanced module. A more interactive format was created, with participants working in groups to go through four separate local design exercises. So far, four of these workshops have been delivered, with more planned for 2023.

Participants work on an exercise Chch 2023

  • Similarly, the existing Fundamentals course material was reviewed in late 2018 – early 2019 to add updated content (and newer photos), align more with recent Agency guidance, and to introduce more interactive elements during the day. Six of these courses were delivered in 2019 with an average of 25 participants each.
  • Increasingly, Waka Kotahi staff have been involved in recent courses to assist with delivering the content and sharing their expertise. Presenters have included Tim Hughes, Gerry Dance, Simon Kennett and Claire Pascoe.

Simon Kennett presenting in Hamilton

  • The Covid lockdowns of 2020–22 put a halt to most in-person industry training, including the cycle training courses. Some consideration was given to attempting to create online remote training offerings instead (as being run by some other providers) but that was never fully developed. In lieu of this, a number of multi-modal online webinars have been developed and presented with Waka Kotahi, including some touching on cycling topics.
  • With a return to in-person training this year, both the Fundamental and Advanced cycle training courses have had their material revamped again (capturing the latest updates to best-practice guidance) and new courses are now being offered around the country.

So where to next? The course material continues to be refined as new considerations get added (e.g. the growing use of cycle facilities by micro-mobility devices) and CNG guidance gets added or updated. We also endeavour to add interactive elements to the courses (discussion points, group exercises) so that it is not just a dry talkfest by the presenters.

Glen enjoys training!
Glen enjoys industry training!

In fact, because of the great conversations during the day, on top of the amount of knowledge being imparted, it is regularly a challenge to finish the course on time! Sometimes in the feedback, participants wish that there was also a "field trip" component to the courses - that would be nice, but there is simply not enough time to fit that in on top of all the material being covered...

At the same time, with assistance from Waka Kotahi and other consultants, we are slowly building up a series of short online webinars on various multi-modal topics as well. So, over time, people who are a bit busy to attend a whole day course can at least get some useful snippets on specific topics from these recorded presentations and discussions. Not quite the same as the in-person experience, but should hopefully help to fill a few gaps in knowledge and understanding. Who knows; maybe we might even develop that remote learning option one day too...

Here's to another 20 years of industry training...