Cyclist delay at traffic signals

Commuting trips by bicycle are generally short. The average one way commuter trip by bicycle in New Zealand is 4.1km long and takes 18.2 minutes. Delay at intersections increases travel time and can be frustrating, particularly in a road network where the primary intersection control is traffic signals. Intersection phase timing is based on the efficient movement of motorised traffic, with no consideration given to the needs of cyclists.

This study has set out to quantify the amount of delay experienced at traffic signals by a cyclist during peak hour traffic. A secondary objective was to determine the most suitable means of collecting the necessary cycle trip data. The literature review identified several previous studies that recognised travel time as a significant factor of bicycle route and mode choice but none that quantified what component of travel time could be attributed to delay.

A total of 80 trips were made in the AM and PM peak hour traffic in Christchurch in 2013. Trip details and time stopped at traffic signals were recorded on each trip using a GPS-enabled cycle computer. Two routes were used that included multiple signalised intersections, one which generally followed major arterial roads and the other which generally followed minor arterial roads. As expected, the trips on the major arterial route experienced fewer and shorter delays than the minor arterial trips.

Four different measures have been used to identify delay in this study; average delay per stop, average delay per intersection, average delay per kilometre, and average delay as a percentage of total trip time. The average level of delay was identified and compared for the full routes and for the inner and outer city components of both routes.

The study was undertaken by Jon Ashford as a research report submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the Degree of Master of Engineering in Transportation.

Mounting for Garmin Edge
Where presented/published

University of Canterbury, January 2014