ViaStrada researched continuous cycle counting technology for the New Zealand Transport Agency. By "continuous" we mean counts of a few months duration or longer. Shorter-term counts (days or weeks) are probably best done by conventional rubber tube cycle counters, although this decision may best be made based on value for money of the various options. The aim is to provide road controlling authorities and others in New Zealand with information on the effectiveness and availability of these tools. This technology will aid the planning and monitoring phases of cycling projects and hence assist with the funding process.
ViaStrada initially undertook an international literature review and a survey of New Zealand road controlling authorities. This stage ascertained what was available worldwide and what was being done locally (see the Cycle Counting Project).
A report from the first stage published on Land Transport NZ's website recommended that two induction loop counter products should be acquired to test their ease of use (including data downloads) and reliability through a pilot study. This second stage of the investigation was recently completed at five sites in Christchurch.
Two commercially-available continuous cycle traffic counters were imported from the northern hemisphere and ViaStrada undertook a trial in Christchurch, working closely with Christchurch City Council staff. The sites were selected to encompass a range of characteristics, including on-road and off-road locations, different speed environments and different surface types. Equipment installation and testing at the first site was completed in April 2008; the trial of all other sites, data analysis and reporting was completed during the winter of 2008.