Megan Fowler and Andrew Macbeth undertook and analysed counts of cycle traffic on the two existing sections of the Christchurch to Little River Rail Trail - between Prebbleton (on the south-western edge of Christchurch) and Lincoln and between Motukarara and Little River (on Banks Peninsula, half way to Akaroa). This was done on behalf of the Christchurch City and Selwyn District councils.
We employed a methodology using pneumatic tube counters and validation with manual counting. Site selection was very important so that all cyclists travelling through the sites would be recorded. We found some limitations of the pneumatic tube counters with respect to counting cyclists and adjusted these errors accordingly with respect to the manual observations.
Our analysis found that cycle traffic volumes are much higher on the Prebbleton to Lincoln section of the rail trail, with an average annual daily cycle volume of 117 cyclists per day, compared with the Motukarara to Little River section which had an average annual daily volume of 28 cycles per day. For the Prebbleton to Lincoln section, weekend daily flows were effectively the same as weekday flows, suggesting that commuter cyclists use the facility during the week and recreational cyclists during weekends. The Motukarara to Little River section, however, experienced great fluctuations, with the average daily weekend flow being 65 cyclists and average weekday flow being 14 cyclists.
We estimated the yearly (July 2007 to June 2008 inclusive) use of the Birchs Road site to be 42,700 cyclists. For the Motukarara to Little River section of the rail trail the yearly use is estimated to be 10,200 cyclists. To estimate these yearly volumes and AADTs (average annual daily traffic) we used data from the Otago Central Rail Trail to estimate the effects of seasonal variations. Further surveys in future years would be beneficial to ascertain long term cycle traffic trends.
The manual surveys showed that more adults than children used the rail trail and the split between males and females was relatively even. Only one pedestrian was noted during the manual surveys.
The Rail Trail Cycle Counting project report is now availabe on our website.