Dunedin – leading the way in cycle planning in New Zealand

Of the 13 cities in New Zealand, Dunedin has the fifth-lowest cycling to work mode share, partially explained by its hilly nature. Yet it is in the process of implementing the most advanced cycle network in the country.

In 2011 the Council adopted a Strategic Cycle Network for this city, identifying routes across the city, and prioritising those for implementation. Three areas are flat: South Dunedin, Central Dunedin, and North East Valley, and approximately 33% of the city’s population live in these flat areas. These parts of the city were the top priority, due primarily to cycle crash history and high latent demand for cycling, with network implementation to be carried out in the order of the suburbs listed.

The Strategic Cycle Network was refined in 2012, and fundamental to the approach was to agree on Roger Geller’s cycling typology, with the Interested but Concerned (i.e. those people who currently don't ride a bike because they don't want to mix with traffic) as the main target audience for most routes. Refining the network and defining the target audience was done simultaneously and on the ground, resulting in a quality network that is politically and physically achievable, and comprehensive for the target audience as shown in the figure below. There was close collaboration between city council staff, their consultant, local cycling advocates and the NZ Transport Agency. Particular effort was also paid to working with the media and elected members. This has resulted in an environment where the objectives are clear and broadly understood, where most media reporting is positive, and where there is good political support.

NZ Transport Agency staff, who are responsible for State Highways, were impressed with the planning approach and has adopted it for Central Dunedin and North East Valley. This second planning project is done in partnership by the two road controlling authorities, with local advocates being party to decision making.

The South Dunedin network implementation is on schedule for completion by mid-2015. The Central Dunedin network is about to go to design.

Where presented/published

2014 Velo-city Global Conference, Adelaide