The value of technical peer reviews


The relatively limited number of experienced cycle facility designers in New Zealand means there is great value to be gained through the careful use of a peer review process. Auckland City Council gained value and identified innovative design solutions through the use of a technical peer review, which in turn assisted inexperienced designers in future projects and raised the quality of cycle projects all round.

Auckland City Council engaged ViaStrada Ltd to undertake a peer review of a group of cycling projects, and was able to achieve improved design quality and identify several innovative solutions to difficult design problems. Peer reviewing a number of projects collectively rather than individually is more cost-effective for a council, and the use of an independent peer reviewer reassures politicians and ratepayers that the best project is being developed - an important issue when there can be limited support for cycling projects.

Auckland City Council promotes the peer review process to its design consultants as a way to up-skill their staff and help them gain experience, rather than being an indictment on their work. The expected outcome is best practice facilities for road users in Auckland City.

This paper was co-authored by Daniel Newcombe (Auckland CC) and Axel Wilke (ViaStrada). The paper and the presentation are available online.

Where presented/published

2007 NZ Cycling Conference, Napier