Making traffic signals work for people cycling – update

Where presented/published

10 June 2024, TG Conference, Nelson, New Zealand

Whether a cycle facility on the approach to traffic signals is painted or physically separated makes a big legal difference. The painted facility is considered part of the “roadway” while the separated facility is not. The separated facility must receive its own signal phase and whilst that may sound good, the outcome is often a poor level of service that is frustrating for many (sitting on a red light while the parallel traffic has a green) and resulting in poor compliance with the signals. A 2020 consultation on tidying up the legislative problem – the Accessible Street rules package – hasn’t been implemented.

This presentation discusses a design that overcomes the legislative constraint. Developed for New Plymouth’s Transport Choices package, the concept was presented at the Signals NZ User Group (SNUG) workshop where it found unanimous support. Hamilton, Tauranga, and Christchurch city councils are also considering implementing the system. What is the problem with the law? What are the problems with the existing situation? How does the concept design work? How will this be more efficient? Will it be safer?

The presentation was given on 10 June 2024 at the Transportation Group conference. A more technical version of this presentation was given at the 2023 SNUG conference. A less detailed version of this presentation was given at the 2024 2WALKandCYCLE conference

Axel Downard-Wilke
Director – Principal Transportation Engineer & Transportation Planner
Megan Gregory (née Fowler)
Principal Transportation Engineer