Research and publications

We carry out transport research, think-pieces and policy guidance for national agencies, local councils, and other clients, and regularly publish and present to the industry (including many award-winning papers). Below are links to our latest published work:

teaserPalmerston North once had the highest rate of cycling to work (as measured by the census) in New Zealand, but in recent years the number of cycling trips has been declining. With a goal to "have the most active community in New Zealand", elected members directed staff to develop a masterplan that would set a long-term direction as well as inform a $2.9M investment in the near term. The final plan highlights four main challenges to implementation. These are not just technical problems to be quantified by economists and solved by engineers. A project-related "bike-lash" (pushback from business owners) also highlighted the need to work with affected communities to demonstrate why change is needed and to explore alternatives that meet our shared liveability, accessibility, and safety objectives.

speedLower speeds are one of the fundamental ways to improve road safety outcomes in New Zealand and to provide more equity and access to a wider range of safe travel choices. One of the most common arguments stated against lower speed limits is the effect on travel times. This presentation by Glen at the 2020 Transportation Conference answers the question whether speeds greatly affect travel time.

ShuttleVisitors and residents alike loved the free central city Shuttle. It was introduced in 1998 and ceased operating with the February 2011 earthquake. Shall we have it back? Well, many reports later, it doesn't seem to be happening. This presentation by Axel at the 2020 Transportation Conference explores an alternative proposal of making all buses within the central city free. It explains why this isn't just significantly cheaper and provides people with a better level of service, but how it could also reverse a decline in patronage that is evident since 2014.

Conf logoAt the 8th International Cycling Safety Conference in Brisbane, Nov 2019, Glen delivered a keynote presentation looking at the relationship between cycling infrastructure, usage, and safety.

Glen also convened a popular pre-conference workshop on "Low cost infrastructure treatments for low cycling countries" and was part of a panel forum exploring high-level questions about the state of cycling and cycling safety/research both now and in the future.

Ideal MaaS appWho should develop and manage “Mobility as a Service” (MaaS) services in New Zealand? Three approaches that have appeared to date are (1) private transport service operators themselves, (2) central/local government transport organisations, or (3) independent software developers. Each approach has its advantages and disadvantages, for example in regard to coverage of available services, data supply and management, and integration with payments. At the 2019 T-Tech Conference in Christchurch (May 2019), Glen outlines the options and issues afforded by each approach, using examples from around the world.

percentThis article describes the development of key policy recommendations for increasing active transport in New Zealand. The goal was to establish a cohesive set of priority recommendations to inform active transport decision-making in central and local government, district health boards, public health units and regional sports trusts in New Zealand. This cross-sector effort resulted in a report with a set of recommendations designed to stimulate the development of a new active transport strategy for New Zealand; prompt setting of targets and monitoring progress/outcomes; and inform New Zealand’s response to the World Health Organisation’s Global Action Plan on Physical Activity 2018–2030.

200 and 300 mm aspectsChristchurch City Council and Auckland Transport commissioned ViaStrada to conduct an official traffic control device trial of directional traffic signals for cyclists. The new signals have been installed at four intersections.  Assessments of user behaviour (compliance and conflicts), user understanding, and user satisfaction have been undertaken at three of the intersections and will soon be carried out at the fourth.

This paper was awarded the best research paper at the 2019 NZ Transportation Conference.

72 secondsWith a new government pushing a greater emphasis on road safety, attention is increasing on the role that speed plays in our safety record. For both urban and rural settings, there has been a growing clamour by some elected officials, safety advocates, and the general public for greater use of lower speed limits. Yet, at the same time such changes remain polarising, with other people sceptical of their effect on safety and wary about their impact on network efficiency. The relatively cumbersome process of changing existing speed limits has also been cited as a hurdle to implementing fast change.

This paper was runner-up to the best research paper at the 2019 NZ Transportation Conference.

Lots of LimesJohn Lieswyn chaired a panel discussion on micro-mobility. There were eight panellists representing a variety of groups, interests, and companies.

graphicJohn Lieswyn presented on this topic at the Active Living and Environment Symposium (Dunedin, Feb 2019). The most important finding is that the school travel plan (STP) process itself can be the seed of a more productive collaboration between council staff, school administrators, board members, and parents. There is an opportunity to tie the development of an STP to road safety and infrastructure funding.