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:

At the 2WALKandCYCLE conference in Nelson in October 2014, Axel Wilke presented a paper on Bicycle Network Planning: The Target Audience Approach.

The purpose of the paper was to inform about a new approach to bicycle network planning that is emerging in New Zealand. Fundamental to this is the cycling typology developed by Roger Geller. Case studies covered Christchurch and Dunedin.

Axel's paper and presentation are available for download from this page.

buffer marking graphicA cycle lane marking trial on Dunedin’s Cumberland Street (State Highway 1) was undertaken. Non-standard road markings for cycle lanes were tested for their effectiveness. The purpose of this trial was to establish to what extent changed road markings can influence the relative positioning of parked vehicles and cyclists in an adjacent cycle lane. It was acknowledged that many cyclists may not be aware that their actual greatest mid-block risk stems from opening car doors, and they may consider themselves to be more at risk from moving traffic. As such, we measured whether changing the marking style can change behaviour without having to explicitly educate cyclists where best to cycle and motorists where to park. The desired effect was an increased separation between cyclists and parked vehicles.

Person cycling in hi-vis At the 2014 Velo-City cycling conference in Adelaide, Glen gave an invited presentation on the impacts of high-visibility clothing on cycling culture and safety. The presentation included analysis of the research for and against making hi-vis clothing mandatory when cycling, and also discussion about other socio-cultural aspects of such proposals.

Dunedin has one of the lowest cycling to work mode shares of NZ cities, but this will change due to the provision of a comprehensive network mainly targeting the Interested but Concerned, i.e. those people who currently don't ride a bike because they don't want to mix with traffic. 

This project will in years to come inspire other New Zealand communities to adopt this trendsetting planning approach. Axel Wilke gave this presentation in Adelaide at the Velo-city Global Conference in May 2014.

ViaStrada was commissioned by Austroads to undertake research into the effectiveness of on-road bicycle lanes at roundabouts in Australia and New Zealand. The resulting Austroads report documents the research undertaken.

Garmin Edge mounted on bike handlebarsCommuting trips by bicycle are generally short: the average one way commuter trip by bicycle in New Zealand is 4.1km long and takes 18.2 minutes. Delay at intersections increases travel time and can be frustrating, particularly in a road network where the primary intersection control is traffic signals.

This study set out to quantify the amount of delay experienced at traffic signals by a cyclist during peak hour traffic. A secondary objective was to determine the most suitable means of collecting the necessary cycle trip data.

The study was undertaken by Jon Ashford as a research report submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the Degree of Master of Engineering in Transportation.

As part of the consultation on the proposed South Dunedin cycle network, Dunedin City Council organised a Cycling Forum. Despite a very wet night, 100 people crammed into a conference room at Toitu to listen to eight speakers. ViaStrada's Axel Wilke presented on the rationale behind the network planning for South Dunedin.

For the Kaiapoi Town Centre project, a Reference Group of community representatives was established to work alongside the design team and council staff. The group was made up of about a dozen people representing business, mobility impaired users, schools, emergency services and residents.
 
We worked hard at four workshops held over three months to deliver the desired street plan and associated transport changes. This paper outlines how the group was formed and interacted, the key issues that arose and the process of selecting the final plan that found support from the group.

ViaStrada is carrying out research on bicycle lane separators for VicRoads.  Glen Koorey (University of Canterbury) reported on the research at the 2013 Transportation Conference in Dunedin. The research was carried out in two locations in Christchurch. In conclusion, implementing low-profile separators on existing roads has effects on road user behaviour. In the separated area, motor vehicles encroach less into the cycle lane. However, the encroachment reduction is only slight, and could perhaps increase again due to drivers becoming accustomed to crossing the relatively low separators. Therefore, the combination of low-profile separators and vertical posts is a relatively inexpensive way (especially compared with kerb reconstruction) to increase the effectiveness of cycle lane separation.

Glen Koorey presented at the 2013 Transportation Research Board Annual Meeting (Washington DC) on studies investigating whether a suitable maximum traffic volume on local streets could be identified. A residents' survey on four conventional "local" streets with varying traffic volumes in Christchurch found that those living next to higher volumes felt that their streets were busier, noisier, less safe and they tended to have less personal involvement and/or knowledge of their neighbours. An appropriate environmental capacity appeared to be around 1,500-2,000 vehicles/day.

A subsequent study looked at further Christchurch streets with treatments such as street calming and tree plantings, and a higher environmental capacity of around 2,000 vehicles/day was found for the surveyed streets. This suggests that appropriate street treatments can increase the environmental capacity, which has implications for local councils who want to maintain road traffic carrying capabilities without having unsatisfied residents.