Research and publications

ViaStrada staff have published many papers, articles, reports and other technical documents, to conferences, national clients, and public media. A number of these publications have won industry awards.

Recent publications are shown below; you are welcome to reference these in your own work. Feel free to contact the relevant authors for further information as well:

The 4 September 2010 earthquake significantly damaged infrastructure in the town of Kaiapoi, 20 km north of central Christchurch. The Waimakariri District Council (WDC) faced challenges of immediate repairs and longer term reinstatement. An 'Infrastructure Recovery Team' including ViaStrada's Jeanette Ward, was promptly established to manage these challenges and the opportunities that soon became apparent.

Jeanette's conference presentation gives an overview of the items discussed in the paper and provides a strong visual background to the project.

Following on from the 2008 NZTA funded investigation by ViaStrada into methods of continuous cycle counting, this conference paper summarises the literature on the latest methods, count durations, number of sites needed, and where they should be placed to gain a representative sample of the cycling levels throughout a given network.

This knowledge has been applied in the development of automatic cycle counting programmes for three New Zealand cities of a range of sizes: Christchurch, New Plymouth, and Hamilton. This paper presents the development process, planning, and implementation to date of the programme for Hamilton City.

Surveys of Christchurch residents have shown that separated cycle facilities, (where cyclists are separated from motor vehicles) are the most likely facility to encourage new users to cycle in the city.

This technical note analyses which separated bicycle design concepts are likely to be appropriate for typical road environments in New Zealand. The study aimed to ensure that facilities would be attractive to both new and existing users. Adoption of such innovative designs will not only contribute to increasing the numbers of people cycling but also provide a safer and more cost-effective transport system.

Christchurch City Council commissioned an investigation into ways of improving pedestrian level of service (LOS) at traffic signals in the central city. The paper covers Stage 1 of the investigation that addresses some of those actions, which involved developing a methodology to measure existing LOS for each signalised pedestrian crossing in the study area, allocating a LOS score to each signalised pedestrian crossing, and identifying tools for improving pedestrian LOS.

We are not aware of a methodology measuring LOS for pedestrians at traffic signals that goes beyond delay. This is the new aspect stemming from our work.

Since the paper was submitted, Stage 2 of the project has been undertaken. This included a detailed proposal for each signalised crossing and modelling of the effects in Paramics. The presentation reports the predicted results; whilst the average LOS for pedestrian increases from LOS D to LOS C, the overall network performance for motorists remains fairly unchanged. A fantastic result! The methodology is easily transferable to areas outside of the central city, and is applicable to other cities.

Christchurch City Council commissioned an investigation into ways of improving pedestrian level of service (LOS) at traffic signals in the Christchurch central city following the adoption of the 'City for People Action Plan'. This was triggered by a Gehl Architects study (Public Space Public Life), which considered how people use public spaces and streets in central Christchurch.

A presentation delivered at the Signals New Zealand User Group (SNUG) conference in November 2010 covered Stage 1 of the investigation, which involved developing a methodology to measure existing LOS for each crosswalk in the study area, allocating a LOS score to each crosswalk, and identifying tools for improving LOS. Over 30 signalised intersections with 110 pedestrian crossings were in the study. The improvements considered for the project were restricted to changing traffic signals operations and adjusting signal hardware.

This video demonstrates a signalised crossing for pedestrians and cyclists that previously had a poor traffic signal compliance by these user groups. The way the signals operate was fundamentally changed some years ago, and this is explained in some detail. The effectiveness of the new operating concept is discussed and some conclusions are drawn.

The target audience for this video is traffic signal engineers and other staff charged with the operation of road networks. Political decision makers, cycle advocates and members of the public will also be interested in the video.

In recent years, engineers have implemented a number of changes to traffic signals especially to assist cyclists. Many of these changes are not widely known because they are not prominent, nor have they been publicised. Various stakeholders need to know how to improve conditions for cyclists at traffic signals. This presentation describes a number of techniques to help cyclists at traffic signals.

ViaStrada director Andrew Macbeth (second from left) and Michael Ferigo (right) gave a presentation on their recent attendance at the VeloCity international cycling conference in Copenhagen.

There was an enthusiastic response from a capacity crowd to Andrew Macbeth's illustrated presentation in Nelson on 28 July 2010. The talk was based on Andrew's recent trip to Copenhagen and the UK. Andrew's main theme was that urban designers, traffic engineers and other professionals all work in the same space and need to work together better to provide sustainable towns and cities.

How wide should paths shared between pedestrians and cyclists be? Whilst these are common, very little guidance is available internationally. VicRoads wanted to know and engaged ViaStrada and SKM to undertake the research. Megan Fowler and Warren Lloyd (both ViaStrada) and Cameron Munro (SKM Melbourne) wrote a technical paper on this topic. This was presented as a poster (also shown below) at the IPENZ Transportation Conference in Christchurch in March 2010.