Transportation guidelines

We have developed and updated transportation policy, planning and design guidelines for various national agencies. These have generally involved identifying and adapting best-practice international guidance to provide cutting-edge guidance for the industry. We are also heavily involved in formal trials and other operational research regarding new and innovative traffic devices and layouts. This expertise also feeds into the guidance we pass on in our industry training. Examples of these guidelines include:

The objective of this project was to suggest whether Christchurch City Council (CCC) should continue its use of red coloured surfacing or change to green coloured surfacing for cycle facilities. We have examined a variety of factors, including international research, purpose of coloured surfacing, relationships with other special vehicle facilities, national consistency, connotations of different colours and logistics of change.

On the basis of national consistency and the superiority of green over red in terms of longevity, we recommended that Christchurch City Council adopt green as the new colour for cycle facilities. We suggested that this change can be implemented over a period of time. CCC adopted the recommendation at its 11 February 2010 meeting.

The Melbourne office of SKM engaged ViaStrada to peer review its draft report Green Lights for Bikes, a report on how road authorities can use a range of techniques to provide for bike riders at traffic lights. SKM's client for the report was Bicycle Victoria. ViaStrada provided several additional examples of techniques for this report. The majority of the techniques described will be relevant to urban road controlling authorities in New Zealand.

NZTA commissioned ViaStrada to update more MOTSAM (Manual of Traffic Signs and Markings) material. Gone are all the old double limit lines, for example. The guidance on the marking of hook turn boxes for cyclists has been amended, and Section 2 now references the upcoming Austroads Guide to Road Design manuals.

ViaStrada has undertaken significant research and tool development on behalf of VicRoads (Victoria, Australia) to determine appropriate shared use path widths based on user volume characteristics. This work has been published as VicRoads Cycle Notes 21 on shared use path design.

Megan Fowler's first project at ViaStrada was to assist Tim Hughes of Land Transport New Zealand (now NZTA) in completing the Pedestrian Planning and Design Guide.

Transit NZ commissioned ViaStrada to update the cycling-related road marking content of the Manual of Traffic Signs and Markings (MOTSAM). In a parallel process, we were also assisting in a revision of the NZ Supplement to Austroads Part 14 Bicycles, the NZ cycling design manual (the revisions have now been published). We think the industry has been eagerly awaiting the outcome of these processes.

Should cyclists be allowed to ride across zebra crossings? When you've got a tricky question like this, who do you ask for sound and reasoned advice? VicRoads, the state roading authority for Victoria, based in Melbourne, sought the answer from ViaStrada. We reviewed international literature and based on this, gave our professional opinion on the merits of cycling across zebra crossings, signalised mid-block crossings, and crosswalks at signalised intersection.

A discussion paper on a proposed national road classification system (NRCS) or road hierarchy was prepared in mid July 2003 by Andrew Macbeth (at that stage, working for MWH New Zealand Ltd) with input on drafts from Transfund NZ and Transit NZ. The discussion paper was distributed to all road controlling authorities and other interested parties. Recipients were advised of the project, invited to respond to a survey about the proposed NRCS and invited to attend one of a series of five workshops held throughout New Zealand to discuss the proposed NRCS.

Christchurch City Council has an extensive Construction Standards Specification document. ViaStrada staff were engaged to lead a team of Council officers through the development of a new standard detail for intersection thresholds.

This project filled a big hole in New Zealand at the time. Austroads guidance was not always appropriate for New Zealand, and we have different road signs and markings. Practitioners needed local advice on how to design and implement cycle facilities. Transit (now NZTA) put up its hand in the national interest and agreed to fund the project.