Auckland Transport and the NZTA are celebrating increases in number of people cycling across Auckland.

Kids using Nelson St

The number of cycle journeys through Kingsland on the Northwestern Cycleway has gone up by more than 16% in 2015 compared with 2014. This has contributed to a growth of 7.4% of cycle journeys throughout Auckland in the same period.

The number of people cycling on this route is expected to increase further with a major upgrade to be completed this year and a city centre cycle network which continues to expand.

The NZ Transport Agency is upgrading the Northwestern Cycleway from Westgate to Waterview as part of the Western Ring Route. The cycleway currently joins the Nelson Street Cycleway and the Grafton Gully Cycleway.

With the government, council and the NZTA all increasing how much they spend on cycle infrastructure there obviously needs to be some targets and monitoring to ensure that what gets built actually has an impact. As such the NZTA have set a target of a 30% increase in the number of cycling trips across New Zealand by 2019 based on 2015 levels.

To go with the increases in funding for cycle infrastructure that we’re now seeing the NZTA obviously want to ensure that it has an impact and as such they’ve set a goal for the number of cycling trips to increase by 30% increase in New Zealand by 2019.

To monitor cycling numbers, over the last five years or so Auckland Transport have installed automated cycle counters at a number of locations across the city and they’re installed in new projects too – such as the Lightpath. AT report some of this data on their website however it is only for nine of the original sites which are:

  • Upper Harbour Drive
  • Great South Road
  • Highbrook
  • Lake Road
  • North-Western cycleway – Kingsland
  • North-Western cycleway – Te Atatu
  • Orewa cycleway
  • Tamaki Drive (east bound)
  • Twin Streams path

As you’ll see below there are quite few more sites now.

Based on the results of those nine sites the charts below show the 12 month rolling total of cycle numbers for both across the total day and in the AM peak. As you can see there has been growth in cycle numbers and as the comments above note, the total is up 7.4% over the last year while the AM peak numbers are up stronger at 9.9%

Dec-15 Auckland Cycling Numbers - Total

Dec-15 Auckland Cycling Numbers - AM Peak

The biggest problem with the data is that it is limited to just nine sites and there are a lot of trips by bike that take place nowhere near any of them. Over the coming few years some of the biggest changes for cycling in Auckland will be occurring in and around the city centre as highlighted below. AT have now installed cycle counters on streets all around the city centre, creating a cordon and the numbers from that will be used to judge the effectiveness of the cycle investment occurring.

Auckland City Centre Cycle Map - Dec 15

AT kindly provided me with a list of all the cycle counters and the data from them for December. As you can see by how many NAs are in the list quite a few are only new having been installed in the last year or two. Of the ones that were around last December all but two have shown some very good growth with Grafton Gully and Beach Rd showing the strongest percentage growth. Based on the percentages the largest increase in total numbers is on Tamaki Dr with over 7,000 more trips this December than December last year (I’m sure bike rave helped with this a little bit). Tamaki Dr is also Auckland’s busiest place for bikes. The counters in bold are the nine that contribute to the charts above.

   12m rolling % change from previous year% change from same month previous year
 Dec countDec ADT
Beach Rd9,192297NA50.6%
Canada St1,03733NANA
Carlton Gore Rd5,074164NANA
Curran St8,504274NANA
Dominion RdDISCONTINUEDDISCONTINUEDNANA
East Coast Rd4,190135-2.7%17.8%
Grafton Bridge13,9954517.6%23.5%
Grafton Gully10,161328NA59.1%
Grafton Rd1,97564NANA
Gt Sth Road2,66686-4.0%-7.0%
Highbrook1,3364311.1%22.8%
Hopetoun St3,911126NANA
K Rd14,730475NA14.3%
Lagoon Dr4,670151-6.9%3.0%
Lake Road8,796284-4.1%11.6%
Mangere Bridge13,690442-4.5%12.7%
Nelson St cycleway12,101390NANA
Nelson St Lightpath29,176941NANA
NW Cycleway (Kingsland)16,29552616.3%24.0%
NW Cycleway (Te Atatu)13,5454377.0%31.5%
Orewa10,56334117.2%30.1%
Quay St32,6891054NANA
SH20 Dom Rd3,2931065.3%21.0%
Symonds St10,110326NA10.9%
Tamaki Dr39,04412597.0%22.2%
Te Wero Bridge23,060744NANA
Twin Streams4,109133-3.1%9.5%
Upper Harbour4,795155-1.8%-0.8%
Upper Queen St4,286138NANA
Victoria St West3,519114NANA

At the very least this we should see the NW cycleway as far as Lincoln Rd complete along with the rest of Nelson St and Quay St

Te Atatu Rd Underpass
The fantastic new underpass through the Te Atatu Interchange which opened in December

There are still diversions at Western Springs and Patiki Rd at the Causeway which will be in place until late February. In early February the section from McCormack Green (just west of the Te Atatu underpass) to Henderson Creek will be open with the completion of the Te Atatu Interchange Project scheduled for March and the Causeway Project scheduled for August.

The Northwestern Cycleway is one of the busiest cycle routes in Auckland says Auckland Transport’s Cycling and Walking manager Kathryn King.

“We know that these routes are popular which is why they are being improved and soon other routes will connect with them to further develop the cycle network,” she says.

“Construction will begin early this year on the Quay St Cycleway and by the middle of the year the Nelson St Cycleway will be completed all the way to Quay St. This is only the start of the three year programme of cycle improvements in the city, so to see an increase like this already is very promising.”

“By mid-2018 we will have an inner city cycle network to be proud of with great connections to the inner east and west suburbs. We are already working on plans for projects beyond 2018 which will further develop the city’s growing network of cycleways,” she adds.

The NZ Transport Agency’s Auckland Regional Director, Ernst Zöllner says the agency has a target of increasing the annual number of cycling trips across New Zealand by 10 million, or 30 per cent by 2019 compared with 2015 levels.

“We’re thrilled to see these figures showing more people are choosing to get on their bikes in Auckland. There is strong customer demand for a cycling network that provides predictable, safe journeys for people wanting to cycle to work, study and for recreation.”

In some more good news cyclists (and bus users) Auckland Transport’s traffic operations team have informed us that they’ve examined the results for the first quarter of the trial to let taxi’s use Grafton Bridge. They say the impacts have been more than minor with the main areas of concern being the failure of them to adhere to the 30km/h speed limit and the number of recorded instances of taxis overtaking cyclists on the bridge. As such a recommendation is going to AT’s Traffic Control Committee late next week to terminate the trial and return it to bus and bike only.

We were critical of the trial when it was announced assuming these exact issues would arise but in hindsight perhaps the trial was useful to prove that exactly what everyone expected would happen did happen.

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71 comments

    1. I travel around those back streets around Dominion road quite a bit and have still never seen these parallel cycle routes. Are there actually marked cycle lanes or are the parallel routes just some new street signs that seem to point you in every direction? Is that all they did, put a few signs in?

      1. They are mostly just street signs and/or shared path signs “allowing” you to ride on the footpath. However, there was some actual work done: some kerbs were moved out to widen the new shared paths, and traffic lights installed at intersections on Balmoral Road to make crossing easier, with short sections of on-road cycle lanes. There was also some traffic calming installed. All very well and good for local trips around the area, perhaps not so useful for longer distance trips, and still tricky if you want to get to something on Dominion Road itself.

        1. There just seems to be very small signs that have the street name and a picture of a bicycle, but all directions seem to have the bicycle picture so how do you know which is the route to take?. I was expecting some really obvious painted cycle lanes at the very least! What a waste of money…

          1. If I’m driving or on foot I would go straight along Dominion road, nice and easy and obvious!
            As this was meant to be an alternative to riding along Dominion road, shouldn’t they have made it obvious what that alternative is? If you are in Mt Roskill and want to cycle to the city are you just meant to know which back street zig zag to take?

          2. > As this was meant to be an alternative to riding along Dominion road, shouldn’t they have made it obvious what that alternative is? If you are in Mt Roskill and want to cycle to the city are you just meant to know which back street zig zag to take?

            Oh, I see what you’re getting at. Yeah, it’s pretty dire as an alternative to going the whole way along Dominion Road, but it wouldn’t be much less rubbish if you knew where it ran. It’s not too bad for just trips around the local area, though, where you need to know the streets anyway.

            Part of the problem is that Auckland’s streets are very badly disconnected, even in the older areas. Mostly, each street is just a feeder to the main road that used to have the tram line – there’s very little thought put in to getting *around* the neighbourhood easily, let alone to have alternative routes for alternative modes. Pretty much unfixable now, though.

          3. The concept is called “neighbourhood greenways” or “bike boulevards”; essentially creating quiet streets that are nice for cycling (without special cycle facilities) and disliked for driving, e.g. using traffic calming and cycle crossings of busy roads. They work best when they are virtually parallel routes to main roads e.g. grid networks (hence their popularity in Nth America). Christchurch is using them for some of their Major Cycleways, e.g. http://cyclingchristchurch.co.nz/2015/11/08/rapanui-shag-rock-cycleway-linwood-consultation/. Unfortunately the Dominion Rd side-streets are rather circuitous, making it even more crucial that route signage is good. It would have been nice to have retained the Dominion Rd cycle counter too, to see what shift in numbers was.

    2. Just got this in response to why Dominion Rd counter was discountinued, Also see the comment about Mangere

      There are a few questions around why the Dominion Rd counter was discontinued in yesterday’s post about bike numbers. The Dom Rd counter was discontinued because one of the loops wasn’t working, giving us unreliable counts. Because Dominion Rd is in quite a poor state at the moment, it was decided that it wasn’t worthwhile fixing or replacing the broken loop. The actual counter was thus removed and reinstalled at Hopetoun St, saving money on the installation of that particular counter.

      Someone also mentions that the Mangere Bridge counter was broken. It was the pedestrian counter that was broken, not the cycle counter.

  1. A lot of good news here, and it should improve even further over the next few months as more infrastructure comes online, particularly the Northwestern. I’m interested to know why sites like Mangere Bridge are showing minor declines though.

    It’s a pity that taxis couldn’t keep to the rules for Grafton Bridge, but I’m glad that AT is following through with recommendations that reflect that.

    1. It is sad, but Max at Bike Auckland said that the St Lukes interchange application came right after the BOI for Waterview – so it flew a bit under the radar for them too I think.

      So it was really the victim of a bit of a fast one pulled by NZTA (probably by HNO).

      And given the narrow squeak the Pohutakawa 6 had under pretty much the same “keep under the radar, don’t mention the war” regime its no surprise it was missed.
      Its not like NZTA actually you know, told anyone much about what was going on.

      1. I saw a guy cycling ON the NW motorway yesterday, near the golf course. And the workmen that saw him didn’t signal to him to get off the damn motorway, but rather pulled out their cellphones to take photos of him! Good times.

      2. Another missed opportunity was a Carrington Rd underpass with the cycleway connecting alongside the motorway. This would be through clay.

        The closure of the cycleway at St Lukes has been extended from 2 months to 4 months. Futureproofing for cables has been described, what about for an underpass? I believe this should be the busiest cycleway crossing in Auckland but it gets no improvement from the $70M interchange project. It would have been much cheaper to construct as part of the project.

      1. Everything I’ve read on this blog and Bike Auckland suggests it’s possible but would be prohibitively expensive – huge amount of basalt to cut through. The chance to do this came and went with the current works unfortunately.

  2. I note that the Mangere Bridge counter has been damaged since about mid-Dec so those numbers will go up – plenty of bikes there right through summer. I have advise AT

  3. Meh, I guess the cycling numbers rising a bit is a good thing but Auckland will never be a major cycling city, it’s geography simply isn’t conducive to it. Too spread out, far too many hills.

    It’s harmless enough I guess and I’m happy with spending a bit of cash on it, as long as it’s not at the expense of rapid mass transit. There’s a lot of higher priorities right now.

    1. Yeah, it’s like Northern Europe, i don’t know why they bother, just doesn’t have the climate for cycling, i don’t think cycling there will ever take off in a big way.

    2. I agree there are limits to how far people will ride, and Auckland’s sprawl will mean cycling mode share won’t be as high as compact cities.

      However I disagree with the notion that cycling and mass transit are mutually exclusive. Safe cycling routes to mass transit stations within a 15-20 minute cycling radius open up mass transit for a lot of people who would otherwise drive all the way. Have a look at some pictures on the internet of the number of bicycles parked at Dutch train stations.

      I’m also not convinced by the geography argument. Most commutes in Auckland might require some climbing but nothing too massive. Here in Sydney the overall cycling mode share is low but has increased a lot in the last few years for those living within the 10-15 km inner ring, despite plenty of small hills. The key drivers have been the introduction of some reasonably safe routes by local councils and the snowball effect of seeing other people riding to work/the shops etc.

      1. I cycle to work and many other places on a bike with only a 2 speed hub. I have to stand for all hills in low gear and can keep up with 95% of “roadies” in high. Auckland terrain and weather is no problem. My commute is 20 mins each way.

      2. Cycling and Transit are a match made in heaven. The bike is the great Station catchment extender; the first mile, last mile device. Over 50% of people on trains in Holland get to the station by bike. Spatially efficient, cheap, easy to park.

        Suburban stations are relatively easy to connect with a network of safe routes; cycling is in fact, the secret weapon of the ‘burbs when actively combined with high quality Transit:

        http://www.peopleforbikes.org/blog/entry/outer-london-is-about-to-embrace-the-secret-weapon-of-the-suburbs-the-bicyc

          1. Yes I can; I’ve seen it. Anyway the urban cycleways fund has happened under the current National led government, so it clearly is some kind of left/right thing, if that’s what you’re implying.

    3. Two of the biggest myths to ever hold cycling back. Here is some refutation from a well known advocate in the Netherlands who grew up in Auckland:

      Too much sprawl: http://www.aviewfromthecyclepath.com/search/label/population%20density

      Hills: http://www.aviewfromthecyclepath.com/search/label/hills

      Remember too that the whole low density, spread out argument was a myth created by the motorway builders to convince Auckland that motorways were the only option. In fact, Auckland is the second densest city in Australasia and the Isthmus has density comparable to many European cycling meccas.

      In fact, according to surveys the average Aucklander doesn’t travel that much further to work than the average Dutchie. The difference is the mode of the travel: http://greaterakl.wpengine.com/2013/12/02/reaching-out-cycling-and-public-transport/

      “Over 70% of cycle trips in the Netherlands are less than 7.5kms. In Auckland, the Auckland Regional Transport Authority (ARTA) estimated in 2007 that approximately 43% of peak morning trips are less than 5 km, and that approximately 67% of these are currently undertaken by car (ARTA 2007). The Ministry of Transport, Household Travel Survey, 2003–2009 revealed that one-sixth of household car trips in New Zealand were less than 2km long and almost half were less than 6km long.”

    4. Offhand, I can think of a number of hilly, spread-out cities where cycling levels are at least 3-4 times as much as currently in Auckland: Portland, Bristol, Vienna, Vancouver, Zurich. Sure, it’s another factor that influences cycling take-up, but less than most people realise (especially when combined with public transport and e-bikes). Build a decent cycling network in Auckland and you will get considerable growth on current numbers before the distance and hills start limiting things.

  4. I came home work via Nelson St, Pitt St, K Road, Grafton Bridge, Park Rd, Carlton Gore Rd, Broadway this afternoon and I have never seen so many cyclists. I was in a bunch of 5 riding up Nelson, with several riders passing in the opposite direction (plus two pedestrians – it is a shame the footpath has gone in the upper block). At least 6-7 of us squeezing through the stationary traffic in Park Rd outside the hospital (why didn’t they put in a cycle lane when they built the central connector bus way through there?). A couple of us down Carlton Gore and another large bunch of half a dozen along Broadway. I don’t consider myself a super-fast rider but even so I felt I was in a bike jam for some of the way. I think the problem we will have with our new cycleways is that they are too narrow for the volume of traffic they are attracting!

      1. It seems to be used more and more as a de facto footpath by some people though. Which I’m trying to be somewhat tolerant about – it shows how unattractive Nelson Street felt for walkers before, that they flock towards a protected facility – but I can imagine some nasty clashes happening with bikes zipping downhill and walkers headed (usually obliviously) along in the same downhill lane.

        1. There are more and more people walking in the pseudo motorway environments of Hobson/Nelson/Union than ever before [and riding]. They were engineered away by the street design but now the land use is recovering from also being devalued and marginalised by same process they have to. The facilities and wait times at crossings and of course the air quality make it a pretty unpleasant business, happily the recent work around the Pink Path have improved things for pedestrians too.

          I lived for about a year in the 1980s on Hobson St while at Art School, in an old two storey villa; yes really, now a carpark. It was great; cheap, so much space, filled with creative misfits making odd things. I worked nights in city restaurants and as I walked home late past the Central Police I used to see disco lights playing on the ceiling of the top floor and their dated top-40 hits filtering down. It was just up from Wah Lee, which is gloriously still there, and was the only shop for miles, we were better supplied with obscure Chinese products than milk or bread. On the weekends we had the city to ourselves, the afternoon light was beautiful. There was no-one, absolutely no-one, on those streets and not in a car then.

          As the city devaluing/ suburbia optimising designers of those motorways presumably wanted.

          1. Ive been cycling down nelson st as part of my daily commute for a couple years. As soon as they closed that left hand lane to start the works i noticed pedestrians start using it as a footpath where there were no pedestrians before.

          2. I lived at the top of Khyber Pass in the 90s and it was the same thing. The city closed up after 8pm. You could skate from the top of Symonds St all the way down through the university to Beach Rd in the middle of the road and never see a car.

        2. Yes the increase in cycling in that area is very noticeable.

          One stupid thing is, they didn’t add a pedestrian leg between the light path and the eastern side of Nelson Street. But cars can’t turn right when coming from the SH1 off-ramp, so in theory pedestrians can safely cross while that traffic has green light.

          I mean this crossing: https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-BDxO9H5AtrM/VmKlMae_8oI/AAAAAAAACiI/Fa2IZdD_1Mg/s450/IMAG0317.jpg

          Now some people on foot cross onto the cycle path and walk down the cycle path until there is a gap in traffic to cross Nelson Street, so they can avoid waiting at the pedestrian light.

          1. Its an obvious desire line, and as I recall the original plan from Max of Bike Auckland, called for a crossing for peds and cyclists there rather than the west side where it is now.

            I guess the thinking by AT was, if they put a ped crossing there, then cyclists would use it too to cross rather than use the “proper” one they built on the west side of Nelson – which is a dogleg to get to.
            If cyclists used the eastern side crossing then they’d end of on the wrong side of Nelson and have to cross over 4 lanes of traffic to get onto the protected cycleway.

            Doesn’t make that decision right, but I can perhaps see their thought processes. Even if I don’t agree with their conclusions as to why they left it out.

          2. Look at the nearby blocks:

            Currently there are a lot of apartments on the east side of Nelson Street. If you come from there, you have to do 3 crossings: Nelson Street, Union Street and SH1 off-ramp, instead of just 1.

            If you come from Hobson Street, the intersection with Union Street also has a missing leg. So from the west side, you have to do 4 crossings: Hobson Street, then Union Street, then the on-ramps, then SH16 off-ramp. Instead of, again, 1. From the eastern side you also get to do an extra crossing.

          3. Greg N, do you know why there is the missing leg at the Canada St/Upper Queen St intersection?

            Riding Grafton Gully to Light Path, it seemed quite awkward crossing Upper Queen St, stopping, then crossing Canada St, when we could have just had to do the one crossing.

          4. Brendan,
            There is a long detailed reason why, it escapes me right now, but again its an obvious desire line missing out.

            But I recall it was the “usual culprits” are at play here I think – AT traffic team simply don’t want to upset the (car driving) horses by holding up the movements in/out of Canada St too much.

            There is also a related issue there of the cyclists crossing at intersection Upper Queen St, Alex Evans and Ian Mckinnon Drive, same issue exists there too.

            I know that in the past, and I am sure that the Waitemata Local Board still are, along with Bike Auckland, actively lobbying AT to get both of these intersection better sorted for cyclists.
            Again AT sheer nervousness about cyclists holding up traffic in this part of town is a big part of the problem.

            With cycling numbers here going up and up, its only a matter of time before they accede to logic and put the cyclists and peds first.

            In any case, with the Dominion Road LRT coming through here in a few years they will have to do something about all those car unfettered movements on Upper Queen St and adjacent roads, both during construction and in operation.
            So keeping the status quo is not an option.

          5. LRT plans man have helped bring the plans for improved connection between the NW cycleway and Canada St along, as the upgrade will keep cyclists to the west of the proposed LRT route instead of crossing over. Hooray for both projects.

  5. I had forgotten there was no footpath there before. But there is a footpath on the lower-level access lane which presumably is what pedestrians are supposed to use.

  6. I rode up there yesterday evening and it was busy with riders and walkers, especially Union St. Build it and they come, cos they’re scuttling around in the shadows already: Latent Demand, methinks.

  7. I think it’s be useful to explain why “bike numbers increasing” is good but “car driver numbers increasing” is bad.

    1. Obvious comment is bikes increasing good and cars drivers increasing not so good – spatial efficiency – bikes use way less [road] space per person than a car does. Ergo more “people” can be moved using the same road space.
      There are lots of other quantifiable benefits too.

      NZTA have done the why cycling is good for everyone: see website here and their PDF on the benefits in a NZcontext here (sourced from a tweet from @transportblog earlier today)

      For the TLDR crowd, NZTA website lists these benefits of more cycling:
      more liveable towns and cities
      improved conditions for travelling within towns and cities
      stronger local economies
      reduced costs for councils
      less impact on the environment, and
      healthier and more productive people.

      Almost none of those benefits apply when only “cars increasing” is happening.

      Thats not to say that cars don’t have a place, but its all about giving people transport choices and letting them choose. Cars first (or only) doesn’t do that.

        1. They’re all of huge value. Billions of dollars, in fact.

          I’m not sure if you’re supremely ignorant, or just trolling.

        2. Those benefits are more real, more quantifiable and more meaningful to individuals and society than all those “journey time saved” and “network resiliance” calculation numbers that are routinely used to justify multi billion dollar motorway improvements – sometimes on the basis of a few seconds for each car trip such as the Puhoi to Wellsford RoNS, AWHC or Transmission gully to name a few.

          So if you doubt the NZTA figures on benefits of cycling are right or valid then you have to accept their calculations on the benefits and the basis that justifies them for yet more roads are also totally wrong and bogus.

    2. On the off chance that this is a serious question:

      Assuming both trips have roughly equal fun or usefulness value, we should look at other effects. Biking has positive externalities and negligible negative ones. Driving produces significant pollution and reduces amenity and safety in the immediate area of the car, besides being much more expensive to provide for at the margins of growth.

      1. Seriously Chris, on a bike you can’t carry goods, tools, and other necessities needed for the reason for which you travel. Not everyone travelling around the city is a loafer going for a coffee, or to the WINZ office.

        1. Really, buddy?

          I can pack 20kg easily – that’s pedestrian. You can do 30-40kg easily with training (ask your average infantryman).
          On a bicycle, you can double those numbers.

          So, you carry more than 40kg of kit? Really? Once you get the lumber etc. delivered to the site, what else do you need to caryr with you?

          1. 77% of traffic are private vehicles, mostly used by a single occupant. It is absurd to suggest that unless everybody rides then there is no benefit from cycling. Even a relatively small number of those SOV journeys switches to a bike then a fortune is saved, congestion shrinks, unicorns sigh… 5% would would mean no tradie would ever see a congested street again….

        2. Let me introduce you to my dad some time. He took a 36″ TV home on his bike once.

          I also do most of my shopping by bike (and the rest by public transport or on foot) – you may be interested to hear about this invention called a ‘backpack’, and its cousin the ‘saddlebag’. Seriously, Robert, not every trip involves carrying stuff, and you would be surprised how much you can carry on a bike. (As for tradies with a van full of gear, well, more bike trips free up the road for them.)

        3. Most people in a car are not tradies or delivery people, either.

          Saying biking is pointless because on occasions you have to carry goods is like saying a car is pointless because sometimes you go to Waiheke and in those circumstances need a boat. Or ditching the car and hiring lorries to get around because once in a while, you buy a 3 piece lounge suite and a car cant handle that.

          Its about the choice of using bikes AND cars (and the rest) for whenever its appropriate.

        4. That’s a ridiculous line of argument. I would say that except for tradies and retailers/delivery people, the vast majority of people going into the CBD aren’t carrying anything larger than could be put into a couple of pannier bags, at most. If these people were all “loafers” then we wouldn’t have a functioning CBD at all. Many of them could quite reasonably get around by bike with proper facilities in place.

        5. Two words – cargo bike.

          And you better talk to your anti-cycling mates and get a consistent line. The party line is that only rich people on the Isthmus cycle. Don’t go suggesting that only low income people who go to WINZ offices might ride bikes.

      1. Not trolling. Just seems weird that we see benefit in increasing numbers of one type of transport.

        I’ll give an example
        What matters to me is that I have an ability to get to work nice and early. So, for me, the mode is irrelevant – the speed, cost, and reliability is what matters.

        More people on buses, more people in cars, more people on bikes, irrelevant… I want to know whether or not we move more people quicker and more usefully for their needs.

        Personally, I *like* bike infrastructure, but I don’t think “more people using bikes” is relevant. What’s relevant is “more people getting to work quicker and cheaper by using bikes” or “less carbon dioxide emitted.”

        A thought experiment – imagine there was an earthquake that destroyed our railways, bus depots, and main roads into the CBD. Suddenly, the number of people biking to work would rocket, but I don’t think anybody would call that a positive result!!!

        1. More people on bikes is, by definition, more people moving cheaper and with less Co2 emitted than would be the case if they drove.

          Generally people will naturally gravitate to whatever means of travel is fast enough and useful enough for their needs, at the minimum cost. Growth in bike (or bus, or train) ridership compared to driver numbers is positive because it signals that people are able to satisfy those same needs for speed and usefulness, through methods that happen to have much lower negative external effects (or none at all), and sometimes some big positive ones.

        2. Early; you may only care about your commute but I care about the city, passionately, and these numbers are vital indicators of where it’s heading. And yes it is self-evident that more people riding is a good thing.

        3. It might be as long as freight could still get around.

          Imagine that a city made it possible to get from one part of the city to another direct only by bicycle. Meanwhile people in cars have to go right around the city on a ring road.

          What happens? A 60% cycling mode share according to Groningen. http://www.theguardian.com/cities/2015/jul/29/how-groningen-invented-a-cycling-template-for-cities-all-over-the-world

          And even with that VERY high mode share, what is Groningen doing? Encouraging MORE people to cycle.

          Do you know why? Because people travelling by bicycle are cheaper to provide for, healthier and happier.

          Do you know how many volunteer, community based advocacy groups there are in the Netherlands agitating for more car parking, car lanes and motorways and less cycling? None.

    3. Carbon dioxide.
      Health.
      Safety.
      Happiness (yes, there’s research on this).
      Better social connectivity (there’s research on this).
      Lower direct costs to the city and government (roadbuilding, road maintenance).
      Lowered congestion (getting people out of cars creates more space for non-substitutable road transport).

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