Every year Auckland Transport have an independent company survey Aucklanders about walking and cycling. They’ve just released the 2018 numbers and they’re fantastic. In total 1,459 took part in this year’s survey and are said to be representative of the Auckland population by age, gender and location. Here’s a quick summary

And here are some of the more detailed results:

More people are saying they’re cycling with now 38% saying they do (up 3%). The number cycling at least monthly is also heading up.

This can be broken down further which shows that people once considering cycling now appear to be giving it a go.

And some of groups driving changes.

The numbers show the cycling trips being made are increasingly not just for recreational purposes.

It’s great that a lot more people are riding bikes to public transport. The most noticeable places for this are ferry terminals but busway stations are quite busy too.

Bike parking at Akoranga busway station

This is further reinforced by many cyclists stopping on the way to their destination, and in most cases, spending money locally.

Interestingly it’s not just cycling on the rise, the survey asked which modes people regularly used.

Moving on, the results show most people are increasingly positive for the future of bikes in Auckland.

And here is almost two thirds of people saying that cycle lanes are good for their community.

This last one is notable as it’s the part of the story the herald focused on in their article on. Mike Hosking also challenged the survey so launched his own. Here are the results of that at the time of writing this post and with 10,000 votes.

That’s fairly comprehensive and with 10,000 votes, thanks Mike. That result is considerably higher than the It also really highlights how we as a society are changing towards bikes.

The results overall show some very positive signs. Not only are more people cycling but perceptions about cycle lanes and cyclists are changing too. As the report notes, this is most prominent in places where better infrastructure exists. It shows that AT need to push through the minority of vocal opposition and build more bike infrastructure as soon as possible.

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56 comments

  1. Be nice if this was reflected in more investment in cycle ways, the council serm to have gone quiet on the topic.

    Does anyone know what is happening on the GI to Tamaki route? Supposed to finished this year but I don’t see much work taking place.

  2. Greetings from Amsterdam! And yes, I do believe that cycling is essential to building a prosperous, equitable, amd sustainable city. So it’s great to see Aucklanders getting onboard in greater numbers.

    1. Greetings, Stuart. Yes, I’d go further too. I think cycling is essential to good social health, having massive psychological benefits.

  3. Two billion dollars would give Auckland a complete and comprehensive separated cycle network, AND GIVE EVERY SINGLE AUCKLANDER A FREE ELECTRIC BIKE. Free bikes for all??? Outrageous and outlandish some would say, including many who demand a six billion dollar plus second harbour crossing….

  4. Can’t wait to see the planned improvements for Henderson – the rest of the way to the city (from west) is pretty good at present, with that section under Newton Rd ready to go in a few months. Although getting around in the city could be easier, i.e. its too much drama crossing from west to east to visit my partner on break, or to grab something from a city shop that a bit further away before heading home.

    In Henderson I hope that they hook up my local shared path, the Oratia steam path to the Twin Streams one that goes up to the motorway, currently the on-road section between there is realllllly dangerous I’ve only been through about a dozen times and been cut off really bad at least thrice, and yelled out to on multiple occasions with bs like “looser” etc. Would also be great having better connections with the local shops etc. Also some better width and lighting along the twin streams section is a must – have to slow down to a crawl in the early mornings or evenings – of cause I have added this feedback to the Henderson consultation.

    Its also great that its almost free, as someone who had no room to free up money in monthly budget it was a relief to remove the kinda expensive $200 a month on driving or PT. Next is my partner (whom is keen for an e-bike) and we should have $400 extra a month to stock up the cupboards. Of cause it will take several months to see the return on investment though. The other big plus is no more standing packed train or waiting on frustratingly congested roads.

    1. How long does it take you from Henderson to the city? I am in Sunnyvale and considering whether I should start cycling. Google maps says it will take about 1hr 15m from Sunnyvale to Britomart so I am interested in how long it might take on an e-bike.

      1. Sunnyvale (Parrs Park area) to Sale St (near Victoria Park) takes around an hour for me on a e-bike, at a moderate pace. 50 min if rushing.

        Its pretty straight forward and chill – but one word of warning is – tactile pavers… they have thrown me off my bike a few times, take it very slow over those…

        Also as I said the on-road section between Kmart and the The Falls Restaurant is not for the faint hearted. Hopefully we get some cycle infra through that section soon.

        1. Thanks for the feedback! 50-60mins is about the same as getting the train so that sounds pretty good.

          Yes, that area near the mall is bad! The nice shared path just disappears. I would definitely be on the footpath through there – my wife would be too worried otherwise.

          I submitted in the recent consultation for protected lanes through that section.

          1. The Euro bikes are restricted to 25km/h motor assist* whereas non-Euro bikes usually do around 35km/h or higher before the motor peters out. Something to bear in mind if you are commuting a fair distance.

            Try a few before buying!

            *Some can be dongled to change the top speed.

          2. Hi Ossu – I’m in Glen Eden and can get to Parnell in about 50m on a regular pushbike. From Sunnyvale (depends which part) I would go through Waikumete cemetery and then my route is Clayburn to Kelston shops, cross Gt North, back roads to the Whau crossing at Ken Maunder Park, the short length of Ash Street alongside the racecourse, Avondale shops then cross Blockhouse Bay to get onto the Waterview path and on to the NW cycleway via Unitec. Hope that helps…

            I biked most of my life, but I’m not superfit. I got back on the bike when I realised that the train and the bike were about the same overall; just shows how slow the western line can be.

      2. If you are just starting you could also consider doing a train-bike- take the bike on the train from Sunnyvale to Avondale then hook up with Waterview-NW cycle lane and on into city ( or a station even closer in if you think you will take a bit of time getting commute ready)

        1. Yes, that’s a good idea too! At first i would definitely struggle getting to the city on my push bike but on an e-bike I might be alright. Haven’t got an e-bike yet so doing the split leg at first could be a good way to get an idea of how cycling the whole way could be.

  5. Great numbers but I’m a bit sceptical about the accuracy. It just doesn’t feel right that 38% of people are cycling. I’d be surprised (and pleased) if it was that high. It would be interesting to know how they got their sample.

    1. Info from TRA:

      The AT Active Modes study was conducted among a representative sample of 1,459 Aucklanders aged 15+ years old. To ensure a representative sample, this is managed in a few important ways:
      1. Respondents invited to take part in the survey were proportional to the Auckland population as per 2013 census, reflecting Age, Gender and Auckland Regions (Rodney, North, Central, West, East, South, Franklin).
      2. Respondents didn’t know what the survey was on or for before completing the survey, removing any participation bias.
      3. We sample daily – meaning over the 5th – 20th April, we spread the number of interviews to minimise any impact of events or weather. This is the same time as the previous year – again to remove any seasonality bias.
      4. We ‘post weight’ all respondents back to Auckland census data to ensure the final respondents who complete are representative of Aucklanders aged 15+ years old.
      5. We boost sample for city fringe and regular cyclists for this survey – this is only used for specific analysis purposes. This boost in specific segments does not affect the overall data or results reported as they are weighted back to population and behaviour.

      1. I’m no statistician but this appears pretty solid then. The 66% of people regularly using vehicles does seem low, but it does show that it has come down in steps each year, from 72% just two years ago. I can’t see any reason not to believe it. The last few years has seen a huge increase in congestion, using AT figures. Lots of people will have made changes to avoid that: not just shifting to PT and cycling, but also switching to a local job (I know many who have done this). Then there is the ageing population, which does include a number of people choosing to live in complexes where everything is provided, or to live locally or use the bus so they don’t have to drive, which has become stressful on our congested and dangerous roads. And of course amongst the international students, recent migrants and apartment dwellers there are increasing numbers of people not using cars.

        Unless someone presents a good argument, I’m going with this information: 34% of people in Auckland aged 15 and up do not use vehicles as a regular form of transport.

        I think it’s our understanding of what we do that might need adjusting.

      2. Sounds pretty good. But do we know how they actually contacted people and how they completed the survey. I do remain sceptical about the results. How do they take into account that people that cycle are more likely to answer a survey about cycling than people that have no interest in it?

        1. 2. Respondents didn’t know what the survey was on or for before completing the survey, removing any participation bias.

        2. Good market research companies know how to address the usual forms of sample bias in the way they select their respondents and describe the survey to them. By way of comparison, the proportion of Chch residents who cycle at least once a year on-road is 51% (incl. about a third at least monthly, a quarter at least weekly) – this comes from the annual Residents’ Survey that asks questions on a wide range of topics.

          Remember; this is not the proportion of people who ride regularly (eg to work most days); it’s ANY time you have been on a bike (for some people, not many times a year but still not zero). People often conflate the (small) percentage of trips made by bike with the percentage of people who bike. It would be like assuming that, because Christmas-related purchases (presents, food, decorations, etc) probably only make up 1-2% of the total retail bill, therefore only 1-2% of people ever buy Christmas stuff…

  6. So sorry to read that Mike Hosking’s poll was even more cycling-friendly than AT’s. I’d be fascinated to hear how he presented (and justified?) the outcome on his radio show! Anyone hear it?

  7. The most interesting thing for me is the fact that almost a third of Aucklanders use public transport once a week or more… and especially interesting is that a full third of Aucklanders don’t drive once a week or more.

    1. Assuming that is true, that is 1.5 million * 1/3 * 52 PT trips a year = 26 million trips a year. Assuming a return journey that is 52 million PT trips a year. Quite a big percentage of total PT trips from casual users?

      1. Yeah interesting, another way to look at that is 1.8m trips a week, say 900,000 return trips.

        That would suggest about a quarter million people take PT most days (3 to 4 return trips a week on average), and a quarter million who take it about once a week (1 return trip week on average).

        Broadly those sorts of figures make sense to me.

  8. So on viewing the results of his poll, did Mike Hosking:
    A. Tell 7400 people they’re idiots
    B. Proclaim his poll was hijacked
    C. Graciously admit he was wrong (lol)

    1. Mike made a commitment about the cycling pole on his fb page at 615 this morning,said that we texted all our mates to skew the results .what a twat he is

  9. In NZ Hearld, there is a graph about cycling growth at different part of Auckland.

    What concerns is the south Auckland cycling has declined this year.

  10. I am glad the survey wasn’t organised by Phil Goff. He would have spent $1mill and then claimed he didn’t receive the report and then once they found he did actually have the report then he would have given Councillors a redacted version.

  11. Nice to see AT surveying a geographically balanced, age balanced, gender balanced group of cyclists.

    I wonder what the results would be if they asked a random selection of average Aucklanders instead. I think I’m the only adult on my street of a few hundred people that cycle.

    1. 2. Respondents didn’t know what the survey was on or for before completing the survey, removing any participation bias.

    2. And in my workplace of seven, 100% of them bike – equally useless as a statistical sample. The plural of anecdote is not data…

      1. I understand your point Glen, but totally disagree. Your data is a true data set just for your workplace, but not a sample reflection of society as a whole. I have lived in the same cul-de-sac street typical for South Auckland for decades. Out of 200 or so people that live there, I’ve seen many children riding bikes, but only 1 adult other than myself using a bike on my street. My data set is true for just my street. However I think it is also a fair sample reflection for large swathes of South Auckland.

        That report says that if you pick up a bike at least once in your life you count as a cyclists who they call “occasional cyclists”. That’s saying that 40% OF cyclists in Auckland have used a bike at least once in their life or maybe a few times a year. But that gets hidden, because they lump everything together. They use that to say that 38% of Aucklanders cycle. Even though only 23% use a bike at least once a month and only 8% at least twice a week. But they don’t mention those numbers because it doesnt sound as good. It’s basically propaganda.

        If I look at the stats from South Auckland (30%) and scale it just for frequent cyclists, it suggests only 6% of people in South Auckland use a bike at least twice a week. Of my street if I remove the children, there is just a bit more than 100 adults. So at least 6 people should cycle more than twice a week. In my decades of living on this street, there is just me and one other guy that would count.

        Nick, this is my problem with the survey. The numbers don’t look right. They say there is no confirmation bias, but that is simply untrue. There is no way to say for sure that the people they are surveying are a true selection of society. Some people are simply more likely to do a survey than others. How do they choose people to survey? I assume they just do the survey through people that have signed up to AT or AC email surveys in the past, because I’m pretty sure I filled out this survey earlier in the year. I think I end up getting a lot of surveys because there would be such a small pool of people in my area.

        The problem is that you already have a self selection bias of people who like making submissions, like filling out surveys, like filling out surveys for council and people who like being consulted about council related stuff. I’d take a guess that the council database for their surveys is inherently biased because of how people end up on the list in the first place as volunteers. It isn’t a random selection of rate-payers. It is a group of people who self selected. You end up surveying a very specific group of people who may or may not be a true reflection of society.

        I have no problem with the story they are trying to tell with regards to improving public perception of cycling in Auckland. But the “38% of Aucklanders cycle” they splash everywhere can seem contradictory to the average Aucklander living in the suburbs who never sees anyone but children using a bike in their neighborhood.

        1. Goosoid, I knew all that before my previous comment. That doesn’t answer anything that I raised.

          I just want to know how they choose people to survey.

          Yes they adjusted the sample for population and gender and age and regions so that it matches Auckland as a whole. That’s all standard practice. I have no problem with that.

          I don’t even have a problem with idea that 65% of Aucklanders think cycleways are positive, because most people are sane and think about their kids/grandkids saftey on their local streets. But it’s a biased question because most people would say yes. It’s like asking “Do you think getting more nice things for your street is good?”

          If you picked up a bike once 12 years ago, from this survey, you count as a cyclist in Auckland. This is not made clear. They just say 38% of Aucklanders are cyclists. Forget the fact that only 8% use a bike more than twice a week. It is deceptive use of stats.

          The main problem I have is the source of the volunteers. People are invited to do the survey. Who? Who is on the list and how did they get on the list? Registered voters? Those who have landlines? People who actually answer their landline? People who have done council surveys in the past? These are all biased pools of people. If you sample from them, the sample is still biased in some way.

          The only unbiased sample would be random sampling of the entire population which is incredibly difficult and expensive because it is hard to get that data and get access to those people. They don’t mention this anywhere.

          I’d like to be told otherwise, but I just assume they used the council database of people who have already opted in to do surveys for AT and AC. This is a very cheap and effective way to get enough people for a representative sample. This is a biased pool and I am one of them. I’m fairly sure I did this survey and I was on the list because I opted in via AC/AT surveys in the past. Of course it could have been a different survey for similar info.

          My problem is that the results for South are not even close to representative of my street which is a pretty typical street for south auckland. The results suggest that there is bias in the pool of volunteers of people more likely to cycle. If that is true for my area, then it may be true for the rest of Auckland as well.

          1. This isn’t an AT or AC survey, its run by a private market research firm. When I worked in one we called mobile numbers randomly (the system filters null numbers and routes ringing ones to the human operator) then asked them some basic demographics and invited them to participate, then you tell them what it is about.

            What you’re perhaps missing is they post-weight their data according to demographic, area and income levels of respondents to reflect auckland as a whole, so they adjust for a lot of self selection biases.

  12. Exactly the same split that was against the Auckland Council Fuel Tax on their Facebook poll with 10K votes. I take it that will be given equal weighting here?

  13. What a load of bollocks, Cycling in Auckland is to public transport, what kites from Palestine are to Israeli snipers.

    If you asked in our household there are five bikes and two cars for three people, However all the bikes are stuck away under the house with flat tires and haven’t been out in years.

    In a city with highly variable weather, little dedicated infrastructure or cost effective means of achieving, lots of hills, and it.very poor driving standards and low levels of policing.

    Cycling is never going to be more than a fringe novelty. Highly seasonal and profoundly unsafe for younger users. Just like motorcycling, except too slow to go the sort of distances required of Auckland commuting.

    Buses however tend to be a bit more all weather. Can carry far more users per vehicle and keep you dry and relatively safe to your destination.

    1. Yes, Clive, change is impossible, Auckland has never changed and never could. We should give up and just accept everything for how it is, and never try to do anything for the better.

      It’s a good thing that Amsterdam and Copenhagen have such great weather, and Oslo is so flat (and warm!), otherwise people wouldn’t ride their bikes there!

    2. Maybe you could use these survey results to learn that not every household is like yours. Times, they are a-changing.

      Ari and Clive: I think the statistics to pay the most attention to, given your scepticism, are those showing changes. Whatever bias the survey might have is reflected in the results every year, but surely you can see that the change is likely to reflect real change?

    3. Variable weather? You mean unlike tropical Amsterdam?

      Hills? Then why is the hilly Isthmus the most popular for cycling while flat Manukau has the lowest mode share?

      little dedicated infrastructure – there we go. You identified the real reason. So I agree with you, we need to change the make up of our roads. Juts like the Netherlands did in the 1970s when they headed down the auto dependent part. Thing is the Netherlands valued the life of their children, unlike NZ apparently. Moving cars as fast as possible is more important to NZers.

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