Find out how Bike 2050, an initiative led by SBN & AECOM in partnership with NZ Transport Agency, is accelerating the uptake of urban cycling in New Zealand’s cities.
Following on from the article How Cycling Can Help Your Business, this week’s foray into cycling looks at what increased investment in cycle infrastructure means for your business and the country as a whole.
Investment in New Zealand’s transport infrastructure has traditionally focussed on motorways and roads for motor vehicles, however a shift towards a more mature and diverse transport system is underway.
In collaboration with our partners, academics, professionals and communities, Bike 2050 is promoting a multidisciplinary approach to making cycling a viable mode of urban transport for all of New Zealand, which includes better cycling infrastructure.
Kathryn King, Manager of Walking and Cycling at Auckland Transport, says that $200 million has been committed to cycling in Auckland for the next three years and that it’s the first step in a plan to bring new life to the sprawling and car centric city.
By 2025, Kathryn says, there will be a dedicated network of cycling infrastructure throughout the region which will encourage more people to cycle for sport, to work or for leisure.
“We know from our research and international experience that a higher portion of commuters will cycle to work or study where cycle infrastructure has been built,” she says.
The benefits, she says, are that commuters will have another travel option and it creates better environments for shoppers.
“It’s also good for businesses as their employees have a more reliable means of transport arriving at work energised and ultimately healthier. Retail business can also benefit from new cycle infrastructure as it brings people on bikes into their area and creates a more attractive environment for pedestrians by reducing vehicle speeds.”
Jack Jiang, Urban Designer and Bike 2050 project lead from AECOM simplifies it right down: “an ideal cycling environment is one that enables anyone to ride a bike safely and enjoyably in a city. Cycleways needs to link to places where people like to go”.
Dougal List, NZ Cycling Manager from the NZ Transport Agency agrees that more people on bikes will make for better shopping environments and says this will have a knock on effect for businesses.
“It may also mean that some businesses need to think differently about how customers might visit them. So, rather than just thinking about car parking they’ll need to think about people arriving on bikes,” he says.
There will, both Kathryn and Dougal say, be some challenges around adapting to the new network but they both agree there will be greater benefits.
“There is real opportunity for business to tap into the increased demand for cycling – including how they can support employees to be able to choose to bike and thereby increase their competitive advantage as an employer of choice,” Dougal says.
Kathryn says Auckland Transport is preparing for the challenges by, “campaigning to inform the wider community of the cycle infrastructure we plan to build and an important part of that is the public consultation on individual projects. We want people to have a say in how these cycle paths are designed because ultimately, they will be the ones using them.”
Behaviour change, says Dougal, will be a big part of ensuring that people are engaged with the opportunities cycling presents.
“Both encouraging more people to bike more often and also encouraging cyclists and other road users to behave with mutual respect to each other are important. Cycling is an important part of our transport system and also helps deliver a range of wider benefits such as making our towns and cities great places to live and do business.”
Jack says that while there are behavioural challenges, geographic challenges will be easily overcome.
“Innovation is the basis for good design, so hilly terrain should never be a barrier to creating great cycling infrastructure…It’s about working with the natural environment and the needs of its local community, truly understanding the parameters we’re working within and creating outcomes that are focused on the end users.”
Jack says that the key is, “using the intellectual capital from innovators in this field while localising it for our home environment”.
The SBN’s Bike 2050 project looks at investment in national transport infrastructure that will embrace transport diversity within our cities.
Do you know how many of your team bike to work? Do you have bikes in your fleet? Do you have good procedures to support staff cycling safely? If you interested in taking a leadership role in supporting and promoting cycling culture in NZ we are keen to hear from you.
To find out more or get involved, contact Rachel Brown on Rachel@sustainable.org.nz