The future of cycling: Top 5 challenges and possibilities

13 October 2015

The home of cycling, Cambridge’s Avantidrome, recently hosted a symposium on the future of cycling to discuss challenges and possibilities.

The Future of Cycling: Challenges and Possibilities, hosted by Waikato University on 1- 2 October, included a presentation by Jack Jiang from AECOM, who’s involved in the Sustainable Business Network’s Bike 2050 project. Read on for the main points from Jack’s presentation. 

1. There is support for business engagement in Bike 2050:

When AECOM (known as an engineering firm to many) presented Bike 2050 at the conference, its progressive thinking, alignment with the Sustainable Business Network and NZ Transport Agency’s goals, and its collaborative approach were well received.

On presenting our Bike 2050 vision the approach showed the cycling community the potential for business to benefit from increased numbers of people riding bikes.

Bike 2050 vision is to promote and encourage cycling and the construction of cycle ways in New Zealand to benefit the health of the nation and cut carbon emissions in the environment. 

2. Recognise and support business leadership and encourage greater collaboration across private and public sectors:  

The business sector is critical in supporting the implementation of cycle ways, following the recent increase in funding for cycling infrastructure and the uniting of local and central government in its roll out. Until now there hasn’t been a lot of recognition of the positive role business has and can play here in New Zealand.

Through the collaboration on Bike 2050, AECOM has taken a bold leadership role lifting the conversations nationally with business. Over the past months the Sustainable Business Network and AECOM have focused on finding business leaders keen to get in behind and support efforts from the Government.  Collaboration is a big part of Bike 2050 and across participating agencies, including the private sector, NGOs and Government, we can reach a diverse range of people that might otherwise be unreachable by a single agency.  

3. We need to better understand cycling infrastructure:

People outside of the Bike 2050 project don’t have a clear understanding of cycling infrastructure, it was the perfect opportunity to explain the meaning behind the jargon. Cycling infrastructure includes:

Hard infrastructure: the physical infrastructure – things like separated cycleways, bicycle parking, street signage etc.

Soft infrastructure: This is what supports the functionality of our hard or physical infrastructure. This includes aspects such as education, big data, behavioural change, education etc. 

4. Time is SHORT:

We have a limited time to use the funding we have, show the benefits and demand more funding. The current round of funding from the central government tapers down in 2019. So as a collective we need to pull as much support as possible and demonstrate the benefits of cycling to NZ in order to continue future investment in cycling beyond the current funding round. The private sector will have a major role to play in delivering on this. 

5. Bike 2050 has the conference’s support.

Our vision to increase personal wellbeing (and happiness), improve the health of our cities, decrease our carbon footprint and demonstrate the economic value of cycling was well supported. We have two strategies around our vision, with three projects over the next few years to deliver our goals.

Bike 2050 Plan


Find out more about Bike 2050 and cycling infrastructure. If you’d like to get involved please contact Rachel Brown on