Research to benefit cyclists and bus users

The mode by which people choose to travel (car, public transport, walking, cycling) has important implications for climate change and other environmental outcomes, as well as health, social and economic wellbeing.

Bus stop bypasses

Examples of Wellington bus stop bypass designs. From left: Victoria St, Crawford Rd, Island Bay

Victoria University of Wellington (VUW) Master’s student Keren Love carried out research over the summer of 2020/2021 to understand how cyclists and pedestrians felt about new bus stop bypass designs around Wellington City. The research was done in collaboration with Wellington City Council (WCC) as part of VUW’s summer scholarship programme, and was co-supervised by VUW’s Associate Professor Ralph Chapman and WCC’s Principal Advisor Transport Strategy, Nadine Dodge.

Sites where cycle lanes and bus stops meet are key potential conflict points with both pedestrians and moving traffic along a cyclist’s journey. Bus stop bypasses can be designed at these sites to allow cyclists to move off the road and away from buses and other moving traffic, but in doing so increase the potential that cyclists will need to interact with bus patrons and other pedestrians. Ensuring that bus stop bypasses are well-designed is a key part of improving feelings of safety and service levels for both active and public modes of transport. This contributes to the overarching WCC goal of shifting people away from their cars and towards more environmentally sustainable and healthier forms of transport.

Over the summer, Keren and WCC staff members conducted intercept surveys of cyclists and pedestrians using bus stop bypasses during peak traffic hours to identify their perceptions of safety when using the sites. Survey results showed that designs at some sites were successful at making both cyclists and pedestrians feel very safe. This was particularly the case at uphill sites where cyclists were already travelling slower- these sites were along Crawford Road travelling from Kilbirnie towards Newtown (for readers familiar with Wellington). However, other sites left pedestrians and bus patrons feeling worried about potential collisions with cyclists passing through. One of the main recommendations for improving safety at all sites that arose from survey participants’ feedback included ensuring clear indications, through markings or signage, of who has right of way in shared zones.

The research has already been shared on several platforms. Nadine published a series of blog posts while Keren presented the research to a receptive audience at the Waka Kotahi Transport Conference 2021. The findings have also contributed to informing Waka Kotahi’s National Public Transport Design Guidance on Bus Stop Design.

This research is part of the Public Housing and Urban Regeneration: Maximising Wellbeing research programme.

Read the full report.

For further information, contact Keren Love -