Cycling network guidance – planning and design

What provision should be made for people cycling within our transport network, and where?

Cycling Network Guidance – planning and design (CNG) aims to promote a consistent, best-practice approach to cycling network and route planning throughout New Zealand. It sets out a principles-based process for deciding what cycling provision is desirable, and provides best-practice guidance for the design of cycleways.

The figure below provides an overview of the CNG’s content.

Context Principles Process Are you planning a cycle network or route?

Overall the guidance provides the essential ingredients of good planning and design but also encourages innovation!

The guidance is not solely for ‘cycle-specific’ projects; it also adds value to planning and design of general transport projects. The inclusion of case studies and trials is important for the learning needs of the sector and providing these to share is strongly encouraged.

  • Cycling network planning

    Cycling network planning is a key part of the process of improving community mobility and accessibility by providing interconnected routes and facilities based on bicycle users' needs. It aims to provide people with safe, comfortable, direct cycling routes from all origins to all destinations that:

    • link to form a network
    • make cycling a safer and more attractive transport choice
    • provide for cycling tourism and recreation.

    Cycling route planning is the analysis of options and organisation of the most appropriate facilities and treatments into a continuous route for cyclists that will take them safely and comfortably along their journey. The Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency’s ‘Planning and Investment Knowledge Base(external link) provides guidance for assessing the strategic importance of a cycling projects.

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  • Cycleway design

    Cycling facilities will differ depending on the environment through which the route passes, and the different types of people they are intended to attract.

    Cycleway design aims to provide cycling routes that:

    • provide a high LOS for people cycling, including safety, convenience and comfort
    • provide operating space for people cycling and other users
    • minimise conflicts with other users
    • meet (or exceed) appropriate minimum standards
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  • Scope of guidance

    The CNG covers all aspects of cycling network planning and facility design. It includes or links to guidance from many key documents, such as the Traffic control devices manual and Austroads guides to traffic management and road design.

    The cycle planning approaches and interventions adopted will depend on the circumstances at each location. With this in mind, the guidance does not prescribe a single approach or intervention, but presents a variety, along with their advantages, disadvantages and limitations and the circumstances when each would be most appropriate. It recognises that financial, technical and political factors may affect what can be achieved at any particular location or time.

    This is not an instruction manual. It is a best-practice, principles-based guide to the process of cycling network planning and design, with tools that may help cycle planners and communities. It is not legally binding guidance.

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  • Background

    ‘Cycling Network Guidance – planning and design’ was developed in 2015–16 as part of a comprehensive programme of work making cycling a safer and more attractive transport choice in New Zealand. Consultants were commissioned to help Waka Kotahi bring together the latest thinking and best practice interventions to support the delivery of cycling programmes.  An initial survey was conducted to identify the key gaps in New Zealand planning and design guidance for cycling, this led to updating much of the guidance for inclusion in the CNG. The guidance was peer reviewed by the project steering group and other consultants, and following sector feedback will be ratified through the Waka Kotahi standards and guidelines process. There are further gaps to be filled over time and where this is the case a ‘watch this space’ icon is provided.

    Much of the planning content is based on the Cycle network and route planning guide, which was one of the Road Safety to 2010 strategy projects. It was developed and managed by the Land Transport Safety Authority in 2003–04. The design guidance is from a range of sources.

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  • Future revision

    The CNG is only available online.  It will be updated as cycling network planning and design knowledge and best-practice evolves. Research is on-going and feedback from programme successes around the country will be fed into the guide periodically.

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Contact us

If you have any feedback, questions regarding CNG or innovations you would like share, we would love to hear from you: