This section discusses how to implement the agreed cycle network plan and related initiatives.

  • Integration

    Cycle network planning needs to be integrated with mainstream transportation planning and policy. If not, conflicting policies and infrastructure provision can undermine its potential to achieve its objectives – for example, measures that increase the volume and speed of traffic with which people cycling have to mix.

    Providing for the needs of people on bikes should be the responsibility of all departments or divisions of a local authority or road controlling authority, whether or not they have a cycling officer or unit. Particular attention needs to be paid by councils with separate transport/roading and parks/reserves units, to ensure consistency of standards and delivery for cycleways.

    This is because their decisions and activities have the potential to either help or hinder the satisfaction of cyclists’ needs. The task is too big to be the sole responsibility of one person or small specialist unit.

    Opportunities to improve provision for cycling

    Opportunities to improve provision for cycling will happen within activities being conducted for other reasons such as routine maintenance, infrastructure improvements for safety or efficiency of traffic and pedestrians, road safety promotion and travel demand management. 

    Such opportunities may include:

    • road marking after resealing
    • carriageway adjustments with kerb and channel replacement
    • shoulder widening as part of edge-break repairs or drainage improvements
    • railway, motorway and pipeline corridors
    • conservation land
    • using strategic properties that come up for sale for off-road facilities or links
    • co-ordinating with projects carried out by adjacent local authorities and NZ Transport Agency
    • arterial road traffic management – parking restrictions, speed management and crossing facilities
    • safety improvement works and intersection changes
    • traffic signal upgrades – cycle-friendly detectors, signals and phasing, and lane arrangements
    • bus priority schemes – bus-bike lanes, head start signals
    • bridge replacement or widening
    • local area traffic management schemes, including contra-flow lanes
    • neighbourhood accessibility plans
    • school and workplace travel plans
    • improvements for pedestrians, such as barrier removal, crossings and footpath widening – include wider, shared paths
    • urban renewal projects
    • parks and reserves redevelopments
    • other developments by the local authority and others
    • riverfront and waterfront developments
    • new subdivisions, including paths and links
    • new commercial developments or redevelopments
    • reviews of network speed limits.

    Infrastructure projects

    Each local authority has forward work programmes identifying the infrastructure works to be implemented in the planning period, including road, path and bridge construction and maintenance (see Physical works programmes under Aspects to monitor in Monitoring and reporting).

    A plan showing these infrastructure works should be superimposed on the cycle network plan to identify where the two sets of works overlap. Any desirable cyclist facilities should be incorporated in the mainstream infrastructure works rather than being retrofitted at greater expense and possibly to a lesser standard later.

    By adopting non-motorised user reviews (see Audits under Assessment methods in Evaluating cycle route options and facility type) within projects being undertaken for other reasons, the opportunities to improve cyclist provision becomes an integral part of each project.  

    Also, cycle facilities can be provided as part of other infrastructure works (or maintenance) rather than being funded by a local council’s dedicated cycle facilities fund. This means the fund can be made to go further and the primary cycle route network can be achieved sooner.

    Individual opportunities to incorporate cycling works with other programmed works are likely to be scattered around the network, which means fragmented facilities until the inter-linking portions are completed. This is unavoidable and acceptable as long as suitable transitions are designed. However, it is desirable to implement whole routes wherever possible as incomplete cycle facilities are likely to result in significant cyclist dissatisfaction. (Refer to Aspects to monitor in Monitoring and reporting for more information on monitoring programme implementation. It may be that dedicated cycle funding can be used to help provide the ‘missing link’ when other funding sources are delivering the rest of the route.

    District plans

    Include maps of the primary cycle route network in district plans, together with appropriate objectives, policies and rules relating to avoiding, remedying or mitigating the adverse effects of other activities on cycling, in a similar way to provisions for arterial roads. Mitigation measures could include, for example, off-street car parking provision to allow for cycle lanes, and private contributions towards implementing an adjacent section of the network. Maps will also help developers to ensure that their plans incorporate cycling appropriately.

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  • Implementation programmes

    Long-term programme

    The long-term implementation programme, which needs to be flexible, should record each project’s name, location, estimates of construction cost and professional fees, and proposed year of implementation.

    The professional fees for investigation and design can be significant compared with other roading projects. This is partly due to the relatively low construction cost of many cycling projects, whilst still being reasonably complex in terms of public consultation, liaison with utility services, etc. If the proportion of the cost spent on professional fees becomes a point of contention for the project, it is best to focus on the total overall cost. Cycling projects generally cost significantly less per kilometre than roading projects for private vehicles. 

    For the purpose of integration, the cycle network implementation programme should have the same planning period as the local authority’s long-term programme.

    Separate plans showing each stage of the work should be prepared. Such plans help identify and avoid any gaps in the network.

    Short-term programme

    A more precise one- to five-year cycle network implementation programme should be prepared, based on the longer term programme. This programme can feed into the local authority’s annual planning process.

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  • Cycle network and programme review

    At least every five years, the entire cycle network and implementation programme should be reassessed to confirm its currency. Factors to consider include:

    • Has the cycle network development progressed as planned?
    • Have cyclist desire lines or cycle route usage changed?
    • Has cyclist safety improved?
    • Have there been significant changes to the district transport infrastructure or major land-use developments that require changes to the network plan?
    • Have cycle network and route design and planning practice changed?
    • Has the way that cycle projects are evaluated and funded changed?
    • Are there opportunities to complete gaps in the network that should be given a higher priority?
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  • Detailed investigation and design

    This step involves assessing individual cycling infrastructure projects in more detail than at the network planning stage, which may have been undertaken some years previously.

    It may be appropriate to confirm that the planned option is still the most appropriate. Refer to the earlier sections of this guide for details of these assessments.

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  • Concept development : Urban and Landscape Design

    The NZ Transport Agency has well developed urban design and landscape processes to be followed through the planning, design and construction phases of Transport Agency projects. Both the Transport Agency Urban Design Guidelines and the Transport Agency Landscape Guidelines feature useful direction on how to undertake an Urban Design assessments, Landscape and Visual Assessments, and how to shape the urban design and landscape design aspects on Transport Agency projects. This includes (on large, complex and urban projects) the development of an Urban and Landscape Design Framework (ULDF) and the steps required to secure the right urban design and landscape expertise and outcomes as the project develops. 

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  • Audit

    The audit tools discussed in Assessment methods in Evaluating cycle route options and facility type can be applied at scheme concept stage, to detailed design plans, and after construction.

    Design audit

    Before the detailed investigation and design are complete, plans should be audited to identify any design deficiencies and to ensure that opportunities to improve cycling conditions are properly considered.

    Post-construction inspection

    When a cycle facility is complete, and preferably before it is opened for use, it should be inspected using a bicycle. The inspection aims to identify any deficiencies that could compromise safety for people cycling. Any remedial works considered necessary should be carried out as soon as possible and preferably before the facility is opened for use.

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  • Personnel resources

    It is essential that all personnel, including politicians, who are responsible for planning, implementing and promoting cycling facilities are available, appropriately trained and skilled and aware of the latest technical guidance and relevant research findings. There also needs to be a wider understanding of cycling policy, its objectives and benefits. Specialist training should be undertaken where necessary (McClintock, 2002, pp.32–33).

    Personnel resources can include:

    Cycling planners

    Many projects in different administrations and organisations can affect cycling, and planning and implementing a cycle network involves a significant amount of work.

    For this reason, each road controlling authority should have someone with overall responsibility for preparing and implementing its cycling strategic plan. Where large urban areas are involved this position should be full-time, and may need the support of other full-time staff dedicated to this function.

    Those responsible for co-ordinating cycle provision need to have a high profile within their organisations and be supported by senior management. Ideally planners will also have a good working relationship with and support from local councillors; this can be fostered through inclusion of a political ‘champion’ for cycling.

    Cycling advocates

    Cycling advocates, who often form groups to further their collective interests, can make a significant contribution at most stages of the cycle network planning and implementation process. Their views should be sought at key planning and design stages, so that they consider themselves as partners to the process, rather than having to take a stance of opposition if they do not agree with certain matters. Such input should preferably by involvement alongside others in an advisory group so the project is not seen as being captured by one interest group.  

    Bear in mind though that advocacy groups often include a lot of experienced cyclists who may not fully appreciate the needs of the interested but concerned target audience. It may be necessary to educate advocacy groups about this target audience and encourage them to include members who represent these views.

    Details of the consultation required at each step in the planning process are discussed in Engagement and consultation.

    Cycling advisory groups

    It is recommended that each local authority convene a cycling advisory group (or at least an active modes advisory group). Transparency of all governance is paramount to avoid challenges to its legitimacy. The composition of the group should include the following:

    • elected representative(s) (ideally the representative(s) of the constituency where the infrastructure is planned)
    • target user representative (members of the public, or representative of an appropriate ‘cycling group’ eg Cycling Action Network)
    • planner (to provide input on how infrastructure will interact with other street uses)
    • traffic/transport engineer
    • representative of other major transport modes in the area (eg bus or train company)
    • representatives of other road user groups (eg AA, Living Streets Aotearoa)
    • representatives of related agencies (eg New Zealand Police, NZ Transport Agency, district health board)
    • key stakeholders (see Engagement and consultation) such as major landowners.

    The advisory group’s appointment should be done as transparently as possible, ideally with publicity and political championing, to future-proof it against challenge.

    The purpose of this group should be established from the beginning. In some cases it will be simply to provide high-level planning input, in other cases the group may be incorporated into the review/audit process to give feedback on specific design proposals.


    There are consultants who specialise in cycle planning and cycle infrastructure design. Before engaging a consultant, check they have the specialist skills and experience relevant to the tasks required. Experience in general roading or transport planning and design is not sufficient on its own.


    Explicit public support from politicians and local influencers (championing) is essential to maintain a project’s ‘licence to operate’ ie its social viability. However, they will need concerted support to act as champions for the project. Support should be factored into the project plan, as the project manager’s responsibility. This should involve instilling and reinforcing with champions the project’s rationales (the ‘why we are doing this’ story), key messages and language to use, and preparing them to seize ad hoc opportunities to promote and defend the project. (See Engagement and consultation.)


    Media can have a major influence on a project’s licence to operate. Mainstream media are generally unfamiliar with modern rationales for investing in cycling infrastructure. Their default approach is to use stock imagery and orthodox language which can quickly undermine a project, even if the article’s general tone is neutral or even supportive.

    Media also capitalise on conflict, and may see a cycleway project as a ready source of conflict and greater sales even if reporters personally support it. Conversely, good media can have a significant future-proofing effect on social licence to operate, and boost uptake of the finished infrastructure. 

    Media management should be provided for in the project engagement and communications plan (see Engagement and consultation), starting early and continuing actively throughout the project. 

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  • Maintenance

    ‘To achieve adequate maintenance there needs to be clear performance standards, and adequate staffing and revenue funding covering the maintenance of both on- and off-road cycle routes with reference to surface quality, signing, markings and cutting back intrusive vegetation. Regular inspection is vital as well as clear and well-publicised mechanisms for reporting defects’ (McClintock, 2002 p.30).

    Local councils and road controlling authorities generally have processes in place for members of the public to request service on infrastructure that is damaged or of poor-quality. This may be available by phone or over the internet. Some localities even offer mobile phone apps where members of the public can take photos of the problem and send it to request service.  It is useful that people who cycle be made aware of such reporting channels and the usefulness of employing them.

    Inspections and any necessary maintenance should be carried out after storms and during and after road works or property development that could result in detritus on the cycle route.

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  • Funding for infrastructure

    Long-term investment in cycle infrastructure and promotion is needed to induce a significant modal shift (Harrison, 2002, p.153).

    Road controlling authorities fund cycling projects. Such funding must be provided for in LTPs and annual plans. Cycling projects that meet a transport need and satisfy the relevant criteria are eligible for a subsidy from the Transport Agency. Refer to the Transport Agency’s Planning and Investment Knowledge Base(external link) (PKIB) (2015c) for details.

    Community groups, community trust funds and tourism interests are potential alternative sources of labour or funding for recreational cycling routes.

    Construction of cycle parking facilities also qualifies for financial assistance from the Transport Agency.

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  • Timeframes and levels of funding

    It takes time to develop a well-connected cycle network, and the annual expenditure will determine the rate at which this happens. It is unrealistic to expect a significant increase in cycle use before significant portions of the network are complete, not least because the cycle network is just one aspect of the overall provision required to enable cycling.

    However, in the longer term, cities overseas have been able to improve cycle safety and increase cycling’s modal share. Consistent and continuing effort eventually achieves results.

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  • Quality of cycle provision

    Design standards are often compromised because of space and finance constraints, resulting in substandard facilities that can sometimes put people using bikes more at risk than if no provision were made at all.

    Cycle paths are not always safe, convenient, attractive or direct. More attention needs to be given to the quality of initial design (especially at intersections and crossings), construction and maintenance. Attention to detail is very important. Cyclists may avoid an otherwise adequate cycle route because of one particularly hazardous or inconvenient obstacle.

    It is useful to establish (and have ratified by council) some ‘minimum acceptable’ baseline standards for your network, in terms of widths, lighting, crossing facilities, on-street traffic speeds/volumes, etc. Any proposed reduction in standard for a particular facility can then be flagged for discussion with the elected members.

    The quality and quantity of ancillary facilities and services can make a significant difference to uptake of infrastructure. Cycling infrastructure must include:

    • wayfinding for recommended routes, and wayfinding on each route
    • connections to other transport modes (eg bus, main roads, car parking, pedestrian-only areas)
    • provision for origin and destination activity – eg cycle parking
    • network maps showing multiple modes, and connections to enable better informed choices.
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  • Publicising facilities

    Cycling facilities, including those that have been around for a while and those constructed recently, need to be publicised and cycling promoted to maximise cycle use. These activities can include:

    • media releases to announce complete routes or facilities
    • providing a cycle network map showing cycle routes, cycle-friendly routes and cycle parking facilities and making this easily available to locals and tourists
    • providing network signage to indicate recommended cyclist routes
    • staging an event with local partner groups (eg schools, local businesses) to celebrate the opening of a new facility
    • holding events at an existing facility as part of general cycling awareness campaigns (eg BikeWise month, Ciclovia etc)
    • ongoing events in collaboration with local partner groups (eg local business improvement district ‘bike to shop’ event)
    • making good use of social media and other online materials.
    • planned enhancements to the route – eg signage using local artists’ or children’s work, plantings with local conservation groups

    Network signage

    Having route and destination (‘way-finding’) signage for cyclists is important in promoting facilities. Initially it will be necessary to plan signage for parts of the network that are complete, and to provide for multi-modal trips where safe cycling infrastructure ends.   

    Austroads(external link) recommends how sign standards and guidelines should be updated. 

    Once erected, the signs should be recorded and managed using a signs inventory and asset management system.

    Signage of cycle routes is eligible for a NZ Transport Agency subsidy.

    Note that network signage benefits other road users as well, but helping improve the legibility of cycle routes and therefore emphasising locations where people on bikes should be expected.

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