This part of the CNG outlines the peer review and audits that should be undertaken as part of the design process.  

Peer reviews

A ‘peer review’ is a review of a concept, scheme or detailed design undertaken by a suitably qualified and experienced person independent of the design team.  It is good practice to include peer reviews during the design process, and they are often required by road controlling authorities.  Unlike safety audits there is limited guidance available regarding the peer review process.  However, road controlling authorities may have developed their own peer review processes and templates, so designers should enquire about this in the first instance.

In lieu of any available structured process or report template, the five main aspects that a network of cycle routes should provide could be used as a basis for the review.   

An example of a review process that considers operational/functional/safety matters is the Christchurch City Council Safety Audit and Network Functionality (external link)(SANF) review.


Audits are a formal process to identify deficiencies in provision. 

Further information on how audits can be used to evaluate existing cycle routes is outlined in the network and route planning context.

The following audits can be used to assess cycle route designs. 

  • Safe System Assessment (SSA)

    A Safe System Assessment (SSA) Framework is a procedure developed by Austroads in 2016 to help road agencies methodically consider Safe System objectives in road infrastructure projects[1].

    SSA will only need to be conducted at one stage of project development but utilised as development and design proceeds. However, if there are subsequent changes to the design scope that are likely to impact on Safe System alignment, the SSA should be reviewed and repeated as necessary. SSA and road safety audit (RSA) should be used during project planning and design as complementary tools to maximise road safety outcomes. VicRoads shows a suggested framework for when to undertake a SSA and RSA[2].  

    The process evaluates seven types of crash risk, and considers the exposure, likelihood and severity of each crash type on a 0 to 4 scale for each attribute. A site/proposal with a completely safe system would result in an SSA score of zero, while one with the worst ratings across all crash attributes would score 448. These numbers do not directly relate to any particular crash metric; rather they simply provide a way to determine relative changes in safety at or between sites. 

    SSA is still a relatively new process in New Zealand, with New Zealand-specific guidelines currently being developed.  As such, there is limited experience and use of the process by practitioners to date, or much by way of systematic comparison of ratings derived by different practitioners. Still, with those caveats in mind, it does provide a useful way to consider existing safety deficiencies at a site and the possible ways to improve these. The fact that cycling crashes are specifically identified as one of the seven assessment categories (as are crashes involving pedestrians) ensures that cycling safety is not ignored in the evaluation process. 

    Safe System Assessment training is available in New Zealand. Contact for further information. 

    [1] Turner, B., Jurewicz, C.., Pratt, K., Corben, B., Woolley, J. (2016). Safe System Assessment Framework(external link). Austroads Publication No. AP-R509-16, Feb 2016. Austroads Research Report AP-R509-16

    [2] VicRoads. (2018). Safe System Assessment Guidelines(external link)

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  • Safety in Design reviews

    Safety in Design (SiD) is a process that helps designers to put safety at the centre of their projects. The aim is to produce designs that minimise the opportunity for safety hazards during the construction, operation and maintenance of the proposed facilities. This results in reduced likelihood of safety issues for staff associated with building and maintaining the facility and for the general public using it. A number of industry organisations, including Auckland Transport[1] have introduced SiD considerations into their design processes, and training courses in SiD are available.

    [1] Auckland Transport. (2016). Standard HS08 Safety in Design(external link)

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  • Safety audits

    A road safety audit is an independent review of a future transport project to identify deficiencies that will affect the safety of any road users.  The objective of a road safety audit is to help ensure a project achieves an outcome that is consistent with Safer Journeys and the Safe System approach – that is, minimising occurrences of death or serious injury.  A specific safety audit should be undertaken at each of these project milestones:

    • concept stage
    • scheme or preliminary design stage
    • detailed design stage
    • pre-opening or post-construction stage.

    The Road safety audit procedures for projects(external link) is a best practice guide for undertaking safety audits. Examples of safety audits are provided in the St Vincent Street case study.

    cycling safety audit concentrates typically interprets safety broadly, as most other matters affect safety in some way. It was developed because traditional road safety audits frequently overlooked cycling issues. Refer to Cycling Aspects of Austroads Guides(external link) (Austroads, 2017).

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  • Non-motorised user audits

    A non-motorised user (NMU) audit or review identifies the matters that affect how well a situation meets the needs of people who use modes of transport not involving motor vehicles – ie people who cycle, as well as pedestrians including those with mobility or sight impairments and equestrians.  Unlike safety audits or peer reviews which are undertaken by independent peers, it is intended that non-motorised user reviews be undertaken by the designers themselves.  This is to enhance designers’ understandings of the site-specific issues faced by non-motorised users and improve the quality of their design.  This should help eliminate many issues before the project reaches the safety auditors at each stage of the project.

    The NZ Transport Agency provides Non-motorised User Review guidelines  [PDF, 698 KB]for use in New Zealand.

    Note that, whilst these guidelines are intended for designers, many of the principles included can be usefully incorporated by safety auditors assessing provision for cycling in projects.

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  • Operational audits

    Operational matters are generally covered by the peer review and safety audit process, however there are instances where a specific operational audit should be considered. These may include:

    • projects including traffic signals (eg do the proposed layout and the phasing work together?)
    • projects where the process of waste collection will be affected (eg are alternative arrangements possible?)
    • projects where the maintenance of the facility requires alternative methods (eg separated cycleways where a smaller sweeper will be required.)

    An example of an audit/review process that considers operational/functional matters is the Christchurch City Council Safety Audit and Network Functionality(external link)(SANF) review.

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  • Crime Prevention through Environmental Design (CPTED) audit

    CPTED(external link) principles aim to assist in crime prevention, and raise the perception of safety in a public area.  

    Matters relating to personal safety and security are often identified in the peer review and safety audit process, however it is preferable that designers eliminate such issues initially, and there are instances where a specific CPTED audit should be considered.  These may include:

    • routes that pass through parks and reserves
    • routes that include the use of accessways
    • routes with grade separation
    • routes where corridor landscaping may obscure the facility users.

    A trained CPTED expert should be engaged to undertake this type of audit.

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