AT’s Active Modes Survey 2016: what’s up?

Aug 31, 2016
AT’s Active Modes Survey 2016: what’s up?

Bike Auckland

(A cross-post from our BFFs at Transportblog, written by Matt Lowrie. We’ll cross-post our take on it tomorrow, by way of Part 2).

For a number of years now Auckland Transport have been conducting annual research into the use of active modes to allow them to track behaviour changes over time. This is not just relying on the automated counters, but carrying out a survey to gauge the general population. They’ve now released the 2016 report, which features a lot of positive outcomes and covers 1,178 responses.

The headline figure is that 31% of people surveyed had cycled, up from 27%. The researchers say this represents an increase of 45,600 people.


These numbers are also broken down into different groups which are explained below. As you can see there has been a shift up the groups.

  • Rejectors (unable or never cycle and wouldn’t consider)
  • Considerer (never cycle but would consider)
  • Occasional (less than monthly)
  • Medium (monthly to weekly)
  • Frequent (twice a week or more)


While many people cycle just for fitness and it is the main reason people currently ride, many also do it for other reasons such as going to shops or commuting. Positively these non-exercise/recreational trips have all increased showing that people are using bikes more and more for everyday activities.


Compared to last year, this year’s survey also shows increases to perceptions of cycling infrastructure. This was rated on a scale of 0-10 with 6-10 being agree. As you can see there have been improvements in the metrics but views show a lot more improvements to infrastructure are needed – which is not a surprising result.


The number of people walking to activities, especially to PT has also increased positively.


The report also looks at the opportunities for growing the use of active modes for trips. First up for work where cycling is thought to be the biggest opportunity.


They break down the cycling to work opportunity as below. I can’t understand why they don’t also count the ‘Don’t own, or have access to a bike’ in the opportunity’. Within the last year I’ve personally heard of a number of stories of people buying bikes to take advantage of some of our fantastic new infrastructure such as Lightpath. It also highlights to me why we need to be looking seriously at options like bikeshare schemes, particularly as our cycling network expands and improves.


Next up for shops. I can’t understand why they think the barriers to cycling to shops are very strong but not for walking. It makes me wonder if those doing the survey only think of the only option to riding as being on high speed road bikes.


Lastly, here’s a table showing the associations people made with different modes of transport…


Overall there are some positive results but also some odd assumptions that have been made.

Old versions of the surveys can be found here.

And here’s AT’s press release: ‘An extra 45,000 Aucklanders are out on their bikes.’

In the past year an extra 45,000 Aucklanders have taken to two wheels.

Auckland Transport’s annual Walking and Cycling Survey, published today reveals that 353,000 Aucklanders cycle, up from 308,000 a year ago.

AT’s Cycling and Walking manager Kathryn King says the positivity about cycling in Auckland is also reflected in Auckland Transport’s cycle counts.

“We are seeing continual growth in cycle trips across the region with the biggest increase in the city centre.

“It’s great to see an increase in the number of people cycling to places like schools, local shops, work and to public transport interchanges.

New, protected cycling infrastructure such as the pink Lightpath is making cyclists feel safer, leading to an overall positive perception of cycling in Auckland to rise from 22 percent to 39 percent.

Currently more than 34,000 people cycle to work but the study reveals that there are a further 144,000 who could cycle to work but are not.

Ms King says that one of the main ways to get people cycling is good quality, connected cycleways.

“As we work with the Government on the three year programme of cycleway improvements, we expect the number of cycle trips in Auckland to continue growing.”

“Building a network of connected cycleways to and around the city centre as well to key public transport interchanges, is a key component of our strategy to improve the transport network.

The survey also reveals the number of people walking has increased by more than 11,000.

There was a big jump in the number of people walking for non-recreational journeys, up 17 percent from 2015.

Auckland Transport is working with project partners Auckland Council and the Government through the NZ Transport Agency and the Urban Cycleways Programme on a $200m programme of cycle improvements from 2015 to 2018.

–Matt Lowrie

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