Some more refined data is also available, like this morning peak (i.e. commuter-focussed) longer-term graph. This however is still focussed on the 9 older counters only, as obviously most of the newer counters didn't exist before late 2015.
Some more refined data is also available, like this longer-term graph of the morning peak, i.e. largely bike commuters. (NB this one is based on the 9 original bike counters only, as obviously most of the newer counters didn’t exist before late 2015.)

We’ve been waiting literally ages for this: Auckland Transport have finally released the monthly data from ALL their cycle counters, in detail. This is something we, and our friends over at TransportBlog, have been asking about for a long time!

Previously, the only data provided publicly was the aggregate count from 9 original counters, with no real breakdown possible.

As you can see from the data (available up to December 2015 in CSV or XLS data formats), there are now a whopping 28 (!) automatic cycle counters active across Auckland.

The large recent expansion of the cycle counter network was mainly driven by the Urban Cycleways Programme, which means that essentially all routes into the City Centre now have cycle counters. This data will be required to show that the Urban Cycleways are working – and which parts are working best.

We’re keen for all you data-savvy people to start looking at this in detail, and sharing your analyses.

For now, here’s some interesting features that we spotted at a quick glance:

  • Quay Street (at 32k movements) and Tamaki Drive (39k) are still holding the top position, but not by much, if things continue like this…
  • … because Lightpath had a fantastic first month, with almost 30k movements, which is almost 1,000 cycle trips per day! It’s likely functioning as a destination in itself, as well as a connection, because…
  • … continuing onto Nelson Street itself, the numbers there drop to about 12k. This is still great numbers for a new path, but also confirms (unsurprisingly) that a cycleway that stops halfway – as Nelson St’s protected bike lane currently does – isn’t nearly as attractive as one that keeps going. This is why we can’t wait for the onward connections, like Stage II of Nelson St down to the waterfront, Quay St, and the west-east links to come later in the Urban Cycleway project timeframe. Bring it on!
  • One of the least popular ways to cycle to the City Centre (and indeed to the University) is Grafton Road – at only slightly less than 2k movements, or fewer than a hundred trips in and out per day. Of course, Grafton Road is a steep dip into a gully, adjacent to entering and exiting motorway traffic, on a road with limited-to-no cycle facilities.
  • Grafton Bridge, on the other hand, had a solid if not astounding 14k movements in December.
  • A surprisingly impressive and fast-growing contender is Te Wero Bridge, which connects Wynyard Quarter to the CBD. While the 23k movements during December may have been partly driven by holiday recreation, the 14-15k in October and November aren’t too shabby either, equating to some 500 trips per day on average (despite no SkyPath yet, and the really big new employers still moving into the area). Goes to show, people really do like cycling along the waterfront!

The above is obviously just a quick first pass, and not very in-depth – there’s so much more to dig into, now that we have the numbers! So what do you see in this data, beyond a very welcome increase in transparency?

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2 responses to “By the numbers – long-sought-after cycle counter data now online…

  1. There are 15 counters active since the beginning of 2013 and those look more or less stangnant during the last 3 years. Overall these counters show a bit of growth but nothing like the fast growth we are seeing on eg. the train network.

    A lot of possible growth would come from people who currently take the bus or car, and switch to riding a bicycle. This switch however has a couple of barriers to entry. Lack of cycle lanes is only one of those barriers. We can build more of them but as it is only one barrier, mode share will remain relatively low.

    My background is software development, so here is an (old and long) blog post about this kind of problem in software ? http://www.joelonsoftware.com/articles/fog0000000052.html

    So what do I consider barriers to entry?

    (1) Every single street and every single intersection you encounter. Eg. if you’re in an apartment around Myers park, it doesn’t help you that there is a cycleway on Hobson Street. You cannot reach it without negotiating that mega-arterial grid in the west half of the city centre. This is why a proper network is so important. A single bad intersection will create 4 dead-ends for a lot of potential bicyclists.

    (2) Driver behaviour. If you’re in the suburbs, it is very likely that the last few 100s of metres are on quieter residential streets. These should be safe to cycle on without bicycle lanes (very likely they will indeed never get lanes), but that is not the case. Look at the absurd amount of traffic calming proposed on the parallel routes to Dominion Road. Cycling will not work for the majority of people unless either (a) we do this on every single backstreet, or (b) driving behaviour improves so that is no longer necessary.

    How often do you see drivers drive on the cycle lane, just to make a point? I personally used to see that almost daily on the crossing between Taharoto Road and Shakespeare Road at Smales farm. Some drivers see bicyclists the same way as possums. When dooring a cyclist, apparently there are people who have the gall to blame that cyclist. That would be unthinkable in Belgium.

    (3) Traffic rules. On shared paths you have to give way to turning (!) traffic at intersections when going straight. That is a strong message that you’re merely an unwanted interloper.

    (4) buying a bicycle.

    First, about bicycle types: here’s my situation normal: when off-road on forest paths, or in 2 feet of mud, you ride a mountain bike. If you’re a MAMIL you ride a “road bike” (we Belgians call them racing bikes). in all other cases you ride an upright bike (aptly called a city bike in Belgium) or a hybrid if that’s comfortable enough.

    Unfortunately a lot of shops still consider an upright bike a bit of a hipster novelty for Amsterdam fans, and price them accordingly. I went shopping for an upright bike, twice, both times the shop literally didn’t have any. It’s like shopping for cars, and finding most dealers only stock vans and trucks.

    So in conclusion:

    It is good to see growth, but it is slow and absolute numbers are very low.

    There’s lots of potential. Look at bus ridership. It is quite unusual for a bus to be faster than riding a bike. Parents may figure out maybe their kid can ride to school in 10 minutes, instead of battling half an hour through congestion with a car.

    To tap that potential and get our revolution we have to tackle all those barriers. I’m expecting (2) will be the most interesting one to solve. I also think it is the barrier holding back the most people.

  2. Avondale College has 2,800 students. If we enabled a very conservative 10% of them to cycle to school, that would be over 500 cycle trips per day. Or, 10,000 trips per month. Just for a comparison. 🙂

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