Since 2000, the benefits of walking as a mode of travel have been recognised by the New Zealand government in a raft of policy statements and strategies. However, the Ministry of Transport acknowledges that there are a number of issues to overcome to encourage more walking. This research focuses on one of the key issues: namely, the delay experienced by pedestrians at traffic signals.
Historically, New Zealand's approach to pedestrian delay has been minimal, with pedestrian issues considered primarily from the point of view of safety, rather than level of service or amenity. At traffic signals, pedestrians are often accommodated in a way that causes the least amount of interruption to motorised traffic, and signal cycle times can be long, leading to excessive pedestrian waiting times. This can lead to frustration, causing pedestrians to violate the signals and use their own judgement to cross, resulting in safety risks.
This research, which was carried out between 2007 and 2010 in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch, used techniques such as pedestrian attitude surveys, micro-simulation modelling and a literature review of international best practice to identify methods of reducing pedestrian delay at signalised intersections in these cities. The recommendations developed during the course of the research provide both technical and policy mechanisms for improving pedestrian delay in New Zealand's central-city areas.