An Accessible City An investigation using GIS into the potential for further development of the proposed major cycleways network for Christchurch, New Zealand
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Science
As the future of the world’s oil reserves becomes progressively more uncertain, it is becoming increasingly important that steps are taken to ensure that there are viable, attractive alternatives to travel by private motor vehicle. As with many of New Zealand’s major urban centres, Christchurch is still exceptionally reliant on private motor vehicles; although a significant proportion of the population indicate that they would like to cycle more, cycling is still an underutilised mode of transport. Following a series of fatal earthquakes that struck the city in 2010 and 2011, there has been the need to significantly redevelop much of the city’s horizontal infrastructure – subsequently providing the perfect platform for significant changes to be made to the road network. Many of the key planning frameworks governing the rebuild process have identified the need to improve Christchurch’s cycling facilities in order to boost cycling numbers and cyclist safety. The importance of considering future growth and travel patterns when planning for transport infrastructure has been highlighted extensively throughout literature. Accordingly, this study sought to identify areas where future cycle infrastructure development would be advantageous based on a number of population and employment projections, and likely future travel patterns throughout the city. Through the use of extensive GIS analysis, future population growth, employment and travel patterns for Christchurch city were examined in order to attain an understanding of where the current proposed major cycleways network could be improved, or extended. A range of data and network analysis were used to derive likely travel patterns throughout Christchurch in 2041. Trips were derived twice, once with a focus on simply finding the shortest route between each origin and destination, and then again with a focus on cyclist safety and areas where cyclists were unlikely to travel. It was found that although the proposed major cycleways network represents a significant step towards improving the cycling environment in Christchurch, there are areas of the city that will not be well serviced by the current proposed network in 2041. These include a number of key residential growth areas such as Halswell, Belfast and Prestons, along with a number of noteworthy key travel zones, particularly in areas close to the central city and key employment areas. Using network analysis, areas where improvements or extensions to the proposed network would be most beneficial were identified, and a number of potential extensions in a variety of areas throughout the city were added to the network of cycle ways. Although it has been found that filling small gaps in the network can have considerable positive outcomes, results from the prioritisation analysis suggested that initially in Christchurch demand is likely to be for more substantial extensions to the proposed major cycleways network.