Being stuck in a traffic jam or squashed into a crowded train carriage is a daily experience for most commuters. There is little possibility of easing the crush by increasing the road-space into the city and the public transport system will require significant investment to increase its capacity to bring commuters into the inner city and CBD. Cycling offers an alternative cost-effective means of enabling travel into the CBD and it is popularity is soaring with morning cycling commuters recently increasing by 60% in just a year.
The City of Sydney and Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) contracted the Institute and Bitzios Consulting to undertake parallel studies to consider whether this rapid growth meant that adjustments needed to be made to the operations of intersections involving cycleways. The Institute’s study focused on the behaviour of bike riders at intersections and in particular their use of the cycleway traffic signal system.
The Institute, with the assistance of Nathan Besh of Rigid Mount and many wonderful volunteers from Sydney’s cycling community, filmed and coded many hours of footage from three intersections.
The results found that many bike riders are following the traffic signals for cars rather than the cycleway signals they should be following. This could be because bike riders were facing excessive waits at intersections, due to a very low proportion of them encountering a green light as they approached the intersection and most not knowing where to stand to trigger the light to turn green.
A stakeholder workshop was held to discuss the results of the research. Following the workshop ISF and Bitzios Consulting developed a series of recommendations relating to traffic signals, road markings, cyclist detection equipment and education and awareness campaigns. Many of the recommendations are going to be trialled in the near future hopefully leading to fewer delays and greater safety at intersections.