Wellington, New Zealand
The NZ Government is almost doubling its funding for cycling infrastructure, focusing on active transport to reduce the country’s carbon emissions.
The Government last month announced the 2021–24 National Land Transport Program (NLTP) would allocate $910 million (A$877 million) to cycling infrastructure over the next three years, compared to $518 million (A$499 million) the previous three years.
The increased allocation equates to $64.54 (A$62.20) per person per year, based on New Zealand’s 2018 population figures.
In comparison, Australia’s national government spending on bike infrastructure in 2020 is estimated at $16.35 per capita, across Local Government and State government expenditure.
In addition to the NLTP, the NZ government is making other significant investment in walking and cycling activities through its NZ Upgrade Programme. In early 2020, the Government announced the Upgrade Programme would provide $360 million to build the first section of the Northern Pathway, Auckland’s walking and cycling connection across the Waitematā Harbour. It will be one of the critical links in completing the city’s walking and cycling network.
In a statement to announce the increased NLTP funding, the Government says: “Reducing our carbon emissions is key to New Zealand meeting its climate change commitments.
“One of the most effective ways to do this is by reducing our reliance on private vehicles, especially when it comes to short trips that could easily be walked or cycled in our main urban areas.
“Providing easy access to safe shared paths is part of the equation to support more people to walk and cycle, as is making cycling more affordable and providing people with the skills and confidence to ride a bike.
“With our co-investment partners, we have delivered more than 253km of new walking and cycling facilities in the last three years and our planned investment in 2021–24 will continue that momentum.”
The statement says cycling numbers continue to grow, with trip count numbers for Wellington up 15% on last year, and Auckland up 7%, building on an 11% increase the previous year. Since 2015–16, numbers in Christchurch have increased by 62%.
“We will continue to deliver the larger projects that provide the spine and major connections in our main urban networks, such as completing the Urban Cycleways Programme, and through programs in the larger mode shift centres, including Auckland Transport Alignment Project (ATAP), Let’s Get Wellington Moving (LGWM), Urban Form + Transport Initiative (UFTI) in Tauranga, and Christchurch’s Major Cycleways,” the statement adds.
“Smaller-scale projects will continue to be important in this NLTP, providing the missing links in New Zealand’s cycling network. Although small in scale, these projects have assisted people with disabilities gain better access within their community, made crossing busy state highways safer and helped provide important connections to existing cycling networks.
“We will continue to encourage these activities through low-cost, low-risk projects and by extending the Innovating Streets program.”