Transport Planning

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Combining Abley Transportation Consultants traffic engineering and transportation planning skills with specialist modelling expertise and tools such as Cube, Paramics and SIDRA Intersection allows us to test, analyse and present the results of a broad range of current and future scenarios.

We play a prominent role in planning New Zealand’s ever-changing transport networks, working collaboratively with organisations throughout the country and using state-of-the-art transport modelling tools to provide the technical rigour required.  Our modelling capability integrates with other core professional services including Expert Witness and Economic Analysis to support resource management and funding applications respectively.

Contact our Business Area Leader, Dave Smith


Research is the cornerstone of innovation, and something that is dear to our hearts. Operating in fields as diverse as road safety, transportation energy, travel demand, walkability and intelligent transportation systems (ITS) our experienced team have successfully conducted a large volume of research on both sides of the Tasman. In collaboration with other professional services firms we provide an exhaustive range of services, with our research contributing greatly to best practice standards within the industry. Evidence of this can be seen in our work establishing both the New Zealand Accessibility Analysis Methodology and national Integrated Transport Assessment guidelines (ITA). 


Strategic Transport  

Efficient and functional transport networks are key to the success of any urban or rural environment. These networks are vital for the movement of people, products and services and need constant development so that they remain efficient as the needs of the people and the environment around them changes. The team at Abley use Cube Base and Cube Voyager strategic transport modelling software to demonstrate the impact of roading and public transport infrastructure investment, the impact of residential and commercial development, and the impact of changes in transport policy including a range of travel demand management measures. Our modelling expertise can address the needs of all modes of transport and links closely to our Arc-GIS capability to provide innovative, interactive presentation of results.

Traffic Microsimulation

Microsimulation is a computer modelling system that represents the behaviour of individual vehicles and their drivers in a road network and is becoming increasingly popular as a specialist tool for modelling congested urban areas. The vehicles observe the rules of the road and interact with other road users through simple behavioural rules including car following, gap acceptance and lane change behaviours. The cumulative effect of modelling individual vehicles is to realistically represent road traffic flow on a physical road network and demonstrate how well the traffic integrates with other modes of transport including public transport services and pedestrian crossing activity. S-Paramics is the software system utilised by Abley Transportation Consultants. 

Intersection Modelling

The performance of an intersection often determines the overall road network efficiency and a detailed intersection assessment can be critical to determine whether an existing network can accommodate changes due to safety improvements, capacity enhancements or changes in priority given to different road users. Intersection modelling is an effective tool that allows changes to be tested and evaluated. SIDRA Intersection is an advanced micro-analytical traffic evaluation tool that employs lane-by-lane and vehicle drive cycle models. It can be used to evaluate and assess intersection capacity, level of service and performance analysis for different types of intersections including priority lanes, roundabouts and traffic signals. 

Land use accessibility

Transport systems and land use are intrinsically linked, yet often they are planned with little consideration of the other effects. However, we recognise the cyclical relationship these two disciplines share – as accessibility to an area increases new developments are created, which in turn generate more traffic, which inevitably results in accessibility issues. We carry out evaluations and reviews of networks, with our specialist staff using purpose-built GIS models to analyse and communicate accessibility issues. At the end of the day, our ‘bigger picture’ approach enables us to understand and satisfy the access needs of all users. 

Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS)

ITS can also be employed to measure the performance of networks and as a means of optimising performance and/or achieving greater efficiency. ITS is a fast-moving, ever-evolving field and we invest a considerable amount of time and energy ensuring we’re constantly up to date with the latest global developments. We're developing a strong reputation as providers of ITS research and expert advice.

Transport mode investigations and studies

The ever-increasing price of oil and a growing awareness of the transport issues affecting our cities creates an ongoing need for studies into alternate modes of transport. Transport mode investigations and studies are used to collect information relating to the number of people using each mode of transport, and the reasons behind their choices. They consider accessibility to different modes and determine where problems in the existing network lie, ultimately arming our team with the data they need to develop innovative and forward-thinking transport strategies.

Active Transport

Travel Plans

A Travel Plan is a package of actions for a school, workplace or other organisation to encourage healthy, safe and sustainable travel. Travel Plans have a range of benefits, for example, encouraging children to travel by active modes to school assists with reducing congestion, and creating good habits for the future.  Our team can assist with developing and implementing a Travel Plan that is tailored to your needs including identifying parking, public transport and active modes requirements. 

Pedestrian Planning

As the population ages and more people choose to walk to be active and save money, the number of pedestrians on our networks increases. To support these users our footpaths and intersections need to be pedestrian friendly, and amenities such as seats and drinking fountains need to be commonplace.  Our team are passionate about creating safe, efficient and enjoyable walking networks throughout the country.

Cycle Planning

Cycling can be a very efficient mode of transport to get from A to B, particularly for short trips.  Government policy currently targets cycling, particularly cycle safety, as an area for investment.  Well-designed infrastructure in the right location is the key to targeting the ‘interested but concerned’ cyclists in the population and increasing cycle mode share.  As a company of predominantly keen cyclists we are immensely proud of the role we play in developing and promoting cycle networks around the country. 

Business Cases and Funding

Our services range from assisting to develop a strategic case and programme of works and engaging with the Transport Agency through to assessing the benefit cost ratio of a project as part of the final stages of the funding application.In particular our experience includes appraisal of road safety projects, cycle networks, key pedestrian facilities and school travel plans.

Programme development

An early step towards receiving funding is to identify activities that fit with the direction of the Government Policy Statement.  We have experience prioritising and identifying the activities within a programme that align with strategic fit criteria to produce a short-medium term programme of works for implementation.  We often use our specialist GIS skills to prioritise work programmes at a District, Regional or National level using available data as appropriate.

Business case compilation support

As a project advances through the Investment Assessment Framework there are various levels of supporting information required.  We have experience compiling the required information to support the funding application for a given activity(ies).  Throughout this process we regularly liaise with NZ Transport Agency officers to ensure that all of their information requirements are met.  We also have experience providing support for the Investment Logic Mapping (ILM) phase of a business case through organising and involvement in ILM workshops and compiling the resulting information into a useable document.

Benefit and Cost Appraisal

Benefit and cost appraisal considers the value of what is produced from the resources invested.  The key output of benefit and cost appraisal is the benefit cost ratio (BCR).  We often use our modelling capability to inform economic appraisal and are very experienced using both simplified and full procedures where applicable across a range of activity types. 

Peer Review

Peer reviews are required for any large and complex projects.  Peer reviews consider the rating given to the project for strategic fit, effectiveness and cost and benefit appraisal.  The review also ensures that the supporting information within the business case is credible and option assessment has been undertaken appropriately.  

Public Transport

Public Transport Network Planning

Developing public transport networks that respond to the changing needs of communities, facilitate increased patronage and improve efficiency play a key part in providing an integrated transport network for an urban area.  We have been heavily involved with the route planning and consultation process of redesigning a network that aims to increase cost effectiveness by removing duplication on key corridors whilst providing good coverage of the city and increasing patronage.

Public Transport Policy and Operations

Recent legislative changes have meant significant changes to strategic documents that impact public transport provision and investment.  The Public Transport Operating Model (PTOM) has been introduced as a framework focusing on partnering between Regional Councils and transport operators to increase patronage and commerciality of public transport units.  With combined experience in network planning, public transport strategic policy and operations, we can provide assistance with the development of Regional Public Transport plans (RPTP), Procurement Strategies as well as network and unit identification to inform these documents.

Strategy, policy and plan development

Sound policy is critical for the long-term development of a sustainable transport network. Using a positive, proactive approach we help develop visions, policies and objectives, working alongside key stakeholders to inform decision makers and quantify the positive and negative effects of policy change. Using cutting-edge analysis techniques we provide a range of services, including advice on District Plan Rewrites and the development of management strategies for Council.