South Islands First Roundabout Meter in Christchurch, New Zealand
The South Island of New Zealand does not invoke images of large metropolises, motorways, congestion, and transport issues. Majestic mountains, golden beaches, sprawling forests, bungee jumping, mountain biking, hiking, white water rafting and whale watching spring to mind more readily.
Christchurch is the largest city in the South Island and the good news for transport planners, especially those who enjoy what’s on the doorstep, is that there are travel and congestion issues that need to be solved.
A repeat offender is a lengthy queue and delays which form on the urban fringe in the AM peak from traffic travelling from a satellite town towards the city centre.
One problem is that the bus service from this area is held up in the queue. Bus services in Christchurch run through the city, turn around, and come back. Delays towards the start of a route are particularly problematic as they can compromise the remainder of the service and its ability to return ‘on schedule’.
Time to get solutions focussed – bus lane, roundabout lane re-marking, what about a roundabout meter to create gaps and let the delayed approach traffic out? But that’s never been done in the South Island before!
Up steps the Paramics Microsimulation modeller. The questions that need to be answered;
- What is the best option to solve this issue?
- Are the options economically viable?
- What will help the bus service and PT objectives?
- Will a roundabout meter work? Will it delay other movements? Will it create a queue back to an adjacent roundabout and cause a safety problem?
- Can the traffic engineers be convinced?
Construction of the roundabout meter got underway in September 2017…