AECOM’s No Excuse Zone maps

Developed by designers at AECOM more than five years ago, the No Excuse Zone (NEZ) mapping technique has been used across Australia, Europe and the US.

Based on a series of “test rides” at an average speed of 15 km/h, the maps (the outputs) show the distance a normal, average, healthy person of average fitness can travel in 20 minutes on an average mainstream bicycle. The maps show an “area of influence” or a zone where it would be feasible, viable and realistic to encourage people to ride a bicycle once or twice a week.

The No Excuse Zone maps were created for various reasons, including managing perceptions. The perception of distance varies from person to person. While elite sports cyclists can easily cycle 30 kilometres in less than one hour, the average family riding bicycles for fun at the weekend or seniors cycling for gentle exercise may travel less than 10kilometres in one hour. Moreover, many people have a false perception of actual distances.

We carried out a series of 20-minute “test” bicycle rides from key destinations – schools, shopping centres and tourist attractions – on the Gold Coast. We found that the average person of average fitness riding a standard bicycle on footpaths and stopping at intersections could travel 3.1 kilometres in 20 minutes. Our research with members of the general public confirmed that 20 minutes is deemed to be “reasonable”in terms of journey time in minutes and distance in kilometres for most adults, children and seniors of average health and fitness

Examples are shown below