Big Data sources for understanding non-motorized travel patterns

Although, there are many platforms and companies offering bike-ped travel data acquired through smartphone apps, location-based services, fitness apps, etc., the choice can be very confusing and at times expensive. A recent paper from Texas A&M Transportation Institute discusses the top sources for this travel data. This could help us understand how to solve the complexities of incorporating active transportation modes into traditional planning practices.

Can travel demand models predict cycling?

Try asking a conventional travel demand model about bicycle trips and you might get anything from an educated guess to an error message. A recent study from Sweden, however, shows what it takes to fix them. The short answer is to make the models much bigger. That leaves an important question: is it worth it?

Researchers say investment in infrastructure has the potential to move short trips out of cars

Can the rise of new personal mobility options lure drivers out of their cars for short trips? Several recent reports say, “yes,” but only if cities resolve both infrastructure and legal issues surrounding their use. At the same time, examination of walking and biking rates from 2001 to 2017 show that better infrastructure and policies are needed to help them supplant driving for short trips. However, cities that have invested in infrastructure have seen a dramatic rise in active transportation.

Is there bias in GPS enabled smartphone cycling app data?

Smartphones with GPS tracking ability are capable of collecting large amounts of pedestrian and cyclist movement data. But do tracking apps developed largely for athletic or route-planning use capture the big picture of where pedestrians and cyclists travel and what infrastructure they use? The answer, according to a new study in the Journal of Transport & Health, is “no.” These apps miss data from segments of the cycling population, as well as information about the usage of particular kinds of infrastructure by riders with particular characteristics.

In Denmark, bicyclists more law abiding when facilities present

We have written before about studies that find bicyclists in the U.S. break the law at about the same rate as motorists, although for different reasons. Now a study in Denmark finds that, although Danish cyclists break the law at a far lower rate than in the U.S., the prevalence of scofflaw behavior varies based on the presence of bicycle infrastructure, size of the city, and size of the intersection.

A method for quantifying risks imposed on cyclists while sharing road with motor vehicles

Keeping vehicle occupants and pedestrians safe via engineering standards and street warrants is common practice around the world. But in spite of the growing level of support for bicycling for both commuting and recreation, bike facility design standards are rarely backed by empirical data and are often inconsistent between different cities and states. A recent study presents a methodology that can potentially be used by city planners for predicting the probability of unsafe interactions between bicyclists and motor vehicles based on passing events on 4-lane urban arterials with no on-street bike lanes.

Bicycle level of stress and equity as factors in project selection

A paper published in the International Journal of Sustainable Transportation suggests integrating accessibility by bicycle, equity, and project selection to tackle the isolation and segregation of low-income neighborhoods in Baltimore. Using bicycle Level of Traffic Stress (LTS) to measure both access to common non-work destinations and disparities in access across different neighborhoods, the authors suggest that projects can be prioritized to improve outcomes for residents that do not own cars and struggle to reach destinations to meet their daily needs.

Study of bicycling and driving behavior reveals areas for improvement

Research sponsored by Florida DOT details new methods for studying bicycling safety by mounting cameras and sensors on bikes ridden in naturalistic settings. The research gives us insight into the behavior of both bicyclists and drivers, the types of conflicts that occur, and route selection by bicyclists. This methodology holds the potential to improve safety and allow transportation professionals to target engineering, education, and enforcement activities.

Accessibility for all: Open source options for measuring access to destinations

As highlighted in two recent SSTI webinars in March and April of this year, accessibility measures are becoming more useful in practice. The most notable examples rely on proprietary data and methods, but open source approaches are also gaining traction, while highlighting the need for more reliable, open data. Accessibility measures describe how easily people can reach destinations, usually in terms of travel time, given the existing transportation system and land use patterns.