What Affects Bicyclist Comfort Most?: Assessing Objective and Perceived Streetscape Factors

Authors: Zachary Hayes*, University of Michigan - Flint, Greg Rybarczyk, University of Michigan - Flint, Erik Andresen, University of Wuppertal, Germany
Topics: Transportation Geography, Spatial Analysis & Modeling, Geography and Urban Health
Keywords: Wayfinding, Bicyclist, Comfort, Wuppertal, Germany, Streetscape, Visibility, Geographic, Information, System, GIS, Heart-rate, Slope
Session Type: Poster
Scheduler ID: WED-047-5:20 p.m.
Day: 4/11/2018
Start / End Time: 5:20 PM / 7:00 PM
Room: Napoleon Foyer/Common St. Corridor, Sheraton, 3rd Floor
Presentation File: Download


Examining bicyclist comfort is important because increasing the subjective well-being of those using this mode has the potential for long-term utilization, which could have positive effects on the environment and public health. The growing body of research focused on understanding this remains limited. Previous research has only started to assess bicycling comfort in real-time using wearable sensors, and few have accounted for micro-scale streetscape factors such as viewable area and urban form. The current research addresses these gaps. Focusing on an urban neighborhood in Wuppertal, Germany, we harnessed participants with wearable and bicycle mounted sensors to measure bicyclist comfort and the travel environment in real-time, with the goal of understanding where and why it was reduced. We captured micro-scale isovist and topological properties of each streetscape using Space Syntax and accounted for other known bicycling mode-choice factors such as: slope, land-use, road type, and urban density. The perceived and objective variables were first examined using descriptive statistics and geo-visualization techniques in a geographic information system (GIS). The final methodological approach used was a hierarchical regression model, where the dependent variable was average heart-rate per street. Expectantly, our preliminary results showed that streetscapes which were pedestrian friendly and allowed for an even distribution of viewable space positively impacted bicycling comfort, while the increase in the angularity of street intersections had the inverse effect. The findings validate the use of wearable sensors for measuring bicycling comfort, and stress the importance of visibility in designing streetscapes that encourage active transportation modes.

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