Study shows how cyclists choose their route

A recent study published in the International Journal of Sustainable Transportation has examined what features influenced riders choice of route. GPS was used to track cyclists in Seattle and the data was compared to map information giving factors such as land use and road network. The smartphone app CycleTracks was used to track users routes.

The significance of different features in determining riders’ route choices is determined using a statistical analysis known as principal component analyses. The study found that cyclists weigh up convenience, safety and enjoyment. Most cyclists prefer routes which are short, flat and have good cycle paths or slow traffic. Some cyclists prefer routes with trees, streetlights or city features.


Abstract: This study examines the effects of built environment features, including factors of land use and road network, on bicyclists’ route preferences using the data from the city of Seattle. The bicycle routes are identified using a GPS dataset collected from a smartphone application named “CycleTracks.” The route choice set is generated using the labeling route approach, and the cost functions of route alternatives are based on principal component analyses. Then, two mixed logit models, focusing on random parameters and alternative-specific coefficients, respectively, are estimated to examine bicyclists’ route choice. The major findings of this study are as follows: (1) the bicycle route choice involves the joint consideration of convenience, safety, and leisure; (2) most bicyclists prefer to cycle on shorter, flat, and well-planned bicycle facilities with slow road traffic; (3) some bicyclists prefer routes surrounded by mixed land use; (4) some bicyclists favor routes which are planted with street trees or installed with street lights; and (5) some bicyclists prefer routes along with city features. This analysis provides valuable insights into how well-planned land use and road network can facilitate efficient, safe, and enjoyable bicycling.

For more information, you can view a presentation by the researchers or request the full text.

Full details of paper:

A GPS data-based analysis of built environment influences on bicyclist route preferences, Chen, Peng 1 , 2 ; Shen, Qing 2 ; Childress, Suzanne 3
Source: International Journal of Sustainable Transportation, v 12, n 3, p 218-231, March 16, 2018; ISSN: 15568318, E-ISSN: 15568334; DOI: 10.1080/15568318.2017.1349222; Publisher: Taylor and Francis Ltd.
Author affiliations: 1 Key Lab of Urban Planning and Landscape Architecture, Harbin Institute of Technology Shenzhen Campus, Shenzhen; Canton Province, China
2 Department of Urban Design and Planning, University of Washington, Seattle; WA, United States
3 PSRC, Seattle; WA, United States

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