|M.Sc Student||Yoav Melter|
|Subject||Bicycle Usage and the Built Environment: Identification and|
Analysis of Physical Patterns affecting Urban
Bicycle Ridership - Case-Study in
|Department||Department of Architecture and Town Planning||Supervisor||Professor Plaut Pnina|
|Full Thesis text - in Hebrew|
Studies on planning for cyclists usually focus on transportation-related aspects, while only little research addressed the role that built environment features and design measures play in affecting cyclist behaviors and views. To address this gap, this research aims at analyzing the connections among the built environment, cyclist's opinions, and cyclist's actual behaviors.
Data were collected by structured interviews with 100 adults, intercepted while cycling for daily activities (excluding sports and leisure) in the town of Nahariya, where a local tradition of cycling is coupled with a lack of regulated cycling paths, thus allowing a case study of cyclist's unconstrained use of the local streets network. Every interviewee provided a detailed description of his/her bicycle route, and statements regarding cycling. The local street network was characterized by physical features, including establishment of connectivity and integration values for each street, by using tools developed by the “Space Syntax” approach.
Regression analysis, where the number of trips along a street was taken as a dependent variable and the physical features of the street were taken as explanatory variables, revealed a preference for central streets with heavy traffic. Four variables were found statistically significant (P<0.1) in explaining the number of bicycle trips along a street, including the street’s connectivity (number of junctions), the type of buildings, mixed land use, and street lighting. Together, these variables provide an explanation of R²=0.551 for the distribution of bicycle trips among the town's streets. Urban design measures were not found to be statistically significant.
Inconsistency was found between cyclists’ actual behavior and their stated preferences. According to the statements made by interviewees, sharing the road with motorized traffic is a deterrent of the highest order, while in actuality the interviewees tended to cycle along the town’s busiest streets. This inconsistency was made clear when the interviewees were asked to identify streets that were unfriendly for cyclists, and chose the very same streets on which they actually rode (a Pearson coefficient of 0.893, P=0.01).
Tension between different aspects of centrality is noteworthy, as cyclists actually prefer a direct and central route, while they regard the streets that make up these routes negatively, due to their having to contend with motorized traffic. A bicycle path bordering a main artery is considered a desired solution by cyclists.