Sustainable transport plays an integral role in future of transportation planning. It is crucial to develop a multi-modal transportation system, in which alternative cycling routes play a critical role in the sustainability of an effective transportation system (Rybarczyk & Wu 2010). The key to increasing bike commuting is assessing the influence of current and alternative bike paths and lanes (Buehler & Pucher 2011).
As cycling is a green method of transportation, it is important to promote this in all demographics. The issue with this is that not all people possess the same comfort level as others with regards to cycling routes. Buehler & Puchner (2011) conducted a preference study, finding that cyclists are willing to increase both the distance traveled and time required in order to ride on bike paths when the alternative route is shorter and more direct but requires cycling with motor vehicle traffic (Buehler & Pucher 2011). A study containing 13,927 participants concluded that traffic volumes appear to have a greater influence on leisure cycling than commuter cycling (Foster et al. 2011). Additionally, a study at the University of Maryland attempted to identify the influence of individual perceptions and bicycle infrastructure on the decision to bike. It was concluded that both non-bicycle and bicycle commuters would be encouraged to bike with access to designated bicycle lanes, trails and paths. The study also suggests that the public is more sensitive to time and distance travelled (Akar & Clifton 2009). In correspondence with this, not all cyclists are capable of the same degree of physical exertion. For this reason, it is important to also consider slope and slope length, distance and potential points of interest.
Geographic Information System (GIS) is crucial for researching alterative cycling routes. GIS enables the user to manage, analyse and display relevant data in a spatial environment. Spatial analysis can evaluate multiple attributes such as distance, scenic routes, slope, etc. and compare the trade-offs of set attributes. To address these factors, a multi-criteria evaluation (MCE) will integrate both supply and demand based criteria within the GIS software. The purpose of MCE analysis is to solve unique problems involving a large set of feasible alternatives that are assessed on the basis of numerous, conflicting and incommensurable criterion (Suarez et al. 2011). The MCE will provide each section with a suitability score. Based on these suitability scores, Network Analyst will assign impedances appropriately. Then Network Analyst will find the path with the least impedance (Keshkamat 2007). These route options will be able to provide information that can be analysed in combination with the Guelph Cycling Survey, to deliver results regarding optimal locations for cycling routes.
Purpose of the Research
The purpose of this project is to identify potential cycling routes in the City of Guelph by utilizing GIS-based multi-criteria evaluation (MCE) and network analysis models.
1) Define specific factors and variables that influence cycling route selection.
2) Develop a GIS-based MCE model for evaluating the suitability of cycling routes, roads, and trails for the purpose of commuting via bicycle.
3) Develop a GIS-based network analysis model for determining alternative cycling routes.
4) To apply the GIS-based models to the City of Guelph to identify alternative cycling routes.
5) Evaluate the strengths and limitations of the GIS based models.