Located in Southern Ontario, the City of Guelph covers 87.20 square kilometers just West of Toronto (City of Guelph Community Profile 2012). The current population of Guelph is 131,794 with a projected population growth estimated to be 175,000 citizens by 2031. This equates to an influx of approximately 2200 people/year (City of Guelph - Prosperity 2020, 2009). The influx of residents on an annual basis will prove to be a reoccurring issue for the transportation department, amplifying the demand for viable cycling routes.
The City of Guelph serves as an ideal location for using GIS software in the analysis to be conducted due to the orientation and structure of the road and trail network. The transportation network is comprised of a detailed road classification network outlying expressways, collectors and arterial roads. Additionally, the network outlines both existing and proposed trails. Since the study area consists of roads with varying traffic and topography, the demand for multi-criteria evaluation is essential. Similarly, the City of Guelph’s road network does not follow a traditional grid-patterned system, outside of the downtown area, making a more in depth analysis required, compared to conceptually looking at a map and attempting to avoid arterial roads (Aultman-Hall et al. 1997). With the increasing population and large variation in possible cycling routes, it is important to evaluate and identify the best alternative routes within the study area.
The goal of this study is to optimize routes between eight hubs staggered throughout the city. These locations include downtown Guelph, the junction between Watson Pkwy. and Starwood Dr., the intersection between Silvercreek Pkwy. and Speedvale Ave., the Costco in the west-end of the city, the University of Guelph, the intersection between Edinburgh Rd. and College Ave., Stone Road Mall, and the intersection between Claire Rd. and Gordon St. This group of locations will provide an analysis that branches out to provide cycling routes covering all major areas of the city. Study analysis hubs can be viewed below (Figure 2).
Figure 2: Guelph Municipal Road and Trail Network with City Location Reference