There were eight areas throughout the City of Guelph that were used as main destination and origin points for cyclists, representing the most popular areas. From each of these areas, suitable cycling routes were found using a customized network in Network Analyst. When a road segment had a low cycling suitability score, Network Analysis deemed it too costly, and determined an alternative route with a higher cycling suitability score.
The MCE allowed for weighting of bike routes based on factors obtained from scholarly sources. More factors were chosen in the beginning than were used because of the gap in available data. For example, traffic volume was going to be an important factor but data was no longer available to use as a factor. Although bias was introduced through the ranking of criteria, the consistency ratio output proved logical assignment of the weights. The produced suitability raster, and it’s subsequent reclassification allowed for Network Analyst to determine ideal routes for cyclists who prefer to use only trails or cyclists who are comfortable using both trails and bike lanes.
Despite the few limitations of the MCE model, it was successful in informing alternative routes. For the model to be more successful in the future, it would be beneficial to add more data to the model such as traffic volume (i.e. rush hour vs. regular hour), cycling activity from the Strava data, road conditions, and cyclist experience levels. These data would result in suitability scores and subsequent alternative routes that are more specialized and personalized. This model can be used by the City of Guelph to further the Cycling Master Plan, to produce illustrative cycling maps for Guelph citizens, and to inform the siting and construction of new bike lanes.
Alternative cycling routes in Guelph is a topic of inquiry with substantial potential for future research. Specifically, as Guelph expands, it would be interesting to investigate increased connectivity, especially when the Claire rd./Gordon St. hub is more connected to the rest of the city (i.e. not only through Highway 6, Gordon St. and Victoria rd.).