Another important research article on utilitarian cyclists preferences has been published; this time from Portland State University in the USA. Sophisticated real world data using GPS tracking was used to observe the utilitarian route behavior of 164 cyclists in Portland Oregon. According to the authors (*Broache, Dill and Gliebe):
“The findings suggest that cyclists are sensitive to the effects of distance, turn frequency, slope, intersection control (e.g. presence or absence of traffic signals), and traffic volumes. In addition, cyclists appear to place relatively high value on off-street bike paths, enhanced neighborhood bike ways with traffic calming features (aka ‘‘bicycle boulevards’’), and bridge facilities.”
No big surprises here, but its a nice example of the increasing sophistication coming out regarding cycling route preference research and the desirability of enhanced cycle boulevards among regular cyclists. The importance of planning differently for Commute and Non-commute trips is highlighted.
Some limitations are the relatively small sample size, the representativeness of Portland cyclists, and the necessity of getting preferences from current cyclists, not those who may want to ride with improved infrastructure.
When it comes to cycling, it is not one size fits all and transport planners charged with encouraging cycle use to enhance urban livability need to take this into account.
Full abstract and pay-wall or University access: *Broach J, Dill J, Gliebe J. Where do cyclists ride? A route choice model developed with revealed preference GPS data. Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice. 2012;46(10):1730-1740.