PBIC begins fourth round of Walk Friendly Communities

Walk Friendly Communities

The Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center (PBIC) is now taking applications for the fourth round of the Walk Friendly Communities (WFC). Applications will be accepted until June 15, and the next Walk Friendly Community designees will be announced in August.

WFC recognizes outstanding local walkability initiatives and provides guidance to communities seeking to enhance their walkability. It is administered by the PBIC with support from the Federal Highway Administration and FedEx.

In April, WFC named Eugene, Ore (Gold), Forest Park, Ill. (Bronze), and New Orleans (Bronze) as Walk Friendly Communities. Corvallis, Ore. also earned a Gold level status, an upgrade from the Bronze level designation it received in 2011. To date, 24 communities have earned Walk Friendly status.

To submit an application for the latest round of WFC, go to walkfriendly.org/assessment.


FHWA issues new report on value of investing in bicycling and walking infrastructure

The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) has issued a new report: "Report to the U.S. Congress on the Outcomes of the Nonmotorized Transportation Pilot Program SAFETEA-LU Section 1807," detailing how investment in pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure in four pilot communities impacted participation in bicycling and walking.

The report notes several findings, including:

To read the full report, go to www.fhwa.dot.gov/environment/bicycle_pedestrian/ntpp/2012_report/.


HSRC celebrates Bike to Work Month

bike to school day

The Highway Safety Research Center (HSRC) is celebrating Bike to Work Month. More than 20 HSRC staff members, and several staff from other university departments, participated in a Bike-to-Work event on May 18. The event included an organized ride to work and a bicycle breakfast. In 2011, HSRC sponsored its first Bike to Work ride and saw more than 20 staff participate. The HSRC also has compiled a team for the National Bike Challenge.

"Providing safety information for bicyclists is among the things we do here at HSRC," said David Harkey, HSRC's director. "We're happy that so many of our employees want to bike to work, and that in our second year sponsoring a bike to work event, we have expanded the event through the participation of other nearby university centers. We hope to see that growth continue in the coming years."

For those interested in learning more about how to commute by bicycle, check out the PBIC's page dedicated to bicycling to work: biketoworkinfo.org.


PBIC and APHA collaborate to offer new webinar series

PBIC and the American Public Health Association (APHA) are offering a three-part webinar series on active transportation and public health. The webinars will be held in July, September and November.

The webinars will cover how health impact assessments quantify the health benefits of pedestrian and bicycle plans, the health benefits of pedestrian and bicycle initiatives funded by Communities Putting Prevention to Work grants, and ways medical professionals are supporting trails and advocacy programs as public health improvement initiatives.

Information on the PBIC's webinars, including dates and how to register, can be found at walkinginfo.org/webinars. Be sure to check the site regularly for updates about the APHA series.


Featured Case Study: CycleTracks App and Cyclist Trip Modeling in San Francisco

cycletracks 1

Background

The San Francisco County Transportation Authority is the Congestion Management Agency (CMA) and long-range transportation planning entity for the City and County of San Francisco. The TA administers and oversees the delivery of the "Proposition K" half-cent local option sales tax. As such, they analyze, design, and fund improvements for roadway and public transportation. The TA also owns SF-CHAMP, San Francisco's official travel forecasting model (1).

Problem

The San Francisco County Transportation Authority (the "Authority" or TA) uses an activity-based model (SF-CHAMP) for long-range transportation planning in order to predict future travel patterns for the city. In general, modeling the bicycling mode is challenging at best and impossible at worst due to a lack of data on these travelers. The lack of data on bicyclists in most regions arises from the data collection process itself. Typically, a randomized travel survey is administered that rarely captures a sufficient amount of trips by bicycle for the purposes of modeling bicyclist behavior. The activity-based model, SF-CHAMP, had historically relied on annual or bi-annual spot location bicycle counts at 32 different intersections (2), which had enabled forecasting of the quantity of bicycle trips but not those trips distribution across the road network (3).

Solution

Billy Charlton, Deputy Director for Technology Services at the TA, led the development of a smartphone app for iPhone and Android, CycleTracks, that allows users to track their cycling route, distance, time traveled, trip purpose, and personal characteristics (if they so choose). CycleTracks collects these data anonymously and integrates them with current trip data for automobile and transit modes. The app development was partially funded by a Caltrans State Planning and Research Grant. Elizabeth Sall, Senior Transportation Planner with the TA, led the team that incorporated the CycleTracks data into SF-CHAMP.

From the individual's perspective, the app is downloaded and personal characteristics including age, sex, place of work, home location, and/or school zip code, and email address can be entered and saved to link with all reported trip data. After the initial setup, the user simply turns on the app and presses the button to start tracking. When finished, the cyclist can select trip purpose (e.g. work, social, etc.) and save the route. The information is then relayed to the TA's database as well as stored locally for the user to access later.

cycletracks 2

Results

Some concerns with the app include the biased sample of data it collects (smartphone-using cyclists only), a tendency of the app to misreport distance traveled, tracking initiation lags, its heavy-use of battery power, and the need for cyclists to "opt-in" and voluntarily track their trips.

Despite these challenges, the current availability of cycling trip data is so sparse that this is app provides much needed information regarding a particular subset of important travelers. Charlton, along with fellow CycleTracks team members Elizabeth Sall and Jeffrey Hood, report that, "Because participation was limited to smartphone users, and because the greatest selection rate likely occurred among members of the bicycle coalitions that helped promote the application, the sample is biased. However, this drawback was outweighed by the advantages of the data collection method: reduced cost, increased rates of sampling for the small population of cyclists, and the ability to record personal characteristics and trip purposes (4)."

Over the 5-month period between November 12, 2009 and April 18, 2010, 952 of 1,083 users who downloaded the application submitted at least one trip. In all, 7,096 trips were collected. But, because the app is freely available to all iPhone and Android users, this set had to be restricted to San Francisco-based trips and non-exercise trips for the purposes of developing a bicycle route choice model, leaving 5,178 trips. Further data cleaning revealed that some of these trips were likely not made by bicycle, and in the end 3,034 bicycle trips from 366 users could be utilized (5).

The app has received 92 ratings on the Apple App Store with an average 3 out of 5 stars. The written reviews reveal frustration of the app's frequent crashing, inability to pause and resume mid-trip, and high battery use, though early reviews were generally positive. On the Android Market (6), the app gets 3.8 out of 5 stars. The written reviews are generally positive and reveal minor frustrations with the interface and unintuitive features.

With the above limitations in mind, the first 5 months' worth of bicyclist travel data produced the following conclusions: that San Francisco cyclists strongly prefer bicycle lanes to other types of bicycle facilities and disfavor climbing hills, making left turns, and deviating excessively from minimum distance paths. These conclusions were revealed by a multinomial logit bicycle route choice model, developed with the collected data, which is now fed into SF-CHAMP (7).

These conclusions are consistent with much of the literature on bicyclists' preferences (8), however disagree with one study that suggests cyclists prefer shared-lane bicycle routes to bicycle paths (9). Hood, Sall, and Charlton (2011) suggest this is due to different methods of data collection - stated versus revealed preference - and highlight the importance of employing both methods to get complete understanding of cyclist travel behavior (10). The information gathered using the app is currently being integrated into San Francisco's regional travel model (11).

cycletracks 3

Mindful of the fact that other agencies face the same challenges for modeling cyclists' data, the TA makes the app's source code available to developers who can build upon its core functionality. It already has the functionality (12) to collect data in any locality; this means that other municipalities could quickly develop their own local version and begin collecting data on their own cycling population. In theory, the app could also be used to track pedestrian data and enhance modeling of that mode, though this use has not yet been documented.

Some communities are already using the app. In particular, Monterey, California, Eugene, Oregon and Bryan-College Station and Austin, Texas have been adapting CycleTracks for local use (13). Joan Hudson of the Texas Transportation Institute (TTI) has been leading the development in Austin. In May and June of 2011, their team promoted the app through social media, email lists, and bicycle groups and shops, and worked with the TA to gain access to the collected data. This first push garnered about 1,900 recorded trips, but only about 200 users. In the fall of 2011, they promoting the app again but through different channels: The Chronicle (a free weekly newspaper); Southwest Cycling News (published every 2 months); and Austin on Two Wheels (an online bicycle magazine). The hope is to reach a broader spectrum of the population, and while they would like to offer incentives for using the app, they are unable to do so for user privacy reasons. The research and data collection is on-going (14).

Costs

Initial development costs for the TA were under $20,000 (though this does not include staff time to promote the app or analyze the resulting data) (15). It cost only $250 to make the app ready-to-use for Austin. For the larger data collection, research, and analysis effort, they found funding through Texas A&M's University Transportation Center for Mobility ($72,000) (16), the Texas Department of Transportation ($10,000), and the City of Austin ($3,000 of in-kind services) for a total of $85,000 (17).

Other Potential Uses

This app could also be enhanced to provide encouragement measures. Similar to some other cycle trip-tracking apps, CycleTracks could provide the user with a lifetime calories burned, CO2 and gasoline saved. One of the reviewers of the app on the Apple App store mentioned a desire for web access to their personal data, complete with an elevation profile of their bicycle trip. The app might also present the individual's data in comparison with the aggregate or even with friends' data, creating friendly competition among bicyclists.

Contact

Terra Curtis
Graduate student, Department of City and Regional Planning, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
tmcurtis@email.unc.edu

Notice

The Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center, funded by the US Department of Transportation's Federal Highway Administration, does not endorse specific products or manufacturers. Trade and manufacturers' names appear in this case study only because they are considered essential to the object of the document. An attempt was made by the author to ensure that all information was balanced and factual at the time preceding publication. If you have additional information or suggestions for case study content, please contact PBIC at pbic@pedbikeinfo.org.

For additional resources and references, visit http://www.walkinginfo.org/library/details.cfm?id=4727.


New Resources

The following resources have been recently added to the PBIC Online Library, a centralized, Web-based collection of pedestrian- and bicycling-related materials. To search the library, please visit www.walkinginfo.org/library or www.bicyclinginfo.org/library.

Safety and Operational Analysis of 4-lane to 3-lane Conversions (Road Diets) in Michigan
Integration of Bicycling and Walking Facilities into the Infrastructure of Urban Communities
Transportation Policy in Perspective 2010
Walking and Cycling in the United States, 20012009
Exploring Bicycle Options for Federal Lands
Deployment of Practical Methods for Counting Bicycle and Pedestrian Use of a Transportation Facility
New Jersey Safety Along Railroads Short Term Action Plan
Evaluation of Alternative Pedestrian Traffic Control Devices

Announcements

TRB calls for papers

The Transportation Research Board (TRB) is looking for papers for its 2013 annual meeting, being held in January in Washington, D.C. The board is seeking papers "addressing any relevant aspect of transportation research."

The window to submit papers opens June 1. For more information, go to pressamp.trb.org/CallForPapers/default.asp?event=755&view=committee. Several committees are issuing calls for papers on specific pedestrian and bicycle related topics. For more information about the pedestrian and bike committees and relevant subcommittees, go to walkinginfo.org/trbped/ or bicyclinginfo.org/trbbike.

NCSL issues new publication Bicycle and Pedestrian Transportation Review

The National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) Bicycles and Pedestrians page highlights research on state legislation related to bicycle and pedestrian transportation and safety. NCSL's newest publication, Bicycle and Pedestrian Transportation Review, examines state legislative strategies to increase safety for bicyclists and pedestrians in the past few years.

NCSL is a bipartisan organization that serves the legislators and staffs of the nation's 50 states, its commonwealths and territories. NCSL provides research, technical assistance, and opportunities for policymakers to exchange ideas on the most pressing state issues. The leadership of NCSL is composed of legislators and staff from across the country.

For more information, contact douglas.shinkle@ncsl.org.

PBIC creates bike share listserv, announces preliminary findings on bike share study

The Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center has created a listserv for discussing bike share programs. To join the listserv, email PBIC Communications Manager James Gallagher at james@hsrc.unc.edu.

The PBIC and Toole Design Group have announced the preliminary findings from their study on bike share programs. The study is designed to serve as a resource about the different bike share systems and a guide to implementing a bike share program.

The preliminary report can be found on the PBIC's bike share website, bicyclinginfo.org/bikeshare. The final report will be released this fall.

WALC and AARP issue new report on implementing projects to support active living

The Walking and Livable Communities Institute (WALC) and the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) have created a new report on how to implement active living projects: "From Inspiration to Action: Implementing Projects to Support Active Living." The report stems from the organization's Active Living Workshops.

To download the report, go to walklive.org/project/implementation-guide/.

The Alliance for Biking and Walking releases its 2012 benchmarking report

The Alliance for Biking and Walking has released "Bicycling and Walking in the U.S.: 2012 Benchmarking Report." The annual report includes data and analysis on walking and bicycling in all 50 states and the nation's 51 largest cities.

To download and view the full report, go to peoplepoweredmovement.org/site/index.php/site/memberservices/2012_benchmarking_report/.

NHTSA and AAA launch new campaign to promote bicycle safety

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) and AAA have launched the Be a "Roll" Model campaign to promote safe bicycle.

The campaign, which was launched in May to coincide with National Bike Month and in advance of the first ever Bike to School Day, held May 9, consists of bicycle safety pledges, helmet safety tips, and safe bicycling tips for parents and children.

More information on the campaign and copies of all tip sheets and pledge cards can be found at nhtsa.gov/Driving+Safety/Bicycles/Be+a+Roll+Model.

Canada creates its own Walk Friendly program

Walk Friendly Ontario is a new program that "encourages municipalities to create and improve spaces and places to walk." The program launched in May.

Walk Friendly Ontario, a project of Canada Walks, is modeled after PBIC's Walk Friendly Communities. For more information, go to walkfriendly.ca.


Pedestrian and Bicycle Issues in the News

The following is a brief compilation of pedestrian- and bicycle-related news stories from around the world. Web links to the following news stories are time sensitive, so some stories might not be accessible after the initial publication date without required registration.

Wider Sidewalks Will Keep Pedestrians Safe at Wall Street Bull, City Says
DNAinfo.com – May 3, 2012

Santa Cruz's bicycle culture celebrates its artistic side for First Friday
Santa Cruz Sentinel – May 3, 2012

Bicycle riding up, fatalities down in state
Austin Daily Herald – May 3, 2012

TDOT Announces Pedestrian Safety Project in Clarksville
Business & Heritage – May 3, 2012

Bicycling advocacy group offers share-the-road toolkits to driver's education instructors
Daily Reporter – May 3, 2012

Bill would impose $1,000 fine for 'vulnerable pedestrian' death
TheDay.com – May 3, 2012

New Signs in Downtown Bristol Keep Pedestrians Safe
WCYB News – May 2, 2012

Bicycles spotlighted in run-up to Ride to Work Week, Day
McCook Daily Gazette – May 2, 2012

Summer must be near, Bicycle Sundays are here
The Seattle Times – May 2, 2012

New Analysis Shows Most Pedestrian Fatalities Occur Near Transit in Nassau County and Connecticut
Mobilizing the Region – May 2, 2012

Bike Challenge and Endomondo empower cyclists with data
SFGate.com – May 2, 2012

Will more HAWK signals be put up around Southern Nevada?
KTNV – May 2, 2012

New Bike Project Will Rid NYC of Abandoned Locked Up Bicycles, With Your Help
Gothamist – May 2, 2012

City plans to install pedestrian upgrades at accident intersection
Issaquah Press – May 1, 2012


Upcoming Events

Healthy Cities 2012

Bicycle and Pedestrian Master Planning Professional Development Course

Comprehensive Bicycle Planning & Design Course Professional Development Cours

Sixth International Conference on Pedestrian and Evacuation Dynamics - PED 2012

Lifesavers Conference

Velo-City Global 2012



Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center

730 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd
Campus Box 3430
Chapel Hill, NC 27599-3430
Phone: 1.888.823.3977
Fax: 919.962.8710
www.walkinginfo.org
www.bicyclinginfo.org