Bicycles & Pedestrians

Bike/Ped Data, Bike/Ped Planning

Catch up

Here are a couple of Berkeley bike/ped related things to start off your week.

First, this month NCHRP Report 797: Guidebook on Pedestrian and Bicycle Volume Data Collection has been published, which included some Berkeley researchers on the team that compiled the guidebook. You can read about their methodology here

Second, on Saturday 31 January, 2015 from 10:00am to noon the city of Berkeley hosts the Adeline Corridor Redesign Community Meeting at the South Berkeley Senior Center (2992 Ellis Street). Many of the proposed design ideas focus on improving access and safety for pedestrians and cyclists in the area. In 2010, a UC Berkeley Design Studio examined the area, and you can see their designs here. Are they going to be implemented? Time will tell. 

Bikeshare as Public Transit

Nice Ride Minnesota

As bikeshare systems grow, mature, and become quite common, researchers are beginning to answer some fundamental questions about bikeshare. Are bikeshare cyclists fundamentally different from regular cyclists? What about riders wearing helmets? How does weather affect bikeshare trips? How do bikeshare users integrate with other modes?

What about bikeshare as public transit?

That's what TSRC researchers Elliot Martin and Susan Shaheen have asked in their forthcoming article, "Evaluating public transit modal shift dynamics in response to bikesharing: a tale of two U.S. cities" in Journal of Transport Geography. They conclude that:

The modal shift to and from public transit has shown an intriguing degree of variation within and across cities, meriting further exploration in this paper. The authors found, through mapping the modal shifts reported by members, that shifts away from public transit are most prominent in core urban environments with high population density. Shifts toward public transit in response to bikesharing appear most prevalent in lower density regions on the urban periphery.

The full article can be found here. Or your can read an overview from CityLab

Special Friday Transportation Seminar: Welcome to the Age of Access: Exploring the Sharing Economy and Shared-Use Mobility

Car sharing

This Friday, April 11 is a Special Friday Transportation Seminar. Sponsored by our new University Transportation Center, UC CONNECT, Federal Region 9 And in conjunction with the Transportation Engineering Program Open House. "Welcome to the Age of Access: Exploring the Sharing Economy and Shared-Use Mobility" will be a panel discussion moderated by Professor Susan Shaheen, Co-Director TSRC. Panelists include: Neal Gorenflo, Co-Founder Shareable; Ed Reiskin, Director of Transportation, SFMTA; Shomik Raj Mehndiratta, Lead Transport Specialist, the World Bank, Rick Hutchinson, CEO, City CarShare; Michael Jones, Principal & Founder, Alta Bicycle Share.

A panel of leaders of the sharing economy and shared-use mobility will introduce the burgeoning economy, discuss various forms of shared-use mobility (such as carsharing, public bikesharing, and web-enabled apps) and explore policy issues associated with scaling and with the integration of shared-use mobility services into the transportation landscape (such as privacy, open data, insurance, safety, equity). The discussion will explore the opportunities to be had in developing a robust public-private partnership, the obstacles that must be faced during this process, and the role research can take in informing the creation of policy.

This event, in honor of the launch of our new University Transportation Center, UC CONNECT, will be held in conjunction with Transportation Engineering’s open house welcoming potential graduate students to the program and to the UC Berkeley campus. Faculty, students, new students, and alumni are welcome to join us for this event. A reception will follow.

The special seminar take place this Friday, April 11th, 2014; 3:30 - 5:00 pm in the Banatao Auditorium, Sutardja Dai Hall. (Note: different time and different location!) There is also a reception to follow. Cookie Hour will still happen, but at 3:00 pm in the library. 

New from FHWA: Human Factors Assessment of Pedestrian Roadway Crossing Behavior

2012 09 19 - 171 - DC - Connecticut Ave Candids

Earlier this year FHWA issued a new research report as part of their ongoing research on pedestrian and bicycle safety. In Human Factors Assessment of Pedestrian Roadway Crossing Behavior, researchers collected data and used it to create a predictive model of pedestrian behavior. 

More than half of pedestrian fatalities occur at unmarked locations away from intersections. However, little research has been conducted to understand why pedestrians cross roadways at unmarked locations. As a result, this study sought to better understand the environmental influences on both where and when pedestrians elect to cross the road. This report examines more than 70,000 pedestrian crossings at 20 different locations. The circumstances of those crossings (pedestrians yielding to vehicles, vehicles yielding to pedestrians, and evasive actions) were documented and analyzed. A model using environmental factors as inputs is provided to predict where (marked crosswalk intersection or outside the marked crosswalk) pedestrians will cross the road.

The full report can be found here

Friday Seminar: The Cycling Gender Gap: What do Sex, Power, and Fashion Have to Do With It?

Bike4Life Oakland 2009

This week's TRANSOC Friday Seminar looks at gender and cycling. Professor Jennifer Dill of Portland Sate University will present, "The Cycling Gender Gap: What do Sex, Power, and Fashion Have to Do With It?"

In larger urban areas in the US, women make up only about one-third or fewer of the adults who bicycle for transportation. This is in contrast to major bicycling cities such as Copenhagen and Amsterdam where a gender gap in bicycling is non-existent. For cycling to make a major contribution to improving the sustainability of US urban areas, the gender gap must be addressed. This talk will discuss the history of women and the bicycle in the US, then draw upon national statistics and research from Portland, Oregon to explain why girls and women are not bicycling for transportation and what might change that.

The seminar will commence on Friday, February 14, 2014 from 4-5 PM in 534 Davis. Cookie Hour will take place at 3:30 in the library. 

What makes people walk more?


A new article from PLoS One asks the question, "What makes people walk more?" Actually, in, Richard H. Glazer et al ask - "Density, Destinations or Both? A Comparison of Measures of Walkability in Relation to Transportation Behaviors, Obesity and Diabetes in Toronto, Canada"

The design of suburban communities encourages car dependency and discourages walking, characteristics that have been implicated in the rise of obesity. Walkability measures have been developed to capture these features of urban built environments. Our objective was to examine the individual and combined associations of residential density and the presence of walkable destinations, two of the most commonly used and potentially modifiable components of walkability measures, with transportation, overweight, obesity, and diabetes. We examined associations between a previously published walkability measure and transportation behaviors and health outcomes in Toronto, Canada, a city of 2.6 million people in 2011. Data sources included the Canada census, a transportation survey, a national health survey and a validated administrative diabetes database. We depicted interactions between residential density and the availability of walkable destinations graphically and examined them statistically using general linear modeling. Individuals living in more walkable areas were more than twice as likely to walk, bicycle or use public transit and were significantly less likely to drive or own a vehicle compared with those living in less walkable areas. Individuals in less walkable areas were up to one-third more likely to be obese or to have diabetes. Residential density and the availability of walkable destinations were each significantly associated with transportation and health outcomes. The combination of high levels of both measures was associated with the highest levels of walking or bicycling (p<0.0001) and public transit use (p<0.0026) and the lowest levels of automobile trips (p<0.0001), and diabetes prevalence (p<0.0001). We conclude that both residential density and the availability of walkable destinations are good measures of urban walkability and can be recommended for use by policy-makers, planners and public health officials. In our setting, the combination of both factors provided additional explanatory power.

You can read the full article here because PLoS One is Open Access. Hat tip to Streetsblog for posting this

Friday Seminar: Innovations in Traffic Safety Research

photoadayproject (44)

Tomorrow is Friday, which means there's another TRANSOC Friday Seminar taking place. This week features Professor Moshen A. Jafari of Rutgers University. He will present, "Innovations in Traffic Safety Research".

Traffic crashes and accidents at intersections, roundabouts and roadway segments result from many complex factors, but at a basic level, they are outcomes of the interactions among vehicles and other road users. Since few direct measurements of these interactions are available, engineers and planners instead attempt to understand them by studying crashes and accidents reports. As crashes account for a tiny fraction of safety conflicts, these reports fail to provide a full understanding of what is happening at the points of accidents. This is especially true of crashes involving pedestrians and bicycles, for which data are sparse, making it difficult to determine reliable patterns. In this talk we will present risk based traffic safety models using multiple data streams, including near miss data, systemic data, historical traffic accidents, and drivers’ naturalistic behavior data. We will also briefly discuss ongoing research at Rutgers on the development of Plan4Saefty software, which is currently being used by the State of New Jersey for traffic safety analysis and planning.

The seminar will be held Friday, February 7 2014 from 4:00-5:00 PM in 534 Davis Hall. Cookie Hour commences at 3:30 here in the library. 

Modeling Escalator Capacity

Escalators are an under appreciated component of many public transportation systems. Can you imagine using the Dupont Circle Metro station without them? 

A recent paper from the Transportation Research Record examines the role of escalators in public transit systems. "Modeling the Practical Capacity of Escalators: A Behavioral Approach to Pedestrian Simulation" by Peter Kauffmann and Shinya Kikuchi looks at how escalators affect pedestrian behavior and public transit. 

Escalators are an essential mode of public transportation that enable people to travel vertically within a facility at a continuous, high flow rate. Despite the importance of the role of escalators in many facilities, little systematic analysis of the capacity of escalators has been conducted within the field of transportation engineering. A method is presented to calculate the practical capacity of escalators with a simulation based on pedestrian behavioral rules. The capacity of an escalator is defined traditionally only as a function of speed with speed-capacity curves defined by manufacturers or found in empirical studies. These methods do not consider pedestrian behavioral patterns and preferences such as following distance, passing aggressiveness, and other local factors. A rule-based model provides the flexibility to analyze conditions in various public facilities and to answer hypothetical research questions. Three major findings are reported. First, the practical capacity of escalators in commercial facilities such as shopping malls is significantly lower than the maximum capacity in a commuter facility such as a transit station, at only 20% to 40% of what is generally reported by manufacturers to provide for freedom of movement and pedestrian comfort. Second, the model shows that prohibition of walking on escalators can stream-line operations in emergency scenarios because it reduces variability in the system and increases flow, particularly during peak periods. Finally, contrary to some claims in the literature, uphill flow on escalators operates at a lower capacity than does downhill flow because of the presence of a "facial ellipse," the region directly in front of a pedestrian's face.

The full paper can be found online here. 


New from ITDP: The Bike-Share Planning Guide

Divvy Bike Share Station

Last week the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy (ITDP) dropped a new document about bike-share. The Bike-Share Planning Guide provides an overview of bike-share systems internationally and gives best practices. You can download the whole report here.

Transportation mode recognition using GPS and accelerometer data


One of the big problems for smartphone travel diary apps is automatic mode detection. The split between walking and not is pretty easy, as is cycling, but what about separating cars from rail? Apps like Moves just dubs it "transport", but that doesn't help much with travel behavior research. A new paper in Transportarion Researc Part C examines using accelerometers and GPS to detect mode. Tao Feng and Harry J.P. Timmermans from Eindhoven University of Technology present their research in, "Transportation mode recognition using GPS and accelerometer data"

Potential advantages of global positioning systems (GPS) in collecting travel behavior data have been discussed in several publications and evidenced in many recent studies. Most applications depend on GPS information only. However, transportation mode detection that relies only on GPS information may be erroneous due to variance in device performance and settings, and the environment in which measurements are made. Accelerometers, being used mainly for identifying peoples’ physical activities, may offer new opportunities as these devices record data independent of exterior contexts. The purpose of this paper is therefore to examine the merits of employing accelerometer data in combination with GPS data in transportation mode identification. Three approaches (GPS data only, accelerometer data only and a combination of both accelerometer and GPS data) are examined. A Bayesian Belief Network model is used to infer transportation modes and activity episodes simultaneously. Results show that the use of accelerometer data can make a substantial contribution to successful imputation of transportation mode. The accelerometer only approach outperforms the GPS only approach in terms of the predictive accuracy. The approach which combines GPS and accelerometer data yields the best performance.

The full article can be found here

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