Real-Time Human Perceptions: Toward a Bicycle Level of Service

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The primary focus of this study by Sprinkle Consulting Engineers, Inc. is to develop a bicycle-quality, or level-of-service, model for applications in U.S. metropolitan areas. Although there are several model forms being used throughout the United States that attempt to quantify road suitability or the quality of service afforded bicyclists traveling the street and roadway networks of urbanized areas, to date there have been no statistically calibrated models published. The statistically calibrated level-of-service model described here is based on real-time perceptions from bicyclists traveling in actual urban traffic and roadway conditions. The study’s participants represented a cross section of age, gender, experience level, and geographic origin of the population of cyclists that use the metropolitan road networks in the United States. The test course is representative of the collector and arterial street systems of North American urban areas. Although further hypothesis testing is being conducted and additional studies are planned to test the need for disaggregate models for central business district streets with high turnover parking, truck routes, and two-lane high-speed rural highways, the general bicycle level-of-service model reported here is highly reliable, has a high correlation coefficient (R2 = 0.73), and is transferable to the vast majority of United States metropolitan areas. The study reveals that pavement-surface conditions and striping of bicycle lanes are important factors in the quality of service.

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Transportation Research Record, v. 1578, issue 1, p. 119-126