Cyclist Path Choices Through Shared Space Intersections in England
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Cyclist Path Choices Through Shared Space Intersections in England

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  • NTL Classification:
    NTL-PEDESTRIAN AND BICYCLES-PEDESTRIAN AND BICYCLES;NTL-HIGHWAY/ROAD TRANSPORTATION-Design;NTL-HIGHWAY/ROAD TRANSPORTATION-HIGHWAY/ROAD TRANSPORTATION;NTL-OPERATIONS AND TRAFFIC CONTROLS-OPERATIONS AND TRAFFIC CONTROLS;
  • Abstract:
    In the last several years, there has been growing worldwide interest in making streets safer for all users— pedestrians, cyclists, and motorists. One approach, shared space, is a traffic calming technique as well as urban design concept. This technique strives to fully integrate the roadway into the urban fabric by removing elements such as lane markings, curbs, and traffic signs. By removing these elements and creating a more plaza-like space, these sites become ambiguous and no user group has priority. The technique is relatively new, and the majority of existing research concerns pedestrians only. This mixed methods research focused on six intersections in England with the goal of understanding how bicycle riders perceive and travel through shared space intersections. Using video observations of the six sites in three cities, three shared and three control, this project analyzed the variations in the paths cyclists rode through the intersections. Data were collected on several variables related to both the cyclists and their interactions with the site itself such as helmet use and riding through crosswalks. Path analysis required the development of a new evaluative variable in order to compare individual paths by how much deviation there was in each path ridden as compared to other cyclists. Site-specific surveys addressed the perceptions, bicycling experience, demographics, and path and route preferences by cyclists at both shared space and control intersections. The analysis indicated that cyclists rode similarly through both shared and control intersections, and that a large percentage of riders preferred to ride farther from motor vehicles when given the space to do so. This project offered further insight in how to best design shared space projects for nonmotorized users by looking at the spatial layout and the elements that most influenced a rider’s path choice. Results indicated that, in these cases, shared space was not the panacea for nonmotorized users as some literature suggests, but nonetheless appeared to be a valid form of traffic calming. This research offered further insight in how to best design shared space projects for nonmotorized users by looking at the spatial layout and the elements that most influenced a rider’s path choice.
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