Low-stress bicycling connectivity: Assessment of the network build-out in Edmonton, Canada

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  • Studies have shown that a network of safe, connected, and direct facilities can increase urban cycling levels. During summer 2017, the city of Edmonton, Canada, constructed nearly 20 kilometers of protected bicycle lanes on its core neighborhood streets. A rapid and coordinated network implementation was preferred to the more traditional incremental approach to bike lane construction. In this paper, we evaluate the low-stress connectivity improvements afforded by this network build-out. We first classify streets and trails according to the Level of Traffic Stress (LTS) framework, which we adapt to the metric system. Using only LTS 2 and LTS 1 network links, posited to be adequate for most adults, we apply three analyses. First, we draw “Bikeshed” maps, which show areas of connectivity around seven central destinations. Our comparison before and after the build-out points to a better integration of the network, with previously separate bikesheds overlapping and allowing uninterrupted low-stress travel to more destinations. This analysis also allows us to identify several central neighborhoods which are disconnected due to remaining high-stress links. Second, we generate roughly three-hundred hypothetical origins located in the central neighborhoods of the city. Reflecting the improved bikeshed integration, we observe a four-fold increase in connected origin-destination pairs. Finally, we find small reductions in trip lengths between connected pairs for some of the trips that were possible before the build-out. However, important detours are still necessary to remain on an exclusively low-stress network when compared to the shortest path using the full network, regardless of LTS. The primary contribution of our research is to develop a method of analysis, based on straightforward tools, to study the city-wide impacts of targeted infrastructure improvements and is most relevant for cities in the initial stages of bicycle network development.

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    Article (Draft / Submitted)
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    Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International
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    • Cabral, L., Kim, A. M., & Shirgaokar, M. (2019). Low-stress bicycling connectivity: Assessment of the network build-out in Edmonton, Canada. Case Studies on Transport Policy, 7(2), 230-238. https://doi-org.login.ezproxy.library.ualberta.ca/10.1016/j.cstp.2019.04.002
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