Exploring Bicycle Route Choice Behavior with Space Syntax Analysis

Cycling provides an environmentally friendly alternative mode of transportation. It improves urban mobility, livability and public health, and it also helps with reducing traffic congestion and emissions. Although the mode share of bicycle accounts for a relatively small percentage of all trips taken in the United States, cycling is gaining popularity both as a recreational activity and a means of transportation. Therefore, to better serve and promote bicycle transportation, there is an acute need to understand the route choice behavior of cyclists. Unfortunately, there are only a limited number of studies investigating this issue. Compared to the route choice model for private motorized vehicles, route choice behavior for bicycles is much more complex as there are many influential factors affecting cyclists’ route choice decisions. Empirical studies on bicycle route choice analysis indicate that cyclists choose routes based on a number of criteria that may include distance, number of intersections, road grade, bicycle facility, and safety. Nevertheless, existing studies tend to be based on observable quantities associated with the street segments themselves, but overlook a fundamental issue, travelers’ cognitive understanding of the network configuration. This research is an exploratory study with the goal of understanding cyclists’ route choice decisions and evaluating the applicability of a spatial analysis technique, space syntax theory in the context of bicycle route choice. The study has three objectives as follows: (1) establishing a procedure of applying space syntax theory to model cyclists’ route choice decisions, (2) exploring the relationships between space syntax and other bicycle-related attributes and bicycle movement, and (3) conducting a real-world case study using the methodology proposed.


  • English


  • Status: Completed
  • Funding: $67503
  • Contract Numbers:



  • Sponsor Organizations:

    Office of the Assistant Secretary for Research and Technology

    University Transportation Centers Program
    Department of Transportation
    Washington, DC  United States  20590
  • Managing Organizations:

    Transportation Research Center for Livable Communities

    Western Michigan University
    Kalamazoo, MI  United States  49009-5316

    Western Michigan University

    1903 W. Michigan Avenue
    Kalamazoo, MI  United States  49008-5241
  • Project Managers:

    Dunn, Denise

  • Performing Organizations:

    Transportation Research Center for Livable Communities

    Western Michigan University
    Kalamazoo, MI  United States  49009-5316

    Utah State University

    Logan, Utah  United States  84322
  • Principal Investigators:

    Song, Ziqi

    Chen, Anthony

  • Start Date: 20150701
  • Expected Completion Date: 20160630
  • Actual Completion Date: 20160630
  • USDOT Program: University Transportation Centers
  • Subprogram: Research

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01590166
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: Transportation Research Center for Livable Communities
  • Contract Numbers: DTRT13-G-UTC60, TRC-15-13
  • Files: UTC, RIP
  • Created Date: Feb 9 2016 6:51PM