The Road Environment and Urban Bicycling: Psychophysiological and Behavioral Responses and their Implications for Transportation Planning

This project's proposed research addresses sustainable transportation by aligning with the National Center for Sustainable Transportation (NCST) low-impact travel and sustainable land use focus area. One of the many urban planning strategies implemented in the United States (U.S.) to increase low-impact travel is investment in bicycling as a normal mode of travel. Because roads have largely been designed for cars, a primary concern for bicycling is in understanding how improving road environments can encourage bicycling. This project's three-part research proposal focuses specifically on the relationship between the road environment and bicycling behaviors. First, the project will examine the comfort/stress of the road environment for bicycling in detail through a naturalistic bicycling experiment of a female college student cohort. Second, in order to examine the impact the road environment has on travel behavior, the project will examine the relationship between the road environment and both mode and route choices through a series of observational studies of students at three northern California high schools, university students, faculty and staff in Davis, CA, and bicycling adults in San Francisco, CA. Third, the project will develop a new framework for planning the road environment for bicycling, and develop a geographic information systems (GIS) planning support tool to ensure the project's research can be applied in current planning and policy contexts.