Tuesday, April 14, 2015

A New Strategy For Planning Bike Routes

  

Indianapolis Mayor Ballard Might Want to Take Note of This Method



"We are making great strides to make Indianapolis a more bicycle-friendly city. By the end of 2011, we will have more than doubled the miles of bike lanes in Indianapolis - from 30 to 63. Creating a designated space on the road for bicycles makes it more convenient and safer for bicyclists to get around the City and promotes a healthier lifestyle for our residents."

Mayor Greg Ballard

Not so very long ago, it was a right of passage for grade school kids to be able to ride their bike to school. It was not uncommon for this to start at about age 8. Fast forward a few decades and many parents who had this very privilege themselves would never allow their kids the opportunity. The twin fears of crime and traffic are most likely the culprit. 

Good news!  Crime is now about the same as it was in the 1950's. You wouldn't know it by the news, but for most neighborhoods in Indianapolis, the fear is unfounded. 

Traffic, on the other hand, is a bit more crowded than in the past. One city has come up with a very 2015 way of figuring out how to potentially direct kids to the safest routes, and potentially open up a fantastic way to improve kid's health and reduce carbon footprints. 

According the Mobilitylab.org, the city of Alexandria VA, employed high tech hackers to plot out the various routes young adults at a local high school would most likely take to get home from school.  

If you asked a student how long it takes to get from her high school to her house on a bike, she might tell you how long it takes to drive – something she’s familiar with – followed by a guess that it takes even longer to ride home on a bike.
Of course, the real answer for biking home depends not only where students live and the distance, but on the other important conditions such as a route’s safety, car traffic, light timing, and the access to safe crossings. So how could you answer this question for an entire school’s population? Organize a Radius Ride!
Radius Rides are organized events in which a group of cyclists starting from the same location, like a high-school parking lot, library, or shopping center take routes away from there. This actual ride data is then valuable for showing the local public how far one can get on a bike in five, 10, or 15-minute intervals from the selected starting point. The rides are relaxed-speed group rides – not races – for the purpose of recording data to plot on maps.
In Alexandria, Virginia, we chose the high-school’s main campus as the start of our first Radius Ride because it is central to the city and generates a lot of car and schoolbus traffic. Starting from the high-school parking lot, we traced out routes along the roads and paths that led to the edge of the school’s boundaries (in Alexandria, these are the same as the city limits). These paths radiated out from the school much like spokes in a wheel and went through or ended in many of the population centers of the city. (The original paths can be seen in the picture below.)
- See more at: http://mobilitylab.org/2015/04/13/school-bicycling-safety-in-alexandria-virginia-gets-a-look-from-tech-hackers/#sthash.WCu8xPvO.dpuf
If you asked a student how long it takes to get from her high school to her house on a bike, she might tell you how long it takes to drive – something she’s familiar with – followed by a guess that it takes even longer to ride home on a bike.
Of course, the real answer for biking home depends not only where students live and the distance, but on the other important conditions such as a route’s safety, car traffic, light timing, and the access to safe crossings. So how could you answer this question for an entire school’s population? Organize a Radius Ride!
Radius Rides are organized events in which a group of cyclists starting from the same location, like a high-school parking lot, library, or shopping center take routes away from there. This actual ride data is then valuable for showing the local public how far one can get on a bike in five, 10, or 15-minute intervals from the selected starting point. The rides are relaxed-speed group rides – not races – for the purpose of recording data to plot on maps.
In Alexandria, Virginia, we chose the high-school’s main campus as the start of our first Radius Ride because it is central to the city and generates a lot of car and schoolbus traffic. Starting from the high-school parking lot, we traced out routes along the roads and paths that led to the edge of the school’s boundaries (in Alexandria, these are the same as the city limits). These paths radiated out from the school much like spokes in a wheel and went through or ended in many of the population centers of the city. (The original paths can be seen in the picture below.)

Next, we recruited experienced riders who could face our inconsistently bike-friendly roads. We asked them to bring a cell phone loaded with an app, like Strava, that could collect and export the route data in the commonly-used GPX file format. Because many of Alexandria’s streets still don’t have bike lanes, we wanted experienced riders who could handle the sometimes-stressful roads and intersections. On the designated day, riders took to their routes and recorded their rides.
When all the rides were completed, we sent the GPX files to Mobility Lab’s tech guru Michael Schade. He spent several long nights compiling the data and creating a way to display the information in a very informative full-motion graphic of the entire event.





So what did they learn? For the rest of the story:

Next, we recruited experienced riders who could face our inconsistently bike-friendly roads. We asked them to bring a cell phone loaded with an app, like Strava, that could collect and export the route data in the commonly-used GPX file format. Because many of Alexandria’s streets still don’t have bike lanes, we wanted experienced riders who could handle the sometimes-stressful roads and intersections. On the designated day, riders took to their routes and recorded their rides.
When all the rides were completed, we sent the GPX files to Mobility Lab’s tech guru Michael Schade. He spent several long nights compiling the data and creating a way to display the information in a very informative full-motion graphic of the entire event.
Chart
- See more at: http://mobilitylab.org/2015/04/13/school-bicycling-safety-in-alexandria-virginia-gets-a-look-from-tech-hackers/#sthash.WCu8xPvO.dpuf
- See more at: http://mobilitylab.org/2015/04/13/school-bicycling-safety-in-alexandria-virginia-gets-a-look-from-tech-hackers/#sthash.WCu8xPvO.dpuf
If you asked a student how long it takes to get from her high school to her house on a bike, she might tell you how long it takes to drive – something she’s familiar with – followed by a guess that it takes even longer to ride home on a bike.
Of course, the real answer for biking home depends not only where students live and the distance, but on the other important conditions such as a route’s safety, car traffic, light timing, and the access to safe crossings. So how could you answer this question for an entire school’s population? Organize a Radius Ride!
Radius Rides are organized events in which a group of cyclists starting from the same location, like a high-school parking lot, library, or shopping center take routes away from there. This actual ride data is then valuable for showing the local public how far one can get on a bike in five, 10, or 15-minute intervals from the selected starting point. The rides are relaxed-speed group rides – not races – for the purpose of recording data to plot on maps.
In Alexandria, Virginia, we chose the high-school’s main campus as the start of our first Radius Ride because it is central to the city and generates a lot of car and schoolbus traffic. Starting from the high-school parking lot, we traced out routes along the roads and paths that led to the edge of the school’s boundaries (in Alexandria, these are the same as the city limits). These paths radiated out from the school much like spokes in a wheel and went through or ended in many of the population centers of the city. (The original paths can be seen in the picture below.)
- See more at: http://mobilitylab.org/2015/04/13/school-bicycling-safety-in-alexandria-virginia-gets-a-look-from-tech-hackers/#sthash.WCu8xPvO.dpuf

If you asked a student how long it takes to get from her high school to her house on a bike, she might tell you how long it takes to drive – something she’s familiar with – followed by a guess that it takes even longer to ride home on a bike.
Of course, the real answer for biking home depends not only where students live and the distance, but on the other important conditions such as a route’s safety, car traffic, light timing, and the access to safe crossings. So how could you answer this question for an entire school’s population? Organize a Radius Ride!
Radius Rides are organized events in which a group of cyclists starting from the same location, like a high-school parking lot, library, or shopping center take routes away from there. This actual ride data is then valuable for showing the local public how far one can get on a bike in five, 10, or 15-minute intervals from the selected starting point. The rides are relaxed-speed group rides – not races – for the purpose of recording data to plot on maps.
In Alexandria, Virginia, we chose the high-school’s main campus as the start of our first Radius Ride because it is central to the city and generates a lot of car and schoolbus traffic. Starting from the high-school parking lot, we traced out routes along the roads and paths that led to the edge of the school’s boundaries (in Alexandria, these are the same as the city limits). These paths radiated out from the school much like spokes in a wheel and went through or ended in many of the population centers of the city. (The original paths can be seen in the picture below.)
- See more at: http://mobilitylab.org/2015/04/13/school-bicycling-safety-in-alexandria-virginia-gets-a-look-from-tech-hackers/#sthash.WCu8xPvO.dpuf
If you asked a student how long it takes to get from her high school to her house on a bike, she might tell you how long it takes to drive – something she’s familiar with – followed by a guess that it takes even longer to ride home on a bike.
Of course, the real answer for biking home depends not only where students live and the distance, but on the other important conditions such as a route’s safety, car traffic, light timing, and the access to safe crossings. So how could you answer this question for an entire school’s population? Organize a Radius Ride!
Radius Rides are organized events in which a group of cyclists starting from the same location, like a high-school parking lot, library, or shopping center take routes away from there. This actual ride data is then valuable for showing the local public how far one can get on a bike in five, 10, or 15-minute intervals from the selected starting point. The rides are relaxed-speed group rides – not races – for the purpose of recording data to plot on maps.
In Alexandria, Virginia, we chose the high-school’s main campus as the start of our first Radius Ride because it is central to the city and generates a lot of car and schoolbus traffic. Starting from the high-school parking lot, we traced out routes along the roads and paths that led to the edge of the school’s boundaries (in Alexandria, these are the same as the city limits). These paths radiated out from the school much like spokes in a wheel and went through or ended in many of the population centers of the city. (The original paths can be seen in the picture below.)
- See more at: http://mobilitylab.org/2015/04/13/school-bicycling-safety-in-alexandria-virginia-gets-a-look-from-tech-hackers/#sthash.WCu8xPvO.dpuf

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