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Perception of Safety and Cycling Behaviour on Varying Street Typologies: Opportunities for Behavioural Economics and Design
Many studies have noted that denser and more accessible environments with higher level-of-service (LOS) tend to encourage higher levels of walking and bicycling activity. As streets are increasingly designed to facilitate safe cycling through built environment interventions, little has been done to evaluate perceptions of safety on different typologies, particularly one vs. two-way corridors. Theory would suggest that many individuals frame their commutes based in-part on the perceived safety of the environment, yet little research looks at varying street design and this perception. This study uses a moving camera approach to evaluate the perceived cycling comfort for drivers and cyclists on different roadway designs (multi-lane, one way; two-way, bidirectional street; single-lane, one-way).
Perceived safety can influence comfort and potentially modal choice—particularly for parents. If parents perceive routes as unsafe they are reticent to allow their children to walk or bike.
Both drivers and cyclists have different perceptions of speed and relative safety of varying street designs; with those in a driving role perceiving multi-lane corridors as faster traveling and those cyclists perceiving them as less safe.
Municipalities should invest in protected and connected bike and pedestrian infrastructure on roads with average speeds of 25 MPH or higher.
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