Build It. But Where? Use of Geographic Information Systems in Identifying Optimal Location for New Cycling Infrastructure

Concern over climate change, traffic congestion, and the health consequences of sedentary lifestyles has resulted in a surge of interest in cycling as an efficient form of urban transportation. The link between the presence of cycling facilities and increasing the numbers of cyclists has been well-documented; however no methodology for locating new facilities has been developed to date. In the absence of such a methodology, new facilities are often built with a view towards recreational cycling along scenic routes or minimizing political resistance to reducing car lanes or parking. However, in order to best serve the needs of current cyclists and attract future ones, methodologies need to be developed to objectively determine how to optimally locate these facilities. This paper uses Montreal, Canada as a case study. Montreal contains a considerable number of recreational and utilitarian cycling facilities and its transportation plan calls for a doubling of its network. This paper describes a method of using several data sources in geographic information systems (GIS) environment to identify optimal locations for new facilities. The methodology demonstrated here involves modeling: 1) current cyclists’ trips based on the Origin-Destination (O-D) survey; 2) short car trips based on the O-D survey; 3) suggested routes for new facilities from a recent survey of Montreal cyclists; and 4) records of bicycle crashes obtained from police and ambulance records. Findings from all these sources are then superimposed on 300 x300 meter grid cells covering the entire island of Montreal. Optimal locations for new routes, minor linkages and upgrades are identified by analyzing the results of the grid cells in conjunction with existing facilities. This research can be beneficial to transportation engineers and planners since it uses readily available data sources to recommend additions and improvements to a city’s cycling infrastructure. Additional recommendations can be derived from the method used to help in identifying areas to invest in bicycle parking spaces and/or public bicycle stations.


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: DVD
  • Features: Figures; References; Tables;
  • Pagination: 16p
  • Monograph Title: TRB 89th Annual Meeting Compendium of Papers DVD

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01152536
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Report/Paper Numbers: 10-0514
  • Files: BTRIS, TRIS, TRB
  • Created Date: Jan 25 2010 10:16AM