Promoting cycling through urban planning and development: a qualitative assessment of bikeability
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Original versionUrban, Planning and Transport Research. 2021, 9 (1), 277-306. 10.1080/21650020.2021.1938195
To increase cycling shares through urban planning and development, planners need sound tools to assess the built environment. This article presents a methodology to qualitatively determine bikeability, the extent to which it is possible and pleasurable to bike in or through a given area. It is a holistic assessment of four categories of built environment characteristics that affect bikeability. An assessment follows an iterative process combining secondary data and registrations from maps, aerial photos and fieldwork. The methodology does not require specialised tools and is applicable to different urban contexts and purposes. Two examples are included to demonstrate possible uses: assessment of existing built environments to establish a knowledge base when developing short- and long-term cycling plans and strategies, and assessment of planned urban transformations for use in planning processes to ensure new urban developments with a high level of bikeability. Possible methodological improvements are identified. Surveys and interviews with cyclists can provide further understandings of local context. Geographical information systems can inform an assessment but require specialist knowledge, better datasets, and more empirical data on cycling and the built environment from various contexts. As new insights emerge, the methodology must be continually updated to remain valid and reliable.