Over the last two decades, state and territory governments have developed ambitions to increase cycling participation. These have been motivated by a growing recognition of the importance of enhancing sustainable mobility options; to combat congestion, stem the growth in transport emissions, reduce road trauma, and provide a more diverse set of transport options.
Central to the ambition of growing cycling participation is the need to create a more conducive environment for people to ride bikes. It is well-established that safety concerns are a primary reason people do not ride a bike. Greater levels of high quality bicycle infrastructure are required to make cycling a more compelling option. However, in seeking to achieve a more conducive environment for cycling, some fundamental questions remained unanswered. These knowledge gaps have hampered efforts to plan future bike infrastructure improvements. For instance;
- How much cycling takes place on a city’s street and path network now, and how would this change with enhancements to the quality of the bicycle infrastructure network?
- How safe/dangerous is cycling on each street in a city’s network, in total, and on a per kilometre basis, and how might this change with improved infrastructure?
The figure below identifies the 7 steps we undertook to develop the Melbourne Bicycle Network Model.
By applying the Bicycle Network Model, planners can provide reliable estimates of the benefits of implementing a future bicycle infrastructure network, including critical inputs for cost benefit analysis.
The Model is capable of estimating average daily cycling volumes across each street and path within inner Melbourne. A map illustrating these estimates is shown below.
The Bicycle Network Model creates a Geographic Information Systems (GIS) based tool that can estimate:
- How much cycling takes place on every street within a city’s entire street and path network.
- How enhancements to the bike infrastructure network changes cycling levels on each street, including people diverting from one street to another, to take advantage of improvements to the network on parallel streets.
- The risk of cycling crashes on all streets within a city’s entire street and path network, to provide a clear picture of existing risk profiles (crashes per km), and how this may change via the provision of new infrastructure.