New research may help improve Copenhagen’s bicycle infrastructure
A newly released research paper shows how network analysis can serve as a cost-efficient support tool for bicycle infrastructure planning. The research has been conducted by analyzing the street network in Copenhagen based on data from OpenStreetMap.
2022 is set to be a great year for Danish cyclists. Former Minister of Transport Benny Engelbrecht has declared 2022 the “year of the bicycle,” and in July the Tour de France will kick off its first three stages in Denmark.
2022 may also become a year to remember for the many Copenhageners who bike to school and work every day. In a new research paper, the Danish capital’s bicycle network is analyzed in order to make Copenhagen a more bicycle-friendly city.
The paper is based on studies conducted by PhD fellow Anastassia Vybornova, Postdoc Tiago Cunha, and Associate Professor Michael Szell in collaboration with Professor Astrid Gühnemann, University of Natural resources and Life Science in Vienna. According to Michael Szell the purpose of the article is to develop an automated method to find gaps in bicycle networks in big cities.
- A gap in the bicycle infrastructure could be a path that ends abruptly forcing cyclists to use the roadway lanes intended for cars. There are many gaps like that in every city, and some are more significant than others. We use algorithms from network science to detect the most significant gaps, he says. Top 105 in Copenhagen
In the research paper, the 105 most significant gaps in the Copenhagen bicycle network are identified. The gaps have all been found using algorithms, but the researchers have visited all the spots to verify the data. Furthermore, the data has been compared with a survey where more than 10.000 Copenhageners pointed out the least safe places to bike. According to Michael Szell, the combination of raw data, observations, and experiences constitute a solid foundation for city planners in Copenhagen and other cities who want to improve conditions and safety for cyclists.
- Urban planners tend to focus very locally, for example on an intersection with a history of accidents. Then they want to improve the safety of that specific intersection. Network science provides us with the opportunity to look at the city from a bird’s eye perspective. Estimating or using information about where most cyclists travel, our research can help city planners prioritize the gaps. For example, bridges are obviously important because they connect parts of the city and often result in bottlenecks. Hence, they need to be safe for cyclists, says Michael Szell.
During the project Michael Szell’s research group has been in contact with the Copenhagen Municipality, and he hopes that the city planners there will take the research results into account.
The research article has recently been published in Geographical Analysis