Combining GPS-Tracks and Accident Data to Improve Safety of Cycling Paths 2020-24-0020
Cycle mobility is a valid solution to externalities produced by private traffic, ensuring a reduced spatial and environmental footprint and guaranteeing maximum energy efficiency in terms of trips made and physical effort applied. It is also a healthy solution since it is a form of active mobility, concurring to improve both the quality of life of its users and the liveability of cities. The design of safe cycle infrastructures has a major influence on the choice of this mode of transport. In particular, the attractiveness of a cycle route depends on several factors such as its convenience, directness, legibility, safety, comfort, and physical effort during the trip.
The research conducted in this study will address the issue of cycle routes safety through an approach based on the use of Global Positioning System (GPS) data. Spatial data on cycle routes, indeed, can support the evaluation of safety of different paths: however, although the study of cycle safety is quite widespread in the literature, analyses that rely on a GPS-based approach are not common. The proposed methodology involves the collecting of data relating to digital tracks of human activities, and in particular, the tracks of the trajectories left by the cyclists’ smartphone equipped with GPS along their cycle paths, whether they are part of a cycle infrastructure or not. GPS tracks will be used to highlight the paths where a major density of cyclists’ digital traces is currently present; this parameter will be considered as a measure of exposure to accident risk. This procedure will be applied to the case study of Catania, a medium-size city in the south of Italy, with poor cycle infrastructures provision and frequent mixed traffic bike usage. The proposed methodology aims at measuring the safety level of cycle paths in order to evaluate the priority of cycle infrastructure improvements and traffic measures in order to guarantee a safe interaction among all the road users.