Evidence to prioritise pop-up cycleways

I gave a talk today at the ‘Ideas with Beers’ seminar series, hosted each Tuesday for the past several months by Brian Deegan, an experienced transport infrastructure engineer and Principal Design Engineer at Urban Movement.

The seminar series started as a physical weekly pub meeting between Brian and anyone who wanted to share ideas, over a beer of course, in a local pub. Now that pubs are closed, it has moved on-line opening-it-up to a more diverse audience of speakers and attendees, and allowing the talks to be recorded to benefit everyone. Ideas with beers creates space somewhere between infrastructure design, active travel advocacy and research, realms which rarely meet. It does a great job of not taking itself too seriously, reminding me of the original meaning of symposium, a place where people would enjoy a social drink and discuss ideas.

My presentation was on the topic of pop-up cycleways, which have emerged as a growing response to reduced traffic and increased need for space for walking and cycling due to physical distancing measures to stop the spread of COVID-19. Recent months have also seen a renewed focus on public health. With obesity and air quality linked to vulnerability to respiritory disease, many local, city and national governments are rethinking their approach to transport policy. An illustration of this rethink is new Statutory Guidance from the UK’s Department for Transport on reallocating road space.

Motivated by these developments I talked about how we could generate an evidence base to support investment in new cycleways based on a combination of cycling potential and places where there may be ‘spare space’ for walking and cycling. Preliminary work on this can be seen in this pre-print paper. Slides from the talk, which contain links to web pages I presented, can be found below. Thanks to Brian and everyone involved in making this happen!

Robin Lovelace
Robin Lovelace
Associate Professor of Transport Data Science

My research interests include geocomputation, data science for transport applications, active travel uptake and decarbonising transport systems