05/21/10

Biking, Walking, & Blogging: U of M Non-motorized CapstoneBiking, Walking, & Blogging: U of M Non-motorized Capstone

U of M Nonmotorized Capstone

From Tony Hull, Evaluation and Program Specialist

On Friday, May 14, TLC and Minneapolis Department of Public Works (DPW) staff sat with other biking and walking enthusiasts, as five bright students from the Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs presented the culmination of their work analyzing pedestrian and bicycle counts that had been collected jointly between TLC and Minneapolis DPW since 2007. The data included 458 count events of two hours or more at 240 locations throughout the city of Minneapolis (TLC and other agencies conduct other counts outside of Minneapolis, but the class chose to focus on Minneapolis for this analysis).

The results presented were fascinating and thought-provoking to say the least. Count locations were each analyzed based on environmental factors including street and facility types, level of land use mix, demographics, transit availability, among other attributes thought to have an impact on bicycling and walking behavior. Additionally seasonal impacts such as temperature and precipitation were analyzed. The deliverables from this effort included an estimation model that can be applied to counts taken during the 4:00 to 6:00 time period and estimate a 12 hour total for all locations, and a predictive model that provides estimations of walking or biking across the city.

From all of this work, there were several key findings shared by the class:
• Bicycling volumes are higher on streets with some bicycle facility (bike lane, shared lane marking, etc.) than streets without.
• Walking volumes are greatest on streets with transit service.
• 4:00 to 6:00 PM peak counts are highly correlated with 12 hour volumes.
• Bicycling and walking can be modeled using weather, neighborhood characteristics and other built environment variables.

TLC Bike Walk Twin Cities and Minneapolis DPW staff are extremely grateful of all of this great work and look forward to the ongoing relationship with Dr. Greg Lindsey and his Non Motorized Capstone course. Both TLC and Minneapolis will post the final presentation and related material to our websites after they are finalized.

A special thanks to the five team members of this first Non Motorized Capstone Class. The students are Jason Borah, Steve Hankey, Kristopher Hoff, Brad Utecht and Zhiyi Xu, and these five gentlemen are sure to do great things in the future.