Understanding Cyclist Perceptions of Road Adjacent Shared-Use Paths: A Comprehensive Study of Both Stated and Revealed User Preferences
Type of DegreePhD Dissertation
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Road adjacent shared-use paths are a valuable transportation facility for rural and suburban communities looking to reap the benefits of increased active transportation. Shared-use paths have the ability to immediately accommodate multiple types of active transportation users all within one facility and separated away from the hazards of motor vehicles. However, there are known operational challenges when they are implemented adjacent to a roadway and many regular cyclists do not prefer them as they generally increase travel time and require mixing with slower moving path users. With these known conflicts, transportation agencies are unclear if a shared-use path is the right decision for their particular project or community. Additionally, most active transportation research and practice is focused on urban solutions that have very different needs than those in rural and suburban communities. Therefore, this dissertation provides a comprehensive analysis of user perceptions of road adjacent shared-use paths that will allow transportation professionals to better understand the needs of the varying types of path users. Using a stated preference survey along with a big data revealed bike share analysis, a new framework guidance plan for implementing road adjacent shared-use paths was developed. This new framework is based on entirely originally collected data and analysis that documents the preferred physical conditions for a road adjacent shared-use path as well the preferences of different users. The majority of users were shown to have a preference towards road adjacent shared-use paths compared to non-separated facility options. Additionally, those shown to prefer road adjacent shared-use paths were the least confident user type who needs more accommodations to increase their amount of active travel.