Developing suitable buffers to capture transport cycling behavior

Thomas Madsen, Jasper Schipperijn, Lars Breum Christiansen, Thomas Sick Nielsen, Jens Troelsen

Publikation: Bidrag til tidsskriftTidsskriftartikelForskningpeer review


The association between neighborhood built environment and cycling has received considerable attention in health literature over the last two decades, but different neighborhood definitions have been used and it is unclear which one is most appropriate. Administrative or fixed residential spatial units (e.g., home-buffer-based neighborhoods) are not necessarily representative for environmental exposure. An increased understanding of appropriate neighborhoods is needed. GPS cycling tracks from 78 participants for 7 days form the basis for the development and testing of different neighborhood buffers for transport cycling. The percentage of GPS points per square meter was used as indicator of the effectiveness of a series of different buffer types, including home-based network buffers, shortest route to city center buffers, and city center-directed ellipse-shaped buffers. The results show that GPS tracks can help us understand where people go and stay during the day, which can help us link built environment with cycling. Analysis showed that the further people live from the city center, the more elongated are their GPS tracks, and the better an ellipse-shaped directional buffer captured transport cycling behavior. In conclusion, we argue that in order to be able to link built environment factors with different forms of physical activity, we must study the most likely area people use. In this particular study, to capture transport cycling, with its relatively large radius of action, city center-directed ellipse-shaped buffers yielded better results than traditional home-based network buffer types. The ellipse-shaped buffer types could therefore be considered an alternative to more traditional buffers or administrative units in future studies of transport cycling behavior.

TidsskriftFrontiers in Public Health
StatusUdgivet - 5. jun. 2014

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