Investigating cyclist interaction behavior through a controlled laboratory experiment

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Nowadays, there is a need for tools to support city planners in assessing the performance of cycling infrastructure and managing bicycles and mixed flows. Microscopic and macroscopic bicycle traffic models can be used to fulfill this need. However, fundamental knowledge on individual cyclist interaction behavior (which should underpin these models) is hardly available in literature. Detailed bicycle traffic data are necessary if we want to gain insight into cyclist interaction behavior and develop sound behavioral theories and models. Laboratory experiments have been proven to be one of the most effective ways to collect detailed traffic data. For this reason, a controlled experiment aimed to investigate cyclist interaction behavior has been carried out at Delft University of Technology. This paper describes the experimental design, the resulting microscopic bicycle trajectories, and some preliminary results regarding one of the most common interaction situations: the bidirectional interaction. The preliminary results reveal how and to what extent cyclists interact in bidirectional cycling. It is found that cyclists perform a clearly-visible evading (collision avoidance) maneuver when they have face-to-face encounters. During these maneuvers, changes in speed and displacements in the lateral direction are observed. Cyclists start to deviate from their original path when they are around 30 m from each other, and they strongly prefer passing on the right-hand side. Moreover, the expectation of gender differences in cycling behavior reported in the literature is confirmed: our results show that women generally cycle more slowly than men and deviate more from their intended paths in face-to-face encounters. More observations will be available in the next stage of data analysis. These findings can be used to formulate improved microscopic bicycle traffic models for infrastructure design and policy development.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)833-847
JournalJournal of Transport and Land Use (online)
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2018


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