Increased Safety on Cycling Paths by Improving Road Maintenance : A Concept to Report Faults and Provide Grades on Cycling Paths

University essay from KTH/Hållbarhet och miljöteknik

Abstract: Urbanisation is increasing and more sustainable transport modes are promoted, in both the sustainable development goals and the national goals. Sweden has developed a national cycling strategy, with the purpose to improve cycling infrastructure and make more people chose the bike. While cycling is good for both environment, reduced congestion and personal health, the traffic mode comes with high risk of accidents. Insufficient operation and maintenance is one of the main causes of single accidents involving cyclists. To improve the road quality on existing paths, this study has in collaboration with NCC, developed a concept for reporting issues on paths for cyclists directly to the road manager. The aim is to increase the efficiency of inspections on cycling paths and to cover more risk related aspects. A pilot area was chosen, due to variations in contracts for NCC’s operational areas in Sweden. The choice of pilot area was Borås, based on type of contract, local initiatives and sufficient information available. The methodology of this project consisted of a general literature review, followed with a deeper study of contracts and seminars in Borås. The seminars provided local insight from the NCC workers and cyclists familiar in the area. A grading system for the reports was obtained through a multi-criteria analysis in which criteria was combined with weights based on risk factor to demonstrate the urgency from more sides than just the contact. An analysis of the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats was made to evaluate the concept. The result is in the form of a reporting system where cyclists can register errands about problems on their cycling paths in a mobile application. An NCC administrator at the main local office will organise the reports into the relevant criterion and score it according to urgency. The errand is then graded based on the score combined with a weight for that criterion to represent the risk factor. Colour coded symbols will appear on a digital map, giving NCC a good overview of the cycling path that can help them prioritise and schedule maintenance more efficiently. It is expected that some of the reports will concern problems outside of NCC contract boarders, these will be handled separately in a Grey Zone. Either the errand will be forwarded to responsible road manager, or it will be used in action proposals to the contract holder. For this system to work, it is important that the users stay engaged. This is attained with a feedback mechanism allowing the user to follow the report throughout the process. It will be possible to receive notifications when the status of an errand is updated. During a seminar with local cyclists, personalised feedback was preferred. A suggestion to meet this request is given in the form of a gamification feature, where points and achievements illustrate the importance of the cyclist’s reports. To attract users, different incentives such as discounts or service might be necessary. A final recommendation from this project is to create a system with the intention to collaborate with local initiatives and stakeholders. The value of this concept lay in increased efficiency and quality of operation and maintenance of cycling path that will lead to a safer environment for the citizens. 

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