Developing a National Dataset of Bicycle Infrastructure for Canada Using Open Data Sources

22 Pages Posted: 4 Oct 2022 Last revised: 30 Oct 2022

See all articles by Colin Ferster

Colin Ferster

Simon Fraser University (SFU) - Faculty of Health Sciences

Trisalyn Nelson

University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB)

Kevin Manaugh

McGill University

Jeneva Beairsto

Simon Fraser University

Karen Laberee

University of Victoria

Meghan Winters

Simon Fraser University

Date Written: September 12, 2022

Abstract

High quality and consistent bicycling infrastructure data are needed to advance research into equity and safety and for planning active transportation. There is no consistent and complete national dataset for bicycling infrastructure in Canada. Our goal is to develop a national bicycling infrastructure dataset by 1) classifying OpenStreetMap (OSM) using the Canadian Bikeway Comfort and Safety Classification System (Can-BICS) as consistent criteria and categorization for comfort class and infrastructure type; 2) performing a site-specific accuracy assessment by comparing the classification with more than 2,000 reference points from a stratified random sample in 15 cities; and 3) presenting summary results from the national dataset. Based on reference data collected in 15 test cities, the classification had an estimated accuracy of 76 ± 3% for presence or absence of infrastructure, 71 ± 4% for comfort class, and 69 ± 4 % (by length) for infrastructure type. High comfort infrastructure was slightly underestimated (since bike paths were sometimes confused with multi-use paths) and low comfort infrastructure was slightly overestimated. Nationally, we identified 22,992 km of bicycling infrastructure meeting Can-BICS standards and 48,953 km of non-conforming infrastructure. Multi-use paths are the most common infrastructure type by length (16.6%), followed by painted bike lanes (11.0%), and then high comfort infrastructure (cycle tracks, local street bikeways, and bike paths) (4.3%). There was a wider range in access to bicycling infrastructure in small cities than in medium and large cities. To reduce repeated effort assembling data and increase reproducible active transportation research, we encourage contribution to OSM.

Keywords: Active transportation; bicycle infrastructure, OpenStreetMap, volunteered geographic information (VGI), crowdsourcing, big data.

Suggested Citation

Ferster, Colin and Nelson, Trisalyn and Manaugh, Kevin and Beairsto, Jeneva and Laberee, Karen and Winters, Meghan, Developing a National Dataset of Bicycle Infrastructure for Canada Using Open Data Sources (September 12, 2022). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4217067 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.4217067

Colin Ferster (Contact Author)

Simon Fraser University (SFU) - Faculty of Health Sciences ( email )

8888 University Drive
Burnaby, British Columbia V5A 1S6
Canada

Trisalyn Nelson

University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB) ( email )

South Hall 5504
Santa Barbara, CA 93106-0001
United States

Kevin Manaugh

McGill University ( email )

1001 Sherbrooke St. W
Montreal
Canada

Jeneva Beairsto

Simon Fraser University ( email )

8888 University Drive
Burnaby, British Columbia V5A 1S6
Canada

Karen Laberee

University of Victoria ( email )

3800 Finnerty Road
Victoria, British Columbia V8P 5C2
Canada

Meghan Winters

Simon Fraser University ( email )

8888 University Drive
Burnaby, British Columbia V5A1S6
Canada

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