Spatial Heterogeneity of Weather impacts on Cycling Flows within Gothenburg, Sweden - A Geographic Framework for Local Pattern Analysis
Sammanfattning: Background: In the past decade, the phenomenon of spatial heterogeneity has started to gaintraction in studies of cycling and weather. Cycling is usually the mode of transportation that ismost affected by inclement weather and the scientific consensus about how weather impactscycling behaviour on a general scale is for the most part well-established. On a regional scale,weather effects have been found to be more adverse in low-density rural communities, whilstthe impact is less severe in more compact cities. However, to this date, little is known abouthow, and even if weather produces heterogonous cycling patterns on a local city scale.Method: Given the lack of precedent to studies of spatial heterogeneity on a local scale,this study developed and applied a framework to investigate the presence of the phenomenon.The framework consists of two parts. First, a cartographic exploration of correlationcoefficients linked to cycle-measurement stations around the city of Gothenburg. Second, aweather sensitivity analysis was conducted to identify if urban areas with similar characteristicswas associated with spatial heterogeneity. Properties of the urban environment were quantifiedwith a modified Local Climate Zone system to capture the dominant urban characteristics thatsurrounds every cycle-measurement station and their corresponding cycleway segment.Results: Findings made in this showed that the impact of the weather indicestemperature, sunshine, precipitation and gustiness varies across the city of Gothenburg. Thepattern of spatial heterogeneity was especially pronounced in relation to gustiness. Coastalenvironments characterized by openness were consistently more sensitive to higher windspeeds. The duration of sunshine was also more important to urban areas with a low density.Two precipitation indices were considered, along with the binary occurrence of a precipitationevent. The duration of precipitation had the most negative impact on cycle frequencies and theeffect was stronger than even the binary occurrence of a precipitation event. Surprisingly, inthe densest built environments, cycling appears to be more sensitive to precipitation than areascharacterized by openness.Discussion: These results have some important implications for planning authorities.First, weather is not an entirely uncontrollable phenomenon in relation to cycling. It is possibleto identify areas that are more affected by certain weather conditions and thus take appropriateaction. Second, this study found evidence that spatial heterogeneity exists, but the robustnessof the proposed framework needs refining before the results can be regarded as conducive.Conclusions: This study could be used as a way forward for professionals who struggleto find out where they should intervene to empower cycling. The framework proposed in thisstudy can also be used to identify urban environments that are more adversely affected bycertain weather conditions without actual measurements of the cycle volume in these areas.Further developments are recommended, but the framework in this study could be a costeffectiveway of identifying especially weather sensitive areas of the urban environment.
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