From White Lines to Green Lanes, How does Level of Traffic Stress (LTS) Compare Against a Ride Feedback App?

MTI researchers evaluate bicyclists’ level of traffic stress (LTS) in Portland, OR and Austin, TX
October 15, 2019
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San José, CA

With new bike infrastructure rolling out in cities across the U.S. a critical question arises. How is bike infrastructure evaluated by both cyclists and experts? Enter the popular and widely used “Level of Traffic Stress” (LTS). In “Evaluating Alternative Measures of Bicycling Level of Traffic Stress Using Crowdsourced Route Satisfaction DataMineta Transportation Institute (MTI) researchers, Drs. Kevin Fang and Daniel Rodriguez with the help of MTI Research Assistant Chester Harvey, investigate the validity of LTS by comparing it to results from Ride Report, a popular bike ride review app.  

LTS evaluates the comfort of a route using a classification system to rate the overall stress level of street segments based on variables related to bike infrastructure, road width and layout, and intersection characteristics. Ride Report is an app that uses crowdsourcing to gather bicyclist satisfaction data. MTI researchers compared LTS findings to the information provided by riders through Ride Report.

The authors explored LTS through analyses of two case study cities: Portland, Oregon, a city with very well developed bike infrastructure, and Austin, Texas, which has more moderately developed bike infrastructure.

Comparing the LTS classifications with crowdsourced ratings from real-world cyclists confirmed that less stressful facilities, as categorized by the LTS, are associated with greater cyclist satisfaction. The association between LTS and rider satisfaction is also reasonably linear. That said, the size of the association between LTS and rider satisfaction is somewhat modest, reflecting the complexity in how different riders judge their trips.

“While LTS analysis has proven extremely popular in the few years that it has been around,” says Dr. Kevin Fang, “apps like Ride Report help provide additional data points about the state of bike infrastructure and can help make cities build a case for more and better bike facilities.”

Join MTI at our next Research Snaps webinar to learn more about this research and pose questions to the study’s authors. Register for the Thursday November 14th webinar today at http://tinyurl.com/yxr487up.

ABOUT THE MINETA TRANSPORTATION INSTITUTE

At the Mineta Transportation Institute (MTI) at San Jose State University (SJSU) our mission is to increase mobility for all by improving the safety, efficiency, accessibility, and convenience of our nation's’ transportation system. Through research, education, workforce development and technology transfer, we help create a connected world. MTI was founded in 1991 and is funded through the US Departments of Transportation and Homeland Security, the California Department of Transportation, and public and private grants. MTI is affiliated with SJSU’s Lucas College and Graduate School of Business.

 ABOUT THE AUTHORS

Dr. Kevin Fang is an Assistant Professor of Geography, Environmental, and Planning at Sonoma State University, Chester Harvey is doctoral student of City and Regional Planning at UC Berkeley, and Dr. Daniel A. Rodríguez is a Chancellor’s Professor in the Department of City and Regional Planning and Associate Director of the Institute for Transportation Studies at UC Berkeley.

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Contact:

Irma Garcia, MTI Communications & Workforce Development Coordinator

408.924.7560

irma.garcia@sjsu.edu