GIS & bicycling – recent research activities

This post is an update of current research projects I’m involved in as member of the GI Mobility Lab internet. The nice thing is that all three projects allow us to work with domain experts from very different fields: public transit planners, medical doctors, transport engineers etc. And although the contexts of the featured projects are diverse, they all have two things in common: (1) the bicycle is in the focus and (2) we add a distinct spatial flavor to the overall research approaches.

Bike Sharing

The city of Salzburg is definitely not a front runner when it comes to bike sharing. However, the city is currently pushing the topic. In order to achieve a better evidence base for future decisions, our lab was invited for a study on the expected user potential of bike sharing in Salzburg.


For this study we developed a study design that on the one hand incorporates existing findings from literature and on the other hand explicity considers the spatial configuration of the city. Additionally we launched an open online survey with which we aimed to better understand the needs of potential users.


Different to most of the existing planning approaches we used spatial, socio-demographic data to estimate the number of potential users on the local scale. We extracted the most relevant socio-demographic determinants of bike sharing usage from literature and mapped them. These maps nicely represent the character of the city (e.g. the distribution of academics or the spatial patterns of work places). Based on structural analysis of the city we calculated different scenarios of bike sharing penetration levels for every single census block.
Currently we are working on the final report – results will be published on our website internet.


The project FamoS (Fahrradverkehrsmodelle als Planungsinstrument zur Reorganisation des Straßenraums) aims to establish a sound data base for transport models, develop bicycle flow models, and implement these models into planning tools for the evidence-based re-organisation of the road space. The project (FFG #855034), which is led by the Technical University of Graz internet, is funded by the Austrian Ministry of Transport, Innovation and Technology under the “Mobilität der Zukunft” program internet.


The background of the research project ist to strengthen active forms of mobility and to provide an evidence base for targeted interventions. For planning and (re)organization of public roads and places, suitable data and innovative planning tools must exist for these user-groups. Widespread analyzing, planning and simulation tools already exist for motorized forms of mobility, but to introduce evidence-based measures and politics for active forms of mobility, still considerable information- and planning barriers exist.
Our role in this project is to establish a consolidated data base for transport models and to develop an agend-based model for bicycle flows in Salzburg. It gives us the opportunity to further improve a first ABM-based bicycle flow model for Salzburg internet and for Gothenburg. Methodologically the project partly builds on one of my recent papers internet on GIS in transport modeling.


At a first glance there seems to be little overlap between sport medicine and GIS. Nevertheless we recently kicked-off a project, which is located at the intersection of medicine, mobility management and GIS. GISMO internet – Geographical Information Support for Healthy Mobility (FFG #854974) is also funded by the Austrian Ministry of Transport, Innovation and Technology under the “Mobilität der Zukunft” program internet. The project is coordinated by our department. We cooperate with five partners from Vienna, Zurich and Salzburg (a German language overview of the consortium can be found here internet).


GISMO internet aimes to support healthy mobility in the application context of corporate mobility management initiatives. As part of the project, the health effects of several interventions that promote sustainable, active mobility are investigated quantitatively. These data are then combined with spatial models and analysis routines in an integrated information platform which is subsequently evaluated.
The overall research goal is to estimate the health effect for each mode of transport for the individual, spatial relation between place of residence and working place. With this approach existing lines of argument that primarily focus on mobility and environmental effects as well as on efficiency, are complemented with components addressing employee’s health and health prevention. The drafted information platform serves as innovative solution for evidence-based planning, consulting and information.

For the projects FamoS and GISMO we are currently looking for an additional researcher. In cases I have raised your interest and you want to join us, have a look at the job advertisement internet.

I see many, many links to similar, existing projects and studies. The body of literature on bike sharing, transport modeling and healthy mobility is huge. Nevertheless, a lot of work still lies ahead. GIS and the spatial perspective on bicycle mobility are capable to leverage existing approaches to a next level and to generate additional insights.
Which links and overlaps do you see to your work? Feel free to comment on this post or use the contact form – I’m happy to learn from your experiences and ideas!



  1. Pingback: GI-Forum 2017: Spatial Perspectives on Active Mobility | gicycle
  2. Diego Pajarito

    I’m now working on the usage of mobile devices and location based services to promote alternative transport modes like cycling and walking, my Ph.D. research is focused on designing tools for smart cities that want to incorporate environmental benefits on their transport policies and the role of geoinformatics on this processes, Highly interested on hearing from you and probably participating future joint tasks.

    • gicycle

      Hi Diego, thanks for your interst in our research. Of course, there are plenty of potential research fields where we could join forces – would be happy to do so. Feel free to contact me whenever we can contribute to a project (idea/proposal/etc.).

      Mike Gould, who is at your department, knows our university department quite well. He attended several of the GI-Forum conferences in Salzburg (
      In the context of this conference I’m organizing a special interest session on GIS in mobility research every year (last year with Harvey Miller as session keynote speaker The topic of next year’s session will be (preliminary, the CFP will be published on Dec. 1st) “Spatial Perspective on Active Mobility”. Maybe the conference and especially the session is of interest for you and you consider to submit a research paper.

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