Gulsah Akar Receives Grant for Bicycle Study

Associate Professor of City and Regional Planning Dr. Gulsah Akar has received an Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) research grant to review existing bicycle level of service and safety index tools and propose a model that can be customized for an Ohio specific application.

The project sponsor is Ohio's Research Initiative for Locals (ORIL). ORIL is Ohio's new research program for Local Public Agencies, whose purpose is to provide research support for local agencies to address problems specific to the local roadway system. ODOT funding for the study is $94,319. The total project amount is $128,727, including the Ohio State cost-share in the form of tuition waivers for graduate student project assistance.

Dr. Akar, the principal investigator for the project, whose research focuses on transportation planning and policy with a focus on travel demand forecasting, travel behavior and links between land‐use and transportation, has teamed with Kevin Lee, Associate Engineer at Kittelson and Associates. City and Regional Planning Ph.D. candidate Kailai Wang will assist with the project. 

In general, bicycle level of service and safety index models take into account factors such as roadway attributes - roadway width, number of lanes, pavement condition - as well as bicycle and vehicular volumes, adjacent land uses, existence of bicycle infrastructure and traffic calming measures.

The research team will work with the ORIL Technical Advisory Committee to identify the existing datasets, propose and develop an evaluation tool that will be applicable for Ohio bicycle routes that local transportation officials and planners can use.

“Creating a process and model for Ohio agencies to follow will provide opportunities for streamlined data-supported prioritization and decision-making,” commented Akar. “This project will build upon existing research and develop a set of tools to assess the current performance of individual network segments and overall network safety, rider comfort and performance specific to Ohio.”

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