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Walking and cycling interactions on shared-use paths

Delaney, Hannah


Hannah Delaney


Central to this research are the interactions that take place between cyclists and pedestrians on shared-use paths and the impact of these on journey experiences. This research proposes that as active travel is promoted and as walking and cycling targets are set in the UK, there is a potential for levels of active travel to increase; putting pressure on shared-use paths, and potentially degrading journey experiences. Previous research on shared-use paths focuses on the observable aspects of shared path relations, such as visible collisions and conflict. However, this thesis suggests that it is necessary to investigate shared-path interactions in more depth, not only focusing on the visible signs of conflict but also examining the non-visible experiential interactions. Thus, this research addresses the following questions:
- What are the different kinds of interactions that occur on shared-use paths?
- How do path users experience and share the path?
- What are the respondents’ expectations and attitudes towards the path?
- What are the practice and policy options in relation to enhancing shared-path experiences?
- Are video recordings a useful aid to in-depth interviews?
The Bristol-Bath railway path (Bristol, UK) was chosen as a case study site and a two phased data collection strategy was implemented. Phase I included on-site intercept surveys with cyclists and pedestrians along the path. Phase II involved a novel mobile method; using video recordings of the participants’ shared-use path journeys as a discussion tool during in-depth interviews. Phase II enabled a more detailed exploration of the path users’ experiences from a personal point of view. By implementing these methods and applying a novel theoretical framework (combining mobilities and social psychology theory), this research has uncovered findings relevant to practice and theory.

Exploring path user interactions revealed the types of coping strategies used by the respondents to share space. The findings also highlighted that different sensory aspects are prominent for cyclists and pedestrians. Processes associated with path-user identities and path-identity were also uncovered as important aspects of shared-path experiences. The usefulness of video mobile methods in accessing the experiential aspects of walking and cycling interactions has also been highlighted. The conclusion considers these findings and sets out recommendations including a code of conduct and an identity-influencing strategy for the path, along with ideas for future research.


Delaney, H. Walking and cycling interactions on shared-use paths. (Thesis). University of the West of England

Thesis Type Thesis
Keywords walking, cycling, shared paths


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