MARIETTA — A new interactive map from the Mapping and Data team at Buckeye Hills Regional Council attempts to paint a picture of how comfortable it is to travel southeast Ohio’s roads on a bicycle.
The Bicycle Road Comfort map uses data provided by the Ohio Department of Transportation, as well as county level data from Athens, Hocking, Meigs, Monroe, Morgan, Noble, Perry, and Washington counties. The interactive map attempts to show the likelihood that a cyclist may find a given road comfortable. It categorizes every road in the Buckeye Hills region except for those marked as private or where biking is prohibited.
When available, posted speed limits, number of lanes, and average annual daily traffic (AADT) were used to make the comfort level determination. Based on these factors, roads are assigned one of three designations: Comfortable for Few Users, Comfortable for Some Users, or Comfortable for Most Users.
With the increased interest in outdoor activity that has been brought on by the pandemic, those interested in cycling recreationally may want to know where they can bike comfortably. Additionally, for those who rely on a bicycle as their primary transportation, the map can help identify less stressful routes to their destination.
“Using available data, we are trying to capture a complete picture of where a cyclist is likely to find a comfortable experience on our roads,” said Jason Pyles, GIS Coordinator at Buckeye Hills Regional Council. “Trails, infrastructure like bike lanes, or shared lane markings are currently not included in this analysis. We are working on adding additional data, such as elevation change to the analysis. We know that can matter more in some areas than what cars or trucks are doing.”
The interactive map can be found in the Buckeye Hills Regional Council online Data Center at https://buckeyehills.org/data-center.
The next step in the map’s development, Pyles noted, is to factor in the real-world experiences of cyclists on these roads.
“This is meant to be the start of a conversation,” Pyles explained. “While we want the core of this to be data-driven, we are inviting input from the community on how these roads actually are to cycle on, and we will be including that feedback in our scoring system for the roads.”
Those with comments or corrections to the map are encouraged to email Pyles at email@example.com with “Bicycle Comfort Map” in the subject line.
To learn more about Buckeye Hills Regional Council, visit www.buckeyehills.org, call 740-374-9436 or 1-800-331-2644 (toll free), or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Buckeye Hills Regional Council is a council of governments dedicated to improving the lives of residents in southeast Ohio. By working collaboratively with elected officials across Athens, Hocking, Meigs, Monroe, Morgan, Noble, Perry, and Washington counties, Buckeye Hills connects local, state, and federal resources to communities with their Aging & Disability, Community Development, Mapping & Data, Population Health, and Transportation Planning divisions.
Information provided by Buckeye Hills Regional Council.