A spatial policy tool for cycling potential in England
Utility cycling is an increasingly common objective worldwide. The Propensity to Cycle Tool (PCT) www.pct.bike is a planning support system created using open source software; including R (Shiny) for data processing and (Leaflet) interactive visualisation. The project is funded by the UK Department for Transport.
We have developed the sustainable transport planning package (stplanr). Given two points: origin and destination (OD), it displays a straight line connecting them. To get a route, it relies on two APIs GraphHopper and CycleStreets. The GraphHopper API is global, whereas CycleStreets is UK specific. Cyclestreets API incorporates hilliness, giving faster and quieter routes. We have used MapShapper library to simplify the boundaries of the geographical data (shape files).
A geographical based multi-layered application has been developed using Shiny and Leaflet packages. The PCT represents current cycling and cycling potential based on OD data from the England 2011 Census. Cycling potential and the corresponding health and environmental benefits are modelled as a function of route distance, hilliness and other factors at OD and area level. One of the main hurdles was to incorporate complex spatial big data sets, and allow multiple web-users to concurrently use the tool. In order to load, manipulate and interrogate the data, we use on-demand innovative mechanisms to visualize it.