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A dashboard for the GreenWay

Posted by on September 3rd, 2018 · Bikes, Data, Planning, Public space, Sydney, Transport, Wellbeing

By Alessandra Buxton, Ori Gudes, Chris Pettit and Vandana Mann, City Futures Research Centre.

Cycling around Sydney CBD and the surrounding suburbs has been dubbed a dangerous and difficult experience by Sydneysiders. Both Sydney and NSW are at the bottom of their classes in terms of cycling participation rates, with participation declining since 2015 in both greater Sydney and regional NSW to 10 per cent and 16 per cent respectively. Despite the City of Sydney’s encouragement to get more commuters using cycling as their mode of transport, the lack of cycling infrastructure is a sore point.

Residents and local councils have been eager to find a solution to make the overall experience safer for cyclists. One of the recommended solutions is the GreenWay corridor: a transport route containing footpaths, cycle-ways, parks, playgrounds, bush care sites, cafes, public art and community facilities. Funded by the NSW state government, the Inner West Council and the City of Canterbury Bankstown, the goal of the GreenWay is to increase the rate of active residents and cyclists for both commute and recreational purposes. The corridor follows a route of the Rozelle to Dulwich Hill freight rail corridor and connects two of Sydney’s major waterways, the Cooks River and the Parramatta River at Iron Cove Bay. Currently the corridor is half-way through construction and is missing many necessary links such as bridges and tunnels, but completion is expected in the next few years.

Research undertaken by UNSW City Futures funded by the National Heart Foundation on the GreenWay in the Inner West measures the active travel rates on the dashboard ‘Map Story’. The primary aim of the study being to develop a framework to measure the impact of active transport infrastructure and to address the gap in knowledge regarding the impact of new active transportation infrastructure. The study meets a core objective of the Heart Foundation which encourages active travel and an increase of infrastructure to support it. Through the research offered the data is designed to influence and support investment in infrastructure and make the city safer place to ride.

By measuring the current use of the GreenWay, researchers have provided a clear and accessible format on a Map Story for urban planners and local councils to view data and understand how effectively the infrastructure is being utilised. Through the collation of research from NSW Roads and Maritime Services, Inner West Council, the Super Sunday Report and crowd-sourced data, City Futures has produced an interactive map showing popular routes, peak hours and air quality along the GreenWay.

Along with assisting local governments in understanding the effectiveness of an active travel corridor, the study also provides important information and maintains the analysis of air quality using a mounted sensor.

Continuing to monitor the air quality will provide evidence of the role of urban green corridors in cooling the environment, educate the community on the value of green spaces, provide data that allows the public to avoid areas with poor air quality, expose school students to the value of good air quality and diversity in flora and fauna as well as providing cost effective evidence of air quality to the city council.

The in-depth data has pleased the Heart Foundation, which maintains the corridor is beneficial for the local community’s health. “We are very happy to support the GreenWay Dashboard project. It has the power to demonstrate in a very tangible form how thoughtful infrastructure can translate into increased physical activity and better public health outcomes.”

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