Enhancing the Thermal Comfort of Utilitarian Bicyclists: An Energy Budget Approach Integrating the Principles of Microclimatic Design with Bicycle Pathway Design in Ottawa, Canada

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Klein, Elisabeth Faith
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University of Guelph

Thermal comfort receives little priority in the planning and design of bicycle pathways. Design tools are required to illustrate the importance of the relationship between climate and bicycling activity to improve the bicycling experience and extend the bicycling season in a cold climate. Microclimatic and bicycle pathway design principles were integrated with a COMFA model to simulate the thermal comfort of users bicycling on a proposed pathway in Ottawa, Canada. Modelling results predicted bicyclists could be thermally comfortable travelling at a steady-state speed of 16.0-19.2 km/h, but preferred to be cooler when travelling at higher speeds and warmer in colder months when standing at rest. Design implications recognized the compatibility of microclimatic and bicycle pathway design principles and demonstrated how a bioclimatic approach to designing bicycle infrastructure can encourage user thermal comfort, mitigate weather discomforts, accentuate seasonal climate conditions, and address a more inclusive combination of bicycle user design criteria.

Bicycling, Bicycle infrastructure, outdoor thermal comfort, microclimatic design, bicycle pathway design, commuting