Road transport currently accounts for 17% of the world’s energy-related CO2 emissions and the transport sector is the largest contributor to energy-related CO2 emissions in Ireland. Ireland must work towards decarbonising its transport system in order to meet EU and other international targets. Active modes of transport will play a significant role in reaching these targets, yet more data on cyclist and pedestrian travel patterns are required. GPS represents an excellent source of data for active transport users and its use will improve the planning process for these modes. GPS-enabled smartphone applications are becoming more common in transport planning, although in Ireland, there has been relatively little use of these applications for active transport planning.
This study used a novel approach by using the GPS-based trip-recording smartphone application Strava to collect a dataset of pedestrian and cyclist trips across Galway City. The study also included participant surveys, before and after the trip recording period, to connect broader travel patterns with individual trips. This method allowed various aspects of the transport planning process to be examined, including permeability, desire lines and route choice. The sample was drawn from the campus population at NUI Galway and throughout the study an emphasis was placed on demonstrating the data collection technique and the potential for this type of analysis.