Maptionnaire in Transportation Planning: Researching Cycling Safety in Zurich

October 23, 2019
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Transportation Planning

The number of bicycle accidents in Zurich, Switzerland has increased significantly in recent years. Experts have estimated that the number of unreported cases is around 80–90%. Laura Ringel was curious to get to the bottom of the factors behind this development. Their goal was to locate bicycle accident sites through a survey.  For this, an easy-to-use tool was needed where people could share facts about the incidents. Maptionnaire turned out to be the perfect tool for gathering this kind of information.

This blog post is written by Laura Ringel. She is a former visiting student at the Institute of Construction & Infrastructure Management at the ETH Zurich.

Importance of Providing Accurate Coordinates

The aim of my master's thesis was to carry out a survey in order to estimate the number of unreported cases and to collect further information about bicycle accidents in Zurich. From a transportation planning point of view, providing actual coordinates is the most helpful way of showing where an accident has happened – compared to, for instance, verbal or written descriptions or a given street address.

An intuitive and accurate way to query for place-based information is to offer a virtual map for the respondent. For my research, I started to look for an easy-to-use online tool that allows you to pin-point locations on a map and answer questions about the marked location – and luckily ended up finding Maptionnaire.

🚴 If you’re curious on how a survey for transportation planning and safety looks like, have a look at our demo survey.

Thanks to the Traffic Department of the City of Zurich, I had the opportunity to conduct a three-month long survey on bicycle accidents happening in Zurich, and chose to use Maptionnaire for the project. During these three months, I was  able to continuously look at the answers already collected, which helped me plan needed actions for  further advertising the survey. I could also check the data for its completeness and thus prepare the analysis in advance.

Get Active in Promoting the Survey

To promote the survey, I distributed flyers to 54 bike shops and wrote an article for a cycling magazine called Velojournal. In addition, cycling communities Pro Velo, Velo Plus, and published a link to the survey on their Facebook pages. Furthermore, an ad was placed on RonOrp, a local urban community website that also sends out a daily newsletter to its readers.  Consult this article for further tips on how to engage your audience and increase response rates.

The total number of respondents for the survey was 2076. The sample size represents a significantly higher number than what experts in the field estimate. In my opinion, the combination of the modern design and ease of use of Maptionnaire as well as the versatile promotion efforts helped to achieve success.

Aim of research:

  • Mapping where bicycle accidents happen in Zurich to support transportation planning efforts

Success factors:

  • Active promotion (magazine, social media, flyers) to reach the focus group
  • Possibility to provide exact location of accidents via Maptionnaire
  • Ease-of-use of the survey tool

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