The Cycle Highway Assessment Tool has been improved lots of times over the CHIPS-project. We will discuss in this chapter the latest version v3.2, which was launched, tested and corrected at the Cycle Highway Academy in Leuven on October 2018. The tool was tested by partners of the CHIPS-project but also by participants to the Cycle Highway Academy and recieved very positive feedback since it was the first time that the so called “SECTION APPROACH” was used and that a vocabulary list supported the assessor.
There are multiple approaches to do the cycle highway assessment. One of them could be by filming it (f.e. GoPro Footage) and then allowing other people to do the assessment, f.e. by upload into Kinomap, which is a kind of youtube fot cycle paths in which you cycle virtually (on your Tacx-system) in any filmed cycle path around the world.
The approach we would like to advise is however using the following three-step approach in group as it is trained in the Cycle Highway Academy. It is of course highly recommendable to follow the yearly Cycle Highway Academy where the tool is trained.
The three-step approach to the cycle highway assessment contains the following steps:
1. Divide the cycle highway which you want to assess into logical “sections”
The cycle highway needs to be divided into logical sections of around 1 to 5 kilometers. In the next steps you need to assess each section separately so it is important to make sure you can remember the section. As we learned by doing the assessment, it is easier for everyone to remember “sharp curves”, “steep slopes”,… (see further) when you just cycled it. It will be more difficult to count when you take too long sections.
The section approach as used for the F3 cycle highway Leuven-Brussels
Also make sure you agree on where the section exactly start and stops, f.e. before or after a junction.
2. Assess section by section in the field by different groups or individual assessors
It is now time for the field work and go outside and do a cycle highway assessment trip and the best (most fun) way is to do this in small groups of 2 or 3 persons which allows you to discuss some criteria after each section. In version 3.2 there are 17 criteria ((indicated in yellow in the table underneath) to which the section approach can be used. For each person it is easily possible to remember and fill in 3-4 criteria after each section. Some people are however capable of filling more than 5 criteria after they cycled a section. So we leave it up to the assessor to see how much he or she remembers after cycling for 1-5 kms.
To fill in the EMPTY SHEET at the Excel-file can be printed out and used along the cycling assessment trip. It is good to print out also the vocabulary sheet and take this with along the cycling assessment trip
3. Gather the results and discuss the final number
Immediately after doing the cycle highway assessment trip, you need one final group discussion in the end. Also some people who were assigned to assess other criteria, will definitely be able to discuss over all the criteria since everyone remembers the cycle highway vividly. This is also the occasion to judge the other criteria which don’t need a section approach.