CycleWR has developed the Cycling Route Effectiveness Model (CREM) to evaluate the highest priority cycling routes in the Region. We piloted the model in Cambridge in 2021, and followed up with Kitchener in 2022 and Waterloo in 2023.
If you are curious about how the process develops a score for each potential new cycling route, read on. If you would prefer to just jump to the main conclusions, view this Powerpoint deck with maps and lists of the high priority routes in each city.
CREM Scoring Overview
The Cycling Route Effectiveness Model gives points to cycling routes in two ways:
- Routes that help connect neighbourhoods to the key destinations in the city
- Routes that give access to specific points of interest and/or equity deserving neighbourhoods
Which Routes Did We Score?
Each of the three major cities have established cycling or active transportation Master Plans. Each city has a subset of the total plan that includes the most important routes for making connections across the city. This subset is called the Network Spine in Cambridge and Kitchener, or the Primary Network Grid in Waterloo. We included all the routes on the Network Spine/Primary Network Grid to start. We then added a few more routes that we thought might score highly, even though they were not included in the Network Spine/Primary Network Grid. We then developed a map of the Region including all these routes.
Section 1 – Connecting Neighbourhoods to Key Destinations
We started by assuming that all the routes we identified have cycling facilities built to All Ages and Abilities (AAA) standard. AAA facility types include
- Off-road Multi-Use Trails (pedestrians and cyclists)
- Boulevard Multi-Use Trails (Multi-Use Trails beside a road – pedestrians and cyclists).
- Raised (beside the road) Cycle Tracks (cyclists only)
- Physically Separated (on-road) Bike Lanes (cyclists only). The physical separation must be concrete, planters or some other substantial separation. Simple painted bike lanes (even with a painted buffer or flex bollard separation) are not considered AAA facilities.
Then we identified the key destinations that people might want to cycle to. These included city centres, shopping malls, recreational trails and major employment areas.
We then identified the neighbourhoods that people live in (roughly 75 neighbourhoods across the Region, and even further subdivisions within those neighbourhoods).
We then looked at the “best route” to cycle from each neighbourhood to each key destination, using only the AAA routes on our map. If a specific route segment is on one of these “best routes”, it got points for making that route connection.
For this purpose, we assumed a handful of route segments (mostly the bridges that would have to be rebuilt to put in a AAA cycling facility) were “constrained”. Our “best routes” were then chosen assuming they could not be used. The constrained routes were:
The Northfield Drive bridge over the Conestoga Parkway
- The Victoria Street bridge over the Conestoga Parkway
- The Ottawa Street (East) bridge over the Conestoga Parkway
- Water Street from Park Hill Road to Concession Street – building a cycling facility would require removal of many parking spaces in Galt Core – unlikely to be approved.
- The Guelph Avenue bridge over the Speed River
Section 2 – Points of Interest and Equity Deserving Areas
Points were awarded to routes that would give close access to various points of interest:
- Grocery Stores
- Community Centres
- LRT Stations
- Major Parks
- Service Ontario/Service Canada offices
We also gave points for two neighbourhood types:
- Low Income Areas – identified from census data (more than 35% below the Low Income Measure After Tax).
- Cycling Deserts – areas that are especially unsafe for cycling now, with few or no existing AAA routes and a major obstacle (e.g. a river or expressway crossing that has no AAA facility) separating them from most/all key destinations
Points were awarded for routes that give better access to Low Income Areas or Cycling Deserts. Also, routes that ended a key bottleneck such as a river or expressway crossing got extra points.