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Exploration of New Approaches to Expressing Cycling Experience

Reljan-Delaney, M. (2023). Exploration of New Approaches to Expressing Cycling Experience. (Unpublished Doctoral thesis, City, University of London)


The overall question that occupies my work is the ways of using data visualisation, and complementing methods, in accessing the untold London cycling stories that fall in the gaps between the bars on a chart as well as striving to complement existing active travel methodologies and examine assumptions that accompany them.

Munzner [219] describes the role of data visualization as helping "...when there is a need to augment human capabilities.". Human memory is fallible and selective [21], while quantitative data alone is reductionist. This work aims to help scaffold the fallible and augment the missing. It does that by examining combinations of methodologies for eliciting and capturing cycling experiences that are more encompassing and aim to tease out overlooked aspects of active travel.

Data consists of datum (points) and, in my work, visualization is a prism for conducting, relating, focusing, and amplifying information they contain. I used maps to capture points of contact between the cyclist and their environment and interviews to capture refractions that are the result of that interaction. I did this by conducting three observational studies, the first two being linked paper studies. The first study was an open-ended study exploring the interaction of cyclists with maps, sketching, and expression. The study was conducted in person and the recruitment was conducted by convenience sampling. The second study built on the first and absorbed the vocabulary that was extracted using thematic analysis of the interviews. The study used base maps, augmentation, tokenisation sketching, and interviews.

The third study was an in-depth, targeted inspection of minority female cycling. Gender, racial and socioeconomic inequalities in active travel are well documented [176][206]. Recent macro-studies [124] [125] of gender and active travel show the widespread inequality and highlight the existing disparity in the cycling uptake by women and ethnic minorities in countries with a low cycling modal share, like London.

Hence, the study was contrived to illuminate mobility and the role of visualization in uncovering hidden powers and unseen realities of female ethnic minority cyclists. By focusing on the specific sub-group, Muslim and BAME women cyclists, it aims to get away from dominant voices and representations and reach the invisible. I used a mixed-method approach that combined ethnographic elements like participant observation with sensor technology tracking, and interactive visualization affording data-led but holistic and multilayered insights.

Methods used in this work were effective in eliciting reflection and insights that are not captured by more traditional means. Hence, the contribution of this work is in the methods I am presenting, the analysis of different forms of visual cues for communication of the cycling experience and insights into the experience itself.

This empirical work presents a new framing for considering the way cyclists use their environment and what this environment needs to offer. The last project is also giving a voice to the growing and vibrant cycling undercurrent of ethnic minority women in active travel as well as engaging the citizens-action groups that are supporting mobility (r)evolution.

Publication Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HE Transportation and Communications
Q Science > QA Mathematics > QA75 Electronic computers. Computer science
Departments: School of Science & Technology > Computer Science
School of Science & Technology > School of Science & Technology Doctoral Theses
Doctoral Theses
[thumbnail of Reljan-Delaney Thesis 2023 redacted PDF-A.pdf]
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