Research projects

Advancing cycling as an active transport mode using data driven approaches

This research program aims to provide the critical evidence that is needed to advance cycling as an active and sustainable mode of transport. Through interdisciplinary research and multi-national collaborations, the program will develop a world-leading data platform that will monitor, inform and evaluate cycling, and use this platform to provide the evidence that is needed to enhance cycling participation, safety and infrastructure. The outcomes of the research will revolutionise our ability to implement safe and connected cycling infrastructure in areas of greatest need, leading to reduced injury, greater equity and wider uptake of cycling as a mode of transport, thereby leading to substantial gains in population and environmental health.

This project is led by Dr Ben Beck and is funded by an Australian Research Council (ARC) Future Fellowship (FT210100183).

Read more in Monash News.

Sustainable Mobility: city-wide exposure modelling to advance bicycling (2021-2023)

This project aims to develop a world-leading platform for city-wide modelling of cycling exposure. This project will provide unparalleled insights into cycling exposure by combining multiple cycling data sources through the use of advanced spatial statistical and machine learning techniques. The expected outcomes of this project are a novel inventory of cycling infrastructure, a cycling route choice modelling system and robust predictions of cycling volumes on individual streets. This project will deliver a step change in cycling that will lead to increased cycling participation, enhanced safety, and improved infrastructure planning, thereby resulting in substantial gains in population and environmental health.

This project is led by Dr Ben Beck and is funded by an Australian Research Council (ARC) Discovery Project (DP210102089).

Read more about the CYCLED Study here.

Development of on-bike technology to capture objective and subjective measures of cyclist safety (2021-2023)

Pedal cyclists are vulnerable road users and commonly interact with other road users. Despite the frequency and potential danger of interactions with motor vehicles on roads, we understand very little about these interactions, where ‘near-miss’ events occur and how we can enhance infrastructure to better protect cyclists. This has been hindered by the absence of on-bike technology that can quantify cyclist safety in real-world environments. In this project, we propose to overcome these limitations by developing, validating and trialling an on-bike data system to capture objective and subjective measures of safety.

This project is led by Dr Ben Beck and is funded by an Australian Government Office of Road Safety ‘Road Safety Innovation Fund’ Grant.

Active transport research priorities for Australia (2020-2021)

Active transport, such as walking and bike riding, can greatly contribute to improving population health, the environment and the economy. Despite these benefits, the vast majority of commute trips in Australia are by private car. Additionally, only 45% of the Australian adult population and less than one quarter of children meet the recommended physical activity guidelines.

To advance active transport in Australia, there is a need to create a united and collaborative approach to addressing current research knowledge gaps. To this point, this project aims to define research priorities in active transport in Australia, informed by researchers, practitioners, policy/decision makers and advocates.

This project is led by Dr Ben Beck and is funded by VicHealth.

Cycling Typologies in Victoria (2020-2021)

Despite the health and environmental benefits of increasing cycling participation, participation rates in Australia remain low compared to other international settings. To inform the provision of infrastructure and potential campaigns to encourage individuals to cycle, it is necessary to understand current attitudes toward cycling and to identify potential riders (people who do not ride, but may be interested in cycling).

Bicyclist typologies are used to segment populations into distinct groups with shared needs and concerns regarding cycling. The ‘Geller Typology’ is a commonly used typology internationally. A set of questions is used to identify an individual’s interest in cycling and their preferences toward particular types of cycling infrastructure. The Geller Typology categorises individuals into one of four groups; Strong and Fearless, Enthused and Confident, Interested but Concerned, and No Way No How.

This project aims to show the distribution of the Geller Typology Groups across 37 Local Government Areas (LGA) in Victoria, including those that make up Greater Melbourne and a selection of regional centres. By doing so, LGAs can gain an understanding of the level of interest in cycling in their area, and tailor infrastructure and potential programs and/or campaigns to encourage greater cycling participation.

This project is led by Dr Ben Beck and Lauren Pearson and is funded by VicHealth.

Cycling, Mobility and Safety in Older People (2020-2021)

The project aims to develop a better understanding of the cycling experience of older Australians, aged 50 years and over. The focus will be on factors that shape this experience and how cycling impacts independent mobility. The study will also examine the circumstances and outcomes of cycling crashes and identify countermeasures to improve cycling safety in this group. The objectives of the research are to:

  • Examine older cyclists’ views on mobility and how cycling plays a role, particularly in relation to other methods of travel, including cars and public transport.
  • Identify individual and social factors, aspects of the built environment and technology that shape the cycling experience in older Australians.
  • Investigate circumstances and injury outcomes of cycling crashes in older people.
  • Identify strategies, including education, environmental and regulatory changes, to support cycling as a viable, safe and enjoyable mobility option for older people.

This project is led by Dr Soufiane Boufous (UNSW) and is funded by a UNSW Ageing Futures Institute Grant.

BEACHES: Built Environments and Child Health in WalEs and AuStralia (2021-2023)

The BEACHES project, a three-year joint initiative between universities in Australia and Wales in the United Kingdom, will examine how places and spaces created or modified by people – such as buildings, parks and transport systems – influence physical activity and childhood obesity.

We will identify and understand how complex and interacting factors in the built environment (BE) influence modifiable risk factors (physical inactivity, sedentary time, unhealthy diet, overweight/obesity) for non-communicable diseases (NCD) across childhood. A better understanding of how the BE drives overweight/obesity by either promoting or inhibiting modifiable risk factors will inform evidence-based planning policy and practice strategies to prevent the rise in NCD’s in future generations.

The Australian arm to this project is being led by A/Prof Hayley Christian (Telethon Kids Institute) and is funded by the UK Research and Innovation’s Medical Research Council (MRC) and Australia’s National Health Medial Research Council (NHMRC).

Evaluating interventions to prevent serious road traffic crashes (ongoing)

The overarching objective of this project is to provide a system-wide review of serious road traffic injury in Victoria. This project will identify emerging issues in road safety and evaluate existing and novel countermeasures to road traffic crashes that result in serious injury or death.

To achieve these aims, a novel data system will be established by linking data from the world-leading Victorian State Trauma Registry (VSTR), with detailed crash information from the Victorian Department of Transport, the Transport Accident Commission (TAC), Victoria Police, and Ambulance Victoria.

This project is funded through Dr Beck’s Australian Research Council (ARC) Discovery Early Career Researcher Award (DECRA) Fellowship (DE180100825).