Shadeways – Finding an optimal travel route considering thermal comfort

Current navigation Apps like Google Maps allow users to find the quickest path to their destination but during hot weather this may not be the most optimal route for thermal comfort, due to the limitation of shade from tree canopies. This is particularly important for pedestrians and cyclists who are more exposed to the elements as they traverse urban environments.

Spatial Vision has been working closely with RMIT University and the City of Greater Bendigo to build a thermal comfort model that identifies and maps the location of urban hotspots derived from heat and shade.  The aim of the Shadeways project is to develop a platform that integrates various GIS data including tree canopy, surface materials and satellite-derived land surface temperatures, for pedestrians and cyclists to understand how their route will differentially expose them to extreme temperatures.  Ultimately the platform would interface with major mapping and navigation systems such as Google Maps and Apple Maps, allowing users to take advantage of hotspot information without changing digital behaviour patterns. The platform will allow local governments to communicate the benefits of greening and to enable active travellers to move in comfort and safety.

Current progress:

Focusing on the urban area of the City of Bendigo as the study area, Spatial Vision have built a proof of concept model that identifies the most thermally comfortable route to a planned destination on pedestrian or cycling networks across the urban area using the Network Analysis tool in GIS.

A variety of key data sets including, vegetation, surface material, land use, hydrology along with transport layers have been collated to create the unique thermal comfort surface model that determines the ideal navigation and route planning for optimal shade and thermal comfort.

Built in a modular format the model enables customisation of inputs to create a unique localised thermal comfort index to cater for different urban area constraints. The outcome model demonstrates a multimodal navigation environment involving temperature, existing road network, green space and tree shadeways.

Next steps:

The Shadeways team will be working with other councils to test the thermal comfort mosaic model using different constraints and data. Over the course of the 2018-2019 summer season, thermal comfort sensors will be placed in strategic sites across Bendigo to quantify and verify the thermal model outputs to date. Once the data has been collected and collated, an updated thermal comfort model will be generated to create a more robust model to test in the field.

Longer goals for the Shadeways project include implementing the platform with local council’s strategy plans and Information and communication technology systems to enable users to navigate their optimal route for thermal comfort online.  Ultimately the platform would interface with major mapping and navigation systems such as Google Maps and Apple Maps

Shadeways Project Team

The Shadeways project is a Commonwealth Smart Cities and Suburbs Project. The project is a collaboration, led by the RMIT Centre for Urban Research with Spatial Vision, Latrobe University and the City of Greater Bendigo.

For more information, please call on 1300 366 796 or alternatively email here.

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