Analysis of Urban Space Networks for Recreational Purposes based on Mobile Sports Tracking Application Data
Even though studies of the built environment’s impact on citizens’ physical activity have become an aspiring topic in the recent years, up to now the most investigated topic is transport-related walking or cycling. However, little is known about the patterns of leisure-related physically active travels. One of the reasons behind this lack of research is the matter of collecting ground truth data for validation. Yet the data suitable for this kind of research is voluntary produced by people using sports tracking applications.
Thus the aim of this research is to develop a method to acquire, manage and process the data from sports tracking applications in such a way that it would serve as a ground truth not only for examining urban recreational travel patterns but also for modelling the phenomena. In other words, the goal is being able to define where recreational actvities happen, where they do not and finally, use this knowledge to give an indication to every space of how likely it is that the space is or will be used for recreation.
The Master Thesis report describes methods used for mobile sports tracking application data acquisition and processing in tandem with OpenStreetMap and Eurostat Urban Atlas datasets. The processed data is used as a ground truth in order to calibrate and validate the developed Runability Index, which has been introduced as an indication of space potential to be used for recreation, based on the well-known measure of walkability.
The developed method for acquiring ground truth urban recreational travel data has proved to be suitable for investigation of related matters in European cities with sufficient application users. Even though, the Runability Index has not provided enough correlation with the collected data to be validated, it has ascertained that transport-based active travels have different characteristics than leisure-based ones and therefore need to be explored separately.