Publication Detail

Psychological Stress of Bicycling With Traffic: Examining Heart Rate Variability of Bicyclists in Natural Urban Environments

UCD-ITS-RP-20-04

Reprint

BicyclingPlus Research Collaborative

Suggested Citation:
Fitch, Dillon T., James Sharpnack, Susan L. Handy (2020) Psychological Stress of Bicycling With Traffic: Examining Heart Rate Variability of Bicyclists in Natural Urban Environments. Transportation Research Part F 70, 81 - 97

Understanding how road environments stress bicyclists (and prospective bicyclists) has important implications for road design and network planning. With the rise of wearable bio-sensing technology, the potential for measuring real-time environmental acute stress is emerging. In this naturalistic cross-over field experiment, we investigate bicyclist stress through heart rate variability (HRV). We examine the relationship between HRV and the road environment through a series of multilevel statistical models. Results suggest that participants’ HRV are only certain to differ on one (the local road) of five road environments tested. The differences in participants’ HRV between two collectors and two arterials are far more tenuous. We discuss the validity of HRV and other biometrics for assessing stress and discuss how HRV and other biometrics might help improve our understanding of bicyclists’ perceptions of road environments.

Keywords:  bicycling, travel behavior, stress, heart rate variability