The ongoing construction of the University Corridor Cycle Lanes has stimulated much public interest. Since the lanes travel next to Wits University, there has also been lots of curiosity about the project in the University. A group of Wits Master’s students in an Industrial & Organisational Psychology course has recently completed their research on the corridor. Below, is a summary provided by the course Professor, Andrew Thatcher. We look forward to results of other research currently under-way on different aspects of cycling culture in Johannesburg. Thanks to the students and Professor, Andrew Thatcher.
During the first half of 2015, 14 Masters in Organisational Psychology students doing a course in engineering psychology (i.e. the psychology of engineered systems) were set the task of evaluating the first phase of the Wits-UJ Cycle Lane project.
The evaluation involved three groups looking at the project from different perspectives:
- An evaluation from the perspective of other road users
- The students framed these as other motorists
- An evaluation of the supportive infrastructure
- An evaluation from the cyclists’ perspective
- The students framed this as off-campus infrastructure such as communication and signage
The projects were aimed at investigating the usability (i.e. ease of use, effectiveness of use, and satisfaction) of the system. Students were also asked to consider the sustainability of the system (the premise being that an unusable system is also one that is not sustainable).
The research methods included;
- Interviews with 12 cyclists (including one cyclist who cycled the route wearing a GoPro to illustrate issues of concern), two members of JUCA, three employees from City of Johannesburg, and one employee from the Johannesburg Development Agency,
- Running a focus group with five motorists,
- Conducting a cognitive heuristic walk-through of the system with three members of JUCA and one employee from the City of Johannesburg.
- All three groups also undertook naturalistic observations of the Cycle Lanes examining current use/misuse of the system.
The results of these investigations are included in three reports and contain a number of important recommendations including:
- The need for more communication explaining the system
- Continued maintenance of the system to make the lanes safe
- Monitoring of incorrect usage of the system
- The integration with other stakeholders (e.g. Wits administration, public transport networks; traders and vendors, etc.)
- The consideration of environmentally friendly materials in the construction of the lanes
- Intersection management
- Changing of traffic laws to accommodate commuter cyclists, and
- Incentives to encourage a cycling culture