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 my 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 presentation will describe methods used for mobile sports tracking application data acquisition and processing in tandem with OpenStreetMap and Eurostat Urban Atlas datasets and how the processed data is used as a ground truth in order to calibrate and validate the developed Runability Index. The index has been introduced as an indication of space potential to be used for recreation, based on the well-known measure of Walkability. The research has focused on three case study cities: Vilnius, Valencia and Gothenburg.