There is increasing interest for the use of Virtual Reality (VR) in the field of sustainable transportation and urban development. Even though much has been said about the opportunities of using VR technology to enhance design and involve stakeholders in the process, implementations of VR technology are still limited. To bridge this gap, the urban intelligence team of NHTV Breda University of Applied Sciences developed CycleSPEX, a Virtual Reality (VR) simulator for cycling. CycleSpex enables researchers, planners and policy makers to shape a variety of scenarios around knowledge- and design questions and test their impact on users experiences and behaviour, in this case (potential) cyclists. The impact of infrastructure enhancements as well as changes in the surrounding built environment can be tested, analysed an evaluated. The main advantage for planners and policy makers is that the VR environment enables them to test scenarios ex-ante in a safe and controlled setting.
“The key to a smart, healthy and safe urban environment lies in engaging mobility. Healthy cities are often characterized by high quality facilities for the active modes. But what contributes to a pleasant cycling experience? CycleSPEX helps us to understand the relations between cyclists on the move and (designed) urban environments”