Travel choices change with the season and with weather, and so do our quality of life and environmental impacts. In this area, TRC researchers focus on understanding what causes seasonal changes in driving, biking and walking so that we can design programs and policies to lengthen the biking and walking season and address the isolation caused by winter travel barriers, particularly in rural areas. [ Downloadable PDF: "Rural Transportation and Livability - Research and Data" ]
Over the course of one year, a TRC team led by Dr. Lisa Aultman-Hall gathered automated hourly pedestrian counts from a sidewalk in downtown Montpelier, Vermont to determine if temperature, relative humidity, precipitation and wind affect the number of walkers. This study was unique in that a large amount of data in a single location was collected over an extreme range of weather conditions.
The researchers found that after adjusting for time of day and day of week, weather and seasonal variables explained 30 percent of the variations in pedestrian volume and that bad weather such as cold temperature or precipitation consistently affected walking traffic, but by only a moderate amount (less than 20 percent).