CHIPS project partner, NHTV, has developed a Virtual Reality Simulator called CycleSpex to research in an innovative way (by using virtual reality technology) the user experience of cyclists of infrastructure and the built environment.
The Virtual Reality Simulator enables researchers and policymakers to visualize a wide arrange of scenarios with regards to knowledge and design question of cycling experience in their cities. One of the main advantages is that prior to big investments potential solutions can be tested in a safe and controlled environment. This environment also allows involving the end users to ask and register valuable data about cyclists’ behaviour.
Another advantage of the Virtual Reality Simulator is the fact that it enables policy makers to improve the use of citizens’ participation. The instrument can analyze for a large number of end users the interaction with the infrastructure and the spatial environment and the cyclists experience with it.
In the framework of the CHIPS project, NHTV will research the cyclists’ experience of cycle highways, especially with regard to readability, the wayfinding and the safety of the cycle highways. While in reality, the testing of new concepts is rather limited, the use of the virtual living lab is a big asset to the testing of innovative ideas.
In order to demonstrate the use of the Virtual Reality Simulator, NHTV together with its regional partner, the City of Tilburg, did a first virtual reality test with the secretary of the City to test a number of new research techniques. The test was also a quite fun for the participants because they are able to recognize parts of their City in the virtual reality. Over the next months, NHTV will further develop the different infrastructural and spatial scenarios to implement cycle highways in the urban environment.
The Virtual Reality Demonstrator will be part of the CHIPS Booth at Velo-city Arnhem-Nijmegen! Visit the CHIPS booth to try out to experience the Virtual Reality Simulator yourself!