Ten miles of paved pathway in the Tennessee Riverpark recently brought Chattanooga national recognition as one of the top cities in the nation for bicycling. Students from two UTC departments teamed up to collect and analyze data about usage of the Tennessee Riverpark.
Graduate students presented results at the Tennessee American Planning Association fall conference in Chattanooga. With updated results from fall 2009 and spring 2010, the data set can be used in grant applications.
“It is much easier to make the case for expansion of our greenway network if we can document usage and perceptions on existing trails,” said Philip Pugliese, bicycle coordinator of Outdoor Chattanooga and UTC adjunct faculty member in health and human performance.
Development of pedestrian and bicycle facilities in Chattanooga is supported by the Regional Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan and Greenways Master Plan.
“Data from this research effort will provide important baseline information as part of the planning and design of these and future projects,” said Pugliese.
The Hunter Museum of Art also requested the data so that it can gauge the impact of the art that has been installed at several sites in Renaissance Park.
The students brought skills from their disciplines to the project and collaborated on the research project. UTC scientific writing students were guided by Stefanie deOlloqui, adjunct faculty member in Health and Human Performance, and Margaret Jackson, English department lecturer, helped deOlloqui’s students. The project also gave students an opportunity to gain field experience in research methods and scientific writing.
“I taught her class during the writing portion and gave instruction on how to set up the Introduction, Methods, Results, and Discussion (IMRD) formula for scientific reports,” said Jackson.
The two-year project began in 2008. More than 500 students conducted in excess of 1,000 surveys. They observed more than 21,000 people using the Riverpark system and found that approximately 2,000 people cross the Walnut Street Bridge daily.
“Students came up with research questions. They really like that they’ve made an impact on their community,” said deOlloqui.
The information collected is of interest to national audiences. According to deOlloqui, the American
College of Sports Medicine accepted two abstracts for presentation at the 2010 annual conference.