How might a Bicycle User Experience (BUX) look in practice? The BUX Blog is exploring 7 pieces of existing infrastructure that represent user experience and usability principles. Last but not least, the Davis Greenbelt.
In the small agricultural city of Davis, CA, a network of linear park paths allow everyday people to move around town on a bike. Known collectively as the greenbelt, these paths are crucial in getting many children to school, serve as functional infrastructure for parts of trips, raise the quality of life, and make the city a more attractive place for families to live.
How is the experience of riding a bike for an everyday person here? Does the greenbelt provide a Bicycle User Experience (BUX)? To find out we will use a heuristic evaluation, which utilizes respected design principles to measure how easy and pleasant something is to use.
The greenbelt excels in the areas of user control and forgiveness. For people of diverse backgrounds, it is both a stress-free way to get around and a journey people feel like they are in control of.
While it's pleasant to use, it doesn't always link directly to destinations. It's also easy to use a car in the town. This leads to a lower cost-benefit ratio.
Like the RijnWaalpad, the greenbelt is longer than the other pieces of infrastructure this blog series looked at. As such, it has a challenge with consistency: the physical and visual experience varies on the route.
Overall, the Davis Greenbelt does a good job of representing a Bicycle User Experience (BUX). Even though it seems more recreational than practical at times, it is a strong community asset and is well-used throughout the town.
Davis Greenbelt - Trip Advisor: https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g32283-d142865-Reviews-Davis_Greenbelt-Davis_California.html
The Greenbelt - Davis Wiki: https://localwiki.org/davis/The_Greenbelt
Parks and Greenbelts - City of Davis: http://cityofdavis.org/city-hall/parks-and-community-services/parks-and-open-space