Cat Silva

mobil.LAB Fellow

Funded by the Hans-Böckler Foundation

Phone: +49.89.289.10452

Email: cat.silva[at]tum.de  

 

Research Focus:

  • Bicycle Infrastructure Design
  • Observational Research
  • Road User Behavior

PhD Project Description

The Functionality of Unprotected Bicycle Lanes: An Observational Study of Road Users Behavior

Bicycle infrastructure is a required component of a sustainable transportation network. Evidencing this fact, goals and policies are set all levels of government requiring or recommending the building of bicycle infrastructure as a tactic to curtail the demand for driving to meet greenhouse gas emission reduction targets and achieve mode split goals. In Germany, these sustainability goals are often coupled with goals for roadway safety on the premise that safe bicycle infrastructure is a foundational requirement for promoting a modal shift toward bicycling. To operationalize these goals for sustainability and roadway safety, roadway engineering standards, design guidelines, and traffic laws are developed as blueprints to build infrastructure and regulate road user behavior to create transportation networks which accommodate safe bicycle mobility. The purpose of my doctoral research is to examine the intent of these policy goals, review the implemented manifestation of technical regulations, and evaluate the efficacy of existing roadway designs and regulations based on empirical evidence of road users’ behavioral interactions with bicycle infrastructure.

My research specifically focuses on the functionality of unprotected bicycle lanes installed on vehicular roadways and at-grade with pedestrian sidewalks in the City of Munich. These types of infrastructure are an interesting case study as the design affords inherent interactions and potential conflicts between bicyclists and other road users traveling adjacent to, or on, the dedicated bicycle lane. Using observational methods to document road user behavior, my research qualitatively and quantitatively analyzes road users’ conflicts and violations of traffic laws when using roadways with unprotected bicycle lanes in place. The goal of this work is to produce technical and policy recommendations for mitigating circumstances contributing to observed dysfunctionality of the bicycle lane and apparent threats to road users’ safety.


CV

Since 2017 PhD fellow at the mobil.LAB Doctoral Research Group funded by the Hans Böckler Foundation
2017 Co-Instructor of the “Research Design: How to Tackle a Master’s Thesis” course for the Masters of Science in Transportation Systems at the Technical University of Munich
2015-2016 Assistant Planner for the Development Services Department at the City of Issaquah, Washington (USA)
2015 Campaign Manager for City-Wide Seattle City Council Position (USA)
2015 Associate Planner for the Department of Landscape Architecture at the University of Washington (USA)
2011-2015 Master of Urban Planning with an Urban Design Specialization from the Department of Urban Design and Planning at the University of Washington (USA)
2012-2015 Master of Public Administration from the Evans School of Public Policy and Governance at the University of Washington (USA)
2014-2015 Accreditation Manager for the Department of Urban Design and Planning at the University of Washington (USA)
2013-2014 Guest Mobilities Design Research Intern for the Center for Mobilities and Urban Studies at Aalborg University funded by the Valle Scholarship Program (Denmark)
2012-2013 Graduate Transportation Planning Intern for the Transportation Department at the City of Bellevue, Washington (USA)
2012 Data Collection Consultant for the “Right Size Parking Project” Funded by King County Metro (USA)
2010-2011 Administrative Assistant for CollinsWoerman Seattle Architects (USA)
2008 Minority Studies and Danish Language Student at the University of Copenhagen funded by the ScanDesign Foundation Fellowship Program (Denmark)
2005-2008 Bachelor of Arts with a Major in Danish Language and Minor in Scandinavian Area Studies from the Department of Scandinavian Studies and a Major in History from the Department of History at the University of Washington (USA)

Completed Projects

  • Self-Study Report of the Master of Urban Planning program at the University of Washington submitted to the Planning Accreditation Board, 2015.
  • Factoria Trail Connection Bicycle Wayfinding Project completed as a Graduate Transportation Planning Intern for the City of Bellevue Transportation Department, 2012-2013.
  • Pedestrian and Bicycle Count Report completed as a Graduate Transportation Planning Intern for the City of Bellevue Transportation Department for the Washington State Bicycle and Pedestrian Documentation Project, 2012.
  • Bicycle Parking Installation Project completed as a Graduate Transportation Planning Intern for the City of Bellevue Transportation Department, 2012.
  • “Regional Growth Center Planning for the Central Puget Sound” produced as a group for the Puget Sound Regional Council for a Second Year Urban Planning studio project for the Master of Urban Planning Program at the University of Washington, 2011-2012.
  • “Future Employment Opportunities in the Rainer Valley: An Analysis of Strategies to Promote Job Growth in Southeast Seattle” produced for the Southeast Effect Development as a group project for the Master of Public Administration program at the University of Washington, 2013.
  • Comprehensive Plan for the Town of Eatonville, Washington produced as a group First Year Urban Planning Studio project for the Master of Urban Planning program at the University of Washington, 2011-2012.
  • “The Style and Themes of Simon Fruelund: A Critical Analysis of Borgerligt Tusørke” produced as a Senior Project for the Department of Scandinavian Studies’ Danish Language Major program at the University of Washington, 2008.

Presentations

2018

  • Mögele, M., Nitschke, L., and Silva, C.: The Role of Materiality and Culture in Transport and Mobilities Research. Neue Kulturgeographie Konferenz. Freiburg, DE.

2017

  • Silva, C.: Understanding Road Users’ Behavioral Interactions with Unprotected Bicycle Infrastructure. Mobility@TUM Mobilitätstag. Munich, DE.
  • Silva, C.: Defining a Realistic Bicycle Utopia. Mobile Utopia: Past, Present, Futures. Lancaster, UK.
  • Silva, C.: Informing Bicycle Facilities Design through Observational Research. mobil.LAB Autumn Seminar: Poster Session. Munich, DE.

2012

  • Mayock, M., Silva, C., and Morrison Winters, J. “Regional Center Planning in the Central Puget Sound.” Washington State Department of Transportation Public Transportation Conference. Bellevue, Washington, USA.

Publications

Silva, Catherine. 2015. “Bicyclists’ Stopping Behavior: An Observational Study of Bicyclists’ Patterns and Practices.” Masters Thesis. Seattle, WA: University of Washington.

Silva, Catherine. 2009. “Racial Restrictive Covenants: Enforcing Neighborhood Segregation in Seattle.” Seattle Civil Rights and Labor History Project, University of Washington.


Voluntary Activities

Since 2017 Member of the Hans Böckler Stiftung Stipgruppe München
Since 2017 Volunteer Peer Reviewer for the Transportation Research Board Committee for Bicycle Transportation
2010-2017 Maison Jiselle Homeowners Association President (2015-2017), Vice President (2013-2015), and Secretary (2010-2013) (USA)
2011-2017 Member of the American Planning Association (USA)
2016 Phone Bank Volunteer for the Washington State Democrats (USA)
2015-2016 Member of the Society of Experiential Graphic Design (USA)
2015-2016 Member of the American Bicycle League (USA)
2014 Wayfinding Volunteer for the Seattle Design Festival (USA)
2012-2013 Graduate Urban Planning Student’s Representative and Council Secretary on the Built Environments Student Council for the College of Built Environments at the University of Washington (USA)
2013-2014 Second Year Planning Student Liaison on the Planning Student Association for the Department of Urban Design and Planning at the University of Washington (USA)
2012-2013 President of the Planning Student Association for the Department of Urban Design and Planning at the University of Washington (USA)
2013 Organizing Committee Member for the Built Environments Career Fair at the University of Washington (USA)
2012 Organizing Committee Member for the Department of Urban Design and Planning’s Recommencement Event at the University of Washington (USA)
2012 Organizing Committee Lead for the Open House for Prospective Students to the Department of Urban Design and Planning’s Master of Urban Planning program at the University of Washington (USA)
2009 Bushfire Relief and Fence Building Volunteer for the Victorian Farmers Federation (Australia)
2006 University of Washington Pipeline Program Classroom Volunteer at T.T. Minor Elementary School (USA)
2006-2008 Member of UNITE HERE Local 8 Hospitality Union of the Northwest (USA)