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Factors Associated with Bicycle Ownership and Use: A Study of Six Small U.S. Cities

UCD-ITS-RP-10-28

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Sustainable Transportation Center

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Suggested Citation:
Handy, Susan L., Yan Xing, Theodore J. Buehler (2010) Factors Associated with Bicycle Ownership and Use: A Study of Six Small U.S. Cities. Transportation 37 (6), 967 - 985

As a means of transportation and as a form of physical activity, bicycling generates benefits to the bicyclist as well as to the community as a whole. Bicycling now accounts for less than 1 percent of all trips for all purposes in the U.S., but evidence from other western countries suggests that under the right conditions, bicycling levels can be significantly higher. Indeed, the experiences of some U.S. cities suggest that it is possible to create conditions conducive to higher levels of bicycling even in the U.S. However, the extent to which bicycle investments have contributed to bicycling levels in these communities has not been rigorously assessed. The purpose of this study is to provide a better understanding of the determinants of bicycle ownership and use as a basis for identifying ways to promote bicycling. A cross-sectional study of six cities was designed to test the importance of bicycle infrastructure and other physical environment factors relative to individual factors and social environment factors, using a nested logit model to examine ownership and use decisions jointly. The results show strong effects of individual attitudes and physical and social environment factors on bicycle ownership and use.