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Factors Correlated with Bicycle Commuting: A Study in Six Small Cities

UCD-ITS-RP-10-30

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Sustainable Transportation Center

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Suggested Citation:
Handy, Susan L. and Yan Xing (2010) Factors Correlated with Bicycle Commuting: A Study in Six Small Cities. International Journal of Sustainable Transportation in press

Although bicycling as a mode of transportation can mitigate traffic congestion, improve environmental quality, and yield health benefits, it accounts for a small share of all commute trips in the U.S. This paper aims to expand our understanding of the individual decision to bicycle commute through a cross-sectional study of bicycle commuting in six small U.S. cities. The study was designed to explore the relationships between bicycle commuting and socio-demographic characteristics, individual attitudes, and the physical and social environments of the workplace. Results show that residential preference for a good environment for bicycling, a measure of self-selection, is associated with bicycle commuting. The physical environment, including a short distance to work, safe streets for bicycling, and high monthly parking costs around the workplace, is also important. The social environment of the workplace has an impact as well. This research provides an empirical basis for the development of policies and programs to increase bicycle commuting.  

Keywords: bicycle commuting, physical environment, social environment, self-selection