The Promotion of Bicycle Access to the Rail Network As a Way of Making Better Use of the Existing Network and Reducing Car Dependence
H Sherwin, G Parkhurst, University of the West of England, UK
Exploration of existing bike-rail integration behaviour in the UK to inform the design, development and implementation of initiatives to increase its incidence with two current examples
"The promotion of bicycle access to the rail network as a way of making better use of the existing network and reducing car dependence
The level of bike-rail integration (combining cycling with rail) in the UK presents an unrealised sustainable mobility potential: two per cent of rail passengers access the rail network by bicycle, contrasting with 40 per cent in the Netherlands. Cycling on its own has distance limitations but in combination with rail it can substitute for longer car journeys and is one means of reducing car dependence.
The overall objective of this research project was to understand existing bike-rail integration behaviour in the UK to inform the design, development and implementation of initiatives to increase its incidence. The data collection sites were the two busiest stations in the South West of England, Bristol Temple Meads and Bristol Parkway. The project consisted of two distinct elements: an exploratory phase and an action research phase made possible by a collaborative partnership with a UK rail operator .
The exploratory phase included a face-to-face survey of 135 bike-rail integrators which led to the findings that their main motivations were saving time and getting exercise. Two thirds were male, 40% in their thirties, 62% owned a car, nearly all were employed and living in households with incomes of between £17,000 and £50,000. They had cycled on average 3.7 km to or from the station. The 44% who had a car available to them for the particular journey they were making on that day reported making an explicit choice to bike-rail integrate rather than use their car for the whole journey.
The survey showed that considerable experimentation with the different methods of bike-rail integration had occurred: cycling and parking at the home station, parking a bicycle at both ends, cycling to the station and taking the bicycle (fixed frame or folding) on the train, cycling one way and returning with the bicycle on the train. The same individual used more than one of these methods at different times and for different journeys depending on their situational context and personal characteristics. Their decision was influenced by a number of factors:-
?the security of bike parking, and this had to be at both ends for individuals to feel comfortable with storing a bicycle at both ends.
?the ease or difficulty of taking a bicycle on the train which depends on the route, the carrier, the time of day and the flexibility of the staff.
?the distance at either end of the rail journey.
?The journey frequency - it would not be worth investing in a second bike parked at the destination station if the journey is infrequent.
?Safe or perceived to be safe routes to stations
Individuals were making trade-offs between the risk of uncertainty and the convenience of a seamless journey by taking a bicycle on the train. Cycle parking and barrier counts at the two stations showed the extent of the different methods.
An action research phase used this data in conjunction with a conceptual ?ecological? model developed from a critical review of behaviour change theory to inform the design and implementation of a small scale pilot of a pay-as-you-go self-hire cycle network (Hourbike) and a social marketing exercise to attract car drivers to switch to rail with either walking or cycling access.
The paper will discuss the implications of the overall findings of this research which suggest a number of different options to make more efficient use of existing cycle parking and bicycle carriage capacity and highlight the potential behaviour-releasing effect of providing new secure cycle parking facilities or bicycle hire. In addition, the discussion of the implementation of the two interventions and their outcomes provide important insights into the attractors and barriers to bike-rail integration from a non-user?s perspective. The relevance of this information to the new UK national policy to implement station travel plans across institutions in order to encourage more sustainable access to the rail network and increase rail patronage will be outlined."
Association for European Transport