Cycling Within Urban Areas: the Cases of England and Japan



Cycling Within Urban Areas: the Cases of England and Japan

Authors

K Andrade, S Kagaya, Hokkaido University, JP; L Woods, Portsmouth University, UK

Description

This paper compares the use of the bicycle in two countries with significantly different cycling characteristics, England and Japan. The cities of Portsmouth and Sapporo are the case studies for the behavioral analysis and the statistical analysis.

Abstract

The increasing awareness of problems encountered within contemporary urban societies has led to an interest in promoting the bicycle, as numerous benefits are accounted to its use. On one hand, individual benefits include higher standards of physical and mental health when compared to those related to auto-dependency. On the other hand, cycling also offers several society-wide benefits. For example, it does not cause large negative impacts on natural resources, and also there are no air pollutants associated with cycling. Noise pollution levels, particularly in central urban areas, can be significantly reduced by increasing bicycle travel in place of motorized modes. Furthermore, increasing the share of non-motorized modes is a potential factor in alleviating common automobile-related problems, such as traffic congestion and urban sprawl. The bicycle is also an economical mode in terms of both user costs and infrastructure costs. Accordingly, these benefits place the bicycle as a potential agent to achieve more sustainable and inclusive societies.

Around the world, cycling has mostly been used for two main purposes. Some societies view and utilize the bicycle as an integral part of the transportation system. Even if not used as the main transportation mode, it can still be used efficiently as a complementary transportation mode to public transit modes. The Netherlands and Denmark are examples of European countries where cycling accounts for high daily shares. Among Asian countries, Japan and China present significant cycling rates. However, as the contemporary societies grow more auto-dependent, cycling has been merely seen as a means of recreation and rarely used for daily travel in many other countries. Examples are the United States, Australia and Great Britain where nationwide statistics suggest insignificant bicycle shares.

This paper compares the use of the bicycle in two countries with significantly different cycling characteristics, England and Japan. In most English cities, cycling is not an integral part of the transportation system, despite considerable efforts from government. Conversely, cycling is a widely accepted transportation mode throughout Japan, even though Japanese cities do not present extensive cycling networks. Traditionally, Japanese urban plans are limited to two main actions with regards to cycling; either implementing bicycle parking facilities around railway/subway stations, or establishing bicycle zones within road intersections. The main objective of this paper is to address the characteristics of each country's cycling system, with a focus on bicycle travel patterns and bicycle facilities. The cities of Portsmouth in England and Sapporo in Japan are the case studies for the behavioral analysis and the statistical analysis. In the behavioral analysis, residents' views on cycling in Portsmouth and Sapporo are discussed. Whilst, levels of cycling, cycling infrastructure, travel behaviors and the impacts of life style on cycling are described. In the statistical analysis, factors with strong influences on cycling are identified. Soft computing techniques are used to represent the uncertainties within the choice process. The paper concludes by comparing transport policies and strategies in these countries and discussing the relative merits of each approach.

Publisher

Association for European Transport