Estimating Bicycle Demand in an Aggressive Environment

Estimating Bicycle Demand in an Aggressive Environment


Margareth Gutierrez, Universidad De La Costa, Michel Murillo, Universidad De La Costa, Victor Cantillo, Universidad Del Norte


We analyzed the potential demand of bicycle for college students commuting in a city without an existing infrastructure. We evaluated discrete choice model incorporating latent variables, additionally than the level of service attributes.


In most Latin American cities, the developments of road infrastructure and mobility policies have focused on motorized transport, both private car and public transportation systems, leaving pedestrians and cyclists relegated to a secondary role. This fact has led to an aggressive behavior towards non-motorized modes, the invasion of the sidewalks and spaces for pedestrians and cyclists by motor vehicle discourages the use of the active transport modes like bicycle and walking, as a transportation alternative that are perceived as dangerous in spite of the fact that these modes have advantages in terms of cost, sustainability and health benefits. Despite this, there are clear trends towards promoting the use of active transportation as an alternative and additionally to integrate them to others available modes. Thus, some cities (e.g. Bogotá, Santiago, Rio de Janeiro) have invested in the construction of dedicated infrastructure for cyclists.

In order to develop policies and strategies to encourage the use of bicycles it required having knowledge of factors that determine the use of this mode. In the case of Barranquilla, Colombia, although the bike is used by some sectors of the population for entertain themselves, but for their regular trips modal share does not exceed 1%. This is explained in large part by the aggressive behavior of drivers of motorized transport (cars, buses and motorcycles). Given this scenario, it is worth noting that urban development plans have been established as a priority to build a network of exclusive lanes for this mode of transport; however, some skepticism about the success of this policy which can be overcome persists if the risk factors, particularly certain negative perceptions that may exist on the bike as transportation are properly addressed.

The aim of this investigation is to present an approach of the possible demand for a bicycle as a transportation alternatives for college students commuting in the city of Barranquilla - Colombia. We want to introduce additional attributes than the commonly used like time and cost, included it with the latent variables safety and comfort and see how they could affect the decision making. The first one involves the perception in the city infrastructure constructed for this mode and the behavior towards cyclists. The other latent variable considered, is related to the weather conditions like high temperatures present in the city and the heavy rains in winter.

We analyzed an university population which lives within four-kilometer radius around the campus and the bicycle may be available for their daily trips. This sample was identified through a combined survey with stated and revealed preference joined by a perception survey. Given the interest in studying individual perceptions of safety and comfort a hybrid-modeling scheme involving the above latent variables was used.

Model results indicate that the perception of comfort and safety is critical in bicycle demand; however, is attenuated in case there is separate bicycle infrastructure users, and if there are facilities to park the bike safely. At the same time, the perception of comfort, which also has high impact on bicycle use, is strongly influenced by the climate of the city, despite its topography is flat.

We concluded that according to the perceptions of individuals, policies such as improving road infrastructure for cyclists, reducing the speed limit of motorized modes, beside changes in campus like, safer parking places and the availability of showers might encourage the use of bicycles as an alternative to the mobility of the university population.

For some individuals the safety is not only perceive as aggression by other drivers but for the possibility of being assaulted in some areas around the campus or the possibility of theft of bicycles. From the results of the analysis, we identified and proposed some necessary changes to encourage the use of bicycles in the city and university students.


Association for European Transport