The Use and Attractiveness of Different Types of Bicycle Infrastructure
Eva-Gurine Skartland, Institute of Transport Economics
This paper will present findings from a study investigating the use and attractiveness of different types of bicycle infrastructure along important cycle routes in the Norwegian city Trondheim.
The use and attractiveness of different types of bicycle infrastructure
This paper will present findings from a study investigating the use and attractiveness of different types of bicycle infrastructure along important cycle routes in the Norwegian city Trondheim. Trondheim has already one of the highest share of cyclists in Norway (nine per cent of total numbers of trips), and the city has invested a large amount of money in push and pull measures to increase the number of cyclists. This is due to environmental issues, but also to ensure an efficient transport system for the rapidly growing population.
Many factors affect whether people choose bicycle as mode of transport, such as trip lengths and topography. In this work, a main hypothesis is that different types of infrastructure will be more or less attractive for potential cyclists, and therefore a cycle route with a certain type of infrastructure and quality can stimulate a growth in the share of cycling trips along a cycle route (Pucher et al. 2010). In this work, this issue was investigated through a survey combined with observational studies of bicyclists behaviour in different kinds of bicycle infrastructure. The survey was sent to all employees in Trondheim municipality (11456 employees, 2996 employees responded). In the questionnaire the respondents were presented with photos of different types of infrastructure (bicycle road, bicycle lane, red bicycle lane, shared space, sidewalk) that is typical for cycle routes in the city of Trondheim, and they were asked to grade them as very attractive, attractive, a bit attractive or not attractive for cycling. They also graded how safe they felt in the different types of infrastructure.
To get a better understanding of why some types of infrastructure was graded as more or less safe and attractive in the questionnaire, I counted cyclists and observed their behaviour in different types of infrastructure in eight different streets in rush- hours, morning and afternoon, in summer, fall and winter.
The results show that there is a correlation between the measure of felt safety and attractiveness of different types of infrastructure for cyclists. Infrastructure who separate cyclists, pedestrians and car drivers is rated as more attractive than infrastructure that mix these groups. A T-test in SPSS show that there is a significant difference (measured as 0,000 at a 0,05 level) between the attractiveness of infrastructure who mix cyclists with pedestrians and infrastructure that separates cyclists from pedestrians. Infrastructure that mix cyclists and pedestrians is still rated as safe, but it is considered as less attractive. The fact that cyclists may experience pedestrians slowing them down, might be a reason for this.
The observations done in the eight different streets and types of infrastructure indicates that behaviour is affected by the infrastructure and it`s quality to some extent. There is a more homogeneous behaviour amongst the cyclists in the streets where cyclists are separated from pedestrians and car drivers. In infrastructure where pedestrians, cyclists and car drivers are mixed, such as shared space, the behaviour is more heterogeneous.
Types of infrastructure who mix cyclists with pedestrians is rated as safe but they are less attractive than infrastructure types who separates cyclists, pedestrians and car drivers. Respondents who cycle seldom or never (potential cyclists) consider infrastructure that mixes cyclist and pedestrians as more attractive than the respondents who cycle often. Infrastructure types which mixes cyclists and car drivers is not considered attractive, and most of the responding who cycle often feel safer in this type of infrastructure than the respondents who cycle seldom or never. Most of the respondents in total (cycle often, seldom and never) finds infrastructure that separates the cyclists from pedestrians and car drivers as more safe and attractive.
Pucher, J., Dill, J., Handy, S., Infrastructure, programs, and policies to increase bicycling: An international review. Preventive Medicine 50 (2010) s106-s125
Association for European Transport