The British Government launched the National Cycling Strategy (NCS) in July 1996. The aims of this strategy are to establish a culture favourable to the increased use of bicycles for all age groups, to develop sound policies and good practice, and to seek out innovative and effective means of fostering accessibility by bicycle. The central target is to double the amount of cycle trips on 1996 figures by 2002; and double it again by 2012. It is hoped that these increases in cycle trips are as a result of people switching their current mode to bicycle. With this increased interest from national and local governments, there is likely to be increasing demand for rigorous evaluation of proposed schemes in terms of increases in levels of cycling, modal shift and, ultimately, the quantified benefits to existing and potential cyclists. \ud \ud Yet, in contrast to the vast amount of research which has been done on enhancing our understanding of the demand for motorised vehicles, relatively little attention has been paid to the slow modes (i.e. walk and cycle). Furthermore, most studies on existing and potential demands for cycling are qualitative rather than quantitative in nature. For instance, attitudinal factors of choosing or not choosing cycling are well documented. However, magnitudes of different factors are seldom calculated. \ud \ud An Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) sponsored project entitled “Cycling and Urban Mode Choice” (Grant Number: R000237103) started in mid-1997, aiming to identify and quantify the factors that might influence people’s decision to travel to work in urban areas. The aim of this paper is to report the findings of the first stage study of this research project. \ud \ud The first stage study of the “Cycling and Urban Mode Choice” project was to identify and measure the proportion of the general population who would or would not consider cycling to work in urban areas. This study was based on detailed surveys (door-to-door and telephone interviews) of people’s actual mode choices on two what-if situations. The first hypothetical situation is based on provisions of cycle facilities and routes, and the second rests on drastic changes of the current situations of journey to work. Models were built on the survey data to explain people’s choices between driving car, getting a lift, bus, walk and cycle for the journey to work trips
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