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Title: The intention to cycle : a comparative study of the perceptions and attitudes of cyclists and non-cyclists
Authors: O'Hare, James David William
Issue Date: 2018
Publisher: Newcastle University
Abstract: This research aims to inform policy to increase utility cycling which, it has been suggested, delivers health benefits alongside reduced congestion and improved quality of life. Previous quantitative research has addressed measurable aspects of journeys (e.g. travel time and cost) for use in transport models and scheme evaluation, while qualitative research has helped identify other important issues (such as attitudes and perceptions). However, further research was required, in particular further investigation of differences between the attitudes of those that cycle and those that currently do not. This study addresses this research gap by i) collecting individual level responses from a large cross-sectional sample sample (n=3807) of cyclists and non-cyclists about their attitudes and perceptions while ii) addressing journeys beyond the commute and iii) combining this data with an objective measure of the cycling environment in order to increase current knowledge on factors influencing the decision to cycle. Data were collected in two waves (September 2015 and February 2016). Descriptive analysis is used to explore the responses to attitudinal statements while path modelling, within which the statements are grouped into theory-led constructs, helped elucidate issues influencing the intention to cycle. As the first to apply Partial Least Squares - Structural Equation Modelling using a relatively large sample to cycling specific research, this study contributes to the application of Structural Equation Modelling methods in this field. The path modelling performed best for more frequent cyclists, identifying convenience as the most important construct for this group. Attitudes towards cycling were found to be the most important for non-cyclists. Both descriptive and path modelling analyses found issues surrounding safety while cycling on the road and personal security to be more important for female respondents. Although all groups had generally poor perceptions of the cycling environment, male cyclists were more likely to have positive perceptions with female non-cyclists most likely to have negative perceptions. Segmentation analysis identified four classes which can be compared to Geller’s ‘Four Types of Cyclist’. However, the newly proposed cateogrisation separates out those that are ‘interested but concerned’ from ‘concerned cyclists’ highlighting that many existing cyclists may be cycling despite their concerns rather than because of their positive perceptions. This can be seen in both the results of the attitudinal and path iii modelling analysis and this triangulation highlights the benefits of combining these methods, allowing for more strength in this conclusion. While safety is confirmed as a concern for all groups, the perceived convenience of cycling is also revealed to be important relative to other aspects and thus it is recommended that policies addressing this issue are brought forward. The issues which most affect female cyclists must be addressed to achieve the gender balance in participation levels seen in countries with high levels of cycling
Description: PhD Thesis
Appears in Collections:School of Engineering

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