UBC Undergraduate Research

Barriers that Prevent Commuters from Cycling to UBC Fitchett, Adam; McDonald, Isiah; Kong, Austin; Shidian, Salemah; Tasker, Ryan


The objective of this paper is to observe the barriers that may prevent commuters from cycling to the University of British Columbia’s Point Grey campus who live more than 10km away. Furthermore, we explored potential avenues to improve the situation and decrease the current barriers. UBC’s Point Grey campus exhibits a low percentage of students and faculty using cycling as a means of travel. There are approximately three key areas that are identified as prominent barriers that individuals face when cycling to campus. These include bicycle security/theft, accessibility, and travel duration. Data was collected using two different methods. The first method utilized surveys which were distributed by email and social media platforms. These surveys consisted of ten close ended questions with a total of 21 participants. The second method was through the use of five individual interviews; participants were recruited from those who completed the survey. These interviews were conducted through Skype, as the COVID-19 outbreak prevented face-to-face interviews. The results suggest that there are multiple factors that prevent or deter commuters who live more than 10km away from cycling to UBC’s Point Grey campus. The online survey revealed that 43% of participants refrained from cycling to campus due to the length of distance. Additionally, the survey uncovered that 25% of the participants felt that weather was a key barrier. Moreover, 55% of participants did not know there were bicycle facilities to store bikes on campus. Amenity limitations, such as shower facilities, had mixed results with only half agreeing that this may be a personal deterrent. Moreover, only 7% of the survey participants felt that bike security was a large concern, while 80% of the interview participants stated that bike security was a significant barrier. Out of the interviews conducted, 80% of the participants agreed that their motivation for cycling to campus was due to remaining active and being outside. Further agreeing with the survey, three out of five interviewees stated weather was a barrier. Lastly, most participants revealed that they had not rode an e-bike as they felt it was not an affordable option. Interpreting these results, the primary difficulties for individuals looking to commute to UBC’s Point Grey campus by bike is due to the weather, bike security, road conditions, and space to shower and store one’s gear. One way we theorized to improve storage and security would be to bring awareness to the facilities that are available. This would be accomplished through advertisement on campus. Additionally, increasing the number of bike cages on campus in locations that are close to showers, lockers, and amenities is required to comfortably cycle to campus. Furthermore, adding reflective blockers and increasing the separation between cyclists and other road users may provide a safer way of commuting to campus. Lastly, implementing an e-bike sharing program will lessen the physical demand of cycling from a lengthy distance. Additional research in these areas must be done to help increase the number of cyclists commuting to the University of British Columbia’s Point Grey campus. Disclaimer: “UBC SEEDS provides students with the opportunity to share the findings of their studies, as well as their opinions, conclusions and recommendations with the UBC community. The reader should bear in mind that this is a student project/report and is not an official document of UBC. Furthermore readers should bear in mind that these reports may not reflect the current status of activities at UBC. We urge you to contact the research persons mentioned in a report or the SEEDS Coordinator about the current status of the subject matter of a project/report.”

Item Citations and Data


Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International