UBC Undergraduate Research

Barriers UBC Vancouver Staff face when Considering Cycling as a Mode of Transportation Cho, Benedict; Abbott, JC; Ojaji, Robert; Leung, Samantha; Nanua, Sahejpal


The purpose of this study was to identify and analyze the barriers University of British Columbia (UBC) staff face when considering cycling as a mode of transportation and provide UBC Campus + Community Planning with recommendations that encourage staff to cycle. With only 1.4% of more than 155,000 trips made to and from the university being from cyclists, increased health initiatives such as cycling to work can provide long-term benefits for both UBC staff, community, and environment (UBC, 2019). Using a mixed method design, 56 UBC staff members were surveyed and asked to provide information regarding their current modes of transportation to the university and identify the barriers they faced when considering cycling to the university. Four participants who drive alone to the university were interviewed in order to provide deeper insight regarding the barriers they faced when considering cycling as a mode of transportation. Statistical analysis and thematic analysis were used to segregate data and deduce prevailing themes from the survey and thematic analysis was used to deduce themes from the phone interviews. The results of the data provided the base for the recommendations provided to UBC Campus + Community Planning. Results from the survey revealed that 7.14% of participants carpooled to the university, 14.29% walked to the university, 17.86% cycled to the university, 28.57% used public transportation to the university, and 32.14% drive alone to the university. Of the participants who stated they indicated they drive alone, 43.73% indicated they would at least consider cycling if barriers were addressed. The most significant barriers identified by UBC staff were Distance of travel (Mean = 7.3), Inclement Weather (Mean = 7.1), Lack of bike friendly road/pathway (Mean = 5.7), and lack of shower facilities (Mean = 4.4.). Thematic analysis of the interviews revealed that Distance of travel, Shower facilities, and Lack of bike friendly road/pathways were significant barriers. We proposed 3 different recommendations to address the barriers revealed by the data: 1) To address the barrier of distance of travel, having a location off campus in which staff travelling long distances can park and cycle to the university can reduce the number of vehicles on campus while increasing staff health. 2) To address the barrier of bike pathways, increasing bike safety on bike pathways by introducing barriers that separate bicycles, pedestrians and vehicles would be effective. 3) To address the barrier of shower facilities, an increase in cleaning shower facilities as well as communication of the location of showering facilities would address this barrier. Since two of the most significant barriers are largely outside the bounds of the university’s control, it’s not realistic to imagine that cycling will ever become the most frequent method of transportation by UBC staff. This finding is consistent with previous cycling transportation research (Gardner & Abraham, 2017). However, with 57.2% of our respondents reporting that they would at least consider cycling should some of the existing barriers be addressed, it’s important to analyze the controllable barriers and develop solutions to overcome them. 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.”

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