UBC Undergraduate Research

Commuting to Campus with Children : Is Biking a Feasible Option? Jesson, Colette; Micklash, Tory; McKeever, Holly; McKillican, Adam; Robinson, Kenzie


Active transportation, such as walking, biking, and public transit, is an important piece of a healthy city, and can increase people’s physical activity levels while also reducing our carbon footprint. We wanted to look specifically at cycling as a means of active transportation for a particular group. In this research project, we used an online survey to reach out to parents who commute to the University of British Columbia (UBC) campus with children and ask them about how they currently commute to campus, how they get their kids to school, reasons why they may or may not bike, and solutions to barriers that prevent them from doing so. The UBC campus is unique in the fact that it runs similar to a small town, while also having the benefits of being next to a large city. Many people who work on the UBC campus also have children who they take to and from school. The survey respondents currently use a variety of different transportation modes, including public transit, cars, carpools, walking, and bikes. While a large number of respondents said they rode their bikes to campus, less of them said their kids rode their bikes to school. There was also still a significant portion of people who drove to campus. A wide variety of barriers, or situations that prevent people from doing something, to biking were mentioned including: not owning a bike, kids not knowing how to ride a bike, lack of showers, too many hills, no safe places to lock up a bike, too far to ride, poor weather, and feeling unsafe on roads, with the latter two being the most common reasons. However, feeling unsafe on roads, poor weather, and other reasons were ranked first, second, and third for being the biggest barriers to commuting by bicycle. Some of the other barriers mentioned by participants included: lack of time, fears about crime/safety, lack of dry storage space, and lack of safe roads for bicycling. We also asked the participants which of the following 3 solutions would benefit them the most: more secure bike storage (like bike cages), bicycle road safety courses, and more shower facilities. Half the participants said more secure bike safety storage would benefit them the most, and over a third said bicycle road safety courses. Participants were also given the opportunity to provide suggestions to eliminate the barriers that prevent them from cycling to campus. Common themes included more security cameras, more safe bike lanes/paths/roadways, and more shaded bike parking. As a result of these findings, we make the following recommendations to UBC Campus and Community planning: the creation of bike cages at several key locations on campus, increasing the amount of security cameras at bike theft hot spots and areas where larger amounts of bikes are stored, creation of bicycle road safety courses for parents and children, and continued research of areas where bike lines and bicycle safety can be improved in areas on and around 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.”

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