UBC Undergraduate Research

Cycling to UBC Vancouver : Barriers for Individuals that live within 10km Hu, Christina; Sidhu, Harry; Wong, Jamie; Woodward, Courtney; Wright, Amanda


The purpose of this project is to identify cycling barriers to individuals who live less than ten kilometers away from the University of British Columbia (UBC) Point Grey campus and gather suggestions for improvements that can be implemented in the future. Despite the increase of numbers in cycling within Vancouver, British Columbia (Centre for Active Transportation, 2019), UBC cycling rates for students continue to decline (UBC Transportation Status Report, 2019). Data was collected using quantitative and qualitative methods with a structured survey and open-ended questions. Participants were recruited to take part in the study through the promotion of social media posts as well as being directly contacted by members of the study. The study was completed by participants through the online program Qualtrics. Based on our findings, we have highlighted four main themes of barriers to cycling: Safety, weather, cycling infrastructure, and other (consisting of costs, timing and scheduling). Although almost all participants are comfortable riding a bike, few actually feel safe while cycling to UBC. Poor road conditions, due to aspects like weather, and the lack of safe bike paths around UBC prevent participants from cycling to campus. Many mentioned a key factor that may encourage more people to cycle involves education and awareness surrounding cycling etiquettes and safety. The primary barrier to cycling for this population was weather. The majority of participants agreed that weather impacts their choice to cycle and harsh weather prevents them from cycling. Due to Vancouver’s unpredictable weather, it seems to have a domino effect on other barriers such as safety and infrastructure. While we are unable to control the weather, there are other measures that can be taken into action to reduce weather being a major barrier to cycling. In terms of infrastructure, increased bicycle security and the need of safer bike lanes on and around campus was a recurrent necessity for cycling. The majority of participants agreed that they would feel nervous locking their bike up on campus. In addition, the lack of bike paths to and around campus make it difficult for cyclers to be safe while staying alert for pedestrians. Additional barriers to cycling based on participants’ responses was due to class scheduling making it difficult to manage a bike in-between class. The lack of ease and lengthy duration of cycling to and around campus was also seen as a common barrier. A limited number of participants thought cycling was the more cost-effective choice of transportation thereby many participants were concerned with the maintenance and costs of a bike. One of the main limitations to this study was the lack of sample diversity due to the recruitment process. The majority of participants were students due to promotion being limited to other members of the community. Further research should be done in order to get a greater perspective of participants who live less than 10km away, including more faculty and community residents. 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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