UBC Undergraduate Research

Biking Infrastructure and Human Behaviour : The impact of adding 2700 km of bikeways in Metro Vancouver Chorney, Shayla; Der, Katy; Lam, Pakka


In July 2015, Metro Vancouver residents reviewed and rejected a future transportation proposal, which included the addition of 2700 km of bikeways, at the transit and transportation referendum (CBCNews, 2015). To gain more insights into the impacts of adding the proposed 2700 km of bikeways, this project worked with the HUB Cycling organization to answer the following questions: 1. Would the number of people cycling in Metro Vancouver increase? 2. How many fewer vehicle trips in kilometers would result? 3. How would greenhouse gas emissions be affected? 4. What factors prevent people from cycling more? To answer our objectives, we surveyed 205 Metro Vancouver residents, who were 19 years or older, through an online and in-person questionnaire. Participants were asked to estimate the average distance from where they travelled most (work/school) and where they ran errands, along with the types of transportation they used to get there and how often they would use it now and after 2700 km of bikeways are added. They were also asked how often they would cycle for recreation before and after 2700 km of bikeways and reasons why they don’t cycle more. Using this information we calculated the change in participants who would go from non-cyclists to cyclists after the addition of 2700 km of bikeways and calculated the change in the amount of kilometers driven and greenhouse gas emissions produced. From our sample size (n=205), we projected our data onto the population of Metro Vancouver. We were also able to gather valuable information on what prevents people from cycling. The results collected from this project suggest that biking infrastructure, the addition of 2700 km of bikeways, would benefit Metro Vancouver: ● The overall number of participants biking in Metro Vancouver would significantly increase for all types of destinations: work (68 to 94 participants), errands (57 to 91 participants), and recreation (119 to 151 participants). In addition, the change varied between gender and age range. ● For age range, the greatest change, amongst our participants, was found in age group of 60-69, which had a 25 percentage increase after implementation of additional 2700 km bikeways. ● For gender, the greatest change, amongst our participants, was found in female, which had a 16 percentage increase. ● From projecting the findings onto the Metro Vancouver Population, about 665 million km/year of travel would be converted from cars to bicycles, saving around 144 million kg of greenhouse gases per year. ● Information gathered on what prevents people from cycling supports the concept that biking infrastructure is indeed a preventing factor, and addressing this issue could increase the population of Metro Vancouver cyclists.

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