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Walking and cycling in Western Europe and the United States: Trends, policies, and lessons



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Walking and Cycling in Western
Europe and the United States
Trends, Policies, and Lessons
On this road in Santa
Barbara, California, motor
vehicle lanes were replaced
by a bidirectional bike path,
separated from car traffic.
Buehler is Assistant
Professor, Urban Affairs
and Planning, School of
Public and International
Affairs, Virginia Tech,
Alexandria, Virginia.
Pucher is Professor,
Bloustein School of
Planning and Public
Policy, Rutgers
University, New
Brunswick, New Jersey.
alking and cycling are the most sustain-
able means of daily travel. They cause vir-
tually no noise or air pollution and
consume far fewer nonrenewable resources than any
motorized mode of transport. The energy that walk-
ing and cycling require is provided directly by the
traveler, and the use of that energy offers valuable
cardiovascular exercise.
Walking and cycling require only a fraction of
the space needed for operating and parking cars.
Moreover, walking and cycling are economical—they
cost far less than the private car or public transport,
in terms of direct outlays by users and of invest-
ments in public infrastructure. Walking and cycling
are affordable by virtually everyone and therefore are
the most equitable of all transport modes.
Following is a brief overview of cycling and walk-
ing trends and policies in the United States and West-
ern Europe, with a focus on the United Kingdom,
Denmark, Germany, and the Netherlands, the coun-
tries for which the most comparable and detailed
data are available (1–9).
Variations and Trends
The share of daily trips by walking and cycling
varies greatly from country to country (see Figure
1, right). At the low end, approximately one-tenth
of daily trips are by foot or bike in car-oriented
countries such as Australia, Canada, and the United
States. At the high end, more than half of all daily
trips in the Netherlands are by walking or cycling.
Most European countries have levels in between,
with active travel accounting for 25 percent to 35
percent of daily trips.
Differences in national travel surveys limit the
comparability of walking and cycling statistics.
Nevertheless, the European countries included in
Figure 1 clearly have active transport rates at least
twice as high as those of North America and Aus-
Active travel generally has declined in the
United States and Western Europe in the past four
decades. The most dramatic change has been in
trips by walking. The modal share of walking fell by
roughly one-half in France and the United King-
dom, by one-third in Germany, and by one-fourth
in Denmark (see Figure 2, below). Only in the
Netherlands did the share of walking trips remain
stable. The bike share of trips fell by one-half in the
United Kingdom, by one-third in France, and by
one-tenth in the Netherlands but increased slightly
in Germany and Denmark.
In the five European countries in Figure 2, the
combined modal shares of walking and cycling in
11 11 11
22 22
USA* ('08)
Australia* ('06)
Canada* ('06)
Ireland* ('06)
UK ('08)
Belgium ('99)
France ('08)
Austria ('05)
Norway ('09)
Finland ('05)
k ('08)
s (
Percent of trips by cycling and walking
Cycling Walking
9 9
28 28
15 15
28 24
20 20 18
Percent of trips by cycling and walking
Cycling Walking
FIGURE 1 Cycling and walking share of daily trips in Europe, North America,
and Australia, 1999–2009.
Note: The latest available travel surveys were used for each country; the year of
the survey is noted in parentheses after each country’s name. The modal shares
reflect travel for all trip purposes except for those countries marked with an
asterisk, which only report journeys to work derived from their censuses.
Dissimilarities in data collection methods, timing, and variable definitions limit
the comparability of the modal shares shown. [Sources: Danish Ministry of
Transport (MOT), British Department for Transport (DfT), German MOT, Statistics
Netherlands, U.S. Census Bureau, U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), and
Norwegian Institute of Economic Research.]
FIGURE 2 Trends in combined cycling and walking share of all daily trips in the United States, Germany (GER),
the Netherlands (NL), France (FR), the United Kingdom (UK), and Denmark (DK), 1974–2009.
Note: Dissimilarities in data collection methods, timing, and variable definitions limit the comparability of the
modal shares shown. The increase reported for the United States in the combined walk and bike share of trips
between 1990 and 2001 probably results from a change in methodology that captured previously
underreported walk trips. (Sources: Danish MOT, British DfT, French MOT, German MOT, Netherlands MOT, U.S.
DOT, and Norwegian Institute of Economic Research.)
the early 1970s were roughly comparable, at
approximately 40 to 50 percent, but the most recent
surveys indicate that active travel in Denmark, Ger-
many, and the Netherlands is at a level almost twice
that of France and the United Kingdom. The much
smaller declines in active transport in Denmark,
Germany, and the Netherlands are attributable to
more car-restrictive policies since the 1970s, com-
bined with a range of measures to encourage walk-
ing and cycling.
Walking and cycling trends in the United States
are difficult to gauge, because the national travel
survey methodology changed in 2001, increasing
the walk mode share by capturing previously unre-
ported walk trips. The survey results in Figure 2
suggest slight increases in walking and cycling lev-
els in the United States in the past two decades, but
in the long term, the walk mode share probably
declined. The U.S. Census, which has applied a
consistent methodology, reports a substantial
decline in walking and cycling to work, from 7.9
percent of workers in 1970 to 3.5 percent in 2009
(10, 11).
Gender and Age Groups
Cyclists comprise virtually all segments of society in
Denmark, Germany, and the Netherlands. In the
United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom,
women account for approximately one-fourth of all
bike trips; women in Denmark, Germany, and the
Netherlands make approximately half of all bike
trips. Cycling is gender-neutral in Denmark, Ger-
many, and the Netherlands but dominated by men in
the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom.
In contrast, the share of walk trips made by women
shows little variation among countries.
Walking and cycling levels vary significantly by
age, but the variation is much less in some countries
than in others. The combined share of walking and
Since the early 1970s, an
increasing number of
German cities have
banned automobiles
from the city center, as
here in Freiburg,
20 20
20 20
9 9
65 +
65 +
65 +
Percent of trips by cycling and walking
Age Group
Cycling Walking
FIGURE 3 Cycling and walking share of trips within each age group in the Netherlands, Denmark, Germany,
the United Kingdom, and the United States, 2009, as percent of trips by all modes for all trip purposes.
Note: Each country uses somewhat different age categories in travel surveys. The percentages shown refer to
the walking and cycling share of all trips made by persons within each age category. (Sources: Danish MOT,
British DfT, German MOT, Netherlands MOT, and U.S. DOT.)
cycling trips increases with age in Denmark, Ger-
many, and the Netherlands (see Figure 3, page 36).
Walking and cycling account for roughly half of all
trips by Danish, German, and Dutch elderly, com-
pared with one-fifth of the trips by British elderly
and one-tenth of trips by U.S. elderly.
Differences among countries in rates of cycling
are striking. The cycling share of trips made by the
elderly is 23 percent in the Netherlands, 15 percent
in Denmark, and 10 percent in Germany but 1 per-
cent in the United Kingdom and 0.5 percent in the
United States.
Safety Issues and Trends
Studies show that traffic danger deters walking and
cycling, especially by women, children, and the
elderly (12–14). The lower rates of walking and
cycling in the United States may be attributable to
greater dangers faced by pedestrians and cyclists.
Cyclist fatalities per kilometer are 3 to 5 times higher
in the United States than in Denmark, Germany,
and the Netherlands (see Figure 4, above).
Walking in the United States is even more dan-
gerous, with pedestrian fatalities per kilometer 5 to
6 times higher than in Denmark, Germany, and the
Netherlands. Walking and cycling are about twice as
dangerous in the United Kingdom as in Germany, but
still much less dangerous than in the United States.
Nonfatal injury rates for pedestrians and cyclists also
are much higher in the United States.
Walking and cycling were not always as safe in
Northern Europe as they are today. Annual cyclist
fatalities in Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands,
and the United Kingdom declined by 60 to 80 per-
cent between 1970 and 2008. By comparison, cyclist
fatalities in the United States fell by less than 10 per-
cent, mainly reflecting a sharp decline in cycling by
children (15, 16). Similarly, part of the decrease in
cyclist fatalities in the United Kingdom was attrib-
utable to a decrease in the number of bike trips. In
Denmark and Germany, by contrast, cycling fatalities
fell although the number of bike trips increased.
A bicyclist crosses a
roundabout in the
Netherlands. Bicycling
rates of the elderly reach
10 percent in Germany,
15 percent in Denmark,
and 23 percent in the
Netherlands, compared
with 1 percent in the
United Kingdom and 0.5
percent in the United
Fatalities and injuries per kilometer
Cyclists killed per 100 million km cycled
Cyclists injured per 10 million km cycled
edestrians killed per 100 million km walked
edestrians injured per 10 million km walked
FIGURE 4 Cyclist and
pedestrian fatality rates
and nonfatal injury rates
in the Netherlands,
Denmark, Germany, the
United Kingdom, and the
United States, 2004–2009.
Note: To control for
annual fluctuations, a
5-year average (2004–
2008) was used for
pedestrian and cyclist
injuries and fatalities. Trips
and kilometers for cycling
and walking exposure
levels derive from 2008
travel survey data.
* Cyclist injury rate for the
United States is off the
chart and is shown with a
discontinuous bar.
(Sources: Danish MOT,
British DfT, German MOT,
Netherlands MOT, U.S.
In all five countries, pedestrian fatalities have
declined more than cyclist fatalities. Walking levels
fell in most countries over this period, however, so
that part of the reduction is attributable to reduced
exposure rates. The number of annual pedestrian
fatalities dropped more sharply in Europe—by
between 80 percent and 90 percent—than in the
United States, with a decline of 50 percent. Germany
and the Netherlands recorded an impressive 90 per-
cent decline in pedestrian fatalities between 1970
and 2008.
These statistics suggest that traffic safety affects
walking and cycling and that greater safety in Den-
mark, Germany, and the Netherlands has contributed
to the higher rates of walking and cycling. The the-
ory of safety in numbers also suggests that more
walking and cycling may help improve safety (17).
Walking and cycling levels correlate strongly with
safety rates. More and safer walking and cycling in
Denmark, Germany, and the Netherlands result from
a range of programs and policies designed to encour-
age walking and cycling while restricting car use.
Promoting Walking and Cycling
Danish, German, and Dutch transportation policies
have emphasized improvements in the transporta-
tion infrastructure for walking and cycling. For
pedestrians, measures include extensive auto-free
zones in much of the city center; wide, well-lit side-
walks on both sides of every street; pedestrian refuge
islands for crossing wide streets; clearly marked
zebra crosswalks, often raised and with special light-
ing; and pedestrian signals at intersections and mid-
block crosswalks with ample crossing times.
From the mid-1970s to the mid-1990s, separate
bicycling facilities—such as bike paths and lanes—
expanded in most Northern European countries. In
Germany, the bikeway network more than doubled in
length, from 12,911 km (8,070 mi) in 1976 to 31,236
km (19,522 mi) in 1996. In the Netherlands, the bike-
way network doubled in length, from 9,282 km (5,801
mi) in 1978 to 18,948 km (11,843 mi) in 1996 (3).
This cycle track in New
York City features
priority traffic signals for
cyclists and physical
separation from motor
Bike paths in the
Netherlands are designed
for safety and comfort
for all, including women,
children, and seniors.
Wide paths enable
cyclists to ride two or
three abreast, making
cycling more sociable.
Comparable nationwide aggregate statistics for
the period since the mid-1990s are not available, but
data for individual cities suggest continued expan-
sion, although at a slower rate. The current focus is
on improving the design of cycle paths and lanes to
improve safety, especially at intersections.
Various other measures complement separate
rights-of-way: special bike lanes leading directly to
and through intersections; separate bike traffic sig-
nals with advance green lights for cyclists; bicyclist-
activated traffic signals at key intersections; and
modification of street networks to create dead ends
and slow, circuitous routing for cars but direct, fast
connections for bikes.
Danish, German, and Dutch bikeway systems
serve practical destinations for everyday travel. By
comparison, most separate bike paths in the United
States are located in parks or along rivers, lakes, or
harbors and are mainly for recreation.
Traffic Calming
Traffic calming in residential neighborhoods in West-
ern Europe limits the volume and the speed—usu-
ally to less than 30 km/h (20 mph)—of motor vehicle
traffic, both by law and by physical barriers, such as
raised intersections and crosswalks, traffic circles,
road narrowing, zigzag routes, curves, speed humps,
and artificial dead ends created by street closures at
midblock. Traffic calming is less common in the
United States and is usually limited to isolated
The most extreme form of traffic calming—the
woonerf, home zone, or Spielstrasseimposes addi-
tional restrictions, requiring cars to travel at walking
speed—7 km/h (4 mph) in Germany—and to yield
to nonmotorized users.
Reduced speeds are crucial in enabling motorists
to avoid crashes with pedestrians and bicyclists and
in increasing the likelihood of a nonmotorists sur-
vival in a crash. The World Health Organization (18),
for example, found that the risk of pedestrian death
in crashes rose from 5 percent at 30 km/h (20 mph)
to 45 percent at 50 km/h (30 mph) and to 85 percent
at 65 km/h (40 mph). In Denmark, Germany, the
Netherlands, and Great Britain, a comprehensive
review found that traffic injuries fell by an average of
53 percent in neighborhoods with traffic calming
measures (19).
Integration with Transit
Coordinating walking and cycling with public trans-
port enhances the benefits of all three modes,
encouraging more walking and cycling, as well as
more use of public transport. In most countries, trips
by public transport usually start and end with walks
to and from bus or rail stops.
Bicycling extends the catchment area of transit
stops beyond the range of walking and at a much
lower cost than neighborhood feeder buses or park-
and-ride facilities for cars. Access to public trans-
Many bikeway
facilities in Europe
have parallel walkways
for pedestrians, such
as here in Münster,
Many German cities have
introduced home zones
or Spielstrassen, an
advanced form of traffic
calming, with a speed
limit of 7 km/h on
neighborhood streets;
cars are required by law
to yield to cyclists,
pedestrians, and children.
port helps cyclists make longer trips than are possi-
ble by bike alone. Therefore the design of public
transport stations should offer safe, convenient, and
comfortable pedestrian and cycling facilities, both
in the stations themselves and on routes leading to
the stops.
Four main categories of measures assist in coor-
dinating cycling with public transportation (20):
1. Bike parking at rail stations and bus stops;
2. Provisions for taking bikes aboard trains and
3. Bike rental facilities near public transportation
stops; and
4. Coordination of bike routes with public trans-
Compact Development
Trip distance affects levels of walking and cycling.
Most walking trips are 1 km (0.6 mi) or shorter, and
most bike trips are 3 km (1.8 mi) or shorter. Land use
is crucial in determining average trip distances. By
promoting or requiring compact, mixed-use devel-
opment and discouraging low-density sprawl, land
use policies in Denmark, Germany, and the Nether-
lands have established a long-term framework for
walkable and bikeable communities.
In the past two decades, many Danish, German,
and Dutch cities have revised their land use and
transport plans to strengthen neighborhood com-
mercial and service centers. The plans encourage
more variety in neighborhood land use by mixing
housing with stores, restaurants, offices, schools, and
services. The plans emphasize development in the
neighborhood centers, not on the suburban fringe;
this keeps trip distances short and assures local
accessibility by foot and bicycle.
Many European cities have implemented people-
friendly urban design to create a safe, convenient, and
attractive environment that facilitates cycling and
walking into city centers. Wide sidewalks and pedes-
trian plazas can encourage walking, particularly facil-
ities that are well maintained and include attractive
paving, comfortable benches, shade trees, outdoor
cafes, public art, and fountains. Short city blocks,
pedestrian passageways within longer blocks, narrow
streets, midblock crosswalks, and median refuge
islands facilitate pedestrian access and safety. Pedes-
trian-scale signage and lighting also are necessary (21).
Some European countries have improved subur-
ban design as well. Many new suburban develop-
ments in Denmark, Germany, and the Netherlands
Münster offers secure
and sheltered parking for
3,300 bikes at its main
train station and bus
Even inexpensive and
easily implemented
traffic-calming measures
can reduce car speeds in
residential neighbor -
hoods, as here in
provide safe and convenient pedestrian and cycling
access. European suburbs almost always include
sidewalks for pedestrians and often bikeways or bike
lanes for cyclists.
Training and Regulations
Driver training is much more rigorous in Denmark,
Germany, and the Netherlands than in the United
States and pays special attention to avoiding colli-
sions with pedestrians and cyclists (12). Traffic edu-
cation of children is a priority. By the age of 10, most
schoolchildren in Denmark, Germany, and the
Netherlands have received extensive instruction
about safe walking and cycling—not only in traffic
regulations but in walking and bicycling defensively,
anticipating dangerous situations, and reacting
Traffic regulations in Denmark, Germany, and the
Netherlands favor pedestrians and bicyclists. When
a crash involves children or the elderly, the police and
the courts almost always find that the motorist was
at fault and should have anticipated irregular moves
by children or seniors.
In addition, Danish, German, and Dutch police
are strict in ticketing motorists, pedestrians, and
cyclists who violate traffic regulations. Penalties for
motorists in particular can be high for minor viola-
tions. Not stopping for pedestrians at crosswalks is
considered a serious offense. Red traffic signals are
strictly enforced, and many intersections in Danish,
German, and Dutch cities have cameras that auto-
matically photograph cars running red lights and
stop signs.
Complementary Policies
These measures make walking and cycling safer and
more convenient in Europe. Many other government
policies indirectly encourage walking and cycling
for example, road capacity and car parking facilities
are far less generous than in American cities. Many
Danish, German, and Dutch cities have reduced
roadway and parking supply in the past few decades
to discourage car use in the city center. These restric-
tions reduce the relative speed, convenience, and
flexibility of car travel compared with walking and
Moreover, sales taxes on gasoline and on new car
purchases, import tariffs, registration fees, license
fees, driver training fees, and parking fees are gener-
ally much higher in Europe than in the United States
(22, 23). The costs of car ownership and use are two
to three times higher in Europe as a result and dis-
courage car use, indirectly promoting alternative,
less expensive modes, including walking and cycling.
Climate, Topography, and Culture
Climate, topography, and culture also influence
cycling and walking levels but are beyond the con-
trol of policy makers and planners; nevertheless,
inclement weather conditions and hilly topography
do not necessarily prevent walking and cycling. For
example, the Netherlands and Denmark have high
rates of cycling despite rainy climates, and cities such
as Helsinki, Finland; Stockholm, Sweden; Montreal,
Canada; and Minneapolis, Minnesota, have high
cycling rates despite harsh winters. San Francisco,
California, and Seattle, Washington, are among the
hilliest U.S. cities but also two of the most bike-
Culture and habit tend to foster cycling in cities
and countries with high levels of cycling, but where
cycling levels are low, and where cycling is viewed as
a fringe mode, culture and habit can deter cycling—
especially among noncyclists (24). Nevertheless, cul-
ture and habit can change over time.
Some traditionally car-oriented and sprawling
U.S. cities have promoted cycling successfully with
the same sorts of measures used in Danish, German,
and Dutch cities. For example, Portland, Oregon,
and Minneapolis raised cycling levels more than five-
fold from 1990 to 2010 (10, 11).
History and culture therefore are not insuperable
obstacles to increasing walking and cycling but do
not guarantee continued high levels of walking and
cycling, either, as shown by the sharp declines in
active travel in France and the United Kingdom. Poli-
cies appear far more important than history and cul-
ture in explaining trends in walking and cycling.
Fuel prices and costs of
car ownership are far
higher in Europe than in
the United States and
indirectly contribute to
higher rates of active
Comprehensive Approach
The infrastructure, programs, and policies needed
to increase walking and cycling are well known and
tested, with decades of successful experience in
many European cities. One key lesson is that no sin-
gle strategy is sufficient (25). Communities must
implement a fully integrated package of measures
like those discussed in this article.
A comprehensive approach has a much greater
impact on walking and cycling levels than several
individual measures that are not coordinated. The
impact of any particular measure is enhanced by the
synergies with complementary measures in the same
This article is a condensed and updated version of a
paper by the authors, Walking and Cycling for
Healthy Cities, which appeared in Built Environment,
Vol. 36, No. 4 (2010), pp. 391–414, and is adapted
with permission of the publisher, Alexandrine Press
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... Given mobility is among the top factors that influence the wellbeing of older adults (Banister and Bowling, 2004;Hjorthol, 2013), the provision of diverse travel options for older adults is crucial. In many Western countriesparticularly in the USAolder adults possess auto-oriented travel behaviour and lifestyles (Buehler and Pucher, 2012;Shen et al., 2017). Therefore, driving cessation may significantly increase social isolation and depression levels among older adults (Marottoli et al., 1997;Davey, 2007;Mezuk and Rebok, 2008). ...
... Table 2 presents the descriptive statistics for the dependent variable, key variables (age and built environment characteristics) and control variables. As expected, consistent with the auto-dependency in the USA (Buehler and Pucher, 2012), auto users made up 84 per cent of the sample. The multimodal traveller category which includes individuals who use non-auto modes (bicycles, walking, transit, etc.) as well as autos had the second highest share (10%). ...
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In recent years, various authorities launched projects that aim to make their cities more age-friendly. Designing age-friendly cities is a complex and context-dependent process that requires clear implementation guidelines for policy makers. As one of the eight domains of age-friendly cities, transportation is a critical component of making our cities more liveable for older adults and their families. This paper contributes to the literature by exploring the travel behaviour of older adults with a focus on the factors that lead to sustainable mobility patterns. Our empirical analysis is based on survey data collected from 1,221 older adults as part of the Age-Friendly Columbus project in Columbus, Ohio in the United States of America. We develop multinomial logistic regression models to investigate the travel mode choices of older adults (auto only, non-auto options only and multimodal (auto and at least one non-auto option)). We include age and built environment characteristics as the key variables, with lifestyle-related factors and socio-demographics as controls in our analysis. We find older respondents were more likely to use autos only compared to younger respondents. Our analysis also reveals significant associations between built environment characteristics and travel mode choices. Interaction effects show that the relationships between built environment characteristics and travel preferences differed by age cohorts among older individuals. The primary contribution of this study is that it provides evidence on what built environmental improvements help to promote sustainable travel among older adults in mid-sized and auto-dependent metropolitan cities. We argue that these improvements contribute to older adults' sustainable mobility, as well as out-of-home activity behaviour, social engagement and individual health. The results of this study may especially benefit non-driver older adults who lack reliable non-auto alternatives for their daily travel.
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... The laser scanner.6. OY1P303P0189 laser scanner , from Wenglor, was used for the continuous measuring of the distance between the top of the rear seat and the road surface. ...
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This doctoral thesis presents the improvements conducted on bicycle simulator in order toprovide objective measures to evaluate cycling safety based on cyclist’s behavior and the interaction with road infrastructure and other road users.The related research activities were implemented on the bicycle simulator developed by the Perceptions, Interactions, Behaviors and Simulations Lab for road and street users (PICS-L) at Gustave Eiffel University in Paris, and in collaboration with the Research Institute of Sweden (RISE), Stockholm and ONCE Foundation, Madrid under SAFERUP European funded project. The activities are divided into two main parts; the cycling simulation conducted in Gustave Eifel University and on-road experiments using an instrumented bicycle in Stockholm.The first part of the research is focused on improving the simulator platform dynamical model. Three actuators were installed on the platform to render the road vibrations, and an asphalt specimen was fixed under the rear tire to render road adhesion. The bicycle dynamical model was developed using MATLAB-Simulink with 6 degrees of freedom. The physical and subjective validity of the developed model was studied and analyzed through experimentation; the results of these studies are discussed in case study I and II. The second part including instrumentation of a city bicycle with a tri-accelerometers, IMU, GPS, potentiometer to measure the steering angle, a laser scanner, pedaling power meter, speed and cadence sensors. In addition to a mobile eye tracker wore by participants. After the instrumentation and calibration of the sensors, an experiment was conducted in the city of Stockholm using the instrumented bicycle; case study III aims to evaluate cycling safety and comfort on snowy/icy surface conditions. The same experiment was reproduced on PICS-L bicycle simulator in Paris by building a virtual environment of the experimental route in Stockholm. Case study IV aims to to validate the simulator behaviorally by comparing the results from both real-road and simulator experiments.Significant attention is given to vulnerable road users' needs. In case study V, a number of cyclists and wheelchair users were asked to ride their vehicles on a cycling lane in Madrid in order to evaluate wheelchair users' interaction with cyclists and reaction to the infrastructure
... Denmark and the Netherlands are both known for their high level of cycling, flat topography, and political measures to support cycling (Haustein et al., 2020;Koglin et al., 2021;Nielsen et al., 2015;Pucher and Buelher, 2007;Van Goeverden et al., 2015). In both countries, the youngest cyclists (Denmark: 10-19; the Netherlands: 0-17) use the bicycle for daily trips more than other age groups (Buehler and Pucher, 2012). Previous research has shown a relation between age and phone use, with the use being most widespread amongst Dutch cyclists between 15 and 34 years old. ...
... At the time of the interviews, Danish law forbid handheld phone use for cyclists, while it was still legal in the Netherlands. Other differences include that Dutch cyclists on average ride longer distances and use bicycle for a greater share of trips compared to Danes (Buehler and Pucher, 2012). Helmet use is much more prevalent among cyclists in Copenhagen (19.9%) than in Amsterdam (1.1%) (Markus et al., 2019). ...
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Introduction The use of phones in traffic can cause distraction and thus affect the safety of cyclists. Unlike distractions external to the cyclists, phone use is initiated by the cyclists themselves, but is always performed in a contextual setting that affords, moderates, or constrains the action. The purpose of this study is to investigate how the proximate environment, including cyclists' personal items, affects cyclists’ phone use with the aim of improving the development of preventive measures. Methods The empirical foundation is 19 qualitative, semi-structured interviews with cyclists in Denmark (n = 9) and the Netherlands (n = 10). We use thematic analysis and affordance theory to identify proximate environmental characteristics that facilitate or inhibit phone use while cycling and discuss the results in relation to cognitive dual-process theory's distinction between impulsive and reflective behaviours. Results Characteristics of bicycle design, clothes, and infrastructure design offer accessibility and suitable conditions for phone use and are associated with whether cyclists use their phone in traffic, how they use it, and for what purpose. Conclusions The distinction between impulsive and reflective phone use highlights a need for preventive measures that considers decision-making processes. Findings on associations between phone use and proximate environmental characteristics suggest use of phone accessories (e.g. headphones), inaccessible phone placement, and muting notifications as strategies to prevent impulsive use, while legal measures possibly limit reflective phone use.
... Studying active travel in similar ways as travel by automobile and transit, researchers have identified many relevant built environmental characteristics. The quantity and quality of mode-specific infrastructure, such as sidewalk and its width, bike lane and its separation from traffic, associate with the likelihood of active travel (Buehler and Pucher, 2012;Milne and Meline, 2014;Aziz et al., 2018). Street density and connectivity have been found to increase active travel in both the developed societies (Frank and Engelke,1 Studies do suggest uncertainties and caveats in active travel's health benefits. ...
... Land use mix, however, has not been found consistently associated with active travel, especially cycling (Christiansen et al., 2016;Tsai et al., 2019). The existing literature shows that, compared to motorized travel, active trips are not only shorter and slower, but unique in ways that require attention to factors deemed less important to motorized travel, such as slopes (Buehler and Pucher, 2012), safety and security (Saelens et al., 2003a;Lee and Moudon, 2004;Brown et al., 2007;Koohsari et al., 2013), inclement weather (Liu et al., 2014), insufficient lighting, air pollution, and even aesthetics (Pikora et al., 2003;Moudon et al., 2007;Koohsari et al., 2013), etc. Certain amenities, such as park and open space, street trees, and urban design qualities like imageability, enclosure, human scale, transparency and complexity (Ewing and Handy, 2009), are also important to active travelers, especially those travel for recreation. Ignoring built environmental qualities mentioned above, one may find weak influence of built environmental factors on active travel. ...
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This study proposes a demand model incorporating active travel’s intrinsic benefits and analyzes the built environment’s impact on the active travel behavior of commuters in a subarea of Beijing. The combined use of GPS trajectories and travel diary enables simultaneous analyses of multiple travel behavior metrics measuring both physical activity and mode choice. China’s unique institutional context provides a natural experiment of randomized residential location. Empirical analyses show that the active travel impact of the built environment are complex depending on location and active travel metric, and are equally important as those of individual and household attributes for active travel duration and distance. Dense and diverse employment centers and open space in residential areas seem to promote active travel in commute. Different policy goals related to active travel, such as public health and congestion and emissions mitigation, might not be achieved simultaneously by a specific built environmental intervention.
... The Netherlands is often considered to be the leading bicycle country in the world (Fishman, 2016). The country accounts for the highest nation-wide bicycle mode share with 27 per cent, followed at some distance by Denmark and Germany (Buehler & Pucher, 2012;Harms & Kansen, 2018). All three regions have in common that policies to inverse the decline of bicycle use after the second world war have been implemented from the early 1970s onwards (Buehler & Pucher, 2011;Haustein et al., 2020;Trine & Anne-Katrin, 2012). ...
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In this paper, we study observed cycling distances within an accessibility framework, using data from the Netherlands, the Copenhagen Metropolitan Area and the Freiburg Region. As a scope, we look at outbound trips in home-based tours which include a single destination. We relate these observed cycling distances to a rich set of explanatory variables using both quantile and ordinary least square regression models. The results provide evidence that cycling distances are similarly distributed in all three regions. Most cycling distances are rather short, with a median of only two and a mean of three kilometers. These values vary depending on the type of activity at the destination, gender and age of the traveler and the type of bicycle that has been used. Moreover, a few remarkable differences have been found between the three regions, such as substantially different effects of age and e-bike use on observed cycling distances. Noteworthy is the missing effect of urban density. The findings of this research provide urban planners with differentiated information about how far people cycle to daily-life destinations. As shown for the example of the “15 minutes city,” the outcomes can also be used to refine existing concepts of bicycle accessibility. Finally, this research offers valuable insights into three of Europe’s most developed bicycle cultures. © 2022 The Author(s). Published with license by Taylor and Francis Group, LLC.
... Based on these advantages, for several years a growing number of cities have extended their cycling network to include on-street and off-street cycle lanes and the construction of specific infrastructures to ensure the continuity of networks , Midgley 2011, Buehler and Pucher 2012, Bauman et al. 2017, Hirsch et al. 2017, Eren and Uz 2020. In the 1990s, after pioneering cities such as Copenhagen and Amsterdam had developed their first cycling infrastructures in the 1960s and 1970s (Wardlaw 2014, Carstensen et al. 2015, cities in high-income countries followed suit and invested significantly in cycling infrastructure. ...
Inequity of access to the cycling network may reinforce social disparities in health and access to resources and opportunities. This study aims to examine whether the area-level material deprivation index is associated with different levels of accessibility to Lisbon’s (i) cycling network and (ii) bike-sharing docking stations network. Independent t-tests were implemented, and regression models were performed to estimate the associations of the multiple deprivation index with each dependent bike lane and bike-sharing docking station variable, adjusting for covariates. The results confirm the hypothesis of a significant difference between the most and least deprived areas in terms of the presence of bike lanes and bike-sharing stations as well as in terms of coverage, distance, and connectivity of the both infrastructures. When covariates are controlled, a higher index of material deprivation is associated with (i) a lower presence of, greater distance to, and lower coverage of bike-sharing docking stations; and (ii) is not associated with the presence of, distance to, connectivity of, and coverage of cycle lane networks. Based on these findings, efforts should be directed to increase access to bike lanes and bike-sharing systems to more deprived areas.
... However, we did run additional analyses in which being a car driver and passenger was combined into one variable and this combined variable also did not significantly interact with cycling status (data not shown). Given that The Netherlands and Flanders have a strong cycling culture and a well-developed cycling infrastructure (Buehler and Pucher, 2012;de Geus et al., 2014), the generalizability of our findings may be limited. The study relied on self-report measures for which the assessment period of transport behaviours (i.e. last year) and life space area (i.e. last month) differed. ...
The current prospective observational study among Flemish and Dutch older adults aimed to examine the effects of starting to e-bike on total and conventional biking frequencies, walking for transport, self-rated health, functionality and life space area. We observed a large increase in total biking frequency among those who started e-biking, while frequencies decreased in those who did e-bike at both time points, did not e-bike at both time points and stopped e-biking. Conventional biking frequencies decreased in all groups. No effects were observed on walking for transport, self-rated health and life space area. Functionality tended to decrease in all groups, except among those who stopped e-biking for whom no change in functionality was observed. In conclusion, e-bikes offer older adults a possibility to increase their biking levels and potentially extend their life on a bike. Future studies should use objective measures of biking volume and intensity, health and life space area and confirm whether current findings are generalizable to other regions.
... Aiming to gather a range of experiences among European cyclists, Norway was selected as a country with low shares of cyclists, and the Netherlands as a country with high shares of cyclists (Buehler & Pucher, 2012). Interviewing cyclists in two countries with different shares of cyclists and cycling culture allowed us to explore how cultural differences may affect cyclist interaction and to what extent these differences play a role in the future of cycling. ...
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Cyclists are expected to interact with automated vehicles (AVs) in future traffic, yet we know little about the nature of this interaction and the safety implications of AVs on cyclists. On-bike human-machine interfaces (HMIs) and connecting cyclists to AVs and the road infrastructure may have the potential to enhance the safety of cyclists. This study aimed to identify cyclists' needs in today's and future traffic, and explore on-bike HMI functionality and the implications of equipping cyclists with devices to communicate with AVs. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 15 cyclists in Norway and 15 cyclists in the Netherlands. Thematic analysis was used to identify and contextualise the factors of cyclist-AV interaction and on-bike HMIs. From the analysis, seven themes were identified: Interaction, Bicycles, Culture, Infrastructure, Legislation , AVs, and HMI. These themes are diverse and overlap with factors grouped in sub-themes. The results indicated that the cyclists prefer segregated future infrastructure, and in mixed urban traffic, they need confirmation of detection by AVs. External on-vehicle or on-bike HMIs might be solutions to fulfil the cyclists' need for recognition. However, the analysis suggested that cyclists are hesitant about being equipped with devices to communicate with AVs: Responsibility for safety should lie with AV technology rather than with cyclists. A device requirement might become a barrier to cycling, as bicycles are traditionally cheap and simple, and additional costs might deter people from choosing cycling as a transport mode. Future studies should investigate user acceptance of on-bike HMIs among cyclists on a larger scale to test the findings' general-isability, and explore other, perhaps more viable solutions than on-bike HMIs for enhancing AV-cyclist interaction.
... In the United States, only 0.5% of older adults prefer cycling over other modes [14]. On the contrary, one-quarter of older adults in Finland choose cycling [15]. In China, 20.59% of older adults preferred cycling or using an e-bike [16]. ...
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The health and welfare of older adults have raised increasing attention due to global aging. Cycling is a physical activity and mode of transportation to enhance the mobility and quality of life among older adults. Nevertheless, the planning strategies to promote cycling among older adults are underutilized. Therefore, this paper describes the nonlinear associations of the built environment with cycling frequency among older adults. The data were collected from the Zhongshan Household Travel Survey (ZHTS) in 2012. The modeling approach was the eXtreme Gradient Boosting (XGBoost) model. The findings demonstrated that nonlinear relationships exist among all the selected built environment attributes. Within specific intervals, the population density, the land-use mixture, the distance from home to the nearest bus stop, and the distance from home to CBD are positively correlated to the cycling among older adults. Additionally, an inverse “U”-shaped relationship appears in the percentage of green space land use among all land uses. Moreover, the intersection density is inversely related to the cycling frequency among older adults. These findings provide nuanced and appropriate guidance for establishing age-friendly neighborhoods.
Increasingly, the clamour for transit solutions that integrate last mile commute infrastructure has assumed relevance in the discourse on sustainable transport. This paper examines the debate/argument surrounding the current practice where transit infrastructure intervention in cities majorly terminates at transit stations with little consideration to the relevant non-motorized transport infrastructure which links commuters to the final phase of commute, including specific focus on investigating the costs and impacts associated with the inconvenient and un-safe access to transit stations. It argues that there is a disproportionately high transport costs expended on motorized last mile commute due to the lack of non-motorized safe segregated walking or cycling infrastructure. This paper is premised upon a cross-sectional study of a Case City Abuja-Nigeria, where it explored both qualitative and quantitative data sets to demonstrate the suggested lack of priority to non-motorized last mile commute infrastructure. The empirical investigation elicited evidence which supports the argument that the existing last mile commute situation in Abuja is associated with disproportionately high transport cost incurred by commuters, due to the lack of priority to last mile commute infrastructure. The author therefore draws conclusion that last mile commute is a concrete theme in achieving efficient passenger accessibility especially in rapidly urbanizing global south cities.
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This paper provides an overview of bike-transit integration in large American and Canadian cities. It begins with an analysis of national trends in bike-and-ride programs such as the provision of bike racks on buses, accommodation of bikes on rail vehicles, and bike parking at rail stations and bus stops. Most of the paper, however, is devoted to case studies of bike-transit integration in six large American cities (San Francisco, Portland, Minneapolis, Chicago, Washington, and New York) and two Canadian cities (Vancouver and Toronto). Much progress has been made over the past decade in coordinating cycling with public transport, but the demand for bikeand- ride far exceeds the supply of facilities in some cities. More funding, in particular, is needed to provide more secure, sheltered bike parking at rail stations and to increase bike-carrying capacity on rail vehicles.
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The neglect of pedestrian and bicycling safety in the United States has made these modes dangerous ways of getting around. Pedestrian fatalities are 36 times higher than car occupant fatalities per kilometer (km) traveled, and bicycling fatalities are 11 times higher than car occupant fatalities per km. Walking and bicycling can be made quite safe, however, as clearly shown by the much lower fatality rates in The Netherlands and Germany. Pedestrian fatalities per billion km walked are less than a tenth as high as in the United States, and bicyclist fatalities per billion km cycled are only a fourth as high. The Netherlands and Germany have long recognized the importance of pedestrian and bicyclist safety. Over the past two decades, these countries have undertaken a wide range of measures to improve safety: better facilities for walking and bicycling; urban design sensitive to the needs of nonmotorists; traffic calming of residential neighborhoods; restrictions on motor vehicle use in cities; rigorous traffic education of both motorists and nonmotorists; and strict enforcement of traffic regulations protecting pedestrians and bicyclists. The United States could adopt many of the same measures to improve pedestrian and bicycling safety here. The necessary technology and methods are already available, with decades of successful experience in Europe.
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This article examines changes in transport and land-use policies in Germany over the last 40 years that have encouraged more walking, bicycling and public trans-port use. It focuses on a case study of policy changes in the city of Freiburg, where over the last three decades, the number of bicycle trips tripled, public transport ridership doubled, and the share of trips by automobile declined from 38% to 32%. Since 1990, motorization rates have leveled-off and per-capita CO 2 emissions from transport have fallen—despite strong economic growth. The analysis ident-ifies policies that are transferable to car-oriented countries around the world.
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To assess existing research on the effects of various interventions on levels of bicycling. Interventions include infrastructure (e.g., bike lanes and parking), integration with public transport, education and marketing programs, bicycle access programs, and legal issues. A comprehensive search of peer-reviewed and non-reviewed research identified 139 studies. Study methodologies varied considerably in type and quality, with few meeting rigorous standards. Secondary data were gathered for 14 case study cities that adopted multiple interventions. Many studies show positive associations between specific interventions and levels of bicycling. The 14 case studies show that almost all cities adopting comprehensive packages of interventions experienced large increases in the number of bicycle trips and share of people bicycling. Most of the evidence examined in this review supports the crucial role of public policy in encouraging bicycling. Substantial increases in bicycling require an integrated package of many different, complementary interventions, including infrastructure provision and pro-bicycle programs, supportive land use planning, and restrictions on car use.
Walking and cycling are the healthiest ways to get around our cities, providing valuable physical activity for people on a daily basis. These forms of active transport also generate indirect public health benefits by reducing the use of automobiles, thus diminishing air, water, and noise pollution and the overall level of traffic danger. This paper provides a broad overview of the role walking and cycling can play in making our cities healthier. First, we summarize the scientific evidence of the health benefits of walking and cycling. Second, we examine variations in walking and cycling levels in Europe, North America, and Australia. Third, we consider the crucial issue of traffic safety. Finally, we describe a range of government policies needed to encourage more walking and cycling: safe and convenient infrastructure such as sidewalks, crosswalks, bike paths and lanes, and intersection crossings; traffic calming of residential neighbourhoods; integration with public transport; land-use policies that foster compact, mixed-use developments; people-friendly urban design; improved traffic education; strict enforcement of traffic regulations; and reductions in motor vehicle speed limits.
The automobile contributes to costly trends like pollution, oil dependence, congestion, and obesity. This article investigates determinants of individual car travel through a comparison of Germany and the USA. Even controlling for socioeconomic variables and spatial development patterns, two comparable national travel surveys show that Germans are less car-dependent than Americans. Multivariate analysis reveals that car travel demand in the USA is more responsive to price than in Germany. Results suggest Americans may more easily reduce driving when faced with increasing gasoline prices. Low costs of driving in the USA may contribute to more discretionary driving, whereas higher costs of car travel in Germany may have already encouraged prudent car use.
In 1996 the UK government introduced the National Cycle Strategy which aimed to double the number of cycling trips by the end of 2002 and double them again by 2012. So far, however, these targets have not been met. The House of Commons ascribes this to ‘a fundamental lack of commitment to cycling on an individual, regional and national level’. This paper addresses the individual level by examining the views of commuters in different stages of change as distinguished by Prochaska’s model [Prochaska, J.O., DiClemente, C.C., 1984. The Transtheoretical Approach: Crossing Traditional Boundaries of Change. Dow Jones/Irwin, Homewood IL]. This model views behaviour change as a process rather than an event. Two studies were conducted amongst university staff and students: a survey study and an action study. The studies showed that as people progress from precontemplation to action their attitudes towards cycling become more positive and their perceptions of various personal and external barriers change. This suggests that different strategies are necessary to move people in different stages of change to action and maintenance. At the moment, it seems that regular cyclists form a very small minority of people who will cycle under most circumstances simply because they like cycling. The majority of people have never contemplated cycling. There is, however, also a group of people who would like to cycle and could be persuaded to cycle under the right circumstances.
Travel surveys in Europe and the U.S. show large differences in the proportion of walking and cycling trips without considering implications for physical activity. This study estimates differences between Germany and the U.S. over time in population levels of daily walking and cycling at different health-enhancing thresholds across sociodemographic groups. Uniquely comparable national travel surveys for the U.S. (NHTS 2001 and 2009) and Germany (MiD 2002 and 2008) were used to calculate the number, duration, and distance of active trips per capita. The population-weighted person and trip files for each survey were merged to calculate population levels of any walking/cycling, walking/cycling 30 minutes/day, and achieving 30 minutes in bouts of at least 10 minutes. Logistic regression models controlled for the influence of socioeconomic variables. Data were analyzed in 2010. Between 2001/2002 and 2008/2009, the proportion of "any walking" was stable in the U.S. (18.5%) but increased in Germany from 36.5% to 42.3%. The proportion of "any cycling" in the U.S. remained at 1.8% but increased in Germany from 12.1% to 14.1%. In 2008/2009, the proportion of "30 minutes of walking and cycling" in Germany was 21.2% and 7.8%, respectively, compared to 7.7% and 1.0% in the U.S. There is much less variation in active travel among socioeconomic groups in Germany than in the U.S. German women, children, and seniors walk and cycle much more than their counterparts in the U.S. The high prevalence of active travel in Germany shows that daily walking and cycling can help a large proportion of the population to meet recommended physical activity levels.