Skateboarding for transportation: exploring the factors behind an unconventional mode choice among university skateboard commuters
- 392 Downloads
Efforts to promote non-motorized, active transportation modes typically focus on walking and bicycling. However, other self-propelled devices such as skateboards, roller skates, and push scooters can and are being used as means of transportation. In California, users of these unconventional modes travel up to an estimated 48 million miles per year. Skateboarding in particular appears to be an increasingly popular niche travel mode in areas with good weather and younger age groups, including college students. Why do skateboarders choose to skateboard for travel rather than using more conventional modes? To investigate this question, we interviewed and surveyed skateboard commuters at the University of California, Davis, home to over 1000 skateboard commuters. It appears skateboard travelers are motivated by a feeling that skateboard travel is both fun and convenient. The importance of fun is not particularly surprising given the common association of skateboarding with recreation. However, the importance of convenience shows that skateboarders do not think they are sacrificing functionality for fun. In fact, skateboarders view skateboarding as uniquely practical, blending near bicycling speeds with pedestrian-like flexibility. This runs counter to some regulations that restrict skateboard travel based on a perception that skateboarding is an unnecessary nuisance. The results demonstrate the attractiveness of a travel mode that blend characteristics of walking and bicycling.
KeywordsSkateboarding Travel behavior Active transportation Non-motorized transportation
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest statement
On behalf of all authors, the corresponding author states that there is no conflict of interest.
- Borden, I.: Skateboarding, space and the city: architecture and the body. Berg, Oxford (2001)Google Scholar
- Fang, K.: Skateboarding as a legal travel mode: review of regulations in California cities and college campuses. In: Proceedings of the 92nd Annual Meeting of the Transportation Research Board, Washington (2013)Google Scholar
- Fang, K.: Safety indicators for skateboarding on transportation facilities and as a mode of travel–a look at enigmatic injury, fatality, and incident data. In: Proceedings of the 94th Annual Meeting of the Transportation Research Board, Washington (2015)Google Scholar
- Lovejoy, K., Handy, S.: Developments in bicycle equipment and its role in promoting cycling as a travel mode. In: Pucher, J., Buehler, R. (eds.) City Cycling, pp. 75–104. MIT Press, Cambridge (2012)Google Scholar
- O’Brien, C., Ramanathan, S., Gilbert, R., Orsini, A.: Youth and sustainable transportation: a review of literature. University of Winnipeg - Centre for Sustainable Transportation (2009)Google Scholar
- Peattie, L.: Realistic planning and qualitative research. Habitat Int. (1983)Google Scholar
- Rodier, C., Shaheen, C., Chung, S.: Unsafe at any speed?: what the literature says about low-speed modes. In: 82nd proceedings of the annual meeting of the transportation research board, Washington (2003)Google Scholar