Bicycling for Transportation and Health: The Role of Infrastructure
This paper aims to provide insight on whether bicycling for everyday travel can help US adults meet the recommended levels of physical activity and what role public infrastructure may play in encouraging this activity. The study collected data on bicycling behavior from 166 regular cyclists in the Portland, Oregon metropolitan area using global positioning system (GPS) devices. Sixty percent of the cyclists rode for more than 150 minutes per week during the study and nearly all of the bicycling was for utilitarian purposes, not exercise. A disproportionate share of the bicycling occurred on streets with bicycle lanes, separate paths, or bicycle boulevards. The data support the need for well-connected neighborhood streets and a network of bicycle-specific infrastructure to encourage more bicycling among adults. This can be accomplished through comprehensive planning, regulation, and funding.
Keywordsbicycling bicycle infrastructure bicycle lanes and paths global positioning system active living active transport
- Federal Highway Administration. National Bicycling and Walking Study Five Year Status Report by the U.S. Department of Transportation. Washington, DC: Federal Highway Administration; 1999.Google Scholar
- Federal Highway Administration. Summary of Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) Pedestrian and Bicyclist Activities Prepared for 2002 Transportation Research Board Meeting. Washington, DC: Federal Highway Administration; 2002.Google Scholar
- League of American Bicyclists. Bicycle Friendly Communities. Available at http://www.bikeleague.org/programs/bicyclefriendlyamerica/communities/, accessed 30 October 2008.
- Pucher J, Dijkstra L . Making walking and cycling safer: lessons from Europe. Transp Quart. 2000;54:25–50.Google Scholar
- National Household Travel Survey. Available at http://nhts.ornl.gov/, accessed 30 October 2008.
- U.S. Census Bureau. 2006 American Community Survey. Available at http://factfinder.census.gov/home/saff/main.html?_lang=en, accessed 30 October 2008.
- National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and Bureau of Transportation Statistics. National Survey of Pedestrian and Bicyclist Attitudes and Behaviors: Highlights Report. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Transportation; 2003.Google Scholar
- Health Canada. 1998 National Survey on Active Transportation; Summary Report. Go for Green; 1998. Available at http://safety.fhwa.dot.gov/ped_bike/docs/bike_flash.pdf, accessed 30 October 2008.
- Federal Highway Administration. National Bicycling and Walking Study, Case Study No. 1: Reasons Why Bicycling and Walking are Not Being Used More Extensively as Travel Modes. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Transportation; 1992.Google Scholar
- Antonakos CL . Environmental and travel preferences of cyclists. Transp Res Rec. 1994;1438:25–33.Google Scholar
- Aultman-Hall L, Hall FL, Baetz BB . Analysis of Bicycle Commuter Routes Using Geographic Information Systems: Implications for Bicycle Planning. Transp Res Rec. 1998;1578:102–110.Google Scholar
- Bureau of Transportation Statistics. How Bike Paths and Lanes Make a Difference. BTS Issue Brief. Washington, DC: Bureau of Transportation Statistics; 2004.Google Scholar
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Prevalence of physical activity, including lifestyle activities among adults – United States, 2000–2001. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2003;52 (32):764–769.Google Scholar
- Population Research Center. 2007 Oregon Population Report. Portland, OR: Portland State University; 2008.Google Scholar
- Adler S, Dill J . The evolution of transportation planning in the Portland region. In: Ozawa CP, editor. The Portland Edge. Washington, DC: Island Press; 2004.Google Scholar
- Institute of Portland Metropolitan Studies. Metropolitan Briefing Book. Portland, OR: Portland State University; 2007.Google Scholar