Determination and measurement of factors which influence propensity to cycle to work
2.89% of the UK population cycled for the journey to work as measured by the census in 200I. This percentage is similar to the percentage from the 1991 census and indicates a levelling off in the decline that had been seen in the previous two decades in bicycle use for the journey to work, but does not demonstrate any increase in line with policy aspirations. Choice is a complex issue and related to a wide range of factors including socio-economic variables and the nature of transport infrastructure and the physical geography of an area. As well as the rational and measurable factors, there are many much more complex and subtle factors including the influences of culture and social norms. Changes to behaviour probably take an extended period of time and require a range Qf conditions to be appropriate before a positive choice can be made. Waldman (1977) undertook the last countrywide aggregate study of the variation in use of the bicycle for the journey to work, but a number of the variables he constructed were measured inappropriately, not the least of which was his measure for "danger", which he recommended for further study. It is widely considered that perception of risk from motor traffic is a reason why many people do not currently use the bicycle. This is only one measurable attribute and European bicycle planners consider network coherence, directness, attractiveness and comfort as other equally important issues when designing schemes to promote bicycle use. This research has used primary data collected on perceptions of risk. The particular contribution of the research is in the development of a methodology for the determination of perception of risk for a whole journey, including routes and junctions, and the extension of this methodology to create a measure for risk at an area wide level. Measures that have been found to be significant in relation to the use of the bicycle for the journey to work are car ownership, socio-economic classification, ethnicity, distance to work, condition of the highway pavement, highway network density and population density, hi lIiness, rainfall and mean temperature. In addition the length of bicycle lane, length of bus lane and length of traffic free route have also been found to be important in so far as it influences the perception of risk, which in turn influences the level of bicycle use. The length of route that is signed has also been found to be important. In a sample of four districts for which appropriate data is available, a seven fold increase in route length with cycle facilities, or signed route, would create conditions suitable for an increase in cycle use for the journey to work by a factor of the order of two. An elimination of highways with negative residual life would create conditions suitable for an increase of 10% in the number of bicycle trips for the journey to work.