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Title: The impact of walking and cycling infrastructure on personal travel and carbon emissions : the case of Cardiff Connect2
Author: Neves, Andre
ISNI:       0000 0004 6499 7321
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2016
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There is a growing recognition of the role that walking and cycling can make in reducing traffic congestion and air pollution whilst also contributing to improved personal health and wellbeing. While studies suggest that infrastructure is required to promote walking and cycling, there is a lack of evidence at the micro level on how interventions aimed at improving connectivity for walking and cycling influence travel behaviour and whether they promote a modal shift away from short car journeys. The aim of this study was to investigate the extent to which the implementation of a high quality traffic free route, delivered by a recent programme targeted at everyday walking and cycling in the UK - the Sustrans Connect2 Programme - influenced individuals' day-to-day travel decisions, changed the spatial and temporal nature of their journeys and impacted on overall carbon emissions from motorised travel. To achieve this aim an in-depth longitudinal panel study of a community of residents living next to a totemic Connect2 scheme in Penarth, Cardiff, was conducted. A panel of purposively selected participants (N=50) were interviewed and asked to record their travel behaviour using personal GPS devices and travel diaries over two seasonally matching 7-day time periods in 2011 and 2012. This novel GPS based mixed-method approach provided a detailed account of participants' travel behaviour in the local area (n=2664 journeys) and a comprehensive understanding of how, why and for whom the Connect2 intervention was likely to influence travel behaviour and the longevity of effects. The findings revealed that participants used the new Connect2 scheme regularly during the period of the study (36% in 2011; 26% in 2012); however, the new scheme was likely to have a greater impact for recreational journeys rather than for everyday travel. Spatial data provided new insights into the complexities of walking behaviour and factors influencing cycling for everyday travel or recreation, including route choice decisions, destinations where activities were conducted and the role of the new Connect2 infrastructure in supporting this. Further findings support the potential of active travel in replacing short car trips (20%) and its impact on carbon emissions from personal travel (4.9% among the study sample). However, results suggest that the new Connect2 scheme alone was unlikely to promote a significant change in travel behaviour and carbon emissions from (displaced) car journeys. The study contributes to the debate on the effectiveness of interventions targeted at promoting walking and cycling and the importance of wider infrastructural improvements that may be required to encourage their wider uptake. The combination of methods for data collection developed and employed in this study also helps to inform future travel behaviour research.
Supervisor: Brand, Christian ; Jones, Tim Sponsor: Engineering & Physical Sciences Research Council
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Mixed methods research ; Carbon Emissions ; Walking ; Cycling ; Travel Behaviour ; GPS ; GIS ; Personal travel ; Infrastructure ; Carbon emissions ; Travel surveys ; Travel behaviour