The purpose of this paper is to provide executive management at a regional university with empirical data to justify, or otherwise, a substantial outlay of funds to support bicycle commuting as a viable strategy for the reduction of traffic congestion.
A custom designed questionnaire was completed by 270 participants who were enrolled in a first year undergraduate science, technology and society course which focussed on the environment and sustainability issues. The questionnaire targeted the likelihood that participants would use a bicycle to commute to university and the factors which influenced the decision to bicycle commute.
Principal components analysis identified a common underlying construct which addressed the likelihood to ride to university and involved the opportunity to ride on bike paths, the availability of appropriate facilities at the institution, knowledge of other people who rode to university and the number of study contact hours on a given day. Qualitative analysis identified route safety as the primary factor influencing the decision to bicycle commute. No association was identified between the likelihood to bicycle commute and the participants' confidence or experience level in riding a bicycle. While the study provides evidence to support the expenditure required to develop an appropriate built environment which facilitates bicycle commuting, it indicates that such action taken in isolation will have minimal effect on increasing this mode of commuting.
The study was conducted to meet the needs of a particular institution and is not considered generally applicable. However, it provides a framework for others who may wish to conduct similar research.
This study targets a perceived gap in the literature in relation to the attitude of tertiary students towards bicycle commuting and provides empirical evidence to support bicycle commuting as a sustainable transport option.
Whannell, P., Whannell, R. and White, R. (2012), "Tertiary student attitudes to bicycle commuting in a regional Australian university", International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education, Vol. 13 No. 1, pp. 34-45. https://doi.org/10.1108/14676371211190290Download as .RIS
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