Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 20 credits / 30 HE credits
Since the late 50th century, the automobile has been normative in the Swedish society (Lundin 2008). This has led to an urban environment deeply characterized by the motor vehicle and its necessities, while other means of transportation, such as train and bicycle, have been ignored and put aside. However, over the past decades, a new trend has been seen in urban planning as a consequence of the increasing knowledge of the negative qualities caused by the car. As a result, the bicycle is seen as a conceivable transport mode.
This thesis examines cycling on four issues:
- Why is there a need of more cyclists?
- How can the total number of cyclists as well as the number of satisfied cyclists increase?
- Which factors affect the choice of transport mode?
- Which factors affect the choice of route?
The first two questions are discussed from a literature study that was conducted at the beginning of the thesis. The literature discusses cycling from three perspectives – environmental, social and economical – and argues in favour of an increase in cycling from all three perspectives. Seen from an environmental point of view, cycling is seen as a perfect means of transportation. Several articles argue that an increase in the number of cyclists results in less pollution, less consumption of energy, less noise damage and less consumption of non-renewable resources. Seen from a social point of view, cycling is shown to have good effects on the public health. Moreover, it promotes equality and justice. This is due to the fact that cycling does not exclude travellers because of economic income, age or disabilities at the same extent as driving. The health promotions caused by cycling are also seen as a socio-economic benefit in the literature.
Moreover, several articles argues that an increase in cycling, if it comes at the expense of the motorised traffic, results in less congestion and shorter travel times. This is due to the fact that the bicycle needs less space. As a result, highly valued land, such as parking facilities, can be used for other functions.
Furthermore, several measures are described as important in order to increase the number of cyclists in the literature. These measures are classified into four groups: physical measurements, mobility management, financial restrictions and legal restrictions. Among the physical measurements, cycling infrastructure, adjusted crossings, cycling parking and traffic calming are seen as the most important factors. When it comes to mobility management, cycling events, advertising and education are described as particularly significant. Looking at financial and legal restrictions, parking fees, congestion charges, speed limits and parking ratios are seen as the most efficient measures.
The third and fourth issue are discussed from a case study conducted in the city of Linköping. The case study indicates that the mode of transportation and the route of transportation are chosen from a large number of interacting factors. When it comes to transport mode, six factors appear to be particularly important: health, travel time, flexibility, environment, satisfaction and travel cost. In terms of route, four factors seem to be decisive: travel time, traffic safety, satisfaction and the number of stops.
The results show that the decision of whether to cycle or not is complex. The choice is not made out of one single aspect. Rather, in order to increase the number of cyclists, several accompanying measures are needed. These kinds of accompanying measures are advocated in the literature. Several articles indicate that such efforts are shown to be very efficient in increasing the bicycle use.
2011. , 50 p.
Håkansson, Maria, Bitr. univ. lektor