Maturing Urban Cycling: Comparing Barriers and Motivators To Bicycle of Cyclists And Non-Cyclists in Lisbon, Portugal

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Journal of Transport & Health

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Cities with low cycling maturity (LCM) are cities with a small cycling modal share and little cycling infrastructure. Despite the increasing public interest in cycling as travel mode, LCM cities are still prevalent in the western world, and few research has been developed on which are the barriers and what lead people to bicycle in this type of cities, that still are changing. This research explores the motivators and deterrents to bicycle in Lisbon (Portugal), a city with a cycling modal share below 1%, and compares the perceived barriers to cycling between cyclists and non-cyclists, as well as the triggers and motivators to start cycling between the same groups.

Results from a survey (n = 1079) showed that both groups considered the issues related to the perception of safety, physical effort, the lack of a safe cycling network, and bicycle ownership as important barriers to take up cycling in Lisbon. We conclude that non-cyclists’ perceived barriers are similar to the barriers cyclists had before they changed behavior. In contrast, the self-reported triggers that induced cyclists to take up cycling are not similar to the expectations that non-cyclists have of what would, or could, change their behavior. Nevertheless, the expected motivators stated by non-cyclists are consistent with their perceived barriers, which are more community-oriented and not so much related to personal interests or needs. We analyzed the triggers for cycling for different generations of cyclists, taking into consideration specific public policies and infrastructure investments that promote bicycling. Triggers vary over time, and they should also change as cities transition to higher cycling maturity levels.

This research and conclusions may support the design of policies in order to increase cycling levels in LCM cities by acknowledging the barriers and motivations of potential new cyclists and learn from current cyclists.


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