Pushing Pedalers: What Drives Bicycling

Jennifer Dill, Portland State University

OTREC project brief; project #: 2007-33


Using a bicycle instead of a motor vehicle for a portion of regular travel could increase people’s physical activity and help improve the nation’s health. Over 60% of personal trips are five miles or less – a reasonable distance to ride a bike – and nearly 40% are two miles or less. Yet current rates of bicycling for transportation are very low, despite the popularity of recreational cycling. Given the potential of bicycling as a means of everyday travel, why aren’t more people cycling?

Very little information has been available on the relationship between different types of infrastructure, such as bicycle lanes or paths, and people’s decision to cycle. Dr. Jennifer Dill’s study attempted to fill that gap by using GPS technology to gather comprehensive and reliable data from cyclists in Portland, Oregon. By determining which features are likely to increase bicycle travel, Dr. Dill’s project could help cities make neighborhoods more bicycle friendly.