Transportation Research Record | 2019

Biking the First Mile: Exploring a Cyclist Typology and Potential for Cycling to Transit Stations by Suburban Commuters



Regional commuter rail has become an important means of traveling to urban employment centers across North America, but planners are faced with the challenge of connecting commuters from their origin or destination locations to a train station. Cycling may be an efficient and low-cost way of taking these transit-access trips. However, cycling behavior of rail commuters, particularly in a suburban context, remains understudied. This research examined perceptions of cycling and current cycling behavior of 257 transit users from three suburban commuter rail stations in the Toronto region, Canada. Using a cluster analysis approach, four distinct cyclist types were identified, namely: recreational cyclists (29%), all-purpose cyclists (10%), safety-conscious occasional cyclists (33%), and facility-demanding occasional cyclists (28%). Differences between these groups included different mode-choice motivations, tolerance for adverse weather conditions, comfort bicycling in various hypothetical traffic/infrastructure conditions, and current frequency of cycling for transportation and recreational purposes. The safety-conscious group included a higher percentage of women compared to other groups. Overall, 32.5% of regional transit users would be interested in cycling more often to rail stations. A higher proportion of recreational cyclists (compared to other groups) were “interested first-mile cyclists”, whereas the safety-conscious group had a significantly greater proportion of “uninterested” respondents. With careful planning of bicycle infrastructure and awareness campaigns targeting perceptions of cycling, there is much potential for cycling to accommodate a greater proportion of transit-access trips in suburban communities, reducing demand for automobile parking at transit stations.

Volume 2673
Pages 951 - 962
DOI 10.1177/0361198119837229
Language English
Journal Transportation Research Record

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