The combined length of a bicycle path network in a
city co-determines bicycle use in that city. This is one of the
conclusions reached by a study performed by the University of Cardiff
into the factors that influence commuters’ choice of transport mode.
For this study, the researchers analysed data from 112 European
cities with populations of between 100,000 and 500,000 inhabitants.
The researchers found, among other things, that public transport is used
more often in cities with a large population and with more buses.
Public transport is used less often if the monthly subscription is more
expensive, if it rains more often than average, and if there are more
elderly people aged over 65 or families with children.
In more prosperous cities, a relatively larger number of people travel
by car, although walking and public transport also score higher. Cities
with large student populations show both a greater use of public
transport and more use of the bicycle and of walking. A greater
ownership of cars and motorcycles corresponds with a greater use of
these modes of transport.
The chance that commuters will travel by bicycle increases in
relation to the combined length of the bicycle path network (cycling
paths and lanes).
Based on their research, the researchers claim that car use can be
reduced by discouraging car ownership, for instance through a higher
vehicle registration tax, and that public transport use can be increased
Finally, allocating more room to cyclists at the expense of motorised
traffic is a cost-effective way of increasing the number of cyclists,
says Georgina Santos in her article titled 'Factors influencing modal
split of commuting journeys in medium-size European cities', published
in the Journal of Transport Geography.