Cycling in Cities Applied: Tools and Training for Healthy Travel

Population and public health
Posted August 22, 2011
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Principal Investigator

Brauer, M (UBC)

Co-investigators

Winters, M
Hurrell, A C
Setton, E M
Teschke, K E

Funding

CIHR - $99,918

Duration

2011-2012

Abstract

The promotion of active transport addresses the rising issues of obesity and physical inactivity. Incorporating physical activity into daily travel enables individuals to get sufficient exercise to benefit health. Cycling rates in Canadian cities are very low compared to European centres with similar climates, suggesting opportunity for growth. Further, increased numbers of cyclists will actually improve cyclists' safety, by the "safety in numbers" phenomenon. We have established a program of research (Cycling in Cities-www.cher.ubc.ca/cyclingincities/) on motivators and deterrents of cycling and on cycling safety, to provide evidence about how to support healthy travel. We propose a two-pronged knowledge transfer approach: a web-based tool to help planners optimally locate infrastructural changes to stimulate cycling increases; and a revision of educational materials to incorporate evidence-based guidance on safe cycling in training offered by cycling organizations and driving licensers. We built a "bikeability" planning tool that identifies areas more and less conducive to cycling, using Vancouver as a case study. Here we propose to use widely available data to implement this tool in other cities across Canada. The tool is interactive, allowing users to view the overall map and 5 component maps, and to change the relative weighting. This will enable planners to improve conditions for active transportation in our cities. Our cycling injury research has a valuable, but yet untapped use: training of cyclist and drivers. We propose to review existing education materials to identify elements that require updating. We will compare the scientific evidence on safety to the safety-related advice featured in current materials to identify gaps, and propose recommended changes to the materials. A report and presentation will be produced to communicate the results and our recommendations to the organizations currently providing training.