Utilitarian Cycling: Investigating Latent Demand in Christchurch, New Zealand
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Science
Christchurch, New Zealand, has relatively low rates of utilitarian cycle use. Six percent of commuters cycle so there is considerable potential for increasing utilitarian cycling, cycling for the purpose of getting to a destination day to day, rather than for recreation. Potential for utilitarian cycling in Christchurch is due to the predominantly flat urban area, wide transport corridors providing plenty of space for cycling, and a climate with few temperature extremes and low rainfall. Despite this favourable geography, Christchurch has followed the trend of many western cities with a declining mode share for cycling and increased motor vehicle use. This research investigated the motivations and barriers for cycling. The focus was on the motivations and barriers perceived by people who do not cycle, or cycle regularly, for utility purposes. The research included an analysis of census data and questionnaires undertaken at workplaces along with recreational cyclists, to identify people interested in cycling. Focus groups were held with respondents who were identified as potential cyclists to discuss the motivations and barriers for cycling, with a focus on safety and infrastructure. Findings demonstrated the potential for cycling in Christchurch with high proportions of people living within a reasonable cycling distance of their workplace. Major barriers for potential cyclists were safety and infrastructure, workplace showering and changing facilities and enjoyment of the journey. Infrastructure facilities were investigated to determine what level of service would attract new cyclists, found to be a segregated, comprehensive and consistent network of cycle facilities. There were also a number of minor barriers identified. Policies to improve utilitarian cycling need to include improving the overall urban environment so that it is safer and more enjoyable for cyclists. Education of cyclists and motorists along with policies to improve workplaces for cyclists should be implemented in conjunction with improvements in infrastructure.