Bicycles, Transportation Sustainability, and Quality of Life

Bicycles, Transportation Sustainability, and Quality of Life

Principal Investigators: Richard Watts and Luis Vivanco

Funding Agency: US DOT

Project Summary

Research is sustainable transportation systems has increasingly
recognized the quality of life. Although in popular discourse bicycles
have gained a reputation for enhancing quality of life, little
systematic research exists on the actual relationships between bicycles,
transportation sustainability, and quality of life. This research aims
to develop a conceptual framework for assessing the relationship between
quality of life, transportation sustainability, and bicycle
transportation, and to evaluate the opportunities and limitations of
distinct methodological tools useful for understanding that
relationship. In particular, it asks: What relevance does the quality
of life concept, and its specific variations (such as “Transport Quality
of Life”) have for understanding the motivation, practice, perceptions,
and experience of transportation cycling? What attributes of bicycle
transportation enhance or detract from subjective perceptions and
objective measures of quality of life, and how might those be studied?
Using a mixed methods approach, this project develops a variety of
objective and subjective quality of life indicators for bicycle
transportation. Our interdisciplinary team, which includes researchers
from Economics, Transportation Planning, Cultural Anthropology and
Environmental Studies, will develop quality of life indicators specific
to bicycle travel and a conceptual map linking those indicators with the
motivation, practice, perceptions, and experience of transportation
cycling. This work will be useful to researchers, planners and
policy-makers seeking to increase mode shifts from automobile to
non-motorized transportation.

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