Programmatic and fixed variables and their effects on commuting by bicycle in two cities : a descriptive case study
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Rapid growth and congestion within the City of Austin amplify the need to plan for and incorporate multi-modal infrastructure, facilities and policies. According to the 2005 US Census sample, the City of Austin falls short of many other bicycle-friendly cities in the number of commuters riding bicycles to work. Experiencing the achievements towards a more diverse modal share in other cities prompted the author to evaluate programmatic bicycle planning and fixed variables (geographic, demographic, and climatic conditions) in a descriptive multiple-case study. Data was collected from the City of Austin and the City of Tucson; both with significant university populations, and descriptive comparisons were made between the two cities. Findings show that the City of Tucson met most of the predicted values of ideal demographic, climatic, and programmatic variables. In addition, the City of Tucson has a well-staffed bicycle and nationally recognized regional bicycle program. Recommendations for the City of Austin include improving upon all programmatic variables (education, engineering, evaluation, enforcement and encouragement) through a new local and regional bicycle plan, and a legally mandated focus on supportive bicycle legislation, policies and enforcement.