Bicycling toward sustainability : built environment and policy recommendations to grow the mode share at UT Austin
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Despite significant progress in prioritizing sustainability goals on campus, the University of Texas at Austin is finding it increasingly difficult each semester to ensure its transportation system is efficient and thriving in a sustainable way. In light of this, I have conducted a research project that sought to evaluate the state of the bicycling community on campus and developed recommendations to benefit bicycling and sustainability. This topic is important because transportation is a significant factor in determining a community’s overall sustainability. For this study, I carried out my work in three activity phases. In Phase I, I evaluated the current bicycle infrastructure, policies, and facilities on campus. Phase II involved conducting research on actual bike commuting traffic through surveys, manual bicyclist counting, pressurized tube counters, and a smart phone application in order to gain deeper understanding of usage and preferences for bicyclists on campus. Phase III entailed the analysis of Phase I and Phase II results to compose recommendations for specific actions to increase bike-commuting rates on campus through safe and efficient means. My main findings in this study are that there are many factors influencing peoples’ decisions to ride bikes to campus, and for the University to significantly grow the bicycle mode share and therefore benefit sustainability, a multi-pronged “carrot and stick” approach should be leveraged and tailored specifically to the community context and the core of the campus.