Cycling is cheaper, healthier and, in urban environments, often faster than other modes of transport . Nevertheless, many individuals do not cycle even for short distances . This publication aims to explain why commuters differ in their decisions as to whether or not to cycle. Results indicate that the individual (day-to-day) choice to commute by bicycle is affected by personal attitudes towards cycling to work, social norms, the work situation, weather conditions and trip characteristics. In addition, the book provides evidence that different groups of bicycle commuters exist: non-cyclists, part-time cyclists and full-time cyclists. The mode choice of individuals within these groups depends partly on a number of different factors. Non-cyclists seem not to cycle because they consider it impractical, either due to the distance involved, their need to transport goods, the need for a car during office hours or a negative subjective norm. The decision to cycle among part-time or full-time cyclists is also affected by these factors, but additional factors can be identified. Finally, the day-to-day choice to cycle is based on work characteristics, weather conditions and trip characteristics. Part-time cyclists who cycle only occasionally are encouraged by pleasant weather conditions, while frequent cyclists are found to be discouraged by more practical barriers, such as where they need to work on a particular day.
Doing a PhD on cycling was by no means a logical consequence of my own travel behavior or existing pro-cycling beliefs. For a Dutch person I was rather late learning the advantages of cycling. Growing up in Rotterdam, I experienced the advantages of public transport and the car from early childhood. I learned to cycle as a child but it was only at around the age of sixteen that I started to use the bicycle for everyday trips. I relied on public transport during the first part of my student life but moving to Delft resulted in a shift in my travel behavior. My bicycle use steadily increased over time and my trips abroad made me realize how dependent I had become on the ‘Dutch’ transportation mode. Be that as it may, I continue to rely on the car and public transport for many journeys.
Although my behavior did not change so much the last four years, doing a PhD on bicycle commuting made me frequently question my mode choice and I became more aware of my own travel behavior. My PhD journey showed me the advantages of cycling and I hope that the outcomes of this research can and will be used to encourage more cycling.
Of the people who supported me during the writing of this thesis, I would particularly like to thank both of my supervisors: Bert van Wee and Kees Maat. They provided me with advice and feedback on my work during the last four years. I am also grateful to my colleagues, Wendy Bohte, Evert Meijers and Jan Jacob Trip, for discussions on my work and for providing feedback on draft chapters of my thesis. For statistical and graphical advice, I would like to thank Sylvia Jansen, Itziar Lasa Epelde and Eric Molin. I would also like to thank all my other colleagues who spent time discussing my work.
My research stay at University of California in Davis was both personally and professionally rewarding for my PhD research. I wish to thank everyone who made this visit possible: my employer, OTB Research Institute for the Built Environment, the Van Eesteren-Fluck & Van Lohuizen Foundation, and especially Susan Handy from the University of California Davis for her hospitality, discussions and opportunities offered to me during my stay. My visit to Davis resulted in a journal paper, which is part of this thesis, as well as contributions to Dutch journals.
Also indispensable are the many respondents of my surveys and the interviewees I questioned. I am extremely grateful for all their time and the information. I would also like to thank the employers and the municipalities of Delft, Zwolle, Midden-Delfland and Pijnacker-Nootdorp for providing me with access to some of their data to be able to identify possible survey respondents. I could not have finished this thesis without social support and distractions. First, my colleagues who created a pleasant working environment, including my current and former colleagues in the section of Urban and Regional Development (SRO) as well as colleagues from other parts of the institute, especially Nam Seok, Merve, Hugo, Janneke, Evelien and Christian. I would also like to thank my friends Wouter, Machteld, Peter Jan, Bart, Jolanda, Sa bine and Raquel for their moral support and their time and patience to discuss my work. I also wish to express my gratitude of all other friends, family and acquaintances for their friendship, pleasant times, sporting challenges and all the things that life is really about.
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