Planner Tamara Nahal’s Winter Cycling Research Published

As part of her master’s thesis, SvN Urban Planner Tamara Nahal and Ryerson University’s urban and regional planning professor Raktim Mitra conducted research on factors contributing to winter cycling. The study identified ways to bridge the seasonal gap in cycling rates.

The articles on Tamara and Raktim’s research can be read on the following websites:

Key Findings:

  • Only 27% of cyclists continue to commute by bicycle through winter months.
  • Women and transit pass holders were less likely, while students rather than staff were more likely to cycle during the winter.
  • The density of bicycle infrastructure within 500m of the shortest route was associated with all-season cycling. Having the opportunity of using cycle tracks or bicycle lanes where possible, at least part of the way to school, is perhaps more important than being able to travel all-the-way on a bicycle infrastructure, which sometimes come at the cost of an increased travel distance.
  • A cyclist living in an older and more stable neighbourhood was more likely to bicycle through winter, perhaps indicating the presence of residential self-selection.
  • The findings support current planning and policy emphasis on bicycle infrastructure. An improved bicycle network could help overcome barriers to winter cycling.
  • Municipal, grass roots and university-based programming focused on specific demographic groups including women may bring positive outcomes. Policy and programs on commute mode shifts may also focus on a gradual change.
  • Previous research has indicated that 33% of all trips made in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (GTHA) are potentially cyclable (Mitra,et al., 2016)
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