Catalysts and magnets: Built environment and bicycle commuting

Jessica E. Schoner, Jason Cao, David M Levinson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations


What effects do bicycle infrastructure and the built environment have on people's decisions to commute by bicycle? While many studies have considered this question, commonly employed methodologies fail to address the unique statistical challenge of modeling modes with small mode shares. Additionally, personal characteristics that are not adequately accounted for may lead to overestimation of built environment impacts.This study addresses these two key issues by using an ordered probit Heckman selection model to jointly estimate participation in and frequency of commuting by bicycle, controlling for demographics, residential preferences, and travel attitudes. The findings suggest a strong influence of attitudinal factors, with modest contributions of bicycle accessibility. Bicycle lanes act as "magnets" to attract bicyclists to a neighborhood, rather than being the "catalyst" that encourages non-bikers to shift modes. The results have implications for planners and policymakers attempting to increase bicycling mode share via the strategic infrastructure development.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)100-108
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Transport Geography
StatePublished - Jul 1 2015

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The study was funded by the Transitway Impact Research Program (TIRP) in the Minneapolis-St. Paul Metro Area. We also thank Hennepin County and the City of Minneapolis planning staff for their help and support.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015 Elsevier Ltd.


  • Bicycle commuting
  • Bicycling
  • Mode choice
  • Self-selection
  • Travel behavior


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