Impacts of the Built Environment on Cycling Mode Share and Subsequent Greenhouse Gas Reductions

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Issue Date
2024
Authors
Lilly, Matthew, James
License
Subject
School of environment and sustainability
Abstract
Between the years of 2005 and 2019, the number of vehicles in Canada increased by42%, while national road transportation emissions increased by 17.69% and accounted for approximately 20.73% of total Canadian greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions (Environment Canada, 2022). In May of 2017 - with a primary goal of encouraging individuals to adopt cycling as their main mode of transportation - the City of Victoria opened its first protected bi-directional bicycle lane connecting the Johnson Street Bridge to Cook Street by means of Pandora Avenue (Egan-Elliott, 2019). This marked the first step in the creation of Victoria’s All-Ages and Abilities (AAA) Bicycle Network, which has continued to expand throughout the city and into the surrounding municipalities of the Capital Regional District (CRD). While it is understood that implementing municipal active transportation (AT) infrastructure could reduce on-road GHG emissions, there is currently little research that attempts to quantify the GHG reduction effects of AT infrastructure. To address this knowledge gap, the impacts of cycling infrastructure on GHG emissions were explored by comparing temporal cross-sectional Greater Victoria transportation mode data pre-intervention (in May 2017) to that of data from 2017 to 2019. Additionally, bicycle suitability (bikeability) maps were created for the Greater Victoria region based on 2021 and spring 2023 cycling infrastructure and a review of research exploring best practices for cycling uptake and safety. Due to the impacts of COVID-19 on transportation trends, transportation data from 2020 onwards was not assessed. Findings of this research indicate that expansion of the cycling network is positively correlated with an increase in cycling mode share; however, further expansion of AAA quality facilities into other municipalities is likely required to achieve greater mitigation of on-road transportation GHG emissions within the region.
Description
2024
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