Why don't Italians cycle to work? An experimental analysis

Case Studies on Transport Policy

The growing interest in promoting active mobility has led to an increasing number of studies aimed at identifying those factors that encourage individuals to choose to cycle as an alternative to motorised transport. The purpose of this work is to investigate why, in a sample of public employees equally distributed between cyclists and non-cyclists and for the same network characteristics, only 15.8% of those with access to a bicycle, actually choose to bike commute to work.

An in-depth exploratory analysis of bicycle users and non-users in Sardinia (Italy) is conducted to detect any differences in socio-economic, physical, and trip characteristics or/and psycho-attitudinal factors. A discrete mode choice model is estimated to determine which attributes are more important in mode choice and to define hypothetical scenarios for changing the modal share in favour of active mobility. Three different scenarios are explored that envisage implementation of hard measures: an incentive to cycle, a disincentive to driving and a combination of the two.

The findings confirm that the hard measure is a necessary but not sufficient condition for encouraging cycling as a means of transportation and that its implementation creates the conditions for shifting demand from private car use to more sustainable modes.