Research

UC Davis Bicycle Research

Themes

We currently focus on four key themes of research:

  • Expanding bicycle and other small vehicle options and associated opportunities from changing technology.
  • Use of micromobility services (i.e. docked and dock-less bike and e-bike share, e-kick-scooter share, long term small vehicle rentals), and the policies and regulations related to these services.
  • Built environment characteristics, programs, and policies that support bicycle and small vehicle mobility.
  • Individual level attitudes, perceptions, and behavior related to bicycle and small vehicles.

Scales

Within these themes we focus on two research scales:

  1. Short-term studies (designed and completed in 3–12 months) to examine topics that are currently evolving (e.g. changing technology and policy, expanding micromobility services).
  2. Long-term studies (i.e., 12 months or longer) to examine changes in a population of individuals over time. These provide insight into individual behavior and decision-making processes.

Current Projects

Investigating the influence of dock-less electric bike share on travel behavior, attitudes, health, and equity

(Partners SACOG, JUMP Inc., SB1 funded grant)

Making bicycling comfortable: Identifying Minimum Infrastructure Needs by Population Segment using a Video Survey

(NCST grant funded by Caltrans)

E-bicycling for short distance commutes

Electric assisted bicycles (e-bikes) may reduce the barriers for shifting car trips to bike trips through improved perceptions of bicycling safety and increased destination accessibility. The researchers will explore factors influencing the likelihood of people shifting from driving to e-bicycling among employees (working faculty, staff, and graduate students) currently driving and or carpooling to the University of California, Davis. The researchers will also analyze the impact of JUMP dock-less electric bike share on e-bike commuting.

Completed Research

Bicycling Behavior

Whether or not an individual chooses to bicycle depends on circumstances such as the quality of bicycle infrastructure and characteristics of the surrounding environment, as well as their own comfort with and preferences for bicycling. People around the world have adopted or rejected bicycling based on factors such as how much they like bicycling, how stressful they find car traffic, who else in the community bicycles, and their need to transport children or carry groceries. In these papers, researchers explore how and why people bicycle in Davis and beyond as they analyze the circumstances that influence bicycling behavior.

Bicycling and Bicycle Dynamics

The action exerted on a bicycle by a rider is a machine-like system through which movement and travel is achieved. The dynamic between a bicycle and a bicyclist depends on movement, the architecture of the bike, the structure of the environment such as pavement, and the physiological structure of the body. In these papers, researchers study the mechanisms of the bicycle-to-rider interaction to examine aspects of bicycling such as velocity, acceleration, levels of bicycle control, limb positions, bicycle frame, tire and road quality as they affect movement, and more.

Bicycle Infrastructure

Infrastructure has a major role in encouraging bicycling for transportation. Bike lanes, streetlights, pavement quality and more influence how often and in what ways people use bicycles. Studies of the effectiveness of infrastructure investments provide important guidance to cities as they seek to increase bicycling. In these papers, researchers examine how infrastructure encourages or discourages bicycling.

Planning Tools

Cities throughout the U.S. are aiming to increase bicycling as a mode of transportation. In these papers, researchers provide planners with tools that are helpful in their efforts to increase bicycling. These tools include summaries of the evidence on different strategies for increasing bicycling, estimates of the amount of bicycling (and walking) based on available survey data, and methods for measuring and modeling bicycling.

Bicycle Policy

In these papers, researchers analyze past, present, and future bicycle policy, and explore how these policies have affected or could potentially affect bicycling. Policy shapes investments in bicycle infrastructure and promotional programs, thus influencing who uses bicycles, how often, how safely, for what purpose, and with what outcomes. Understanding the factors that lead to bicycling-supportive policies is essential to efforts to increase the prevalence and safety of bicycling.

Research Needs

Bicycling is an important aspect of everyday life for a growing number of people. As bicycling increases, researchers are addressing new questions and discovering new challenges. Key challenges researchers face include obtaining accurate measurements of bicycling, recruiting representative samples of bicyclists, and acquiring data at multiple points in time to enable more rigorous research designs. In these papers, researchers discuss the issues and challenges surrounding the study of bicycling as a mode of transportation.