9.0 Key Contact People
The results of the survey portion of the study were tabulated in Microsoft Excel and coded as outlined in Section B. The majority of our attention will be focused on the issues indicated in Question 17 (see Figure 18). Specifically we will examine the issues that received the highest rate of responses (see Appendix D: Coded Survey).
The responses are categorized into several frequency tables and displayed as pie charts with regards to the distribution of the answers (see Appendix E: Frequency Tables; Charts). For example, 49.5% of the respondents were male, with 48.5% female and the remaining 2% gave no answer to that question. The number of respondents that indicated access to a bicycle was 60%. Those who did not have access to a bicycle accounted for 39% and the remaining 1% did not answer the question.
Question 17 asked the respondents to rate issues for their importance to help encourage them to cycle more often. The results from this question are shown in the following graph. The y-axis indicates the percentage of respondents that answered either important or extremely important for the issue listed on the x-axis (please refer to the coded survey for x-axis codes). Issues that had a median of 3 and had 50% or more (in red) of the respondents choose them include:
Figure 18: Responses For Question 17
If those respondents that rated the issue as somewhat important are included with important and extremely important, the percentage of respondents for each issue increases dramatically. In addition, some issues changed in their order of importance and new issues were considered:
6.1 Analysis of Results
The purpose of the survey was to allow the UW community to express their views of the current cycling system. Question 17 (Figure 18) allowed the respondents to indicate what they felt were barriers to cycling on and to UW. When discusing our recommendations and results, we will be focusing on only seven of the twenty responses. We chose these responses because they have a median of 3 and over 50% of the respondents indicated each issue as being important or extremely important.
Our results will provide future projects with valuable data on the demographics of the 400 students surveyed and their responses. However, this study will not look at the questions regarding age, sex, faculty, etc. While some interesting comparisons may be made, those responses do not help us address our research question - "Why don't more members of the UW community commute to school via bicycle?" Therefore, we will concentrate our analysis on the results from Question 17.
About 58% of the respondents indicated that the need for more bike lanes off campus is important or extremely important in encouraging them to cycle or to cycle more (often). This makes this issue the top rated concern in question 17. In addition, many of the comments written on the surveys indicated safety as a concern and the need for bike lanes to address this problem. There are several areas in KW which have bike lanes, such as Fisher Hallman Road. However, these may not be near the principle bike routes of our survey respondents. Roads, such as University Avenue, Erb Street, Columbia Street, and Westmount Road, are heavily travelled by UW students yet there are no bike lanes.
Close behind the bike lane issue was better snow removal on paths around campus, where 56% of the respondents indicated that this issue is either important or extremely important in encouraging them to cycle more (often). The fact that the survey was implemented in the winter term may have influenced the results. However, the number of riders during the winter months (7%) was 28% less than those in the summer months (35%). Decreased ridership in the winter months may not be completely dependant on road conditions, but dependent on cold temperatures or other factors.
The next highest response was the need for improved road conditions with 55% of the respondents indicating the importance of this issue. The condition of roads and trails that cyclists may use on-route to UW are a limitation for current and potential cyclists.
Better lighting, increased surveillance to reduce theft, bike lanes on Ring Road, and bike routes throughout campus were also rated high on the respondents list of limitations and concerns for cycling at UW. Bike lanes on Ring Road mirrors the response for separate bike lanes off campus. The narrowness of Ring Road and the perceived danger of collisions between cyclists, pedestrains, and motorists may be reasons for the responses. Theft and safety also rated high in the survey responses as important issues to address, at 52% and 54% respectively.
Another important result from the survey is the percentage of respondents that do not have access to bicycles (see Figure 11: Respondents By Bike Accessability). About 40% of the respondents would be unable to cycle to UW even if the seven issues above were addressed to their satisfaction. According to the information received from the 400 respondents, the maximum ridership that could be acheived is 60%. Of the 40% who don't have access to a bike, roughly 34% live on campus and 64% live off campus (the other 2% gave no answer). Therefore, access to bikes is a major limitation to increasing cycling as a mode of transportation to UW.
Our sampling design had several limitations. These limitations may affect the accuracy of our ability to generalize our results to the entire UW population. Despite these limitations, we do feel that we are able to use our results to come to conclusions which will apply to the UW population. We were able meet the goal of achieving accurate representation of students in each faculty (as set out in methodology), of students in first, second, third, and fourth years, and of students in daytime and night classes. Our weakest area lies in our surveying of staff and faculty. This was largely due to the fact that we could not obtain a Master List. However, we did survey faculty members in each of the six faculties and we did try to get a representation of the various staff members on campus.
There were several different sectors of the UW population that we did not have the opportunity to survey. For this reason they are not represented in our results. Among those who were excluded were:
Before we handed out the surveys to each class, faculty, or staff member, we asked them not to complete the survey if they had previously filled one out.
Physically disabled people, especially those restricted to a wheelchair, were not surveyed because the issue of biking does not apply to them. It may have been interesting to find out how individuals in wheelchairs view current road conditions, snow removal etc., but we were looking for information on cycling in particular.
6.3 Qualitative Safety Assessment:
On-Campus Accident Reports January 1986 - March 1997
To complement our sampling research, we decided to take a close look at what caused those accidents which have been reported to Health & Safety over the past decade. These reports give us an idea of improvements that could be made to the existing on-campus infrastructure to improve cycling safety on-campus. Also, it would be irresponsible of us to suggest methods which would increase the amount of cyclists on campus and not make recommendations to improve safety, as more cyclists would equal more accidents, if no improvements are made. Please note that not all accidents are reported, so these reports are used only to give us an idea as to what the main cause(s) of cycling accidents on-campus may be, and thus how to prevent future accidents.
The following is a list of the most frequent causes, which appear on the accident reports (in order of most common to least common):
There are many improvements which could be made to the on-campus infrastructure to reduce the number of accidents involving cyclists. For example, the University Administration could consider the following recommendations (with regards to safety):
Education of cyclists: please see overall project Recommendations.
Speed limits for cyclists: signs could be posted along road and pathways which limit the speed at which cyclists may travel. Not only would this account for those accidents caused by a loss of control due to speed, but it could also reduce the number of accidents caused by speed combined with other factors. For example: speed and poor ground conditions, speed and pedestrian avoidance, speed and weather conditions, etc.
Better maintenance of pathways: making sure that potholes and bumps on path and roadways are minimized, clearing snow accumulation efficiently, etc.
After close examination of the results of our survey, we found that the UW Cycling system and the connected cycling systems, such as the Region of Waterloo, are in need of improvement. This improvement will be necessary in order to encourage more people to commute by bicycle to and on the UW campus. In order to increase ridership, our survey results indicated that priority must be given to the following three areas of the cycling system:
(1) more bike lanes off campus
(2) better snow removal on pathways throughout campus
(3) improved road conditions, such as repairing potholes.
Although there were many other areas indicated as needing improvement, these are the areas that would likely see the greatest increase in ridership to campus, if carried out. It is interesting to note that although 35% of the UW population rides to school in the summer, only 7% rides in the winter. This shows that there is a great amount of room for improvement needed to encourage those who already bike to campus, to bike in the winter as well. If that 28% who bike only when it is not winter, in addition to those people who have access to a bike but do not currently ride, could be convinced to ride in the winter, a significant increase in ridership, would be seen in the campus cycling system. Therefore, the feasibility and importance of improving winter snow conditions on campus, should be given priority attention from Plant Operationss and General Maintenance on campus. Figure 19: Proposed Bike Lanes and Storage Areas was created as a means for addressing as many of those concerns revealed by the survey respondents as possible. It is the most economically efficient, space saving, safety conscious solution we were able to devise. It is not only a realistic plan which could be put into action by those cycling system actors on campus, but it is one which directly addresses those major concerns with the current on campus cycling system.
An effective cycling infrastructure must be coordinated by all concerned actors. The first step towards a more efficient cycling system is to increase communication between each actor through a network or committee that involves input and decision-making in a decentralized, unilateral fashion. The second step is the provision of an adequate physical infrastructure. This infastructure should address the needs and wants of the respondents of our survey since they are representative of the UW community. For example, the provision of safe, reliable, and easily accessible bike storage facilities, and designated bike lanes or paths, to ensure the safest routes possible.The third is the provision of educational and extra-curricular infrastructure. This includes on-campus activities, such as Bike Day, to encourage members of the UW Community not only to bike, but to bike safely. This also includes Bicycle Safety programs, such as winter riding clinics, general bike maintenance clinics and other awareness events, such as rallies.
If these recommendations are taken into consideration and are employed by the UW Administration, the Region of Waterloo, the City of Waterloo, and the City of Kitchener, a great improvement in the strength, vitality and efficiency of the greater cycling system could be achieved. Although there will always be individuals who choose not to bike, focusing energy on those who may ride is the most effective way to encourage biking as an alternative way to commute to UW. Changing the system focus from what can not be implemented, to what could be implemented, will lead to the greatest improvement within the cycling system.
8.1 Recommendations From Survey Results
The results of the survey have indicated several areas that need improvement in order to encourage people to begin cycling, or to cycle more often to UW. The following recommendations are just a beginning and need to be taken a step further in future WATgreen projects.
The following recommendation has been formulated with the help of UW Plant Operations, UW Security, and UW Parking. All three groups accepted the recommendation in theory, each having concerns about specific details. Future work is needed to examine the economic feasability and practicality of the recommendation.
Developing bike lanes on every pathway at UW would be economically and logistically impossible. However, the UW campus does have numerous pathways that intersect and criss-cross at several dangerous points. In addition, the current distribution of the bike racks on campus attracts bicycle traffic to areas that are also heavily used by pedestrians. This causes concern about safety for both pedestrians and cyclists. The issue of theft was rated important by the survey respondents and the current distribution of the bike racks and the lack of storage lockers for bikes makes it hard to address this issue.
The best way to address all the issues and concerns from Question 17 is to have designated bicycle paths and a centralized lockup system on campus. The designated bike routes are shown as red lines in Figure 19 and the yellow squares indicate storage areas for bicycles.
The proposed bike routes would make it easier to address several issues at lower costs than if the entire pathway system were to be improved. Centralized storage facilities would draw bicycle traffic away from congested areas, thus improving safety by reducing the potential for accidents. In addition, the issue of increased surveillance can be addressed by installing cameras on the security system already in use by UW Security. Better lighting, improved road conditions, and better snow removal are issues that could be more effectively dealt with in this plan. A committee that includes all affected actors should look at the proposal in greater detail and the revised proposal should be incorporated in the Master Plan for development of UW.
Another component of this particular recommendation is to provide bicycle storage in other areas. This includes bike storage in new or existing buildings. There are many types of storage racks for bicycles, the Bikeup (below) is just one that would be useful in buildings around the campus or in a centralized lockup area. This allows for easy storage, while maximizing space. Storage rooms equipped with similar storage racks could be monitored by surveillance cameras and the racks could be rented out by the month to generate revenue. This would also decrease the desire for individuals to bring their bicycles into buildings and to lock bikes up in stairways, offices, and hallways. In addition, this type of system offers protected storage from the elements (e.g. rain, snow). Internal storage facilities should be studied for their future potential at UW in the Master Plan.
The current cycling system at UW does not reflect the growing trend towards winter cycling. The survey results indicated that 56% of the 400 respondents felt that better snow removal would encourage them to cycle or cycle more often. The growth in winter cycling has taken many at UW by surprise so policies and practices need to be adjusted to reflect the current demands of cyclists. A joint committee should be developed to address this issue and it should include members from Plant Operations, UW Bicycle Centre, and members from the UW cycling community that have an interest in winter cycling. An exchange of information between these groups will help make winter cycling safer and more appealing to potential cyclists.
The most common response in the survey with regards to encouraging ridership was to have more bike lanes to the campus on city and regional roads. The Region of Waterloo and the City of Waterloo must acknowledge the need for safe transportation routes to UW and work with the UW community to find ways of increasing these routes. Alternative ways to providing bike lanes should be examined for their viability and potential use around the UW campus. For example, rather than cutting curbs and widening roadways to make room for bike lanes, portions of boulevards and/or sidewalks could be used for bike routes. Shared or segregated sidewalks provide a less expensive means of developing bicycle routes along roadways (Metro Cycling and Pedestrian Committee, 1996).
Several communities around the world have developed their public transit system with components that encourage cyclists ride more often. Many comments from respondents mentioned that distance from UW prevented them from riding to school. The ability to take a bike on a public bus and/or store the bike at a bus station, train station, or other points of destination has increased cycling ridership in various places in Canada ("Campus Transit Committee", 1996; "The Vancouver Task Force...", 1996). Kitchener Transit and UW should work together to study the feasability of equiping public buses with bike racks and providing storage at bus stations at on campus destinations to promote cycling.
The survey results showed that 40% of the 400 respondents do not have access to a bicycle. Future projects should look at ways of increasing the accessability that the UW community has to bicycles.
8.2 Recommendations From Other Information
Education and the Cycling System
One of the most important tools for encouraging cycling is empowerment of a community through both grassroots and formal education. Education is not only important in reducing accidents on campus, but can also help reduce accidents off campus. Education can give confidence to those who are afraid of cycling in traffic, aid in maintaining a mechanically sound bike, help encourage children at a young age to start and continue cycling for the rest of their lives, and to show a community how easy, efficient and inexpensive it is to commute via bicycle (IMC Consultants Inc., 1994, p.19). In relation to our project, there are a number of educational activities which could be used to encourage cycling. For example:
8.3 Future Projects
Since our project was limited to asking and answering a general research question, there are many opportunities for future WATgreen projects. The results of our project can be used as a basis for these future projects. Some future projects could include:
(2) A comparison study to determine the feasibility of improved storage facilities. This would be based on the storage type preferred by the UW community and economic feasibility according to cost. We have recommended the Bikeup as one alternative type of internal storage, but this may not be the preferred type of storage for the UW community.
(3) A study to determine what kinds of education/safety based programs and events students, staff and faculty would like to see on campus. Perhaps a number of different events could be held and attendance and comments could be examined.
(4) A study to determine which areas cyclists and pedestrians find to be the biggest threat to their safety when traveling on campus.
(5) Determine the routes that UW community members currently take when traveling to the University, especially those routes taken by foot or bike. This could allow for the development of a preliminary bike route plan for commuters to UW.
(6) In order to address the 40% of the UW community which does not have access to a bike, a project could be undertaken which looks at ways to make bikes more readily accessible to the UW community. For example, a pilot project for a community bike share program could be run and maintained by the UW Bike Centre. Perhaps a purchasing program in which suppliers such as NORCO come to campus once a semester to sell bikes at a discount could be looked at. In addition a project to work with local bike shops, such as McPhail's, to offer discounts to UW students, staff and faculty could be undertaken.
Initialing the project focused on the implementation and analysis of the survey. Dr. Jean Andrey and the Office of Human Research were among the key contacts for this stage. In addition, students, faculty, and staff were contacted to complete the required survey.
After the data was gathered and examined, suggestions one how to improve the existing system as per the survey results were required. Additional contacts included:
- Plant Operations - Mr. Galloway is head of plant operations at the University of Waterloo. Once the survey is comlete, any recommendations with regards to bike racks, snow removal, etc., will have to go through Mr. Galloway.
- Plant Operations - Mr. Hutton is also employed in Plant Operations and will be contacted along with Mr. Galloway.
Sgt. Wayne Short
- UW Security - Sgt. Short is head of UW Security and will be contacted to gather information on accidents between bicycles and pedestrians/automobiles. In addition, we will discuss the policy and the future of cycling from the perspective of UW Security.
- UW Parking- Mrs. Koolstra is head of UW Parking. The group will gather information on possible impacts on parking if cycling ridership increases and possible implications with regards to the parking of bicycles.
- Health & Safety Sub-Committee on Bicycles - Pina is a grad student at the University in the Faculty of Chemistry. She is an avid cyclist and is working on this sub-committee to increase both cycling safety and to encourage cycling to and on campus. She will be contacted for general information about the future intenetions of the UW Health and Safety Committee, with regards to cycling.
- Health & Safety Sub-Committee on Bicycles - Katherine is an Earth Sciences Professor at the University, who is also an avid cyclist. She will be contacted for the same purposes as Pina Colarusso (see above).
- UW Bicycle Centre Executive, Geog 490 project on Bicycle Storage - Mark is currently working on his Senior Honours Thesis for the Geography Department at the University. He is in constant contact with our group so that we can co-ordinate and share research findings of interest.
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Last Update: April 17, 1997 rjh