Cycling at UW

by: Andrea Russell, Rachel Houlihan, Mignon Dunning, David Ewing, Jason Whitfield

Course: ERS 285, Winter 1997
Professor: James Kay


There has been a call for the fundamental restructuring of the way humans in developed countries travel in their every day lives. At the University of Waterloo (UW), as part of a course called "Greening the Campus", we are a group of students who have heard the call for this restructuring. We believe the ideal alternative to the conventional automobile is the bicycle. Commuting by bicycle is faster than walking, more efficient and less polluting than automobiles, and contributes to a personal sense of health and well-being.

This study investigates the reasons why people do not cycle and suggests some preliminary and long-term recommendations to help increase the number of students, staff, and faculty who ride to campus every day. We examine the importance of cycling to the sustainability of the UW campus, background information on the bicycle in general, along with cycling and transportation projects which have been done at UW and in other parts of the world . We focus on those systems which relate to the cycling system of UW and how to change the cycling infrastructures of UW, the City of Waterloo, and the Region of Waterloo.

The study was conducted with the vision that we can increase ridership to/on campus. By increasing ridership we hope to help create a healthier and more sustainable campus. Our main goal is to aid the University of Waterloo and the City and Region of Waterloo in making it easier to ride a bicycle to school than driving a car.

As an overview of our recommendations, we came up with the following findings. A cycling infrastructure that is coordinated by all actors concerned is necessary to have an effective cycling system. The first step is to increase communication between all involved actors 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, as indicated by the respondents of our survey. For example, the provision of safe, reliable, and easily accessible bike storage facilities, and designated bike paths or lanes 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. Bicycle Safety programs, such as winter riding clinics, general bike maintenance clinics, and other awareness events, such as rallies should also be looked at.

This project is available for viewing by the UW community.

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Last updated: May 13, 1997