Increasing Bicycling for Transportation: A Systematic Review of the Literature

Daniel Piatkowski, Melissa Bopp

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Bicycling for transportation improves health, reduces pollution and congestion, and produces economic rewards for communities. This paper presents a targeted update and appraisal of the current literature on the factors that influence bicycling for transportation. This is a systematic literature review. Inclusion criteria included peer-reviewed research published in English that reported on qualitative or quantitative findings. Studies were included if they reported on: (1) adults, (2) presented findings that were specific to bicycling for transportation (separate from walking, or overall active transport, or commuting), (3) were cross-sectional or observational (not experimental), and (4) examined the influences on bicycling behavior. Following a final manual review by the authors, 102 (out of an original 773) studies met the search criteria. The findings are organized using the ecological model as a framework. At the individual level, the research identified demographic characteristics, health and physical activity, and psychological factors as significant influences on transportation bicycling, but these factors might be closely related to the context. At the social and cultural level, limited available studies found that community norms and social support were significant, although these constructs lacked consistent definitions. At the environmental level, numerous aspects of the built and natural environment (in a range of scales) were identified as significant, but raised questions of scale and potential interactions with other levels of the ecological model. There is extensive literature on factors that influence transportation bicycling; however, future research is required that simultaneously considers multiple influences at multiple levels, via multiple potential pathways. For communities that want to increase transportation bicycling with specific interventions, maximizing their impact will depend on understanding the individual, social, and physical contexts to determine the most appropriate approach.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number04021019
JournalJournal of Urban Planning and Development
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 1 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Development
  • Urban Studies


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