A survey was conducted about bicycle infrastructure and cycling in the study area. The survey was modeled after existing surveys on this topic. The majority of the survey questions were taken from the 2014 study, “Lessons from the Green Lanes: Evaluating Protected Bike Lanes in the U.S.,” by Chris Monsere et al and published by the National Institute for Transportation and Communities. (Monsere, C. et al. 2014. Lessons from the Green Lanes: Evaluating Protected Bike Lanes in the U.S. National Institute for Transportation and Communities. Retrieved from: http://www.ssti.us/wp/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/ProtectedBikeLanes_NITC-June2014.pdf). That study presented findings from surveys and other research about the use, perceptions, benefits and impacts of protected bike lanes in five U.S. cities. Other consulted work included Jennifer Dill’s 2012 study, “Four Types of Cyclists? Examining a Typology to Better Understand Bicycling Behavior and Potential.” (Dill, J. and N. McNeil. 2013. Four types of cyclists? Examination of typology for better understanding of bicycling behavior and potential. Transportation Research Record (2387): 129-138.). The 2014 MoveDC Plan, by the District Department of Transportation (DDOT), was consulted during the selection of survey locations and development of questions about streets and bicycle facilities. (District Department of Transportation. 2014. MoveDC. District of Columbia. Retrieved from: http://www.wemovedc.org/).
The survey was posted online using Google Forms. The mission of the survey was to assess the cycle-friendliness of the study area, find out who travels in the study area, and to determine whether and what infrastructure improvements would encourage more cycling in the study area. The survey included questions about perceptions of bicycle infrastructure and safety as well as questions about support for cycling and bicycle infrastructure in the study area.
At the top of the survey page, viewers were given information about the purpose of the survey and the odds of winning one of four $50 gift cards. Viewers were then informed that their consent was voluntary, that results would be confidential, and that Virginia Tech Institutional Review Board panelists could be contacted if there were any questions or concerns about the survey.
At the beginning of the survey, study participants were shown a map of the study area and asked whether or not they lived, worked or traveled in the study area. Participants who answered “no” for this question were branched out of the survey. Participants who continued the survey were then asked about demographic information including gender, age, and student status. Participants were also asked about their reasons for travel in the area, trip origin, modes used for travel, bicycle usage, Capital Bikeshare usage, and attitudes towards cycling on roadways. Participants who replied “no” when asked if they biked in the study area were branched past questions about biking in the study area.
The section of the survey about biking in the study area included questions about the importance of factors influencing route choice. Factors included directness of route, the presence of different types of bicycle infrastructure, hills, traffic, and other road conditions. Participants were also asked about their experience with collisions and near collisions with various types of obstacles while bicycling in the study area.
The subsequent section of the survey asked participants about their perceptions of safety and bicycling in the study area. Participants were asked about their support for bike lanes, protected bike lanes and fully separated bike lanes, both in terms of general support for the facility type in the study area, and support for the installation of bike lanes, protected bike lanes and fully protected bike lanes on specific streets in the area. Participants were also asked whether or not they would bike more if the aforementioned facilities were installed on these streets.
At the end of the survey, participants were given the opportunity to provide their email address in order to be entered into a drawing for one of four $50 Amazon.com gift cards. Participants were also asked whether they wished to be contacted for a more in depth survey of their bicycle habits and opinions.
The survey was distributed using several different methods. Three samples were obtained using three identical copies of the same online Google Form. For the first sample, to accompany in-person distribution of survey information, a postcard was created that included a web address and QR code linking to the survey along with general information about the study. Approximately 1,500 postcards were handed out at 15 crosswalks, intersections, and other natural stopping points in the study area. Postcards were handed out on weekdays during morning (7:00AM-9:30AM), Mid-Day (11:00AM-1:00PM) and evening (4:00PM-7:00PM) rush hours. The survey was conducted over a two week period between March 7, 2016 and March 23, 2016. Besides the sample that was obtained through postcard distribution in the study area, two additional samples were obtained online. One sample included the Washington Area Bicyclist Association (WABA) Twitter list, and the other was based on social media and outreach to bicycling and other groups in and around the study area.
5.2 Survey Results and Analysis
5.2.1 Respondent Information
A grand total of 221 respondents elected to take the survey either from the URL provided on the survey card, through an online distribution, or through a link provided on WABA’s employee Twitter feed. A total of 191 respondents said they traveled through or in the study area for any activity, and therefore were able to complete the entire survey. Those that indicated they did not travel within or to the study area were sent to the end of the survey and were told that they would not be included in this study. These respondents were still eligible to win a gift card as compensation for completing the survey.
The most common age cohort among the 191 respondents who were qualified to complete the survey was the 25 to 34 group with about 50% of all respondents. The second and third most common age groups were 18-24 and 35-44 year-olds, with 16% and 14% of total respondents, respectively. Two respondents were younger than 18 years old, and both indicated that they were students. It should be noted that while we did not specifically target young people or students for our data, choosing survey distribution locations in a neighborhood with The George Washington University as the main anchor institution meant that a significant number of respondents identified as students: 24% of respondents identified as students. Predictably so, the vast majority of these respondents were in the 18-24 year-old age cohort. The gender split for all respondents was roughly 63% to 37% male to female, which means that males were slightly over-represented in this survey relative to the demographics of the neighborhood. 68% said they owned a working bike at home.
The vast majority (65%) of respondents said they use Metro to travel to the study area. In addition, personal bike, foot and Capital Bikeshare were modes used by 47%, 50% and 21% of respondents, respectively. Because respondents could select more than one mode of travel, data from this question does not add to 100% (See Figure 14 for more detail).
There were 112 respondents (59%) who said they biked in the study area for some reason. Among both those who used a personal bike and those who used Capital Bikeshare to bike in the study area, the majority were men. Men made up a little over 70% of personal bike-in-the-study-area respondents, while men made up about 80% of Capital Bikeshare-in-the-study-area respondents. This supports other data that suggest that bikeshare users are predominantly male and that cyclist commuters in general are primarily male, but as a lesser percent than bikeshare users. (See Figure 15).
5.2.2 Frequency of Bike Travel
When asked how frequently and how far one rides his or her bike, the results to both questions resulted in “U” shaped data, with many respondents saying they never rode and many saying they rode a bike more than seven times per week. (See Figure 16).Likewise, 24% of respondents said they never rode a bike when asked how many miles per week they rode, however 17% said they rode more than 50 miles per week. The WABA respondents, who rode more frequently and longer distances on average than the rest of the sample, skewed the results in these two categories upwards. (See Figure 17).
71% of survey respondents did not have a Capital Bikeshare membership, and of those that did, the vast majority (26%) had an annual membership. This is most likely due to the fact that tourists, who are more common users of the 24-hour and 3-day membership options, were not targeted in this survey.
Cyclists in the study area who use personal bikes were more likely to ride more than seven days per week than Capital Bikeshare riders, and also more likely to ride more than 20-50 and 50+ miles per week. (See Figure 18).
5.2.3 Cyclist Types
Each respondent who reported riding a bike was classified using Roger Geller’s typology distinguishing between either “Strong and Fearless”: able to ride in all conditions and roadway types, “Enthused and Confident”: confident riding a bike, but preferring to do so on dedicated bike infrastructure, “Interested but Concerned”: wanting to bike more but concerned about one or more aspect of cycling, and “No-Way No-How”: those who were unwilling or unable to ride a bike. The results shown in Figure 19 differ from national level results, where “Interested, but Concerned” cyclists make up roughly 60% of the population. This inconsistency could be explained by the 27 WABA cyclist respondents, who were either “Strong and Fearless” or “Enthused and Confident,” with none being “Interested, but concerned.” It could also be explained by relatively high overall cycling levels in D.C, and/or the relatively young age of most of the respondents. Young people who cycle may be more confident cycling in the city and physically fit enough for it as well. It should also be noted that 82% of “Strong and Fearless” cyclists in this survey were male, which is in line with national-level findings. Also of note: the gender spread of the “Interested, but Concerned” cyclists was far more equal to the overall population than any of the other groups measured, with 54% being female and 46% being male. Females were best represented in this data under the “No-way No-How” type of cyclist, with 65% of this cyclist group identifying as female. (See Figure 19; Figure 20).
5.2.4 Interested but Concerned
The analysis focused on the “Interested, but Concerned” (IBC) group because IBC cyclists are not cycling much now, but are interested in becoming regular cyclists.
Most IBC cyclists (67%) traveled to the study area for work. 43% said they use foot as a means of transportation to/from or in the study area. 22% said they take Metro to/from or in the study area. Because the survey asked respondents where they came from prior to entering the study area, distance traveled data was available for this, and other groups. The IBC cyclists traveled on average 4.39 miles to the study area, with 63% traveling 5 miles or less to the study area. 54% of IBC cyclists owned a bike in working condition at home, while only slightly less than the 68% that owned a working bike in the total survey population. Travel distance to the study area and availability of a working bicycle are not barriers for a majority of IBC cyclists. The study additionally looked at the perceptions of bike infrastructure among IBC cyclists and other groups in the survey.