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Cycling Behavior Among College Students: Is Distance the Final Frontier?
Urban Affairs Association Annual Conference (2013)
  • Thomas Wuerzer, Boise State University
  • Susan Mason, Boise State University
  • Lynda Ransdell, Boise State University
This paper presents a novel approach used to study active living and cycling-based physical activity (PA). The study focuses on distance-dependent cycling behavior among college students at Boise State University (BSU), a "bicycle friendly university," and within the region of Boise, Idaho and the Treasure Valley. Specifically, the aims of this study are to: (a) extrapolate from generalized bicycling pattern analyses among various age groups (i.e. commuting behavior of high school students); (b) compare the general patterns in literature with more specific patterns used by non-traditional college students; and (c) compare the general patterns with a more specific anchor in the study (i.e., the center of campus instead of the general distance to trailheads or facilities). The subjects in this study, students at Boise State University, are typically non-traditional (i.e., older than their peers at other universities, working while going to school, and, commuting to campus at a high rate). The city of Boise and Boise State University are part of bicycle-friendly environment in that approximately 4% of the population regularly commutes to work on a bike, and Boise has a richly developed bike path network along the Boise River. To achieve the aims of this study, a survey was conducted among BSU students (N = 949) as an extension of the National Collegiate Health Assessment (NCHA), which examines topics such as substance use and abuse, and mental and physical health. For our purposes, students were asked about their cycling behavior in transportation and recreation, and about barriers and facilitators to cycling in the context of spatial patterns. Using GIS, distances that students biked were computed, and the relationship between spatial clusters of cycling behavior and health characteristics in relationship to proximity to BSU or the rich outdoors and recreational environment of Boise were also computed. Methodology and results of this statistical and spatial analysis will be presented, along with recommendations as to how our findings can be applied to better health promotion programs on campuses or bicycle friendly transportation planning.

Wuerzer, Thomas; and Mason, Susan G.. (2015). "Cycling Willingness: Investigating Distance as a Dependent Variable in Cycling Behavior Among College Students". Applied Geography, 60, 95-106.

Publication Date
Spring April 3, 2013
Citation Information
Thomas Wuerzer, Susan Mason and Lynda Ransdell. "Cycling Behavior Among College Students: Is Distance the Final Frontier?" Urban Affairs Association Annual Conference (2013)
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