Exploring User Perspectives to Increase Winter Bicycling Mode Share in Edmonton, Canada

Over the last decade many municipal governments in the United States and Canada have proactively invested in bicycling infrastructure, ranging from physically separated bikeways to greenways and bike-share programs. Evidence points to gradually increasing bicycle use, though this growth is small in absolute numbers, particularly in winter cities. Two interrelated issues are noteworthy: i) research shows that bicycling rates go down in cold weather, yet little is known about how those who still bicycle adapt to road conditions, and ii) while cities rely on manuals and best practices when creating bicycling policies, there is limited direct evaluation of bicycling infrastructure in severe winters. Relying on semi-structured interviews with winter cyclists in Edmonton, Canada, this paper investigates riders’ adaptation strategies. This study posits that bicycling infrastructure would be better utilized if riders’ observations and experiences informed policy, thus increasing the odds of expanding winter cycling to the next most likely group. A methodological contribution of this work is using mapping voice to uncover user preferences. In Edmonton, winter cyclists use specific corridors, both with and without bike lanes. They ride with traffic on streets or on sidewalks since bike lanes are often covered with snow windrows. Findings suggest that a group of policies including consistent snow clearing, separated bikeways, network connectivity, destination amenities, and public/driver education would make cycling more convenient and safe during the snow season. These insights have the potential to increase winter bicycling by moving the infrastructure supply paradigm from a best practice to a best fit approach.

  • Supplemental Notes:
    • This paper was sponsored by TRB committee ANF20 Standing Committee on Bicycle Transportation.
  • Corporate Authors:

    Transportation Research Board

    500 Fifth Street, NW
    Washington, DC  United States  20001
  • Authors:
    • Shirgaokar, Manish
    • Gillespie, Dianne
  • Conference:
  • Date: 2016


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: Digital/other
  • Features: Figures; Maps; References; Tables;
  • Pagination: 17p
  • Monograph Title: TRB 95th Annual Meeting Compendium of Papers

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01587780
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Report/Paper Numbers: 16-2028
  • Files: TRIS, TRB, ATRI
  • Created Date: Jan 27 2016 5:11PM