An exploratory analysis of the interactions between social norms and the built environment on cycling for recreation and transport

There is growing evidence of the public health benefits of promoting cycling. The ways that the built environment and perceived social norms independently influence cycling participation is well established. However, whether these factors interact to influence cycling participation has not been examined. Such research is important because understanding the effect of multiple socio-ecological factors and the interactions between them is needed to guide the development of interventions and strategies to increase cycling participation. Therefore, the aim of this study is to explore the interactive effects of the built environment and perceived social norms on transport and recreational cycling. Data was collected using a self-administered online questionnaire from 228 office workers in Metropolitan Melbourne, Australia. Measures used in previous research were employed to assess self-reported transport and recreation cycling in the last week, perceptions of neighbourhood built environment, perceived social norms towards cycling, and objective land-use mix, residential density and street connectivity of the suburbs in which participants lived and work. Multiple binary logistic regression analyses were conducted to explore the interactive effects of the built environment and perceived social norms on transport and recreation cycling. All interactive effects were considered significant at p < 0.10. There was a significant interactive effect between the workplace built environment and perceived group norm on transport cycling (p = 0.06). There were no other significant interactive effects observed between components of the built environment and perceived social norms on transport or recreational cycling. The interactive effect found in this study provides some evidence that the workplace built environment interacts with perceived group norms to influence cycling for transport. Positive perceptions of the workplace built environment, such as showers and secure bike racks, can somewhat compensate for the negative influence of when cycling is considered less of a norm among, family, friend or colleagues. However, the findings of this study did not support that the neighbourhood built environment and perceived social norms interact to influence cycling for recreation or transport. These findings contribute to the knowledge of how multiple factors may reciprocate to influence individual's decision to cycle. More research into the interactive effects of socio-ecological factors is warranted.


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  • Accession Number: 01692668
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Feb 7 2019 12:11PM