First came the Cycling City project. Now, hard on its heels, comes the Study of the Cycling City project. Researchers at Bristol’s University of the West of England are to look at whether the £19 million being spent in the city will actually get people on to their bikes.
The team, lead by Dr Kiron Chatterjee, want to see whether investment in cycling, comparable to that in other parts of Europe, will make cycling the norm for short journeys about town.
Dr Chatterjee and Professor Graham Parkhurst from UWE's centre for transport and society will be carrying out their research over four years in Bristol and in the other eleven places given money through the Cycling City and Towns (CCT) programme.
The investment is being used to fund improvements to cycle routes, training for children in schools and marketing and promotion work.
The researchers will question people before and after the initiatives are brought in so they can assess their impact.
Dr Chatterjee said: "Cycling is uncommon in most parts of the UK. Only five per cent of people cycle at all. For some people cycling is a weekday activity, getting to work or school, but for others it is something they do at weekends."
Of Bristol’s Cycling City status and the new study, he commented: "This is a wonderful opportunity. Not only is it the largest investment programme in cycling ever seen in the UK, but there is the opportunity with this research to thoroughly investigate the programme's impact and identify what works best to increase cycling.”
UWE researchers with expertise in health economics and child health will also be involved in the study.