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62 Seiten, Note: B
Chapter 1 - Introduction
1.1 Introduction & Background of study
1.2 Purpose and the aim of this study
1.3 Research objective
1.4 Research questions
1.5 Thesis structure
Chapter 2 - Literature review
2.1 Season, weather and climate related connection for bicyclists
2.5 Road conditions
2.6 Wind Speeds
2.7 Other relevant factors
Chapter 3 - Methodology and methods
3.1 Context of Study
3.2 Research Materials and Methodology
3.4 Data collection methods
3.5 Focus group discussions
3.6 Individual interviews
3.7 Data collection and discussion topics
Chapter 4 - Results and Discussion
4.1 Discussions about reasons to bike
4.3 Light conditions
4.5 Road conditions
Chapter 5 - Conclusion & Recommendations
Various previous studies about the relationship between the environment and bicycling show that bicycling is an alternative transportation mode, which has close associations with features of the built-environment, conservation of nature and sustainable development of a society (Hino, Reis, Sarmiento, Parra, & Brownson, 2013). Bicycling is widely advocated to be a beneficial way to achieve sustainable, natural development of a region (Chang & Chang, 2003). Climate change, healthy lifestyles, accessibility, livability and the relevant policies to promote active transport modes over car usage are of increasing societal interest (Böcker, Dijst, & Prillwitz, 2013). Many researchers have investigated the relationship between bicycling and the environment from various perspectives (Böcker & Thorsson, 2014). These perspectives include bicyclists in many areas of the world (Spencer, Watts, Vivanco, & Flynn, 2013), particularly high latitude countries such as Northern America, Canada and the Scandinavian countries face various challenges, including those caused by different weather conditions, such as heavy rainfall, strong wind, snowfall, temperature and seasonal extremes of darkness (Spencer et al., 2013). Therefore, bicycling may be more or less appropriate in all areas at different times of year because of a various types of geographical reasons and different climates, as because of the weather variability. For instance, climates of south European countries are not same as Scandinavian countries; there are differences in the weather between the cities by the sea and cities far away from the coast (Beierle, 2011; Faulks, Ritchie, & Dodd, 2008; Lamont, 2009; Ritchie, 1998; Ritchie & Hall, 1999; Ritchie, Tkaczynski, & Faulks, 2010). Researchers differentiate weather conditions by indicating as bad and good weather conditions for cycling and these will now be addressed.
As stated in the above paragraph, various weather conditions are challenges for bicyclists, bad weather conditions such as heavy rain, strong wind, snowfall and low temperature are real obstacles for the cyclists to cycle. These kinds of weather conditions are challenges for cyclists who use bikes as their only form of transportation and the reasons are, firstly, it is risk of accidents to bike in the bad weather conditions and secondly, it is not comfortable. On the other hand, good weather conditions refer to sunny days with mild temperature and gentle breeze or no wind, which are very favorable conditions for bicycle commuters. The studies prove that cycling behavior, practices and enjoyment depending heavily on weather conditions (Amiri & Sadeghpour, 2015; Flynn, Dana, Sears, & Aultman-Hall, 2012). It is delightful to bike on a lovely sunny day with a mild temperature and it is not comfortable in heavy rain, windy, snow, low and very high temperature. Therefore, according to the above-mentioned studies, both good and bad weather conditions have effects on the desire and intention of the bicycle commuters to bike or not to bike.
A study conducted by Spencer et al., (2013) mentioned that, the lifestyle is unstable in northern geographical climates, which requires daily and seasonal adjustment in order to live comfortably. In their research in Vermont, USA, they examined how bicyclists narrated and perceived the initial ways of their bicycling practices, which influenced and formed the geo-environmental context. Bicyclists face challenges in using non-motorized systems and in addition as a cold northern region, there are obstacles posed by unstable environmental conditions such as sudden heavy rain, heavy wind and snowfall. Therefore, bicycling has become a seasonal activity for many areas. Research within the last decade around the North American and northern European cities such as; Vermont, Portland, Stockholm, Amsterdam, Copenhagen and Berlin shows that despite the obstacles, bicycling is a functional transit mode and durable substitute to automobile transportation in many northern American and European cities (Iacono, Krizek, & El-Geneidy, 2010; Pucher, 2005; Pucher & Buehler, 2008; Pucher, Buehler, & Seinen, 2011; Wahlgren & Schantz, 2012). The published article of Spencer et al. (2013) cited this statement too. Therefore, based on these above-mentioned pieces of research and the research of Spencer et al., (2013), this study adopts a similar approach that focuses on Stavanger region of Rogaland where the variations of the weather conditions may hinder bicyclists to bike ("Rainfall/ Precipitation in Stavanger, Rogaland, Norway," 2014; "Welcome to Destination Rogaland," 2014). According to this study, local bicycle commuters in Stavanger confront a variety of daily and seasonal weather variations, but still bicycling is as an important part of the city’s recreational and transportation networks for them.
The main purpose of this study is to understand the relationship between the weather conditions and bicycling behavior in Stavanger. This study is aiming to investigate various climatic situations that obstruct and encourage bicyclists to bike in the Stavanger region, Norway. This study aims to recognize and realize the bicycling behavior within the Stavanger region in different weather conditions. It further aims at the perceptions and opinions of bicyclists towards biking in the bad weather and good weather conditions in Stavanger; where bad weather refers to heavy rain, strong wind, very high-low temperature; ice-conditions on bike paths etc. and good weather condition refers to lovely sunny days with mild temperature gentle breeze. More precisely, this study aims to present the effects of various obstacles that are caused by unstable weather conditions on bicycle commuters in the Stavanger region. Thus, the purpose of this study is to focus on bicyclists in the Stavanger region, to identify their perceptions and opinions towards the challenges by various weather conditions; and in addition, it is to investigate the effects of different climatic conditions on their cycling behavior. It will then investigate cyclists’ opinions on how these challenges can be overcome by the improvement on bicycling infrastructure in Stavanger, Norway. These opinions and perceptions of the bicycle commuters in Stavanger can express a general idea of bicycling behavior in this region. Therefore, these can be helpful suggestions for policy makers, in terms of investment on the planning for bicycling facilities in the Stavanger with various weather conditions. A very recent study in Calgary, Canada was conducted among the cyclists on a newly implemented bike lane and concluded similarly (Amiri & Sadeghpour, 2015), by suggesting the policy makers in terms of investment on the planning for bicycling facilities.
The objective of this study is to examine how local bicyclists in Stavanger describe the primary ways of their bicycling practices and behavior, when various weather conditions have impact on this. This study will address the effects of various challenges that are caused by unstable weather conditions on bicycle commuters in the Stavanger region. So more specifically, the objectives of this study are:
- To investigate the role that individual preference for various weather conditions plays in cycling to work in Stavanger.
- To investigate various challenges that are caused by unstable weather conditions, such as heavy rainfall, heavy wind, heavy snowfall, low temperature, darkness etc. that affect the desire and intention of the bicycle commuters to bike in Stavanger region.
The research questions are:
- What role does individual preference for various weather conditions play in biking to work in Stavanger?
- What are the various challenges that caused by unstable weather conditions, which affect the desire and intention of the bicycle commuters to bike in Stavanger region?
- What are the cyclists’ opinions on how these challenges can be overcome by the improvement on bicycling infrastructure in Stavanger, Norway?
This study is organized in five chapters. Chapter 1 discusses the introduction and background of study, purpose and aim of this study, objectives and questions of this study. Chapter 2 presents a critical review of relevant literature, where the researcher analyses recent and previous empirical studies in the field. Chapter 3 explains aspects of research methodology and the method of this master thesis along with the materials and study context. Chapter 4 presents the findings of the study along with the analysis and discussion of the results. Chapter 5 reflects upon the limitations of the current research and then conclude the master thesis with recommendations from this study.
This chapter presents a critical review of relevant literatures, where the researcher analyses recent and previous empirical studies in the field. There are a number of studies found, which were conducted in USA, Europe, Australia and Asia about bicycling. Similar studies are referring the studies on transportation research record, transportation and environmental sustainability, physical activity and transportation, bicycling tourism and sustainability, physical activity and health, accident analysis & prevention on bike paths in transport system, motivation for active transportation, environmental health and public health, transportation policies & practice and so on. The studies are regarded from recent published journals in the USA, Europe, Scandinavia and Australia in the above mentioned research fields. Based on the previous empirical studies, this chapter is going to start by demonstrating the relationship of bicycling with the various factors of season, weather and climate. According to those various factors, this chapter will narrow down to describe the specific variables of this study, which have large impacts on bicycle commuters in Stavanger. In order to do so, this study reviewed the literatures according to many previous and recent studies in the similar field.
Many researchers within the transportation sector are conducting studies to comprehend the challenges against bicycling to increase cyclists and development of social (Burton, 2003; Burton, Jenks, & Williams, 2013), climate related (Dill & Carr, 2003; Hanson & Hanson, 1977) and physical benefits of transportation (Dill, McNeil, Broach, & Ma, 2014) in proactive ways, in addition to achieve the green sustainable environment by environmental friendly transportation mode (Sallis et al., 2013; Tolley, 1990; Wadud, 2014), traffic fulfilment (Bassett Jr, Pucher, Buehler, Thompson, & Crouter, 2008; Schäfer, 2009). The statement above is drawn from the recent study of Spencer, et al., 2013. Findings of the above-mentioned studies proved and recommended that it be worth confronting the challenges against bicycling to achieve a green viable society. These researchers related bicycling with social development, improvement in the environment, improvement in the health sector, developing transportation infrastructure and the achievement of significant moves towards sustainable societies.
Several other recent studies have supported these advantages of bicycling such as (Bauman & Rissel, 2009; Oja et al., 2011). These authors mention various reasons like; bicycling is a very good physical exercise, which actually assist to reduce the expenses of healthcare system in a society in the long run. They farther demonstrated that infrastructure of cycling is very cheap, paddling itself is free and it is quicker way of local transportation. So, despite high increase in bicycling behavior over the last 10 years, there are still challenges by socio-economic issues; expenses, time of travelling, safety, environmental, psychological factors for the bicyclists (Heinen, van Wee, & Maat, 2010). This statement depicts the challenges from various sectors for bicyclists. They further described the challenges by unstable weather conditions are in many areas of the world as environmental factors that effect on bicycle commuters. The researchers, such as (Dill & Voros, 2007) observed various climatic variables; such as rain, wind, snow, temperature, which influence highly on the bicyclists whether to bike or to be in doubtful to bike besides these socio-economic issues. In addition to those variables, another study of Spence, et al. 2013 included day light hours and road conditions in the rain or in the snow. Therefore, based on the study of Spencer, et al. 2013 in Vermont, USA, this study focuses on the specific weather related factors in Stavanger region that impact on local bicycle commuters such as temperature, wind speed, day light hours, precipitation (rain, snow and ice), road conditions and infrastructure of bicycling paths. The effects of individual variables on the local bicycling commuters are addressed in the following parts of this chapter.
Many researchers within last decade mentioned temperature as a cabalistic cause, which has a great impact on bicycle commuters (Bergström, 2003; Bergström & Magnusson, 2003; Flynn et al., 2012; Parkin, Wardman, & Page, 2008; Thomas, Jaarsma, & Tutert, 2013). A recent published article depicted that temperature is even able to impact on the bicycling behavior (Brandenburg, Matzarakis, & Arnberger, 2004) while it becomes uncomfortable with the other weather conditions such as precipitation. When the temperature is high with uncomfortably hot (Miranda-Moreno & Nosal, 2011), that is even considered as a motivator to bike in several cases, as this is a way of good exercise by sweating more (Thomas, Jaarsma, & Tutert, 2009). On the other hand, low temperature is commonly taken into account as an opposite (Rondinella, Fernandez-Heredia, & Monzón, 2012; Winters, Friesen, Koehoorn, & Teschke, 2007). Bicycling in low temperature is also considered as good exercise to warm up the body. So in brief, previous studies describe temperature as meaningful and useful variable of the research process in this field. Abovementioned studies found that low temperature along with rainfall, wind, snow, fog, ice conditions make uncomfortable to bike or demotivate the bicycle commuters. Weather condition with mild temperature and gentle breeze makes bicycling very delightful, whereas, in several cases very hot temperature is a kind of motivator to bike because of geographical locations. Moreover, previous studies show that temperature influences on female bicyclists differently than the male (Saneinejad, Roorda, & Kennedy, 2012). Temperature is proven as more significant factor for female bicyclists than men. Studies found that females combined walking with using their bicycles, while males combined cycling with the public transports on the trips in the high and low temperature conditions. Females seek to be more warmed up in the cold temperature by combining their trip with biking and walking. In the same way, in the uncomfortable hot weather females tend to combine biking with walking in their trips.
Darkness is one of the dominant factors that is influencing to reduce bicycling during the winter time (Cervero & Duncan, 2003). Because of the shortage of light in the winter, many bicyclists change their transportation mode to the public service. Studies have shown that shortage of day lights tends to lead to many bicyclists becoming inactive. The reasons behind that are proven in the past research addressing poorly developed bicycle paths with sufficient lighting. Cloudy conditions also create similar choice transportation mode for bicyclists. Past researches by Thomas et al., (2009) & (2013) also ascertained that sunlight and cloudy conditions have big impact on the behavior of the bicyclists. Moreover, according to same studies, darkness along with rainfall, snowfall and windy conditions have never been considered as bicycling friendly. The bike paths through the forests without lamps are considered more dangerous and more likely to result in accidents for the bikers. More scientists take into account that less road lamps and street lights are also operative measure in reducing the safety and increasing the possibility of accidents of the bicyclists (Kim, Kim, Ulfarsson, & Porrello, 2007). Recent study even presented that female bicyclists are more likely to value lighted bicycling facilities than the male and they calculate darkness as a travel factor (Heinen, Maat, & Van Wee, 2011). According to the researches, female bicyclists give extra value to bike in the lamp facilitated bike paths because of less bike accidents by crashing with other bikers and safety reasons.
There are several situations of the precipitation in the weather condition such as rainy, snow, sleet and ice condition (Bergström & Magnusson, 2003; Cervero & Duncan, 2003; Parkin et al., 2008). That means precipitation is defined by several individual weather conditions such as rainfall, snowfall, ice, fogy and sleet. Studies of the same researchers show that all types of precipitation have a big effect on bicycle riding behavior. The number of bicyclists is often determined by the duration of these kinds of weather conditions, which has been proven by the study of Thomas et al., (2009) & (2013). Rainy condition is more unlikely tolerable for recreational bicyclists but on the other hand, it is slightly different for the regular bicyclists (Brandenburg et al., 2004). That means the bikers who do not bike as their only form of transportation do not prefer to bike in the rainy conditions, which shows rain is a big hindering factor for the bicycle commuters. More precisely, same study shows that the regular bicyclists who use their bike as the only form of their transportation, still bike in the rainy conditions, which is not as comfortable as in the dry condition. Rainy condition along with wind are significant challenges for bicycle commuters. Moreover, precipitation with snow, fog and ice conditions are also one of the biggest challenges for the bicyclists who bike regularly and that is found in the study of Flynn et al., (2012). Recreational bicyclists do not prefer to bike in any of the precipitation conditions. However, the regular bikers try to avoid biking in the snow and ice weather condition. Because in the rain situation, bicyclists can wear waterproof cloths but in the snow and ice condition on the bike path, there are risks of more accidents even when the commuters use snow tires (Rietveld & Daniel, 2004; Rondinella et al., 2012). Moreover, the research shows more precisely that the injury rate in this kind of weather conditions is even higher for women bicyclists than the men bicyclists (Krizek, Johnson, & Tilahun, 2005) and the study by Spencer et al., (2013) cited this statement too.
Empirical studies show that various road conditions have big impacts on the bicycling and bicycle commuters (Bergström, 2003; Bergström & Magnusson, 2003), in the words of Spencer et al., (2013), “…including snow clearance, ice treatment and driver interactions”. Road conditions with connection to bicycling are defined here as the infrastructure of roads, attitudes of the road users and the maintenance during the bad weather conditions such as removing the snow, ice treatment by salt, draining the water in the rainy condition, maintaining enough shadow to get protection from the wind, interactions and interruptions by the drivers for bicyclists. Studies of several researchers such as (Bergström & Magnusson, 2003; Winters et al., 2007), mentioned that “…coldclimate bicycling suggest that measures such as snow removal, road salting, or sanding could mitigate cycling declines due to freezing conditions…” Spencer et al., (2013) cited that statement in their published article as well. These maintenances on bike paths during the cold weather are useful to reduce accidents. The attitudes of the drivers on the roads can be a reason of interaction and interruption for the bicycle commuters (Horton, 2007; Mullan, 2012). Researchers refers the attitudes of the drivers to rough driving, drive on the specific bike lanes, not giving priority in the roundabouts, which make bicycling uncomfortable and more risky for the regular bikers. In the same time, bad weather situation is an additional reason of less safety in the road. Past studies show the reasons careless driving in the bad weather is stress of the drivers in the bad weather. They mentioned more precisely that road users, who are on the way to work in the bad weather condition, feel stress of being on time at work. Moreover, the differences within the attitudes of the drivers in different genders were found in the bad weather conditions (Walker, 2007). More interestingly, researchers stated that different perceptions among the male and female cyclists; also male and female drivers on the road too (Emond, Tang, & Handy, 2009; Garrard, Rose, & Lo, 2008). These studies show that female drivers become more stressed than the male in the bad weather for the possibility of getting late at work and such stressful driving occur more accidents with bicyclists. Therefore, within all these connections, female cyclists percept more unsafe than the male cyclists in the bad weather condition. Researchers mention age of drivers and bicyclists as another demographic variable at this point. Younger drivers below 35 years of age are more likely to be involved in road accidents with bicyclists because of the less experience on driving in the bad weather condition. Again, younger bicyclists below 35 years are more likely to commit accidents on the bike paths because of comparative careless biking in the bad weather condition. Thus, the above-mentioned researches show how road conditions in the bad weather can become challenge of bicyclists in various perspectives.
High speed of wind is able to reduce the bicyclists on the road, because of risk and uncomfortable and difficult bike riding situation, as it has been mentioned in the recent studies of Flynn et al., (2012) & Thomas et al., (2009). The study shows that in the very windy weather condition the number of bicyclists become less (Tin, Woodward, Robinson, & Ameratunga, 2012). In the words of Spencer et al., (2013), “Wind speed, or rather the binary presence or absence of wind, is especially important, because stronger winds tend to deter cyclists more than lighter winds”, where they refer the findings of Flynn et al., (2012); Heinen et al., (2011) & Thomas et al., (2009). Biking in heavy wind is more dangerous because there is always a chance to blow away or fall over from the street and on bike paths, which can causes serious accidents. Biking in heavy wind condition from all directions is never fast and even fast biking is more dangerous because of both high speed of bike and the wind. So it becomes more tiring to bike in high and variable wind conditions. Therefore, it seems like very windy weather conditions have significant effects on the bicycle commuters than the passersby or pedestrians (Saneinejad et al., 2012). That means in this weather conditions, many bikers do not prefer to bike, but they become pedestrians or prefer to use pubic transports. Regular local bikers who use bikes as their only form of transportation, heavy wind conditions become a very big challenge for them.
According to the analysis of the above-mentioned previous studies, this chapter has presented various challenges, which are caused by the weather. Several recent studies of several researchers show some other relevant factors, which are hindering and motivating bicyclists to bike or not to bike (Burton, 2003; Burton et al., 2013; Heinen et al., 2011; Heinen et al., 2010). They found the expenses of other transport modes as a motivational factor for bicyclists to bike. For example, the expenses of public transports and the use of personal cars or motor bikes depend on the fuel prices, whereas bicycling is free of cost. Therefore, studies show that fluctuations in travel expenses are such thing, which has influence on the bicyclists. Time of cycling to work compare with public transport and other transportation modes are mentioned here too as an effective factor too, as biking to work is lot quicker than using cars or public transports in many cities in the world. It is further mentioned about the interest in healthy living in society is a motivational factor to bike. Moreover, the same study also noted that existence of changing or shower facilities after bike to work has influence on biking behavior. These facilities at working places are able to motivate cyclists to bike to work and to be punctual. That means lake of these facilities stand as challenges for bicycle commuters in addition to the challenges caused by the unstable weather conditions.
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