Do attitudes moderate the built environment impact on bicycle commuting? Findings from the 2009 National Household Travel Survey of the United States
To tackle some of the negative externalities of driving, transportation policies encouraging more bicycling for commuting are gaining momentum. One of the most popular policy prescriptions is to change the built environment by improving physical conditions of bicycling. While travel behavior literature suggests that the built environment influences people’s travel pattern, attitudinal factors are believed to moderate this relationship. Using the 2009 National Household Travel Survey, this study explores the moderating effect of attitudinal factors on the relationship between the built environment and bicycle commuting while taking into account socioeconomic and demographic characteristics. The results show that the built environment has some significant impact on bicycle commuting, but much of the impact is moderated by attitudinal factors. Attitudinal factors appear to have separate impact on bicycling, having similar direction and magnitude across different built environments. This research suggests that attitudinal factors may play a critical role in facilitating the built environment impact on bicycle use, calling for the need to include soft policy as an effective way to promote bicycle commuting.