Who is ready to bicycle? Categorizing and mapping bicyclists with behavior change concepts

Calvin Thigpen, Jaimy Fischer, Trisalyn Nelson, Suzanne Therrien, Daniel Fuller, Lise Gauvin, Meghan Winters

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Bicyclist categorizations have been developed to sort individuals into distinct groups based on shared traits, which can help researchers and practitioners understand complex patterns of bicycling behavior. Previous categorizations have focused on bicycle facility comfort, seasonal patterns of use, and behaviors and attitudes, but not on readiness for bicycling. We present the added-value of a categorization of bicyclists based on the stages of change feature of the Transtheoretical Model (TTM) and examine how this new categorization can contribute unique insights for practice through novel behavioral information and findings from mapping and spatial analysis. We use survey data from a sample of 2398 individuals from three medium-sized Canadian cities: Victoria and Kelowna in British Columbia, and Halifax, Nova Scotia. We categorize individuals into the five TTM stages of change according to three questions: intent to bicycle more, use of a bicycle in the past 12 months, and whether or not they usually use a bicycle to get around. One-third of respondents had not considered bicycling (Pre-contemplation) while one-fifth had begun considering or preparing to bicycle (Contemplation and Preparation) and two-fifths occasionally bicycled (Action). Only 5% regularly bicycled (Maintenance). Men, younger individuals, and residents of Kelowna and Victoria (compared to Halifax) were more likely to be in advanced readiness stages (Action and Maintenance). We used spatial statistical techniques to locate hotspots where there were disproportionately more Action-stage individuals as these could be areas where infrastructure improvements would likely be met with the greatest increase in bicycling; however, results suggested Action-stage individuals were dispersed geographically. We show that categorizing people as a function of readiness for change allows for characterization of populations that are likely to be beneficially impacted by policies to support bicycling. By focusing on readiness to bicycle, this approach could be used by practitioners to prioritize bicycling interventions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)11-17
Number of pages7
JournalTransport Policy
StatePublished - Oct 2019


  • Behavior change
  • Bicycling
  • Readiness for change
  • Transtheoretical model
  • Typology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Transportation


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