Bike-rail integration as one sustainable transport solution to reduce car dependence

Henrietta Sherwin

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis


The level of bike-rail integration (combining cycling with rail) in the UK presents an unrealised sustainable mobility potential: two per cent of rail passengers access the rail network by bicycle, contrasting with 40 per cent in the Netherlands. Cycling on its own has distance limitations but in combination with rail it can substitute for longer car journeys and is one means of reducing car dependence. The overall objective of this PhD research project was to understand existing bike-rail integration behaviour in the UK, using as the research location two stations in the South West of England (Bristol Temple Meads and Bristol Parkway), to inform the design, development and implementation of initiatives to increase its incidence. It therefore had two distinct research phases: an exploratory phase and an action research phase. The exploratory phase demonstrated that bike-rail integrators were mainly motivated by saving time or money and taking exercise. The majority were male, in their thirties, in full-time employment and cycled on average 3.7 km to the station. These data in conjunction with a conceptual „ecological‟ model developed from a critical review of behaviour change theory were used to inform the design and implementation of a pay-as-you-go self-hire cycle network (Hourbike) and an intervention to attract car drivers to switch to rail with either walking or cycling access. In the first year of Hourbike, seven per cent of users had never really cycled before and one per cent of car drivers responded to the opportunity to try rail with walking or cycling access rendering rich qualitative data from non-users about the attractors and barriers to bike-rail integration. The process of incorporating theory into practice is described providing useful insights for future interventions which are discussed in the light of theory. Opportunities are identified in the context of the national policy to implement station travel plans which emerged in the latter phases of the research.
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of the West of England
  • Parkhurst, Graham, Supervisor, External person
  • Robbins, Derek , Supervisor, External person
  • Walker, Ian, Supervisor
Award date1 May 2010
Publication statusPublished - May 2010


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