The link between socioeconomic position, access to cycling infrastructure and cycling participation rates: An ecological study in Melbourne, Australia


Pistoll, C; Goodman, A; (2014) The link between socioeconomic position, access to cycling infrastructure and cycling participation rates: An ecological study in Melbourne, Australia. Journal of transport & health, 1 (4). pp. 251-259. ISSN 2214-1405 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jth.2014.09.011

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Abstract

AbstractObjective Promoting cycling has moved up the policy agenda in recent years, but debate still exists surrounding the role played by socioeconomic barriers to participation in low cycling countries. This ecological study aimed to examine whether there are systematic socioeconomic disparities in access to cycling infrastructure and investment in Melbourne, Australia. Methods We used Geographic Information System (GIS) techniques to measure the density of on-road, off-road and informal cycling routes in 58 neighbourhoods of inner Melbourne. We examined whether small-area socioeconomic indicators were associated with the density of these three types of cycling infrastructure or with local government spending on cycling. We additionally examined how small-area socioeconomic position and infrastructure density were associated with the prevalence of cycling to work in the 2011 census. Results The density of on- and off-road cycling infrastructure was positively associated with cycle modal share (both p<0.0001), and there was no evidence that the strength of this association differed between the two infrastructure types. The density of informal routes was not associated with cycling to work. There was no evidence that small-area socioeconomic position was systematically associated with the presence of on-road or quiet roads cycling infrastructure or with levels of investment. Levels of off-road infrastructure were somewhat higher in richer areas (r=0.32, p=0.02), although much of this was located in parkland and may have a predominant recreational function. Conclusion In Melbourne, cycling infrastructure is positively correlated with cycle prevalence and is generally distributed equitably with respect to area-level socioeconomic position. In part this reflects the high levels of cycling infrastructure and spending in some relatively disadvantaged areas. Further studies that seek to understand the drivers behind successful policies in these areas may provide lessons for other areas, and aid our understanding of the complex relationships between cycling infrastructure, cycling behaviour and socioeconomic position.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: Cycling prevalence, Cycling infrastructure, Socioeconomic position, Health policy
Faculty and Department: Faculty of Epidemiology and Population Health > Dept of Population Health (2012- ) > Dept of Nutrition and Public Health Interventions Research (2003-2012)
Faculty of Epidemiology and Population Health > Dept of Population Health (2012- )
URI: http://researchonline.lshtm.ac.uk/id/eprint/2210719

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