Project details

Full project title: The potential contribution of bike rail integration to sustainable mobility in the South West

Sponsors: Great Western Research and First Great Western (Download the Great Western Research Focus - Greener travel through bike-rail integration (PDF))

Research student: Henrietta Sherwin

Supervisory team: Professor Graham Parkhurst, Dr Tim Gale, Derek Robbins (Bournemouth University) and Ian Walker (University of Bath)

Start date: October 2006

Finish date: September 2009

Research briefing sheet: Download the briefing sheet document (PDF)

Project summary

This research stems from a belief that an increase in cycling itself or in combination with rail has a crucial part to play in the sustainable development of the South West, considering both the travel needs of residents and tourists alike.

The emphasis of the research is to identify means of promoting cycling as a substitute to car use rather than encouraging additional cycling activity per se.

Bike-rail integration has the potential to bring benefits both to residents and visitors while enhancing efforts under a number of policy areas including sustainable tourism, integrated transport and health.

The first phase of the research has been to gain an understanding of existing bike-rail integrator behaviour:

  • In what types of behaviour do existing bike rail integrators engage?
  • Why do these people engage in this behaviour?

The second phase is to look at how the incidence of these forms of behaviour can be increased by targeting different groups including those that use rail but do not access by bicycle and those that cycle but don't use rail. The researcher has brought together First Great Western, Bristol City Council and UWE to set up a trial of bike hire at three stations, 3 campuses and several sites in Bristol City.

The first phase of the research will inform the design of a social marketing package for this new service. The availability of hire bikes will allow people to 'try' cycling and the package may include cycle training and route finding.

The data collection for the first phase is complete:

  • a bike parking count at Bristol Temple Meads (BTM) and Bristol Parkway;
  • a ticket barrier count of cycles in and out at BTM and face to face survey of 130 bike rail integrators at both stations with more in-depth interviews with 20.

This is building a picture of existing bike rail integrator behaviour across different journey types to inform the application of a social marketing exercise

This is an applied research PhD partially funded by First Great Western who could adopt a number of strategies in relation to bike rail integration and this research is informing those decisions and could also be useful to other organizations within the South West who have an interest in promoting more sustainable travel options.

Information about this research is being fed into the Department for Transport to help shape the station travel plan agenda outlined in the recent White Paper "Delivering a Sustainable Railway" and the researcher is involved in a bid for Bristol Parkway station to be one of Department for Travel (DfT) travel plan pilots. The researcher is also participating in the Association of Train Operating Companies integration group.