Institutional Barriers to College Bicycle Program Development
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College communities are increasingly finding bicycles to be the answer to greater mobility for their active lifestyles, while on a budget, and with the future of the environment in mind. The cost of parking, growth of bicycle commuting (over 50% mode split at some universities), and its acceptance as a sustainable practice has led to the establishment of campus programs. As of fall 2013, the League of American Bicyclists has recognized 75 schools as Bicycle Friendly Universities. Several previous studies have examined the physical attributes that determine college bicycling behaviors, including infrastructure and weather preferences. However, there has been little research into the organizational structures that support bicycle services. If bicycling is growing, and it is generally accepted as a clean and cost-efficient alternative, then why haven’t more colleges made the modal shift away from single occupancy vehicles through the establishment of comprehensive bicycle programs? What are the institutional barriers to college campus bicycle program development? This research involved interviewing bicycle program coordinators at universities across the country recognized for their bicycle services, to give voice to their triumphs and challenges. The findings from these interviews help explain the institutional culture that may inhibit further programmatic growth, as well as the strategies that have met with success. Together, these insights from current bicycle program coordinators could contribute to the dialogue surrounding organizational credibility for alternative and sustainable practices, such as campus bicycling.