Cycling in an 'ordinary city': A practice theory approach to supporting a modal shift

Buck, Malachy and Nurse, Alexander ORCID: 0000-0003-0325-4420
(2023) Cycling in an 'ordinary city': A practice theory approach to supporting a modal shift. INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF SUSTAINABLE TRANSPORTATION, 17 (1). pp. 65-76.

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There has long been evidence of the benefit of a modal shift toward cycling can bring to meeting several pressing urban challenges including ill-health, climate change, and poor air quality. In the wake of COVID-19, policy-makers have identified a modal shift toward cycling as part of the solution to mobility challenges introduced by social distancing measures. However, beyond exemplar areas, cycling has been largely characterized by a stubbornly-low modal share. In this paper, we use the ‘ordinary city’–in cycling terms–of Liverpool as a case study to understand this. We apply practice theory in doing so, finding the provision of materials for cycling is the key factor in supporting a modal shift. Not only do they provide the means to support the practice of cycling in the city, but they also have a key role in shaping individuals perceptions of, and the skills required to cycle. We then reflect upon the utility of practice theory in understanding the patterns of everyday life, finding it was particularly well suited in understanding the interactions between different factors which influence modal choice. We go on to identify practical challenges in its application within our analysis raising questions around an inconsistent analysis of influential factors including ‘driver behavior’ and ‘political commitment’. We suggest how this might be overcome, through the isolation of such factors within a category of ‘action of others’, this we argue means the findings in this paper have broad relevance to researchers and policy-makers alike.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Cycling, infrastructure, mobility, modal shift, practice theory
Divisions: Faculty of Science and Engineering > School of Environmental Sciences
Depositing User: Symplectic Admin
Date Deposited: 30 Sep 2021 07:29
Last Modified: 08 Mar 2023 12:00
DOI: 10.1080/15568318.2021.1983674
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