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Paul Hess wins '2023 Equity Topics in Bicycle Transportation Paper Award'

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January 12, 2023
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Dr. Paul Hess

Professor Paul Hess of the Department of Geography & Planning was awarded the "2023 Equity Topics in Bicycle Transportation Paper Award" by the Transportation Research Board (TRB) Bicycle Transportation Committee ACH20 for "Pandemic-time Bike Lanes in Three Large Canadian Urban Centres - Exploring Difference in Usage and Support among Socio-demographic Groups and Built Environment Types."

The award-winning paper was co-authored with Professor Raktim Mitra (Toronto Metropolitan University), Remington Latanville (PhD student, Toronto Metropolitan University), Professor Kevin Manaugh (McGill University), and Professor Meghan Winters (Simon Fraser University).

Professor Mitra announced the award in a tweet during TRB's 2023 Annual Meeting:

The paper is currently in process for publication. The authors have kindly shared the abstract below.

Pandemic-time Bike Lanes in Three Large Canadian Urban Centres- Exploring Differences in Usage and Support of New Facilities by Socio-demographic Groups and  Built Environment Types


The COVID-19 pandemic presented a window of opportunity leading to robust and fast implementation of bike lanes, and at the same time, an opportunity to study the effects of new cycling infrastructure. While an emerging literature has focused on the use of cycling infrastructure that resulted from pandemic-time street reallocation initiatives, not much is known about the differences in the use and support toward these bike lanes across various socio-demographic groups and between different urban environments. We explored this topic using data from an online survey of 2,078 Canadians residing in Toronto, Montréal, and Vancouver regions in Canada, collected in the summer of 2021. Results revealed that 45% respondents had used a bike lane at least once during the first year of the pandemic. In addition, 42% supported maintenance and enhancement of these facilities post-pandemic. Results from multinomial logistic regression show that women, and individuals with lower household income (<$ 100,000), and those with multiple cars, had lower odds of using the new bike lanes, indicating the benefits of bike lanes may not have been equitable across the society. Nuanced patterns in support toward bike lanes were also identified. Moreover, those who lived within 5 km of a bike lane, and those who perceived improved accessibility as a result of these facilities, had higher odds of both using them. All else being equal, there were significant regional variations in both use and support. The findings offer novel insights into where and among whom these facilities are less popular, which may inform future targeted policy efforts and advocacy.

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