Table 1

An overview of key reviews on potential solutions and facilitators for promoting cycling (studies from non-systematic review of the literature)

Study and yearLevel of intervention in the ecological modelReview typeMain findings
Panter et al 13 (2019)Policy
Physical
Environment
Systematic reviewReviewed 13 interventions to promote cycling (and walking) and reported that six had significant positive effects. Identified three common resources that interventions provide (i) improving accessibility and connectivity; (ii) improving traffic and personal safety; and (iii) improving the experience of (walking and) cycling. Despite limited evidence the most effective interventions appear to target accessibility and safety.
Kärmeniemi et al9 (2018)Physical
Environment
Systematic reviewReviewed 21 prospective cohort studies and 30 natural experiments. New routes and bike lanes, traffic free routes, perceived access to destinations, bus-ways with parallel cycling paths and reductions in perceived danger all predicted increases in cycling.
Winters et al 10 (2017)PolicyPolicy reviewReviewed 17 review articles. Policies related to active travel may operate at various levels of the ecological framework, including society, cities, routes or individuals. The provision of convenient, safe and connected walking and cycling infrastructure is at the core of promoting active travel, but policies may work best when implemented in comprehensive packages.
Savan et al 15 (2017)Social
Individual
Literature analysisNarrative review with number of studies not stated. Five key strategies were reported: (i) strategic population segmentation; (ii) identification and removal of barriers; (iii) the use of commitment strategies, including the foot in the door (small initial commitment) and pledge techniques; (iv) tactics to sustain behaviour change, including visual images, prompts, reminders, social cues and modelling, social norms, branding, feedback and incentives; and (v) ongoing social support, through modelling, local hubs and community involvement.
Giles-Corti et al 11 (2016)Policy
Physical
Environment
ReviewNarrative review with number of studies not stated. Eight ‘Urban’ and ‘Transport planning and design’ policies were reported. Urban design interventions included connective design, residential density, distance to public transport, land-use diversity and neighbourhood desirability. Planning interventions included destination accessibility, employment distribution and parking demand management.
Fell and Kivinen 17 (2016)Physical
Environment
Social
Rapid evidence assessmentReviewed 55 studies. Effective interventions included personal travel planning, cycle to work days, cycle-hire/bike-share schemes, provision of dedicated cycling lanes (and bicycle parking) and some school-based interventions. The best investment strategy may comprise a strategic, networked approach and is likely to comprise a mix of measures.
Stewart et al 14 (2015)Physical
Environment
Social
Individual
Systematic reviewReviewed 12 studies which aimed to increase commuter cycling and reported: (i) mixed effects for social and individual level approaches (bike to work (salary sacrifice for purchase) schemes; a self-help programme; a support programme; cycling training programmes); 2) small, positive effects in large populations for environmental level approaches (building a bridge; city-wide infrastructure; whole of city investment approaches).
Hunter et al 12 (2015)Physical
Environment
Social
Systematic reviewReviewed 12 studies. An urban greenway trail showed increases in cycling. A promotion campaign of a newly constructed rail trail showed that intervention group cyclists increased mean cycling time compared with control area cyclists.
Mayne et al8 (2015)Physical
Environment
Systematic reviewReview included six studies with cycling outcomes. Bike lanes and off-street bike paths increased cycling in three out of four studies. Two studies found increased cycling after implementation of the London and Montreal bicycle share programmes.
Community Preventive Services Task Force7 (2015)Physical
Environment
Systematic review (non-peer reviewed US government policy document)Reported 90 studies that provided evidence for the effectiveness of cycling infrastructure including protected bicycle lanes, trails, traffic calming, intersection design, street lighting and landscaping.
Scheepers et al 22 (2014)Physical
Environment
Social
Individual
Systematic reviewOf 14 studies reporting effects on cycling, 10 reported increases in cycling. Increases in cycling were demonstrated for an annual short-term campaign, workplace travel plans (eg, storage, subsidised bicycles, facilities), commuter cycling promotion, financial incentives, car-free city centres, town-wide initiatives, cycle proficiency classes, individualised marketing, smart bicycles and bicycle sharing schemes. There were negligible effects for neighbourhood trails, traffic tolls, national cycle networks, cycle paths.
Bird et al 23 (2013)IndividualSystematic reviewOf 46 included studies, 16 reported combined walking and cycling findings (none were cycling only). While the findings were mixed, they generally supported the inclusion of self-monitoring and intention formation techniques in future walking and cycling intervention design.
National Institute for Health and Care Excellence 24 (2012)Policy
Physical
Environment
Social
Individual
Evidence reviewReviewed 47 studies. Evidence-based policy and planning recommendations highlighting the need to ensure high-level support from the health sector and that all relevant policies and plans consider (walking and) cycling. Local action recommendations to develop programmes, deliver community wide-programmes and for personalised travel planning. Recommendations to tackle the wider influences on (walking or) cycling including measures to reduce road dangers and reallocation of road space to create a more supportive environment.
Fraser et al 25 (2011)Physical
Environment
Systematic reviewReviewed 21 studies. Positive associations were identified between cycling and (i) presence of dedicated cycle routes or paths, (ii) separation of cycling from other traffic, (iii) high population density, (iv) short trip distance, (v) proximity of a cycle path or green space; and for children (vi) projects promoting 'safe routes to school'; negative environmental factors were (vii) perceived and objective traffic danger, (viii) long trip distance, (ix) steep inclines and (x) distance from cycle paths
Yang et al 26 (2010)Physical
Environment
Social
Individual
Systematic reviewReviewed 25 studies. An intensive individual-level intervention, high-quality improvements to a cycle route network, and multifaceted cycle promotion initiatives at town or city level were found to be associated with increases in cycling. Individualised marketing of ‘environmentally friendly’ modes of transport to interested households reported modest but consistent net effects.
Bauman et al5 (2008)Policy
Physical
Environment
Social
Individual
Literature reviewPolicy report with number of studies not stated. Interventions shown to be effective in increasing cycling included: mass marketing campaigns highlighting the benefits of cycling; bicycle education programmes to increase skills, confidence and safety; behaviour change initiatives to market alternatives to car use; cycling events to provide incentives for people to ride in a supportive environment particularly for novice riders; urban planning; improved bicycle infrastructure; and funding from all levels of government focused on increasing bicycle friendly design.
Ogilvie et al27 (2004)Physical
Environment
Social
Individual
Systematic reviewReviewed 22 studies, Results were typically presented for walking and cycling combined with both controlled and uncontrolled designs. Some evidence that targeted programmes (including provision of bikes) led to travel behaviour change in motivated groups. There was inconclusive evidence for other intervention types such as publicity campaigns, engineering measures and financial incentives.