Date of Award

Spring 5-17-2013

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Public Health (MPH)

Department

Public Health

First Advisor

Christine Stauber, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

John Steward, MPH

Third Advisor

Michael Eriksen, Sc.D.

Abstract

BACKGROUND: Active transportation, such as using a bicycle to get one from one place to another, has definite benefits over driving or some other form of travel that requires less exertion; the most obvious of these is that it helps a person meet the daily recommendations for physical activity. College campuses tend to have higher rates of bicycle-commuters than non-campus environments, although Georgia State University faces unique barriers to bicycling due to its downtown location. In 2009, a cross-sectional study was conducted to assess bicycling attitudes, knowledge, and behaviors. In the two years that followed, a faculty-student collaborative known as GSU Bikes implemented efforts to try to increase bicycling on campus. Campus bicycle count data between the two years showed positive increases. In 2011, the study was repeated to examine if bicycling attitudes, knowledge, and behavior had changed since 2009.

METHODS: 211 Georgia State University undergraduate and graduate students were surveyed in Fall 2011. The data they provided were then analyzed and compared to the 2009 bicycle data using independent-samples -tests and a chi-square analysis to identify significant differences between the two data sets.

RESULTS: Few significant differences between the two sets of data were identified. Participants in 2011 had significantly higher agreement that they could locate information regarding bicycle safety and repairs, as well as reported a significantly greater likelihood of bicycling to campus if educational programs to, from, and around the GSU campus were implemented. Written feedback suggested that fear of collisions was still a major barrier; many students suggested a campus bicycle-share program and more information disseminated to students about bicycling to campus.

DISCUSSION: The results from this study demonstrate that efforts aimed at encouraging students to bicycle to campus, between the 2009 and 2011 data collections, may not have been as effective as they were intended. Bicycle promotion that reaches a greater number of Georgia State University students is suggested. Because of the method of data sampling in this study, the data analyzed may not be truly representative of the Georgia State University population. In the future, an improved survey that is disseminated electronically may result in a larger sample size, increasing statistical validity and ability to generalize findings.

Share

COinS