Date of Award

2012

Document Type

Undergraduate Thesis

Department

Environmental Program

Keywords

sustainable transportation, multi-mode commuting, public mass transit, New York City public transportation systems, bicycle commuting

Abstract

Bicycle commuting is rapidly becoming a more popular, recognized mode of sustainable transportation in major U.S. cities. Urban infrastructure and specifically public mass transportation systems must take appropriate steps in order to accommodate this new influx of bicyclists, in order to further encourage this environmentally friendly mode of transportation. The purpose of this study is to critically analyze two public mass transit systems (MTA Subway & NY Waterway Ferry) in downtown Manhattan, New York City, to gain a better understanding of what current interactions exist between bicyclists and these two public mass transit systems. A mixed method approach that includes participant observation, ethnographic research, photographs, and a survey is used to jointly determine what the overall perception of public mass transit systems are by bicyclists in New York City. This methodology draws from both qualitative and quantitative data sources in order to determine where gaps in infrastructure and policy exist that discourage bicyclists from using these two public mass transit systems. This thesis concludes with opportunities and obstacles that bicyclists currently face in New York City, drawing from the city's transportation history and recent "cyclist revolution”. A reflective analysis ties together my mixed method approach, illuminating positive and negative findings between bicyclists and public mass transit systems in New York City. Additionally, a brief set of recommendations and suggestions from other U.S. cities follow.

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