Travel Behavior Impacts of Transportation Demand Management Policies: May is Bike Month in Sacramento, California

Research Team: Giovanni Circella (lead), Farzad Alemi and Jai Malik

UC Campus(es): UC Davis

Problem Statement: The rising vehicles miles travelled (VMT) in California is a concern for planners at the state and regional levels. Changing people’s behavior to drive less is a challenging task and requires several long-and short-term strategies, known as travel demand management (TDM) strategies. Some such strategies deployed in the past include: improving the accessibility of neighborhoods to reduce the demand for driving; pricing single-occupancy vehicle travel; building bike paths to promote less polluting vehicles; and pricing entry into certain areas (“hotspots”) to reduce congestion. Campaigns promoting active modes of transportation, such as walking and bicycling, are another aspect of TDM. These strategies aim to improve awareness and change people’s attitudes about alternative modes of transportation. Research has shown that such strategies are less effective in reducing VMT when compared with strategies such as land-use change and pricing. However, they usually require less investment and face less resistance from the public. Moreover, promoting active modes of transportation such as bicycling and walking have a positive effect on the health of people.

Project Description: Every year, the Sacramento Area Council of Governments (SACOG) organizes the “May is Bike Month” (MIBM) campaign, to promote bicycling as a mode of transportation in the Sacramento region. In 2018, SACOG conducted two online surveys—before the launch of the campaign and after its conclusion—to understand the effectiveness of the campaign in changing travel behaviors. Their purpose was to gauge the levels of bicycling of the participants before, during, and after the campaign. In addition, the survey included questions on the barriers and motivations people have towards bicycling. In this study the researchers sought to determine: (1) whether the 2018 May is Bike Month campaign in the Sacramento region had an impact on the frequency of bicycling among campaign participants; and (2) what characteristics of the participants or their neighborhoods (that were assessed or assessable) correlated with their tendency to increase bicycle frequency during or after the campaign.

Status: Completed

Budget: $10,000