Key Outcomes for Increasing Cycling Trips in Guadalajara Metropolitan Area

When we increase cycling trips in a city, we bring improvements not only to people’s health and emotional well-being, we also help create safer and more environmentally friendly urban spaces.

It is therefore very important for local governments to develop public policies and programmes aimed at the cycling population. This poses a challenge when there is no up-to-date information: How many people are cyclists, what are their travel routes and destinations, what factors prevent more bicycle use?

Cycling mobility plays a key role in the updating of the Sustainable Urban Mobility Plan (SUMP) of the Guadalajara Metropolitan Area, which is supported by GIZ through EUROCLIMA+ programme.

In order to have information for directing actions to this approach in the third most populated metropolis in Mexico, in the second quarter of 2021 we started the Cycling Mobility Study.

Components of the Cyclist Mobility Study © GIZ

The results of the study provided us with valuable data and information, with a specific focus on gender perspective, that will serve local governments in the development of better strategies and actions focused on urban cycling.

Here are our key outcomes:

  • There is a significant gender difference in cyclists: According to cyclist counts on strategic roads, overall, 93% of cyclists in the AMG are male, 6% are female and 1% could not be recognized.
  • Cyclists in the AMG are relatively young: the majority of cyclists in the AMG are between 30 and 39 years old. This is followed by the 20-29 year age group.
  • Direction of the infrastructure does not necessarily meet the needs of all cyclists: Between 20% and 23% use the pavement for cycling. Slightly more than 2 out of 10 cyclists ride in the opposite direction.
  • The pandemic has increased the attraction of women in the use of bicycles: A significant percentage of women started cycling less than a year ago (23%) as opposed to men (14%).
  • Women do not use bicycles because, among other factors, they do not know how to use them: On average, almost 8 out of 10 people know how to ride a bicycle. Nine out of 10 men know how to cycle; however, only 6 out of 10 women know how to do so.
  • Gender differences in modal choice make it possible to identify where to concentrate efforts and better understand the needs of the population: The majority of men (64%) cycle 6-7 days a week, while for women this percentage is lower (28%). This reflects clear differences in cycling when analyzed on a sex-segregated basis, which could be due to differential travel needs and activities, also impacting on the frequency of their modal choice.
  • The metropolis has great potential for people interested in cycling: 47% of the surveyed population would never cycle in the AMG. 53% of people in the AMG could use bicycles as a means of transport, if the necessary conditions were created.
  • Cycling infrastructure is fundamental for motivating people to cycle in the Guadalajara Metropolitan Area: Mainly, more street lighting and more streets with bicycle lanes are the actions that could motivate people the most.

One of the most striking results of the study is that a considerable number of people would be willing to cycle if the cycling infrastructure in the AMG were improved. To explore this potential, emphasis is placed on building safe, coherent, direct and attractive cycling infrastructure in areas that do not exceed tolerable levels of stress for people.

Another point to consider is the development of bicycle parking policies, as their increase could encourage the use of bicycles as a means of transport, according to international studies. In terms of their location, there is potential for care trips, such as schools or supermarkets, and for intermodal trips, such as near train stations and mass transit.

Not least, educational and promotional cycling programmes help to encourage people to use this mode of transport.

On the other hand, the data collected show an extremely high gap between men and women in terms of cycling (93% of people who use bicycles are men). It is important that all public policy actions consider the particular difficulties women face in using this mode of transport, their travel patterns, personal safety, among other aspects.

All these results were shared with local authorities. These inputs will be included in the SUMP that is being developed in the metropolis with the support of EUROCLIMA+. Would you like to get to know more about this study? Read the full results at EUROCLIMA+ website.