Narratives of Marginalized Cyclists: Understanding Obstacles to Utilitarian Cycling Among Women and Minorities in Portland, Oregon

Amy Lubitow, Portland State University


Research has demonstrated that everyday or utilitarian forms of cycling are most likely to generate  positive population-level health impacts (Garrard et al., 2012), yet significant deterrents to routine cycling remain, particularly for women and minorities. The primary objective of this project is to conduct a qualitative interview study (n=~30) that generates rich, narrative data regarding obstacles to routine or utilitarian cycling for women and minorities who already see biking as a viable form of transit, but who make relatively few bike trips. A secondary objective of the project is to develop a set of specific interventions that have the potential to increase cycling trips within these demographic groups.  The study site, Portland, Oregon, is an ideal location for this study as the city is widely regarded as bike friendly, and the because Principal Investigator intends to directly disseminate the research findings via an ongoing collaboration with the City of Portland’s Bureau of Planning and Sustainability. The proposed research directly speaks to the NITC theme as it seeks to clarify barriers to more active, healthy and sustainable transit choices, and because the research products will be disseminated in such a way as to have significant impact on city planning processes that may enhance active transportation choices and foster more livable communities.

The findings of the proposed project will generate important new insights about how women and minorities experience obstacles to cycling and what specific mechanisms might be useful in overcoming these challenges. Specific deliverables will include at least one peer-reviewed academic paper, at least one conference presentation, one public report for the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability, and at least two public presentations for city staff. 

Project Details

Project Type:
Small Starts
Project Status:
End Date:
January 31,2017
UTC Grant Cycle:
Natl Small Starts Round 2
UTC Funding: