Research Article: Psychosocial factors influencing shared bicycle travel choices among Chinese: An application of theory planned behavior

Date Published: January 25, 2019

Publisher: Public Library of Science

Author(s): Zhang Xin, Ma Liang, Wang Zhanyou, Xing Hua, Amir H. Pakpour.

http://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0210964

Abstract

The worldwide rise of shared bicycle use has changed the way people travel. Here we analyze shared bicycle use from the perspective of the theory of planned behavior, and propose a model to investigate factors influencing shared bicycle usage in China. A total of 211 shared bicycle users selected from 28 provinces throughout China completed a self-reported survey. Structural equation modelling (SEM) was used to delineate the pathway from shared bicycle usage. The SEM model demonstrated that: (1) shared bicycle use intention was significantly associated with four variables, namely travel attitude(β = 0.491, t = 24.569), social norms(β = 0.149, t = 6.771), travel habits(β = 0.146, t = 7.226) and perceived behavioral control (β = 0.190, t = 11.110); (2) shared bicycle use behavior was significantly affected by shared bicycle use intention(β = 0.406, t = 15.936), and also by travel habits(β = 0.320, t = 11.921); (3) shared bicycle use behavior was also affected by demographic variables (gender, age) and situational factors (distance). The conclusions of this study provide useful data for operators of bicycle services and government policy makers.

Partial Text

In recent years, smog has become a serious problem faced by city dwellers in China [1]. As a result, citizens have become increasingly aware of the role of individual behavior in improving environmental conditions [2]. Since 2016 shared bicycle services have significantly expanded in China[3]. The service is provided by bicycle operators on campuses, in subway stations, bus stations, residential areas and business districts on a time-sharing lease mode. Due to its low-carbon concept, popular support of shared bicycle use has dramatically increased in China[4]. As of June 2017, shared bicycle users amounted to 106 million [5]. In cities with heavy traffic and under environmental stress due to pollution, shared bicycle services provide a simple, economical and efficient travel solution[6].

Shared bicycle services have significantly expanded in China. However, few studies have specifically addressed the factors underlying the decision-making process behind shared bicycle use. To fill this research gap, this study used the theory of planned behaviour as a framework for understanding the public views on shared bicycles as transportation options. The results indicated that shared bicycle users’ travel attitudes, social norms, travel habits and perceived behavioral control significantly affect their behavioral intentions and actual behavior. More importantly, our results indicated that shared bicycle users’ behavioral intentions and actual behavior showed significant differences between different demographic variables (gender, age) and situational factors (distance). These findings have advanced the theory of planned behaviour and enriched the literature on shared bicycle services. The conclusions of this study provide useful information for bicycle service operators and government policy makers. It should be reiterated that the sample size in this study was small; therefore, it would be beneficial to repeat this study using a larger sample group from a more diverse population.

 

Source:

http://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0210964

 

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