PhD defence: Chunli Zhao – Københavns Universitet

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IGN > Ph.d.-forsvar > 2017 > PhD defence: Chunli Zhao

PhD defence: Chunli Zhao

Chunli Zhao defends her thesis,

Understanding the preconditions for revitalizing bicycle transport in Beijing, with a reference study from Copenhagen.

Associate Profesor Trine Agervig Carstensen, IGN
Assocate frofessor Anton Stahl Olafsson, IGN
Senior Researcher Thomas Alexander Sick Nielsen, Vejdirektoratet

Assessment Committee:
Professor Petter Næsss, Norwegian University of Life Sciences
Associate Professor Jasper Schipperijn, University of Southern Denmark
Professor Gertrud Jørgensen (chair), IGN

Rapid urbanization and the growth in the number of motorized vehicles has dramatically marginalized cycling in Chinese cities since the end of the 1990s. The deterioration in air quality and the urban environment is severely challenging urban livability and public health. The cities are seeking effective policies to alleviate these problems, while revitalizing bicycle transport has become one of the cores of mobility policy. Being the capital city, Beijing has a significant influence on other Chinese cities. Previously, Beijing had a strong bicycle culture, but today it is under severe pressure from the increased use of automobiles. Thus, the objective of this study is to identify and understand the preconditions for revitalizing bicycle transport in Beijing, and to develop effective strategies for making a comprehensive policy to revitalize bicycle transport in an increasingly motorized urban context. The study applied socio-ecological model to explore the preconditions that potentially influence changes in travel behavior towards cycling in the following four domains: individual, social environment, physical environment and policy. The study applied multiple approaches by employing quantitative and qualitative methods. Data were collected through structured survey research, semi-structured interviews, a review of historical documents and spatial data analyses. The analyses were carried out through statistical methods and a hermeneutic approach.//The study has enriched the body of knowledge in at least three ways. First, it has provided empirical findings regarding the preconditions for revitalizing urban bicycle transport from a developing country’s perspective, where research still is sparse. Secondly, the study has examined how the preconditions are formed by multiple factors including individual, social environment, physical environment, and policy, which enabled me to suggest a comprehensive strategy for policy making for bicycle transport revitalization in Beijing. Thirdly, infrastructure planning principles and experiences in Beijing and Copenhagen were compared, which facilitated knowledge transfer between a mega-city in a developing country context and a medium sized city in a developed country context, as well as between a less and more successful cycling city. The study unfolded the research problem on a detailed level, and it is expected that the findings will not only be relevant to Beijing, but that the lessons learned in this study may also inspire other cities in China and other countries.

The thesis is available for inspection at the PhD administration office 04.1.413, Øster Voldgade 10