Urban utility cycling is being promoted widely due to various health, social, economic and environmental benefits. This study seeks to identify and rank which municipal-level policies and other factors are most influential in increasing cycling as a means of everyday transport and improving the real and perceived cycling safety in car-oriented urban centres. This is achieved by identifying the key factors thought to influence cycle use and by establishing a hierarchy of effectiveness of municipal cycling policies. Data was collected through interviews with a panel of experts who also completed a Delphi study, a technique rarely used in cycling policy research, to collect and compare expert opinions to predict the outcomes of policies and external factors.
Policies and external factors were scored in a theoretical policy framework according to their perceived relative influence on cycling levels and cycling safety. The results reinforce previous findings in the literature but allow for generalisation in car-oriented urban centres due to the breadth of factors evaluated. It was found that providing cycling infrastructure is perceived to be a prerequisite for inducing utility cycling mode share. External factors such as urban form, the relative attractiveness of cycling to travel by car and wider governmental policy were perceived to have a strong influence. The generation and maintenance of political and public support is also suggested to be critical success factor.