A statistical look at the success of Swindon's Workplace Cycle Challenge
What is a Workplace Cycle Challenge?
The Workplace Cycle Challenge is a behavioural change programme, designed to encourage more people to cycle more often.
It allowed organisations, and the individual departments within them, to compete against each other, seeing who could encourage the most staff to cycle for at least 10 minutes over a three-week Challenge period.
The Challenge focuses on participation rather than mileage, to ensure a fair competition which engaged new and occasional cyclists as much as regular cyclists.
In Swindon, the 2010 Workplace Cycle Challenge results show that the Challenge was successful at meeting and exceeding almost all the projects aims and objectives.
First aim: Encouraging people who are not currently cycling to start cycling
27% of the 227 people who registered reported at baseline that they had not ridden a bike or had only ridden a bike a few times in the year prior to the Challenge. Just four weeks after the Challenge, 81% of these 'new cyclists' (58 people) reported that they intended to ride a bike "more‟ or "definitely more‟ often in the following six months than they had before the Challenge, indicating a positive change in attitude towards cycling
Three months after the Challenge, 62% of new cyclist survey respondents (39 people) reported cycling more often than they had before the Challenge, indicating a positive actual change in behaviour of this group.
26% of new cyclists surveyed reported cycling regularly (2+ days per week) three months after taking part in the Challenge and 32% reported cycling once a week or several times a month.
These survey findings demonstrate a significant increase in cycling amongst the key target audience. This shows a real change in behaviour and suggests that the Challenge was effective at encouraging people to take up cycling.
Second aim: Encouraging infrequent and occasional cyclists to cycle more regularly
Occasional cyclists report intending to cycle more often: Twenty-six percent (26% / 217 people) of participants reported at baseline that they had cycled 1-3 times per month or once a week before the Challenge. Four weeks after the Challenge, 44% of these 'occasional cyclists' (57 people) reported that they intended to ride a bike "more" or "definitely more" often in the following six months than they had before the Challenge.
40% (30 people) of occasional cyclist survey respondents reported cycling regularly (2+ days per week) three months after taking part in the Challenge.
This data suggests that occasional cyclists were influenced to increase their cycling.
Third aim: Encouraging recreational cyclists to start cycling for transport purposes
Those who at baseline reported never cycling in the last 12 months were asked three months after the Challenge if they had cycled to work in the last four weeks. 31% (16 people) reported that they were cycling to work once a week or more, indicating a positive shift in behaviour.
A comparison of cycling to work at baseline and three months after the Challenge indicates a positive increase in cycling to work amongst all groups. For example, of those who reported never cycling to work at baseline, 19% (16) reported cycling to work two or more days a week three months after the Challenge. This sample of respondents is however small, so while it indicates a positive shift in behaviour it cannot be used to draw any strong conclusions.
The Challenge Objectives:
The majority of the objectives were met:
- To encourage 35 organisations to register into the Swindon Cycle Challenge 2010 (source: website registrations). 49 organisations took part in the Challenge.
- To encourage 700 people to participate in the Swindon Cycle Challenge 2010 (source: website registrations). 665 people took part in the Challenge.
- To attract 30% "non-cyclist‟ participants for the Swindon Cycle Challenge 2010. 27% of the respondents attracted to the Challenge had not ridden a bike at all or had only ridden a few times in the 12 months prior to the Challenge, not meeting the 30% target.
- To encourage more than 20% of participants who are classed as "non-cyclists‟ before participating in the Challenge to cycle at least once a week after the Swindon Cycle Challenge 2010 (source: trip data). 44% of those who had not ridden a bike at all in the year before the Challenge reported cycling once a week or more often three months after the Challenge, with 19% cycling 2-3 or 4 or more days a week.
The results for the Challenge show that it was a success, positively influencing all audience groups and encouraging people to start cycling, cycle more often and to cycle for transport purposes.
The Challenge succeeded in engaging a wide audience of businesses, as well as both new and existing cyclists. It has created a large database of engaged cyclists of all levels of experience which the project partners can continue to use to target future interventions.
Qualitative participant feedback has praised the enthusiasm and interest in cycling generated by the Challenge programme. The Challenge has had a positive influence on all audience groups and helped inspire longer term behavioural change. There are of course areas where improvements can be made, but we can use these lessons to our advantage to develop another, more tailored Challenge programme, to build on the success and relationships developed in 2010 and encourage even more people to cycle more often in Swindon.
Going forward, Swindon Borough Council will be taking over this project to deliver a similar challenge from the 1-30 June 2012 as part of their Transport Department’s move towards smarter travel choices. Keep an eye on CycleSwindon.org.uk for more information.
The Swindon Cycle Challenge was funded by CTC (via the Big Lottery), Swindon Borough Council and delivered in partnership with CTC Challenge for Change.