Cycling as a Mode Choice: Motivational Psychology

Sigal Kaplan*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


The importance of understanding the antecedents of cycling as a preference-based choice and as a habitual daily practice derives from cycling's potential health and environmental benefits. In the last decade, cities and government authorities have sought to increase the share of bicycle ridership for leisure and utilitarian purposes. In cycling-friendly countries, efforts are being made to increase the time to gain benefits of cycling and improve cycling as a commuting mode. Car-oriented countries are introducing large-scale bike-sharing systems in urban areas and are slowly expanding bicycle infrastructure. Yet, the success of these measures depends on large-scale behavioral change toward cycling as a preference and as a habitual practice. This chapter reviews the application of motivational theories that nurture the choice to cycle. The review starts with an introduction of the importance of motivational theories and an overview of the internal motivational structure, divided into pre-choice motivation and post-choice gratification leading to the habit loop. Theories that explain cycling motivation are the Theory of Planned Behavior and the Existence, Relatedness, and Growth theory of human needs. The post-choice experience is reviewed through the lens of cycling satisfaction, consisting of external and internal sources. The linkage between the various theoretical conceptualizations and the dual role of need satisfaction as both a motivation and a perceived reward are discussed. The chapter concludes with further research suggestions.

Original languageAmerican English
Title of host publicationInternational Encyclopedia of Transportation
Subtitle of host publicationVolume 1-7
Number of pages8
ISBN (Electronic)9780081026724
ISBN (Print)9780081026717
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved


  • Behavioral theories
  • Bicycle
  • Cycling
  • Expectations
  • Gain
  • Goal-framing
  • Hedonic
  • Micro-mobility
  • Motivation
  • Normative
  • Satisfaction
  • TPB
  • Theory of needs


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