Learning from the Global South: Mobility, environmental, and health opportunities and challenges to urban bicycling 36 views

“Learning from the Global South: Mobility, environmental, and health opportunities and challenges to urban bicycling”


As the global population continues to urbanize it is essential to understand the role of sustainable mobility options in decreasing environmental impacts and increasing personal and population health. Bicycles can mitigate the emissions associated with urban population growth, which can be particularly important for the late urbanizing areas of the world like Africa, Asia and Latin America. This call for papers aims to enhance our knowledge of urban bicycling, the ways to encourage and support it, its consequences, and the challenges and opportunities that arise in the Global South.

The landscape of urban bicycling in the Global South is diverse. In some cities, a significant percentage of travelers use bicycles for daily travel, while in others only a brave few do so. For example, in Delhi (India), although decreasing over time, bicycles continue to account for 30-40% of all trips (Tiwari, Jain, & Rao, 2016). In other cities such as Quito (Ecuador) and La Paz/El Alto (Bolivia) less than 1% of the population uses a bicycle (Encuesta CAF). In many cases, income is a dominant determinant of bicycle demand, whereas in others lifestyle factors are becoming increasingly relevant. Differences in bicycle use by gender, age, and purpose are also considerable across cities.

Some cities have institutionalized policies to support bicycling by prioritizing investments and actions in infrastructure, policy, programming, and promotions. Cities like Rosario (Argentina) and Bogotá (Colombia) have built significant bicycle networks over the past two decades and bicycle use is increasing (Ríos et al. 2015), whereas others like Cape Town (Africa) have expanded infrastructure but changes in bicycle demand have been limited (Jennigs, Petzer and Goldman, 2017). For other cities, bicycling remains a peripheral and unimportant travel mode in transportation planning and policy circles. At the same time, and relative to many cities in the Global North, cities in the Global South are relatively more compact, have a high mixture of land uses, have high income and gender inequalities, differing institutional capacities, can have high levels of air pollution, and are laden with vehicular congestion. Furthermore, data are unreliable, conflate electric scooters and pedestrians with bicycles, or are simply non-existent. Given this variegated and changing physical and social landscape, it is timely to examine how bicycling and the policies and approaches used to encourage it are contributing to the sustainability of cities in the Global South.

This special issue welcomes empirical investigations, case studies of best practices, and analytical advances examining bicycling and sustainability in the Global South. Comparative analyses across Global South and Global North cities are also appropriate. We specifically welcome contributions on the following topics:

  • Quantifying environmental and health co-benefits of a strategy to encourage bicycling.
  • Examining distributional concerns regarding the implementation and use of bicycle supports, infrastructure, bicycle demand, and their impacts. Who is using a bicycle? Are there systematic differences in use by income, gender, age and intra-urban location? How do associations between bicycle use and sociodemographic factors differ by cities?
  • Understanding behavioral issues around bicycle mobility. What types of trips are served by bicycles? What trips are being replaced and what trips induced? When are those trips happening? Where? By whom?
  • Connecting recreational and utilitarian bicycling. Is this distinction helpful?
  • Evaluating novel bicycle infrastructure arrangements, such as shared facilities with buses, scooters, or pedestrians.
  • Contextualizing the impacts of changes in bicycle policies, infrastructure, programming, community advocacy and promotion. Under what condition are certain impacts more likely to occur, magnified, or lessened?
  • Examining empirically whether increasing recreational use of the bicycle or active school transport (through, for example, Open Streets programs or programs to promote cycling among children) also increases bicycle use for utilitarian trips.
  • Documenting and evaluating novel, cost-effective, cost-beneficial, and scalable bicycle programming and promotional activities and their impacts on bicycle users and non-users. How can these activities be financed in the long run?
  • Evaluating the net health impacts of bicycling when air pollution is high.
  • Understanding the usefulness and limitations of the concept of “policy transfer” for identifying, promoting, and adopting bicycle-friendly policies.

Although important, and given the scope of the journal, studies focusing on bicycle safety will not be considered. Studies focusing on electric bicycles will be considered if they make an empirical and theoretical connection to aspects relevant to non-electric bicycles. Furthermore, studies focusing on bicycle sharing should go beyond examining the determinants of bicycle demand. If in doubt, please contact the special issue editors.


Full papers are due no later than January 31, 2020. The portal is already open for submissions; early submissions are encouraged.

This issue will be a virtual special issue. It means that your paper will appear in the next regular issue after it is accepted. After all papers are accepted, guest editors will compile a virtual issue on the journal website. For an example of virtual issues, visit https://www.journals.elsevier.com/applied-soft-computing/news/virtual-special-issue-vsi-introduction

Submission Method

All submissions must be original and may not be under review by any other journals. All manuscripts will be submitted via the Transportation Research Part D (TRD) online submission system. Authors should indicate that the paper is submitted for consideration for publication in this special issue. Author Guidelines: https://www.elsevier.com/journals/transportation-research-part-d-transport-and-environment/1361-9209/guide-for-authors

When choosing Manuscript “Article Type” during the submission procedure, click “SI: Bicycling”, otherwise your submission will be handled as a regular manuscript.

All submitted papers should address significant issues pertinent to the themes of this issue and fall within the scope of Transportation Research: Part D. Criteria for acceptance include originality, contribution, and scientific merit. All manuscripts must be written in English and follow rigorous scientific writing standards.

Acceptance for publication will be based on referees’ and editors’ recommendations following a standard peer review process.

All submissions and inquiries should be directed to the attention of the guest editors:

Daniel A. Rodriguez, danrod@berkeley.edu and

Olga Lucia Sarmiento, osarmient@uniandes.edu.co

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