Supplemental infrastructure: how community networks and immigrant identity influence cycling

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


While factors such as urban form, infrastructure, and attitudes shape cycling behavior, the experience of cycling can vary drastically across socioeconomic and identity groups. For foreign-born residents of the United States, additional factors associated with income and cultural context may influence cycling. In this study, I ask how factors associated with being an immigrant, such as economic status, cultural habits, residential location, and social environments, motivate or deter cycling. Results are based on 23 in-depth interviews with low-income Latino immigrants in the San Francisco Bay Area. Interviews reveal that close-knit social networks buoyed by support from immigrant-serving organizations encourage cycling, providing social infrastructure where other types of infrastructure may be absent. However, neighborhood safety is a significant deterrent that men and women respond to in different ways. Other effects, such as gentrification, immigrant experiences, and cultural narratives, shape individuals’ perceptions of belonging as a cyclist in their neighborhood. Findings suggest that planners should collaborate with immigrant-serving community organizations and be more centrally involved in addressing neighborhood conditions and their effects on travel.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1251-1274
Number of pages24
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 1 2020


  • Bicycling
  • Immigrants
  • Qualitative research
  • Social environments
  • Social justice

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Development
  • Transportation

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