Predicting transport-related cycling in Chinese employees using an integration of perceived physical environment and social cognitive factors

Chunqing Zhang, Ru Zhang*, Yiqun Gan, Danyang Li, Ryan E. Rhodes

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

    18 Citations (Scopus)


    Objective: Transport-related cycling can contribute to employees’ increased physical activities in their daily lives, with potential health and environmental benefits. Still, a theoretical understanding of the links between the perceptions of physical environment and transport-related cycling through social cognitive theories is unclear. In addition, there is a lack of understanding on the moderating effects of the perceived physical environment on social cognitive pathways when predicting transport-related cycling. The purpose of this study was to apply the theory of planned behavior (TPB) framework to determine (a) whether TPB mediates the effects between the perceived physical environment and transport-related cycling and (b) whether the perceived physical environment moderates TPB-cycling relations. Methods: Using a prospective design, Chinese employees (N = 193) self-reported their perceived physical environment of their workplace neighborhood (i.e., residential density, land-use diversity, land-use accessibility, street connectivity, infrastructures, aesthetics, traffic-related safety, and crime-related safety), attitudes, subjective norm, perceived behavior control (PBC), intention, and duration and frequency of transport-related cycling in the last week. One month later, self-reported cycling for transport was again collected from a subset sample of employees (N = 98). Mediation and moderation structural equation models linking perceived physical environment, TPB constructs, and transport-related cycling were tested. Results: The effects from residential density to attitudes and subjective norm, from land-use diversity and street connectivity to subjective norm and PBC, and from aesthetics and crime-related safety to attitudes, were found significant and positive. Attitudes, subjective norm, and PBC predicted intention, in which intention further predicted employee's future transport-related cycling one month later. Importantly, attitudes, subjective norm, and PBC mediated the relations from land-use diversity and street connectivity to intention, while intention mediated the effect from PBC to employee's future transport-related cycling. Past behavior showed significant effects on attitudes, subjective norm, PBC, intention, and employee's future transport-related cycling. The effect from past behavior to intention was mediated by the social cognitive variables of attitudes, subjective norm, and PBC. However, no moderating effects of perceived physical environments on the TPB-cycling relations were found, except the moderating effect of crime-related safety on the path from PBC to cycling. Conclusion: Current results indicate that Chinese employees’ transport-related cycling are a function of environmental (i.e., perceived physical environmental attributes) and social cognitive (i.e., attitudes, subjective norm, perceived behavioral control, and intention) factors. Findings of the current study can inform the development of multi-component behavioral change interventions targeting the improvement of transport-related cycling for employees.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)424-439
    Number of pages16
    JournalTransportation Research Part F: Traffic Psychology and Behaviour
    Publication statusPublished - Jul 2019

    Scopus Subject Areas

    • Civil and Structural Engineering
    • Automotive Engineering
    • Transportation
    • Applied Psychology

    User-Defined Keywords

    • Active transport
    • Bicycling
    • Built environment
    • Theory of planned behavior
    • Travel behavior
    • Workplace


    Dive into the research topics of 'Predicting transport-related cycling in Chinese employees using an integration of perceived physical environment and social cognitive factors'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this