Part of an on-going series of blog entries by the students in START, the UCLA Transportation-sponsored bike-related Action Research Team in the Education for Sustainable Living Program.

By Anand M.

In our efforts to improve knowledge about sustainable transportation in and around the UCLA campus, last week START (Sustainable Transportation Action Research Team) analyzed the bike rack situation on campus by conducting bicycle rack level of service counts.

[Note from Sirinya: Level of service (LOS) is a measure of how well transportation infrastructure is working. LOS is most commonly used to analyze highways, but the concept has also been applied to intersections, transit, and bicycles.]

ALWAYS AT CAPACITY: Cyclists have to look gingerly to find an open spot to lock up a bike at the racks by the Engineering building.

Over the course of three days, our team split the entire UCLA campus into six areas from McGowen Hall to the Wilshire Center and located where all the bike racks on campus were and how (and in certain cases, by whom) they were being used.

We also recorded the type of racks, the number of spots that were available in each location, and the number of bikes occupying the racks.  Bikes that were abandoned and those attached to improper locations such as railings and posts were also noted.  The counts were done between the strategic hours of 10:00 AM and Noon, the busiest part of the day so we could get the best measure of how in use the bike racks on campus are.

Although the exact statistics have not yet been accumulated, preliminary accounts show that between 40-75% of the bike racks throughout campus were being used during peak transportation hours.

ABOVE: Bike racks adjacent to the driveway into Structure 9.

When the final calculations are completed, the statistics will give UCLA Transportation a better understanding of how to serve the needs of its bicycle community on campus.  Everything from where the bike racks are located to the type and condition of the racks affect the students on our campus.

ABOVE: Bike racks at Wooden Center are very busy.

Through this study, hopefully we will be able to not only demonstrate a need for more sustainable transportation but also develop a plan of action to address these issues.  It will also help determine the apportioning of funds as well the manner in which bicycle awareness should be tackled.

A major issue that the team found when looking at the various bike racks was that [many] bicycles were improperly locked up.

ABOVE: The bikes here are using light-duty cable locks and do not lock down both the frame and front wheel, making it easy for a thief to cut through the lock and steal both or just one part of the bike.

Bicycle theft is a major problem at UCLA and clearly there is the lack of common knowledge regarding how to securely lock up a bicycle. START hopes to tackle this problem during Bike to Campus Week (May 17-21) in the hopes of ultimately making UCLA a more bike friendly and sustainable campus.

Photos by the START team.