For this study, the researchers analysed data from 112 European cities with populations of between 100,000 and 500,000 inhabitants.
The researchers found, among other things, that public transport is used more often in cities with a large population and with more buses. Public transport is used less often if the monthly subscription is more expensive, if it rains more often than average, and if there are more elderly people aged over 65 or families with children.
In more prosperous cities, a relatively larger number of people travel by car, although walking and public transport also score higher. Cities with large student populations show both a greater use of public transport and more use of the bicycle and of walking. A greater ownership of cars and motorcycles corresponds with a greater use of these modes of transport.
The chance that commuters will travel by bicycle increases in relation to the combined length of the bicycle path network (cycling paths and lanes).
Based on their research, the researchers claim that car use can be reduced by discouraging car ownership, for instance through a higher vehicle registration tax, and that public transport use can be increased through subsidies.
Finally, allocating more room to cyclists at the expense of motorised traffic is a cost-effective way of increasing the number of cyclists, says Georgina Santos in her article titled 'Factors influencing modal split of commuting journeys in medium-size European cities', published in the Journal of Transport Geography.