Ride Boldly!

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Study: Analysis of Biking Trends & Policies in Large American Cities


There’s a new report out this week that shows Minneapolis in a shining light as a national example. Published by the University Transportation Research Center and authored by researchers at Virginia Tech and Rutgers Universities, the Analysis of Biking Trends and Policies in Large American Cities: Lesson for New York studies both aggregate national data and city-specific data around bicycling. Cities with city-specific data include Minneapolis, Chicago, Portland (OR), San Francisco, New York, and Washington DC.

The authors are most impressed by Minneapolis’ relatively abundant bike parking — the most per-capita of any city in the study — and the variety of adaptations created to deal with the winter conditions in the upper Midwest.

The study is filled with fascinating data collected from many sources. Two key details that jumped out for me:

  • Most of the growth in cycling mode share in the USA over the last decade has been among men — the percentage of trips made by women actually dropped from 28% to 23%. Mode share for women stayed at 0.5% while mode share for men rose from 1.2% to 1.7%.
  • The age group representing almost all growth in cycling is the 25-64 age group. Trips by individuals under 25 are dropping.

The chart for demographics is really interesting:
demographics of cyclists

As can be expected in this kind of study, the authors do a lot of multivariate statistical modeling to associate bicycle facilities, spending on facilities, and other data to correlate with bicycle mode share and commuting share. If statistical analysis makes you break out, the bulk of the report is to be avoided, but in general Minneapolis (and even St. Paul! Represent!) do very well in many areas, as can be expected, even when compared with other cities, many in gentler climates. Go read it if you love data and black and white graphs.

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Author: julie

Julie Kosbab is an online marketing consultant and active transportation advocate living in Anoka County, Minnesota. She was one of Minnesota's only League of American Bicyclists Certified Instructors when certified in 2005. She is a past member of the National Bicycle Tour Directors Association. She has 2 children and 4 bicycles. Find her on Twitter as @betweenstations.

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