Why this Indicator is Important
Cycling is a low-emissions form of transportation, along with walking and public transit. Research shows that increasing the length of the cycling network by 7% in Montreal resulted in a 2% reduction in GHG emissions.1 Cycling is also more affordable when compared to the cost of owning a vehicle—replacing a car trip with a bike trip is estimated to save a traveller $2.73 per mile.2 Cycling also provides health benefits through physical activity, and prevents wear on roads which saves municipalities money. However, cycling is only safe and appealing when there is adequate infrastructure, such as biking paths and protected bike lanes. “All Ages and Abilities” (AAA) is an international approach to bike infrastructure that seeks to make biking comfortable and appealing for all who may wish to cycle.3 Municipalities can start by developing an active transportation plan that maps out goals and timeframes for the installation of bike infrastructure.4 That can be complemented by municipal-led programming promoting cycling, and traffic calming policies in key cycling areas.5 While snow and bad weather poses a barrier for cycling for a portion of the year, cities can also help by ensuring snow removal of bike lanes.
Data Availability and Accessibility: 3/3
Data was obtained by looking up the municipality’s Bike Score, from Walk Score.6 The bike score is calculated through four equally weighted components: bike lanes, hilliness, destinations and road connectivity, and bike commuting mode share. Within the bike lane rating, bike paths are weighted 2x more than bike lanes and 3x more than shared infrastructure. Walk Score obtains bike lane data from Open Street Map,7 while the hill data is from the National Elevation Data set from the US Geological Survey. As for destina- tions/road connectivity, it is based on their Walk Score; it is modified to include metrics such as intersection density and average block length, etc. Though we have scored this indicator a “3”, this is a result of using Bike Score—if we were looking at municipalities’ data directly, it would probably be a “1,” due to a lack of standardization and availability.
Note(s): Data are from Bike Score®.(2022). This score considers multiple variables such as bike infrastructure and road connectivity.
The winning city is Victoria, British Columbia with its 32 km AAA Cycling Network. Victoria adopted the AAA approach in 2016 and the aim is to complete their network in 2023. Their bike infrastructure will allow for 95% of the city to be within 500m of the bike network. One of the goals of their AAA Cycling Network is to encourage cycling among those who do not feel as comfortable by installing more safe infrastructure. The city has a combination of different infrastructure, such as one-way and two-way protected bike lanes, shared-use neighbourhood bikeways, multi-use pathways and advisory bike lanes. Overall, this allows for access to parks, schools, recreation centres and village centres.8
Jakarta, Indonesia, has planned a 500 kilometre cycling network throughout the city. After the COVID-19 outbreaks, the city decided to significantly increase its cycling path network in hopes of reducing transmission. Once social restrictions were eased, a major public consultation was conducted and it showed that cycling had gone up 500-1000% from the past year. The new initiative also includes integrating more cycling infrastructure, such as bicycle parking, all in hopes of making cycling more accessible and enjoyable for users.9