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Bicycling renaissance in North America? An update and re-appraisal of cycling trends and policies

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  • Pucher, John
  • Buehler, Ralph
  • Seinen, Mark
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    Abstract

    This paper reviews trends in cycling levels, safety, and policies in Canada and the USA over the past two decades. We analyze aggregate data for the two countries as well as city-specific case study data for nine large cities (Chicago, Minneapolis, Montréal, New York, Portland, San Francisco, Toronto, Vancouver, and Washington). Cycling levels have increased in both the USA and Canada, while cyclist fatalities have fallen. There is much spatial variation and socioeconomic inequality in cycling rates. The bike share of work commuters is more than twice as high in Canada as in the USA, and is higher in the western parts of both countries. Cycling is concentrated in central cities, especially near universities and in gentrified neighborhoods near the city center. Almost all the growth in cycling in the USA has been among men between 25-64Â years old, while cycling rates have remained steady among women and fallen sharply for children. Cycling rates have risen much faster in the nine case study cities than in their countries as a whole, at least doubling in all the cities since 1990. They have implemented a wide range of infrastructure and programs to promote cycling and increase cycling safety: expanded and improved bike lanes and paths, traffic calming, parking, bike-transit integration, bike sharing, training programs, and promotional events. We describe the specific accomplishments of the nine case study cities, focusing on each city's innovations and lessons for other cities trying to increase cycling. Portland's comprehensive package of cycling policies has succeeded in raising cycling levels 6-fold and provides an example that other North American cities can follow.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice.

    Volume (Year): 45 (2011)
    Issue (Month): 6 (July)
    Pages: 451-475

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:transa:v:45:y:2011:i:6:p:451-475

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    Related research

    Keywords: Urban transport policy Cycling Safety Bike infrastructure United States Canada;

    References

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    Cited by:
    1. Duarte, Fábio & Procopiuck, Mario & Fujioka, Kelli, 2014. "‘No bicycle lanes!’ Shouted the cyclists. A controversial bicycle project in Curitiba, Brazil," Transport Policy, Elsevier, vol. 32(C), pages 180-185.
    2. Cervero, Robert & Caldwell, Benjamin & Cuellar, Jesus, 2012. "Bike-and-Ride: Build It and They Will Come," University of California Transportation Center, Working Papers qt3fd9x0fx, University of California Transportation Center.
    3. Caulfield, Brian, 2014. "Re-cycling a city – Examining the growth of cycling in Dublin," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 61(C), pages 216-226.
    4. Laird, James & Page, Matthew & Shen, Shujie, 2013. "The value of dedicated cyclist and pedestrian infrastructure on rural roads," Transport Policy, Elsevier, vol. 29(C), pages 86-96.
    5. Schneider, Robert J., 2013. "Theory of routine mode choice decisions: An operational framework to increase sustainable transportation," Transport Policy, Elsevier, vol. 25(C), pages 128-137.
    6. Peter Gordon & Wendell Cox, 2012. "Cities In Western Europe and The United States: Do Policy Differences Matter?," Working Paper 8956, USC Lusk Center for Real Estate.
    7. Short, Jack & Caulfield, Brian, 2014. "The safety challenge of increased cycling," Transport Policy, Elsevier, vol. 33(C), pages 154-165.
    8. Sanders, Rebecca Lauren, 2013. "Examining the Cycle: How Perceived and Actual Bicycling Risk Influence Cycling Frequency, Roadway Design Preferences, and Support for Cycling Among Bay Area Residents," University of California Transportation Center, Working Papers qt6ct7x8hp, University of California Transportation Center.
    9. Cheng, Yung-Hsiang & Liu, Kuo-Chu, 2012. "Evaluating bicycle-transit users’ perceptions of intermodal inconvenience," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 46(10), pages 1690-1706.
    10. Sanders, Rebecca L, 2013. "Examining the Cycle: How Perceived and Actual Bicycling Risk Influence Cylcing Frequency, Roadway Design Preferences, and Support for Cycling Among Bay Area Residents," University of California Transportation Center, Working Papers qt1tf5v738, University of California Transportation Center.
    11. Peter Gordon & Wendell Cox, 2012. "Cities in Western Europe and the United States: do policy differences matter?," The Annals of Regional Science, Springer, vol. 48(2), pages 565-594, April.
    12. G. Marletto, 2013. "Car and the city: Socio-technical pathways to 2030," Working Paper CRENoS 201306, Centre for North South Economic Research, University of Cagliari and Sassari, Sardinia.

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