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Riding tandem: Does cycling infrastructure investment mirror gentrification and privilege in Portland, OR and Chicago, IL?

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  • Flanagan, Elizabeth
  • Lachapelle, Ugo
  • El-Geneidy, Ahmed

Abstract

Bicycles have the potential to provide an environmentally friendly, healthy, low cost, and enjoyable transportation option to people of all socio-demographic backgrounds. This research assesses the geographic distribution of cycling infrastructure with regard to community demographic characteristics to assess claims that cycling investment arrives in tandem with incoming populations of privilege or is targeted towards neighborhoods with existing socioeconomic wealth. Using census and municipal cycling infrastructure data in Chicago and Portland from 1990 to 2010, we create demographic and cycling infrastructure investment indices at the census tract level. Linear regressions estimate the extent to which existing community demographics and change in demographics associated with gentrification are related to cycling infrastructure investment. In both cities, we identify a bias towards increased cycling infrastructure investment in areas of existing or increasing privilege. This paper suggests that marginalized communities are unlikely to attract as much cycling infrastructure investment without the presence of privileged populations, even when considering population density and distance to downtown, two motivators of urban cycling. To alleviate the continuation of inequitable distributions of cycling investments, planning processes may actively seek out diverse stakeholders and be sensitive to citywide community input and stated needs in future transportation projects.

Suggested Citation

  • Flanagan, Elizabeth & Lachapelle, Ugo & El-Geneidy, Ahmed, 2016. "Riding tandem: Does cycling infrastructure investment mirror gentrification and privilege in Portland, OR and Chicago, IL?," Research in Transportation Economics, Elsevier, vol. 60(C), pages 14-24.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:retrec:v:60:y:2016:i:c:p:14-24
    DOI: 10.1016/j.retrec.2016.07.027
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. McKinnish, Terra & Walsh, Randall & Kirk White, T., 2010. "Who gentrifies low-income neighborhoods?," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 67(2), pages 180-193, March.
    2. Guerrieri, Veronica & Hartley, Daniel & Hurst, Erik, 2013. "Endogenous gentrification and housing price dynamics," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 100(C), pages 45-60.
    3. John Stehlin, 2015. "Cycles of Investment: Bicycle Infrastructure, Gentrification, and the Restructuring of the San Francisco Bay Area," Environment and Planning A, , vol. 47(1), pages 121-137, January.
    4. Rowland Atkinson, 2000. "Measuring Gentrification and Displacement in Greater London," Urban Studies, Urban Studies Journal Limited, vol. 37(1), pages 149-165, January.
    5. Faghih-Imani, Ahmadreza & Eluru, Naveen & El-Geneidy, Ahmed M. & Rabbat, Michael & Haq, Usama, 2014. "How land-use and urban form impact bicycle flows: evidence from the bicycle-sharing system (BIXI) in Montreal," Journal of Transport Geography, Elsevier, vol. 41(C), pages 306-314.
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    1. Poor and black ‘invisible cyclists’ need to be part of post-pandemic transport planning too
      by ? in DJG Blogger on 2020-05-27 17:52:52

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    Cited by:

    1. Houde, Maxime & Apparicio, Philippe & Séguin, Anne-Marie, 2018. "A ride for whom: Has cycling network expansion reduced inequities in accessibility in Montreal, Canada?," Journal of Transport Geography, Elsevier, vol. 68(C), pages 9-21.
    2. Braun, Lindsay M. & Rodriguez, Daniel A. & Gordon-Larsen, Penny, 2019. "Social (in)equity in access to cycling infrastructure: Cross-sectional associations between bike lanes and area-level sociodemographic characteristics in 22 large U.S. cities," Journal of Transport Geography, Elsevier, vol. 80(C).
    3. Doran, Alexandra & El-Geneidy, Ahmed & Manaugh, Kevin, 2021. "The pursuit of cycling equity: A review of Canadian transport plans," Journal of Transport Geography, Elsevier, vol. 90(C).

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