IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

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


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


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

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. John Stehlin, 2015. "Cycles of investment: bicycle infrastructure, gentrification, and the restructuring of the San Francisco Bay Area," Environment and Planning A, Pion Ltd, London, vol. 47(1), pages 121-137, January.
    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. 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.
    6. 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.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Blog mentions

    As found by, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    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


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    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).


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:retrec:v:60:y:2016:i:c:p:14-24. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Haili He). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.