To build better urban cycling in the U.S., a new report offers data for change - Curbed

A new report on biking infrastructure in the United States suggests that, while progress has been made, it’s time to raise the bar. City Ratings, a new analysis released earlier today by the advocacy group PeopleForBikes, which is funded by Trek, a cycling manufacturer, offers a comprehensive, data-driven report card, as well as a sign that cycling in the U.S. may have reached a new phase.

“Cities have grown into an adolescence in terms of biking know-how,” says Kyle Wagenschutz,

PeopleForBikes’s Director of Local Innovation. “They know what to build, and what safe bike lanes looks like, but they haven’t been doing a great job of quantifying what it means. This report is an attempt at suggesting new benchmarks to help them realize more effective programs.”

The new City Ratings system grades cities on five different categories—ridership, safety, network, acceleration, and reach—with perennial role models such as Portland and Madison, Wisconsin, ranking in the Top 10.

The scoring and ranking, a combination of survey data, self-reported information from cities, and census information, took two years to develop and factors in 184 calculations across five categories. The idea, according to Wagenschutz, is to go beyond measures like miles of bike lanes installed, a stat that doesn’t really speak to the riding experience, and look at more relevant characteristics, such as equality of access across different neighborhoods (reach) or the interconnectedness and utility of city biking infrastructure as a whole (network).

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