A Longitudinal Analysis of the Effect of Bicycle Facilities on Commute Mode Sharing

Source: Transportation Research Board

"This paper uses census data to describe changes in bicycle commute mode shares between 1990 and 2000 in the Minneapolis-St. Paul, MN area, and specifically the impact of new bicycle facilities that were created during this decade. Previous efforts to understand the impact of facilities on bicycling rates have compared different locations; however, with this method it is not possible to determine the extent to which differences may have already existed before the facilities were built. This study addresses this problem by comparing the same locations before and after facilities were built, using a number of different ways of measuring facility impact. We find that the locations where facilities were built did in fact already have very high bicycle commute mode shares relative to the rest of the region; but also that these differences became even larger after the facilities were built. The areas within our facility buffers showed mode share increasing from 1.7% to 2.0%, while the remainder of the region remained constant at 0.2%. All individual facilities showed statistically significant increases in bicycle mode share. Central city trips crossing the Mississippi River showed a much larger increase than trips that did not; this reflects a number of significant improvements to bicycle accommodation on bridges during this decade. Finally, downtown Minneapolis and the University of Minnesota, where most of the facilities were concentrated, showed large increases in bicycle mode share, while downtown St. Paul, which had few improvements, had no increase."

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