2016 - Research

Bike Score: Associations Between Urban Bikeability and Cycling Behavior in 24 Cities

The Bike Score measure was found to be significantly correlated with cycling mode share, in that a higher composite Bike Score, made up of a weighted sum of bike lane availability, topography, and connectivity, was associated with higher rates of commute cycling.

KEY TAKEAWAYS:

  • The Bike Score measure was found to be significantly correlated with cycling mode share, in that a higher composite Bike Score, made up of a weighted sum of bike lane availability, topography, and connectivity, was associated with higher rates of commute cycling.
  • Bike Score is useful for understanding the elements of the built environment that are associated with greater cycling, and it was found that topography, bike lane availability, and connectedness are all important.
  • Bike Score was found to be helpful for comparing cycling mode data across cities, but analysis needs to be more granular to understand within-city Bike Score and cycling mode share.

RESULTS:

  • In cities with higher mean Bike Score, more people cycled to work.
  • A 10-unit increase in Bike Score was associated with a 0.5 % increase in journey to work cycling mode share.
  • The three environmental components that make up Bike Score - Bike Lane Score, Hill Score, and the Destinations and Connectivity Score - were all independently associated with cycling mode share; however, the Destination and Connectivity Score had a marginally stronger association than the other components when adjusting for city.
  • Steep topography was associated with less cycling mode share than cities that were mostly flat.
  • Bike Score shows utility for national or multicity studies, but closer inspection, at the census tract or block level, may be needed prior to its application for city-specific analysis and planning in certain locations.

METHODS:

  • This cross-sectional analysis used Bike Score data from 5,664 census tracts across 24 cities in Canada and the U.S. (9 in Canada and 15 in the U.S.). Bike Scores ranged from 0 to 100 and were comprised of a weighted sum of three environmental components: a bike lane score (50%), a hill score (25%), and a destinations and connectivity score (25%). Bike Scores were compiled into GIS shapefiles by census tract and summarized, excluding those census tracts where Bike Score data coverage was less than 80% by area. Mode share was also included using census data from both Canada and the U.S. Linear regression analyses were conducted to determine the association between Bike Score and cycling mode share.

Winters, M., Teschke, K., Brauer, M., and Fuller, D. (2016). Bike Score: Associations between urban bikeability and cycling behavior in 24 cities. International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity (2016) 13:18.