UBC researchers put urban bikeability ranking system through the spin

Photo credit: Roland Tanlgao. Source: flickr.com

With Vancouver’s tenth annual Bike to Work Week about to gear up, a group of Canadian researchers is testing a system that helps cities become more cycle friendly.

The Bike Score was created in 2012 using studies conducted in partnership with UBC’s School of Population and Public Health. The score helps commuters and organizations rank a city’s bikeability based on available infrastructure, topography and urban connectivity.

Now those same researchers have assessed whether the Bike Score is a successful indicator of bike-to-work habits.

The analysts collected data on cycling infrastructure, topography and connectivity to evaluate the reliability of the Bike Score tool in 24 cities across North America.

They found that “the association between Bike Score and cycling mode share was positive and significant,” and that overall the tool may be a “utility for planning bicycle infrastructure.”

Of the three metrics used to test Bike Score across cities (bike lane, hill, and destination and connectivity), bike lane score was considered “the most actionable component for local and regional governments” in terms of attracting new cyclists and improving safety.

Indeed, Vancouver’s efforts to implement greater biking infrastructure—such as the Adanac bikeway, the Burrard Street bike lane and the bike share system set to launch in June—contributed to the city’s bike lane score of 71.2 (with 100 being the most bikeable), and an overall Bike Score of 78.

According to a report presented to city council earlier this month, 10 per cent of Vancouverites now bike to work, surpassing the city’s own goal of seven per cent by 2020.

“These new biking records clearly show that the city’s investments in Vancouver’s active transportation network are paying off big—reducing car traffic and making it safer and more affordable for people to get around,” Mayor Gregor Robertson said in a release.

“There’s more work to do, and council will continue working to make Vancouver an even more safe, accessible and vibrant city for residents of all ages and abilities,” Robertson said.

Arman Kazemi, 26 May, 2016