2012 BWTC Count Data Show Continued Increase in Walking and Bicycling Transportation
By Joan Pasiuk, Program Director
BWTC has just released the 2012 Bike Walk Twin Cities Pedestrian and Bicycle Count Report. This annual report provides a detailed view of bicycling and walking at numerous locations across the Twin Cities, supplementing existing data on motorized traffic to develop a more complete picture of overall travel behavior in our communities.
Enjoy the full report here (PDF).
Read the corresponding press release online.
Annual BWTC counts at 40 benchmark locations in the Twin Cities metro indicate that bicycling increased 50.5% and walking 23.5% between 2007 and 2012. Overall, active transportation (bicycling and walking together) rose by 37% from 2007 to 2012. This year-over-year increase demonstrates the growing mode share of bicycling and walking transportation.
Reduced Sidewalk Riding
Key findings include indication that adults are less likely to ride their bicycles on sidewalks when there is a safe bikeway on the street. In such locations as the Franklin Street Bridge and Riverside Avenue, the rate of bicycle riding on sidewalks decreased even as bicycling overall increased. This change improves the overall conditions for walking as well as the safety for all road users, in that bicycles using on-street bikeways typically are more visible and predictable than bicyclists who appear suddenly at intersections. Bicycle facilities on streets also tend to calm traffic patterns, making the entire streetscape more attractive and enjoyable for pedestrians.
Since 2007, many new bicycle routes, includes facilities funded through BWTC, have opened across the Twin Cities. Overall rates of bicycling have increased as the network has expanded. For example, in 2011, with funds from BWTC, the Bryant Avenue bicycle boulevard opened, providing a route from West 50th Street in South Minneapolis into downtown via the Loring Bike Bridge, which provides a route over Lyndale and Hennepin just north of Franklin Avenue. Data from a count location on the Loring Bike Bridge and a count location on Lyndale Avenue north of Franklin Avenue suggest that over time cyclists have shifted from Lyndale to the Bryant Avenue route. The data may be an indication that new cyclists are opting for the more quiet bicycle boulevard route, where there is less automotive traffic.
With a growing network of safer streets linking many destinations, including a dozen BWTC projects set to open in 2013, we expect to document even higher walking and bicycling this year.
Across all benchmark locations counted by BWTC, women were
27 percent of bicyclists. This
tracks generally with national data, which show that more men bicycle than women. Certain locations indicate a much higher share of women cyclists.
Top locations for women cycling (Twin Cities)
1. Riverside Avenue, east of Cedar 38 percent
2. Franklin Avenue Bridge 36 percent
3. Loring Bikeway Bridge 33 percent
4. Lyndale Ave (off-street trail),north of Loring Bikeway Bridge 33 percent
5. 10th Avenue Bridge, over Mississippi River 32 percent
The BWTC tradition unveils the annual count results to a celebratory gathering of volunteers the evening before the report is released publicly. The event is in partnership with City of Minneapolis which also conducts annual counts and a data release. This year 57 trained volunteers collected data over three days at 40 locations. Kudos to this dedicated clipboard crew, who sat through wind, excessive heat, and rain to gather our two-hour count data.
Last night at an annual celebration, BWTC honored bike/ped count volunteers in partnership with the City of Minneapolis. The support of our volunteers is truly essential to the count effort. Thanks to all!
Results are in, but our work continues. We are looking more closely at gender trends as increased women bicyclists is an indication of deeper cultural change. And we are digging deeper into the effect of weather on active transportation, exploring how much walking and bicycling persists across seasons, and how sensitive active transportation is to rain or unseasonable conditions.
For more detailed information, I encourage you to read the full 2012 report here (PDF). Count reports from previous years, with past results, key findings, and additional background information and materials, are also available at www.bikwalktwincities.org.