Skip to Content
Streetsblog Los Angeles home
Streetsblog Los Angeles home
Log In
Streetsblog USA

Better Bike Infrastructure Expands Economic Opportunity: Report

2:24 PM PDT on July 24, 2019

Accessibility to jobs in Baltimore by bike facilities. Map: University of Minnesota Accessibility Observatory

In the American cities with the best bike infrastructure, cyclists are able to reach 75 percent more jobs on safe dedicated bike facilities, a new report shows.

University of Minnesota researchers mapped how many jobs the average person in every major U.S. metro area is able to reach by biking on both "low-stress" facilities -- like trails and protected bike lanes -- and "medium-stress" bike facilities, bike regular bike lanes and some minor streets with sharrows.

"Job density" in obviously higher in certain metro cores, but the report also shows that smart investments in bike infrastructure can put economic opportunities safely within reach for people on bikes.

Here are the cities that offered the bike access to jobs:

Top 10 cities for bike access to jobs. Data: University of Minnesota Accessibility Observatory
Top 10 cities for bike access to jobs. Data: University of Minnesota Accessibility Observatory
false

Although the Top 10 list primarily shows the cities with the highest overall employment, bike infrastructure can have a big impact on cities rankings, say the authors, Andrew Owen and Brendan Murphy.

For example, "the Minneapolis–St. Paul metropolitan area is ranked 14th largest by total employment ... but ranks 12th and seventh by access to jobs on low-stress and medium-stress bicycle networks, respectively.

"Conversely, Houston ranks fifth by total employment, but 32nd by access to jobs on both low-stress and medium-stress bike networks," they said.

Overall, Portland, Minneapolis and San Francisco offered the largest increases in bike access on social facilities. They each out average residents within 75 percent as many jobs on bike infrastructure as were available to a cyclist by biking on an unimproved road system.

Onward down he list, there was a lot of variation. The average Atlanta resident, the ranking shows, can reach 4,127 jobs in a half hour by "low-stress bikeway." By comparison, the average Denver resident can reach 18,104. Tampa residents can access on average 2,318 in the same time frame. But in Washington, D.C. it is 15,463.

Data: University of Minnesota Access Observatory
Data: University of Minnesota Access Observatory
false
Dallas bike access
false

Cities that want to improve accessibility to jobs by bike can either add bike infrastructure or increase the concentration of employment by where people live, Owen and Murphy say.

The Accessibility Observatory at the University of Minnesota has also used this research method to measure job accessibility in metro regions by car and by transit. Check out the full study to see how your city ranked.

Stay in touch

Sign up for our free newsletter

More from Streetsblog Los Angeles

Measure HLA Fact Check: Sidewalk Costs

The city says $200 million worth of annual ADA work is "included in the cost" of Measure HLA, but the city is already on the hook for that ADA work anyway, so none of it should be included as HLA costs

March 1, 2024

Supervisor Hahn Calls for No Residential Demolitions in Metro’s 710 Freeway Corridor Project

"[For 710 Freeway expansion] Metro needs to commit itself to zero residential property takes. [Metro] should have as one its top priorities ensuring that our projects do not result in kicking people out of their homes."

February 29, 2024

Where Does Alhambra Stand in the BRT Plan for the 60 Freeway Corridor?

The city is not quite in the 60 Freeway corridor; but there is a strong case and appetite for Bus Rapid Transit there

February 28, 2024
See all posts