There’s no question about it: comfortable, safe bicycle infrastructure plays a significant role in encouraging people to ride. In Seattle, an analysis from nonprofit Commute Seattle recently demonstrated how that pays off for commuters: the seven employers with the highest rates of bike commuting are all within one block of a protected bike lane.
Zooming out some, of the companies with the 15 highest biking rates, all are within five blocks of a protected bike lane or trail, writes David Gutman of the Seattle Times.
Source: The Seattle Times
Of course, a number of other transportation demand management practices play a role in helping employees decide to choose biking. Seattle’s commute trip reduction program mandates employers take steps to reduce employee drive-alone commutes, and offers a number of resources for bike-friendly workplaces, such as adding bike parking spaces and showers. The Seattle Times explains how these work together with lanes to support biking:
Jonathan Hopkins, executive director of Commute Seattle, said that a company’s culture in encouraging bike commuting makes a big difference. He noted that for the price of building one underground parking spot, a company can usually supply sheltered, secure bike storage for all its employees.
Transit and TDM investments have helped Seattle reach an impressive mode split, boasting a drive-alone rate of 30 percent for commutes downtown. And the employee biking rates, which run up to a high of 20 percent, are well above the broader downtown average of 3 percent. That protected bike lanes can bolster biking in specific areas supports Seattle Bike Blog’s Tom Fucoloro’s point that the city could encourage more riders by connecting its currently-disconnected array of cycle tracks.
In reverse, the proximity of safe bike infrastructure to residences can work the same way, too. Last year, Mobility Lab’s former research director Stephen Crim looked at the rates at which certain Arlington neighborhoods biked to work. Mapping bike commute rates to census tracts revealed neighborhoods near Arlington’s trail network biking at higher rates than the county average.
Photo: Seattle’s 2nd Avenue protected bike lane (SDOT, Flickr, Creative Commons).