The Alliance for Biking and Walking just published its 2016 Benchmarking Report, which ranks states and cities on key statistics including the percentage of people commuting by bike. Every biannual report is a little bit different, as states develop their data collection and the Alliance is better able to compare statistics across fields.
California’s bike commute mode share now ranks fourth among the fifty states, up from sixth in 2014. At 1.1 percent of all California commuters, the number of bike commuters is slightly up from the 1 percent in the 2014 report. But it still has a ways to go to get to the tripling of bike mode share that Caltrans and the California Bicycle Coalition have set as goals for the state (to 4.5 percent of all trips by 2020).
The Alliance’s Benchmarking Report promotes good data collection about bicycling and walking, and makes that data available to support informed decisions about policy, infrastructure, and funding. It also seeks to make the connection between health and active transportation. To that end this report includes data about health markers including obesity, diabetes, and hypertension.
There are caveats. For one thing, the data is very general, comparing population-wide statistics that may or may not have a causal relationship. It is also limited by its sources; for example, the bike and pedestrian mode share data comes from the U.S. Census, which limits travel mode questions to the commute trip. This not only leaves out the considerable number of other trips people make—thus likely undercounting these modes in particular—but the census only gives people one choice when they answer, so that a person who walks to transit will report that as a transit trip, not a walking trip.
One of the very useful charts in the 2016 Benchmarking Report.
Furthermore, much of the data is self-reported. It is not necessarily wrong, but in some cases it can be inconsistent, especially when comparing between different states.
Keeping these caveats in mind, the Alliance’s Benchmarking Report is still a key source of nationwide data about bicycle and pedestrian trips. Though more and better data is needed, this report is a great place to start and getting better every time.
California’s 1.1 percent bike commute mode share is smaller than cyclists want it to be, but it is nothing to sneeze at. California is, by a long shot, the most populous state in the nation. At 38 million, CA is 12 million more than the next most populous state, Texas—which only has a 0.3 percent bike commute mode share. At 1.1 percent, that’s a lot more bicycle commuters on our roads than in many other states.
The report has a fascinating story to tell, buried in its statistics, about poverty, gender, race, and mode choice was well. For example, Read more…