Are we connected? Assessing bicycle network performance through directness and connectivity measures, a Montreal, Canada case study

Over the last two decades, cycling has seen a rise in popularity in North American cities, which are continuously expanding their bicycle networks. While studies highlight that a good network should provide direct bicycle routes for cyclists to reach their desired destination, most network assessments simply measure the length of bicycle facilities in a region. Building on a set of complementary indicators to account for directness of bicycle facilities, this study assesses the performance of the bicycle network in Montreal, Canada. The study uses data from two large-scale online cyclist surveys (2,917 and 2,644 respondents) conducted in Montreal in 2009 and 2013. The 2009 survey provides data on actual trips made by cyclists and is used to assess cyclists’ behavior in Montreal. The 2013 survey provides actual cyclists’ home and work/school locations. Routes between actual home and work locations are generated using the bicycle facilities and street network based on three different route preferences. For each route generated, the diversion and proportion of route on bicycle facilities are calculated to assess directness of bicycle facilities. Based on these two indicators and on Montreal cyclists’ behaviour, network connectivity is then measured. The Montreal network shows a low level of connectivity of less than 51% on every level of preference. Trade-offs between diversion and proportion of route on bicycle facilities are highlighted spatially together with areas with low levels of connectivities. Finally, using circuity measures (the ratio between network and Euclidian distances), results show the extent to which the existing transportation network favors driving with a circuity of 1.22 compared to 1.33 for trips made by bicycle. Using a simple set of performance measures reflecting cyclists’ trade-offs, this study highlights the need to incorporate bicycle network connectivity objectives into transportation plans to improve the efficiency of the network and hence promote bicycle use. Cities wishing to promote cycling can use the set of metrics developed in this study to evaluate their current or projected bicycle network.

  • Supplemental Notes:
    • This paper was sponsored by TRB committee ANF20 Standing Committee on Bicycle Transportation. Alternate title: Are We Connected? Assessing Bicycle Network Performance Through Directness and Connectivity Measures: Case Study in Montreal, Canada
  • Corporate Authors:

    Transportation Research Board

    500 Fifth Street, NW
    Washington, DC  United States  20001
  • Authors:
    • Boisjoly, Geneviève
    • El-Geneidy, Ahmed
  • Conference:
  • Date: 2016


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: Digital/other
  • Features: Maps; References; Tables;
  • Pagination: 14p
  • Monograph Title: TRB 95th Annual Meeting Compendium of Papers

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01588673
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Report/Paper Numbers: 16-5203
  • Files: TRIS, TRB, ATRI
  • Created Date: Jan 29 2016 9:25AM