Bridging the Gaps: How Quality and Quantity of a Connected Bikeway Network Correlates with Increasing Bicycle Use

This paper describes how, since the mid-1990s, Portland, Oregon has pursued a “build it and they will come” strategy by developing its bikeway network to promote increased bicycle use. Between 1992 and 2005 Portland increased its developed bikeway network by 215%, from 83 miles to 260 miles. During this same period, bicycle use in Portland soared. A comparison of 1990 and 2000 census data shows a doubling of bicycle commute trips citywide, with more dramatic increases in close-in neighborhoods. Annual bicycle counts on Portland’s central city bridges, which connect close-in residential neighborhoods across the Willamette River to the city’s primary commercial and employment center, show a 210% increase in bicycle trips between 1991 and 2004. This dramatic increase in bicycling occurred primarily in those corridors where the city has made significant investment to: improve bicycling conditions on the river bridges; create connected bicycle facilities leading to the bridges; and mitigate for traffic designs that are not particularly bicycle-friendly. The corridors where the network is most connected, and where the quality of the facilities is the highest, display the largest growth in bicycle trips. Data collected by Portland demonstrates a strong correlation between a connected, bikeway system constructed to the highest standards, and increases in bicycle use. The authors believe that the City’s investments in specific facility improvements to its downtown Willamette River bridges, as well as to key bridge access routes and connections, have been the primary impetus behind increasing bicycle use.


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: CD-ROM
  • Features: Figures; Photos; Tables;
  • Pagination: 28p
  • Monograph Title: TRB 85th Annual Meeting Compendium of Papers CD-ROM

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01023183
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Report/Paper Numbers: 06-0667
  • Files: TRIS, TRB
  • Created Date: Mar 3 2006 10:26AM