How Bikeable is Your City? PeopleForBikes Releases Third Annual City Ratings

June 10, 2020

Rating system guides city leaders to strategically invest in better bike networks

BOULDER, COLO. (June 10, 2020) — PeopleForBikes has released its third annual ratings of the best cities for bicycling in the U.S. The PeopleForBikes City Ratings program is a data-driven analysis that evaluates more than 550 cities and communities and shows city leaders how they can invest to make bicycling better for all residents and visitors.

City Ratings are scored across five key indicators: Ridership (how many people are riding bikes), Safety (how safe is it to ride bikes), Network (how easy is it for people to bike where they want to go), Reach (how well the network serves all parts of the community), and Acceleration (how fast the community is working to improve biking).

Topping this year’s overall ratings are San Luis Obispo, CA (1); Madison, WI (2); Santa Barbara, CA (3). Rounding out the top ten are: Washington, DC (4); Missoula, MT (5); Rogers, AR (6); Fort Collins, CO (7); Denver, CO (8); Grand Forks, ND (9); Fayetteville, AR (10).

“Now in its third year, the City Ratings creates a complete picture of bicycling in cities based on measurable factors,” says Rebecca Davies, PeopleForBikes’ bicycle networks data manager. “Top scorers are cities of all types and geographies who have succeeded in different ways, including cities that have made strong historical investments in active transportation as well as cities pursuing ambitious plans to rapidly implement high-quality bicycle networks on their city streets.”

Data for the ratings comes from existing sources (including the U.S. Census American Community Survey and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System), as well as sources developed by the PeopleForBikes team to capture city-specific data based on mapping, city planning information and survey responses from community members. This year, community members submitted a record-breaking 68,000 surveys. From these sources, 184 calculations are performed per city to determine individual category scores, as well as a city or town’s overall score. Read more about the methodology here: https://cityratings.peopleforbikes.org/methodology/.

Three years in, the PeopleForBikes team is able to identify key takeaways from the program. Top performing cities see their scores buoyed by Network and Acceleration scores. Communities should prepare to invest for the long run when planning new infrastructure; building ridership takes time. Communities looking to take a first step should prioritize building a safe, convenient network of bike lanes, trails, and paths; it is the most critical factor in understanding success in the other categories.

“City Ratings shows us what works: Places that have built better places to ride are seeing the benefits,” said Kyle Wagenschutz, director of local innovation for PeopleForBikes. “Our top scoring cities showcase the diverse ways that bicycling is thriving as a source of transportation, recreation, and inspiration. From San Luis Obispo, CA to Washington, DC — and all the places in between —  city leaders are recognizing bike networks help relieve traffic congestion, increase mobility and opportunity and make our cities healthier.”

City Ratings is a key component of the PlacesForBikes program, which provides measurement tools, guidance, peer networking and storytelling to help U.S. cities quickly plan, build and promote great places to ride of all kinds. PlacesForBikes is supported by a generous grant from Trek Bicycle Corporation, as well as contributions from other bike businesses, foundations and individuals.


For complete results and additional program details, please visit cityratings.peopleforbikes.org.

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About PeopleForBikes

PeopleForBikes is making biking better for everyone by uniting millions of individuals, thousands of businesses, and hundreds of communities. When people ride bikes, great things happen. Join us at PeopleForBikes.org.