Building Blocks of Bicycle Friendly Communities
Since the Bicycle Friendly Community program began in 1995 we have collected a tremendous amount of data on community efforts to improve bicycling and seen a tremendous change in best practices. Over time, we have identified key metrics that we want to track for all Bicycle Friendly Community applicants - which we call the Building Blocks of a Bicycle Friendly Community.
In 2013, we summarized these Building Blocks in an easy to share infographic and since that time each community report card has reflected 10 of the Building Blocks. If you'd like to learn more broadly about the types of attributes of a Bicycle Friendly Community, this document provides a shareable list of attributes.
What the Building Blocks tell us about Bicycle Friendly Communities
Below is a brief description of each of the 10 Building Blocks that appear on Bicycle Friendly Community report cards:
- High Speed Roads with Bicycle Facilities - This building block reflects the reported bicycle facilities on roads with posted speed limits of more than 35 mph. It replaced the building block "percentage of arterials and major collectors with bicycle facilities" when our application changed to ask for information on the specific types of bicycle facilities on roads of different posted speed limits. The average Bronze community has bicycle facilities on 19% of its high speed roads.
- Total Bicycle Network mileage to Total Road Network Mileage - This building block reflects the entirety of bicycle facilities, located on and off-road, divided by the reported centerline miles of all roadways. The average Bronze community has a ratio of roughly 1 mile of bike network for every 4 miles of road network.
- Bicycle Education in Schools - This building block reflects the percentage of elementary, middle, and high schools that offer bicycle education and the type of education offered at each school. Prevalence and type are used to create descriptive categories, with the average Bronze having average Bicycle Education in Schools.
- Share of Transportation Budget Spent on Bicycling - This building block reflects the reported percentage of each community's total trannsportation budget, over the past 5 years, invested in bicycle projects. There average Bronze community reports that 9% of its transportation budget is invested in bicycle projects.
- Bike Month and Bike to Work Events - This building block reflects the number of events promoted as part of bike month in each community. The number of events is used to create descriptive categories, with the average Bronze having either average or Good Bike Month and Bike to Work Events.
- Active Bicycle Advocacy Group - This building block reflects reported bicycle, active transportation, and transportation equity advocacy groups. Over 90% of communities that apply report the existence of an advocacy group in their community.
- Active Bicycle Advisory Committee - This building block reflects whether a bicycle advisory committee exists and how often it is reported to meet. The average Bronze community has a bicycle advisory committee that meets roughly every two months.
- Bicycle Friendly Laws & Ordinances - This building block reflects local ordinances or state laws that are reported to protect or restrict bicyclists in each community. Ther number of restrictive laws is subtracted from the number of protective laws and that number is used to create descriptive categories. The average Bronze community has has between acceptable and average Bicycle Friendly Laws & Ordinances.
- Bike Plan is Current and is Being Implemented - This building block reflects reported information on the existence of a bike plan, the age of the bike plan, whether that bike plan has goals, and whether those reported goals are being met. Nearly 70% of communities that apply report having a bike plan that is current and is being implemented.
- Bike Program Staff to Population - This building block reflects reported information on the number of full-time equivalent employees in each community and the population of each community. We divide the population of each community by the reported full time equivalent employees, so this statistic can be higher than the population of a community. It is reported in the number of thousands of residents per one full-time staff person. The average Bronze community has 148,000 residents per one staff person.
To learn more about the specific data used and how building blocks are calculated, see this Guide to the Bicycle Friendly Community Report Card.