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New Report: Equity of Access to Bicycle Infrastructure

UPDATE: This report’s case study was revised with updated information on Sept. 16, 2015. The case study on Chicago now reflects the most up-to-date data related to bicycle infrastructure plans in the city, made possible through the provision of data from the Chicago Department of Transportation. The League again reiterates the value of this report as a tool for other communities to use — the case study is merely that formula in action and not meant to serve as a statement on or indictment of Chicago or any other community. If you have used the Bicycle Equity Index tool in your community, we’d love to hear about it. Please email [email protected].  


Equitable transportation is more than a buzzword. The effort to make transportation accessible and safe for Americans from all socioeconomic and racial backgrounds has taken root in grassroots advocacy organizations, national foundations and even in the U.S. Congress.

The benefits of transportation investments are not distributed equally among communities, as some social groups have not reaped the rewards of developed transportation infrastructure. While the discussion of transportation equity has largely focused on accessibility to transit and the provision of auto-dominated infrastructure, a growing number of advocates and community organizations are calling for the consideration of bicycle equity in the conversation about current and future bicycle infrastructure development projects.

The League commissioned Rachel Prelog, a graduate student in Texas A&M’s Department of Landscape Architecture and Urban Planning, to write this new report to serve as another resource for those interested in bicycle equity. Many thanks to Rachel for her hours of work and dedication on this project! Download the report here.


The purpose of this report is to provide tangible GIS methods for investigating the equity of access to bicycle infrastructure. In order to develop a full understanding of the context behind the methods, it will provide an overview of equity issues and define types of transportation equity paradigms related to bicycle equity. There is no single best way to measure access and bicycle equity for the variety of cities where bicycle equity is in question.  

However, this report provides a framework for how GIS can be used as a tool in decision-making and advocacy efforts with the understanding and provision that every community has a unique perspective, values, and equity concerns and may choose to apply different criteria to creating their own understanding of equity.

Who might find this report useful? Bicycle advocates, city or state staff, or anyone else who is interested in equity transportation. Infrastructure is one element of the larger bike equity picture, but the visuals that this formula can create are a helpful tool in convincing stakeholders that inequitable planning is a problem. This gives you a tangible map for improvement and growth.

For additional bike equity resources, visit