Takeaways from the 2016 Bicycle Friendly America Listening Session
At the 2016 National Bike Summit we held a listening session to better understand the priorities of attendees and how our Bicycle Friendly America programs can better support local advocacy. This post looks at some quick takeaways from the results of our listening session. If you are interested in complete results then you can find excel files here.
Question 1: If you could improve how your state supported one facility, which facility would you like to see supported?
A large plurality of respondents chose protected bike lanes – bike lanes with an element of vertical separation from traffic – as the facility that they would like their state to better support. Protected bike lanes were the most popular facility in every region surveyed and were chosen by a majority of respondents in the South and Northeast regions.
In most regions, rural bicycle routes were the second most popular facility that respondents would like better supported.
Question 2: What do you think prevents your state DOT from implementing more of your preferred facility?
In all regions and on average, respondents overwhelmingly chose funding as barrier to implementing more bicycle facilities. According to the Pew Charitable Trusts “combined federal, state, and local government spending for surface transportation fell by $29 billion in real terms from 2002 to 2012.”
Question 3: In your state, which decision-making body, or group of bodies, most impacts the safety and comfort of bicyclists?
The most popular answer to this question varied greatly by region. Only state Department of Transportation District offices were chosen by 10% or more of respondents in every region. The top four decision-makers picked were: 1) Metropolitan Planning Organizations, 2) the State DOT Executive, 3) Counties, and 4) State DOT District Offices.
Question 4: If your state could fund one non-infrastructure program to improve the safety and comfort of bicyclists, what would you want it to be?
Perhaps surprisingly, driver education is the safety program that was picked as the most important by most respondents. Also surprisingly, only 1% of respondents wanted safety equipment distribution, like helmet distribution, to be the one program funded by their state.
Question 5: What category of action makes the biggest difference in your community?
As a category of actions, Engineering was indicated to make the biggest difference in a community. An average of 54% of respondents across all regions indicated that it was the most important, including 83% of respondents from the Northeast
Question 6: What Engineering topic makes the biggest difference in your community?
When asked what Engineering actions are most important, on-street bicycle facilities were the most common answer, but people expressed support for many different actions. Policies and design standards – which are often supportive of on-street facilities – were the second and third most popular options.
Question 7: What Encouragement topic makes the biggest difference in your community?
Programs that help people commute to work was the most popular answer. Programs that help people commute to work was the only option where two regions – the Mountain West and Pacific Coast – chose it as the biggest difference maker
Question 8: What Education topic makes the biggest difference in your community?
When asked what Education actions are most important, education for motorists (41%) narrowly received a higher average of responses than bicycle education for children (39%). This answer re-enforces the result of our state-level question about non-infrastructure safety funding where a plurality of respondents chose driver education as the one program they would like their state to fund.
Question 9: What Evaluation & Planning topic makes the biggest difference in your community?
When asked what Evaluation & Planning actions are most important, dedicated agency staff was the most commonly chosen answer. The Mountain West, online, and Pacific Coast regions all indicated that dedicated agency staff is the most important difference maker. The South and Northeast regions indicated that Bicycle Master Plans were most important.
Question 10: What Enforcement & Safety topic makes the biggest difference in your community?
When asked what Enforcement & Safety actions are most important, bicycle-related enforcement programs were indicated to be the most important action, followed by training for law enforcement officers.
Question 11: How would you improve the Bicycle Friendly Community Program?
Most people want the BFC program to offer more tools for recognizing and tracking progress over multiple applications. A plurality of respondents in four of the six regions chose the option for more tools for recognizing and tracking progress. The only other option to receive a regional plurality was creating community-size specific award criteria.