Chart of the Day: Minneapolis Bicycle Mode-Share for 2015, an All-Time High!

Via long-time bike advocate Hokan and the American Community Survey (ACS), here’s the bicycling mode share for the city of Minneapolis. (Mode share is the percentage of people who commute via the different modes, e.g. driving, walking, transit, etc.)

The results are in: 5%!


Not much to say about this except that it’s awesome news! Mode share in the world’s best bicycling cities like Copenhagen exceeds 30%, but in the USA, 5% is relatively excellent. (By contrast, Portland, Oregon is around 7%.)

Thanks to Hokan for the wonderful trendline-laden chart, and you can see the underlying numbers here. The ACS is the most reliable and comprehensive measurements that we have of people’s transportation behavior in the US.

Still, I’d like Minneapolis and Saint Paul to be measuring ourselves against the world leaders. Let’s double this number in five years, shall we?

5 thoughts on “Chart of the Day: Minneapolis Bicycle Mode-Share for 2015, an All-Time High!

  1. Alex SchieferdeckerAlex Schieferdecker

    This is super exciting!

    First of all, this is very neat to see given how the protected bikeway rollout only really *started* in the middle of last year, and is only now just gaining steam. So this number has been achieved without a robust protected bikeway network, and it suggests that Mpls can shoot for much more. I’m all for your suggestion, 10% would be an ambitious goal, but it’s worth shooting for.

    Second, I know here in Philadelphia, there’s a lot of consternation about the mode share, which seems to have stagnated at 2%, and that seems to be a sort of natural barrier—all the committed cyclists are on board, but better infrastructure is needed to jump up to 4%, where there’s another group of cities clustered. So the fact that Mpls has jumped up to 5% and broken free of another one of those sticking points seems to be a huge deal.

    1. hokan

      A big deal in Minneapolis is that it’s often as fast and as convenient, to get places by bike compared to driving a car.

      Committed cyclists are only a small fraction of people who ride here, I think. A lot of folks just need to get where they’re going and for some of those people, bicycles do the job.

      Some if that is infrastructure. The North Cedar Lake Trail and, especially, the Midtown Greenway help greatly in improving cycling’s speed and convenience compared to other modes, and help people get where they need to go.

    2. Rosa

      what Hokan says about the big infrastructure – especially the Greenway for me, because I live near it – is important.

      To me, protected bike lanes aren’t that big of a deal – there’s a lot more difference between no bike lane and a bike lane, and a bike lane and a protected bike lane. But there is a huge, huge difference between the mostly-off-street bikeways and the on-street bike lanes. As a solo adult commuter, I am fine with any kind of bike lane and even gaps of no bike lane. As the adult taking kids places, the offstreet bikeways are a huge factor in whether I can get somewhere. If I can pick up the kid at the end of my work day and get home from where he is with him on his bike, then I can bike to work; if not, I can’t. I don’t know if that’s true for enough people to make the jump from 4-5% but it’s certainly a big portion of commuters.

  2. Tom Holub

    It’s great to see cycling increasing in Minneapolis, but to compare to other cities you need to consider the context. Part of the context is that Minneapolis is geographically constrained; unlike some U.S. cities; it has St. Paul next door, and a ring of suburbs which are not incorporated into the metro. Philadelphia has over twice the land area of Minneapolis, and most of the additional land area is lower-density suburb. I haven’t looked at Philly by census tract but I’d wager that the mode share in the central 60 square miles are double the numbers city-wide (and possibly comparable to Minneapolis’).

    Still, 5% is cool.

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