Atlantic Cities
Rankings

A Few Surprises in New Bike Scores

The website Walk Score announced Tuesday the extension of its "Bike Score" rankings for neighborhoods and places to 25 cities. (See our initial coverage of the launch.)

The cities are scored on a 100-point scale based on four factors: bike lanes, hills, destinations and road connectivity, and bike commuting mode share. It was developed in collaboration with researchers at Simon Fraser University and The University of British Columbia. Here's how the scoring breaks down.

25 U.S. Cities Ranked by Bike Score
Ranking City Score
1 Boulder, Colorado 86
2 Minneapolis, Minnesota 79
3 Fort Collins, Colorado 78
4 Ann Arbor, Michigan 76
5 Eugene, Oregon 75
5 Tempe, Arizona 75
7 Portland, Oregon 70
7 San Francisco, California 70
9 Boston, Massachusetts 68
9 Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 68
11 Madison, Wisconsin 67
12 Washington, D.C. 65
13 Seattle, Washington 64
13 Tucson, Arizona 64
15 New York, New York 62
15 Chicago, Illinois 62
17 Miami, Florida 57
17 Oakland, California 57
19 Los Angeles, California 54
20 Houston, Texas 49
21 San Diego, California 48
22 Austin, Texas 45
23 Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 39
24 Tyler, Texas 38
25 Cincinnati, Ohio 37

Table data from Bike Score

Scores from 90-100 are classified as "biker's paradise," where daily errands can be completed by bike. None of these 25 cities fall into this category. The next ranking, with scores from 70-89, are cities that are "very bikeable" where biking is convenient for most trips. Eight of the cities fall under this ranking. The third category, "bikeable," includes scores from 50-69 and means that the city has some bike infrastructure — 11 of the cities are in this category. The lowest category, with scores of 1-49, indicates that the city is "somewhat bikeable" and has minimal biking infrastructure — six cities fall under this final ranking.

Many of the cities that top the list are familiar. And it's clear you don't have to be a warm place to be bikeable, as the high scores for Minneapolis and Ann Arbor attest. There are a few surprises at the bottom of the list — low scores for Austin and San Diego, for example, which are both mild places with large knowledge economies and college populations.

Bike Score maps are also available for 11 Canadian cities — Toronto, Vancouver, Montreal, Calgary, Ottawa, Halifax, Victoria, Saskatoon, Charlottetown, St. John's, and Moncton.
 
There's also great variation in bikeability within these cities themselves. As the maps of D.C. and New York below (from the site) show, Bike Score enables the user to zoom into a neighborhood and see its score (addresses are also searchable in these 25 cities). The green areas are more bike-friendly, the red areas less so. Note the green patches in the center of the two maps. Both cities are more bikeable in and around the denser part of their cores, trailing off as you head out to the suburbs.
 
Washington, D.C., Bike Score map. (Courtesy of Walk Score)
 
And here's New York's Bike Score map.
 
New York City's Bike Score map. (Courtesy of Walk Score)

 

Keywords: Maps, Walk Score, Biking

Richard Florida is Co-Founder and Editor at Large at The Atlantic Cities. He's also a Senior Editor at The Atlantic, Director of the Martin Prosperity Institute at the University of Toronto's Rotman School of Management, and Global Research Professor at New York University. He is a frequent speaker to communities, business and professional organizations, and founder of the Creative Class Group, whose current client list can be found here. All posts »

Sara Johnson is a fellow at The Atlantic Cities. All posts »

Join the Discussion