In time for the first real onset of summer, researchers have singled out Vancouver and Victoria as two of Canada’s most “bikeable” cities.
A UBC public affairs media release today (May 14) stated that researchers from UBC’s school of population and public health and SFU have teamed up with web developers from the Seattle-based Walk Score to develop algorithms that make information on factors such as cycling infrastructure and topography more accessible online.
Vancouver and Victoria are among the Canadian cities that score the highest in terms of bikeability, while Minneapolis, Portland, and San Francisco are the top three in the U.S.
Bike score “heat maps” for these cities and others were launched during May, which is National Bike Month in the U.S., and ahead of June’s Bike Month in Canada, according to the same release.
“Bicycling is a form of healthy, active transportation,” Michael Brauer, professor in UBC’s school of population and public health stated in the release. “We wanted to provide a user-friendly tool to gauge the bikeability of cities and neighbourhoods that would help planners identify areas that would benefit from additional infrastructure, while encouraging people to hop on a bike.”
Cycling rates in Canada and the U.S. are low in comparison to those of many European cities, according to Brauer. This disparity can be explained in part by differences in urban form and cycling infrastructure, the professor stated.
The release also credited Brauer with the following statement: “With rising gas prices, however, more North Americans are looking for more affordable ways to get around, particularly in neighborhoods with limited access to public transportation and where distances are too far to walk to work or shopping.”