- In November 2010, I wrote that Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minnesota, have a higher percentage of workers (16 and older) commuting to work by bicycle.
- Yesterday, I updated an article about how the frequency of women in Chicago bicycling to work is decreasing.
- Today, I started updating the November Minnesota article to include the 2007-2009 3-year estimates from the American Community Survey (which shows that bicycling to work is growing faster in Minneapolis than Chicago). View the rudimentary spreadsheet. Bottom line: MPLS jumped fromÂ 3.55% bike mode share toÂ 4.14% and Chicago only went from 1.04% to 1.13% (but again, only counting employed people!). Can we get some recession job statistics?
- Unemployment rate inÂ Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, MN-WI MSA isÂ 6.5%;Â Chicago-Joliet-Naperville, IL-IN-WI MSA isÂ 9.0%. See the table on Bureau of Labor Statistics.
But now I must pause and look at what I’m analyzing.
Someone pointed out in the comments on Chicago bicycling (and working) women that the sample size is low and the margin of error high meaning it’s hard to make accurate interpretations of the change in ridership from year to year. He suggested increasing the sample size.
Add this to the fact that the Census Bureau only collects data on trips to WORK and not everywhere else that people go daily. In this recession, fewer people are working. In fact, perhaps women lost their jobs more frequently than men. That could perhaps explain the drop in women bicycling to work. To increase the number of women bicycling to work, perhaps we just need to find more jobs for women. See points 3 and 4 above for evidence on the number of people who bicycle for transportation that we’re not counting.
After thinking these things over, my point is that gauging a city’s ridership basedÂ on Census Bureau home to work data is insufficient.
If these Phoenix bike riders aren’t going to work, they aren’t being counted.
To move from a bicycle subculture to a bicycle culture, we’ll need to know when we get there. We need a better picture on who is riding and for what purpose. CMAP rarely performs their household transportation survey (which gathers data on all trips on all modes and in many counties) and when they do, they don’t single out cities. In essence, Chicago doesn’t know where or why people are riding their bicycles (except for the limited and noisy information the Census or American Community Survey provides) – we have no good data!
Both New York City, New York, and Portland, Oregon, methodically perform bicycle counts annually. Both cities also count ridership on their bridges: Portland has at least 5 to count, NYC has over 10 (also called a screenline count). They can report how many people are riding bikes on the street, blind to their trip purpose and destination. It’s easy to note changes in ridership when you count all trips over work trips.