One of the reasons I developed my own bike friendly city ranking system was to provide a better measurement when comparing cities. Since the League of American Bicyclists (LAB) uses a nominal ranking (Platinum, Silver, Gold, Bronze), the difference in bike friendliness between cities of the same rank may be small or great. A numerical scoring system on a predictable and familiar scale will better highlight the distance of one city to another on achieve that city’s level of bike friendliness.
I created a method that would compare my ranking to LAB’s ranking and that was to find the variance (which isn’t the same as range) in scores in my ranking for each nominal level in LAB’s ranking. Platinum cities had a very high variance and Bronze cities had the lowest variance. Gold and Silver had swapped positions: Gold cities had a lower variance than Silver cities.
The beauty with creating your own bike friendly measurement system is that you can make the outcome order whatever you want.
In the days since, I’ve developed another bike friendliness measurement system, one that’s easier to understand, whose rankings are still relative to other cities, and that can be weighted. (I’m emphasizing the bike commute mode share.) It uses percentile scoring so all scores are positive but still based on the distribution of values. I’ve listed the scores for Method 1 (which uses a normalizing function based on mean and standard deviation) and Method 2 below.
League of American Bicyclists ranking
Method 1, standardize score
Method 2, percentile score
About Steven Can Plan
I started this blog in 2007 as the writing assignment for an introductory urban planning class at UIC. It's about cities (mainly Chicago), GIS oftentimes, and transportation (mainly bicycling). Learn more about me, Steven Vance. I also write for Streetsblog Chicago.
Steven Can Plan is hosted on Dreamhost.
Chicago Bike Map App
The Chicago Bike Map app is a bike and street map stored entirely in your iOS device – no data connection required. The map is designed to look much like the City of Chicago's official printed and online bike map. The app works on iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad.
Highly Recommended Bike Products
These folding locks are lighter weight and more versatile than an equally strong u-lock.
So far I haven't had a flat with this tire. I've used Continental Gatorskin and Panaracer T-Serv, both of which have had flats (same Chicago streets). The Gatorskin has less tread than both, and wears to a slick surface faster.
Bells can be quite useful, especially to tell people in front that you're passing them. I like the ding-dong bell the best. It makes a solid DING and then DONG on the spring's return.
Joyride: Pedaling Toward A Healthier Planet by Mia Birk, With Joe (Metal Cowboy) Kurmaskie, Joe Kurmaskie, Jim Moore
I met Mia Birk in October 2011.
Making Maps: A Visual Guide to Map Design for GIS by John Krygier PhD, Denis Wood PhD
If you are going to make a map, whether it be hand drawn or digital, you should really give this book a read. Then read it every time you make a map. It will help make sure your maps are laid out sensibly, in a way that others can easily read, and that it doesn't include fluff or unnecessary data.
Traffic: Why We Drive the Way We Do (and What It Says About Us) by Tom Vanderbilt
As someone who doesn't like driving, but believes that cars can be efficient in moving groups of people and goods, this is my favorite book.