The Top 20 Most Bike-Friendly Cities According to the 2011 Copenhagenize Index

פורסם: 6 בנוב׳ 2011, 7:36 על ידי: Sustainability Org   [ עודכן 6 בנוב׳ 2011, 7:37 ]

Flickr/CC BY 3.0

Mikael Colville-Andersen, who many of you know as the man behind the Copenhagenize and Copenhagen Cycle Chic blogs, also runs Copenhagenize Consulting. They've just released a very cool index of the most bicycle-friendly cities around the world, ranking the top 20 based on a pretty exhaustive list of criteria. Despite having the word "Copenhagen" in its name, the overall winner for 2011 is Amsterdam with 54 out of 64 possible points (one of its bike parkings is pictured above).

Copenhagenize Index/Screen capture

To see the whole index, check out the official website: The Copenhagenize Index 2011. Each name in the list is clickable and has a short writeup.

If you're curious about the criteria that were used to rank the cities, that information is available here. Some of those are inherently subjective (perception of safety, social acceptance), but a well-defined point system made it as close to objective as possible. For example, social acceptance was on this scale:

0 points: Bicycle users have no social acceptance in the city and are regarded as complete outsiders. Very few people use their bicycles apart from on weekends for a bike ride.

1 point: There is some social acceptance but it is mainly focused on recreational cycling. Bicycles are still not accepted as feasible transport in cities. Still a lot of antagonism towards cyclists and the simplest of bike lanes or tracks generate public outcry.

2 points: Cyclists are not an uncommon sight on the streets. Motorists generally watch out for bicycles but the public doesn't always back infrastructure or traffic calming.

3 points: The onus is on drivers to watch out for cyclists and they are largely respectful of them. Bicycle infrastructure and facilities such as traffic lights for bicycles are accepted. There is limited public outcry when new lanes or tracks – or traffic calming

4 points: Drivers are accepting of cyclists in all situations, and most are cyclists themselves.

In general, having such an index (and updating it every year using comparable data) can only lead to good things. It's similar to how many NGOs rank corruption or ease of doing business. Nobody wants to be at the bottom of the list, and those that do well end up incorporating that into their self-image and don't want to fall behind. It's a great motivator -- a carrot and a stick at the same time!


Back to The Copenhagenize IndexCopenhagen Index Criteria
About The Copenhagenize Index

The Copenhagenize Index - Amsterdam
The Copenhagenize Index - Copenhagen
The Copenhagenize Index - Barcelona
The Copenhagenize Index - Tokyo
The Copenhagenize Index - Berlin
The Copenhagenize Index - Munich
The Copenhagenize Index - Paris
The Copenhagenize Index - Montreal
The Copenhagenize Index - Dublin
The Copenhagenize Index - Budapest
The Copenhagenize Index - Portland
The Copenhagenize Index - Guadalajara
The Copenhagenize Index - Hamburg
The Copenhagenize Index - Stockholm
The Copenhagenize Index - Helsinki
The Copenhagenize Index - London
The Copenhagenize Index - San Francisco
The Copenhagenize Index - Rio de Janeiro
The Copenhagenize Index - Vienna
The Copenhagenize Index - New York City

The Copenhagenize Index
Early in 2011 a discussion arose at Copenhagenize Consulting about what cities really are the best cities for urban cycling. Over a period of six months our team has gathered information and statistics and developed an index with which we could rate cities for bicycle friendliness. It was originally meant to be a tool for internal use in the company but after a period of time we realised that the index was perhaps worth releasing on the internet.

Developing the index has been time-consuming but rewarding. We would like to thank all of the people in our network who assisted with information and statistics. A wide range of individuals - politicians, advocates, traffic planners - have contributed to this inaugural index and we couldn't have done it without their help. The original concept was developed with a collaboration with James Schwartz of The Urban Country.

At the end of the day we rated over 80 major cities around the world. Ideally we would have liked to have included smaller cities but based on the time we were using on the index we narrowed it down to major cities. We know that smaller cities like Groningen, Netherlands or Malmö, Sweden would have fared extremely well, but we had to draw the line somewhere.

The smallest city to make the Top 20 list is Portland. We are aware that it doesn't technically fit into the major cities category, but we were curious to see how the USA's top cycling city would fare. Not to mention the fact that we'd never hear the end of it from Portlanders if we didn't include them.

The final list of the Top 20 bicycle friendly cities offers up some surprises. We thought we had a pretty clear idea of what the list would end up looking like but a number of cities ended up shining brighter, especially after awarding bonus points. The top two cities - Amsterdam and Copenhagen - will probably surprise noone but seeing results of the index we were surprised to see cities like Montreal, Guadalajara, Rio de Janeiro, New York City and Dublin ranking so well.

No city scored full marks but Amsterdam came close with 54 out of 64. If we look solely at the bonus points, however, Dublin rode off with 12 out of 12 while Paris and Barcelona scored 11 and Tokyo, Copenhagen and Amsterdam each harvested 10.

In the event of a draw, the city with the highest bonus point score is ranked higher. This determined the hierarchy among the cities of Budapest, Portland, Guadalajara and Hamburg while Helsinki and London were even on all scores, as were Rio de Janeiro and Vienna.


The Index
The Copenhagenize Index gives cities marks for their efforts - or lack thereof - towards reestablishing the bicycle as a feasible, accepted and practical form of transport.

Cities were given between 0 and 4 points in 13 different categories, with a potential for 12 bonus points awarded for particularly impressive efforts or results. In short, a maximum of 64 points could be awarded.

The 13 Categories

How is the city's (or region/country) advocacy NGO regarded and what level of influence does it have?
Rated from no organised advocacy to strong advocacy with political influence.

Bicycle Culture:
Has the bicycle reestablished itself as transport among regular citizens or only sub-cultures?
Rated from no bicycles on the urban landscape/only sporty cyclists to mainstream acceptance of the bicycle.

Bicycle Facilities:
Are there readily accessible bike racks, ramps on stairs, space allocated on trains and buses and well-designed wayfinding, etc?
Rated from no bicycle facilities available to widespread and innovative facilities.

Bicycle Infrastructure:
How does the city's bicycle infrastructure rate?
Rated from no infrastructure/cyclists relegated to using car lanes to high level of safe, separated cycle tracks.

Bike Share Programme:
Does the city have a comprehensive and well-used bike-sharing programme?
Rated from no bike share programme to comprehensive, high-usage programme.

Gender Split
What percentage of the city's cyclists are male and female?
Rated from overwhelming male to an even gender split or better.

Modal Share For Bicycles:
What percentage of modal share is made up by cyclists?
Rated from under 1% to over 25%.

Modal Share Increase Since 2006:
What has the increase in modal share been since 2006 - the year that urban cycling started to kick off?
Rated from under 1% to 5%+.

Perception of Safety:
Is the perception of safety of the cyclists in the city, reflected in helmet-wearing rates, positive or are cyclists riding scared due to helmet promotion and scare campaigns?
Rated from mandatory helmet laws with constant promotion of helmets to low helmet-usage rate.

What is the political climate regarding urban cycling?
Rated from the bicycle being non-existent on a political level to active political involvement.

Social Acceptance:
How do drivers and the community at large regard urban cyclists?
Rated from no social acceptance to widespread social acceptance.

Urban Planning:
How much emphasis do the city's planners place on bicycle infrastructure - and are they well-informed about international best practice?
Rated from car-centric urban planners to planners who think bicycle - and pedestrian - first.

Traffic Calming:
What efforts have been made to lower speed limits in and generally calm traffic in order to provide greater safety to pedestrians and cyclists?
Rated from none at all to extensive traffic-calming measures prioritising cyclists and pedestrians in the traffic hierarchy.

© Copenhagenize 2011