A San Francisco Case Study: What Bicycle Investments Have the Greatest Influence on Where People Ride?

Bicycling is on the rise in many cities in part owing to substantial public investment in bicycle infrastructure. However, concerns over road safety continue to impede bicycling, suggesting a need for continued investments. But on what roads should improvements be made, and what types of facilities should be built to most benefit bicyclists?

To better understand the link between how new bicycle infrastructure influences the routes that bicyclists choose, researchers analyzed bicyclists’ route choice before and after a 45% increase in bike lanes and 178% increase in sharrows (among other bicycle investments) in the City of San Francisco. San Francisco is an informative setting due to having a unique confluence of events, where rapid investment in bicycling infrastructure coincided with novel bicyclist route measurements through the smartphone app CycleTracks and a survey of CycleTracks users.