New research suggests an increase in bicycle commuting in cities is directly tied to more bicycle infrastructure.

Researchers at the University of North Carolina followed bike commuting across Minneapolis over a 10-year period and recently found—not surprisingly—bicycle commuting saw its biggest increase among people living near a city path called the Midtown Greenway, which opened in 2000. This led StreetsBlog toward the likely conclusion: If you build it, they will bike.

“Recently released Census Bureau data show that the number of people commuting by bike has increased by 60% over the past decade – but until now, the increase has not been closely tied to a supportive city infrastructure,” said senior study author Penny Gordon-Larsen, PhD, TOS Vice President and Professor of Nutrition at the University of North Carolina.

The data show that people living within three miles of the path increased 89 percent over the 10-year period—from 1.8 percent for 3.4 percent. Among people living between 3-6 miles of the path, bicycle commuting rose from 1.2 percent to 1.8 percent: a 50 percent increase.

“These data are supportive, but not proof, that a commitment to urban cycling infrastructure can increase active commuting by bicycle,” added Gordon-Larsen.

Interested in better bicycle infrastructure coming to Philadelphia? Check out our Better Mobility 2015 platform, which we’ll be presenting to the next set of Philadelphia mayoral candidates. We’re taking suggestions and comments until Friday, Nov. 21. So, if you’ve got the time, take a look at the report, and send an email to, or tweet us at @bcgp using the hashtag #BetterMobility2015.

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