PlacesForBikes complements the Bicycle Friendly America program run by the League of American Bicyclists. PlacesForBikes focuses on quickly building better bike infrastructure whereas the Bicycle Friendly America program looks at everything cities can and should be doing for bicycling. Both programs help cities improve their bicycling opportunities, and participation is highly encouraged.
The PlacesForBikes rating system:
The new PlacesForBikes Bicycle Network Analysis tool is one of the most exciting benefits of participating in PlacesForBikes city ratings. It measures the quality of the bike network in your town and analyzes the connections to key destinations.
Cities that are analyzed by this tool are better able to evaluate their networks and can download the analysis for further exploration in a GIS program such as ArcMap.
This network analysis is based on the bike facilities in OpenStreetMap. Having your bike network in OpenStreetMap can have numerous benefits; maximizing the usefulness of this network analysis and getting the best possible PlacesForBikes city rating are only two. Many cities do not yet have their full bike networks in OSM, so we encourage you to add them. Here is a guide to doing so. You can reach out to your local OSM, GIS, and/or academic communities for help.
Communities can participate in PlacesForBikes in five ways:
1. Community members, city staffers and city leaders–everyone–can complete the PlacesForBikes Community Survey. This annual survey assesses how people feel about biking in their city or town, and collects information about people’s favorite local places to ride.
2. Every city and town can designate one city staffer to complete the PlacesForBikes City Snapshot, which gathers and summarizes information on recent- and planned bike improvements. This list helps determine the city’s acceleration score, recognizing places doing the most work today to make bicycling better tomorrow.
3. City and town leaders can read (and share) the helpful advice found in our two PlacesForBikes guide books. Better Bicycling, Better Business: A Guide for Retailers offers advice to help grow riding (and business) in communities. The forthcoming City Leaders guide focuses on helping city leaders quickly develop better PlacesForBikes.
4. City and town leaders as well as those in the bicycle business can attend the annual PlacesForBikes conference. Everyone interested in better biking is welcome to attend, though we particularly encourage community delegations of three to five leaders to attend as teams to develop unified action plans for progress back home.
5. City, town and business leaders and individuals can work together to improve their community’s rating by supporting bold, rapid implementation of complete bicycle infrastructure networks.
Any community, regardless of size, can be a great place for bikes. Good data helps to measure progress and success. If you’d like your town to be rated, please complete the PlacesForBikes Community Survey in Fall 2018 and encourage everyone in your town to share their thoughts as well. Please also reach out to city or town staff to make sure they complete the City Snapshot. Every community that provides us with enough data will be rated!
Currently, the program is designed to rate cities and towns. If you live in an unincorporated or rural area, you can rate a nearby town by filling in the town name and a zip code within the town. In the comments section, feel free to provide information about riding where you live.
Although not representative, the survey provides valuable information about how people feel about biking in their cities/towns. These data are one of several inputs into the city rating system.
In the long term, we would like participating cities/town to field this survey using a sampling methodology that ensures we get a sample that represents all members of their communities. In the short-to-medium term, we ask everyone to share the survey as broadly as possible. The more data we get, the better we can tell the story of bicycling locally and nationally.
You can watch the Bike Business webinar from March 9, 2017 here:
Here is the City Leaders webinar from March 10, 2017: