2014 Bike Month by the numbers

 

While you’ve been riding around town this summer, Cascade has been crunching the numbers from the 2014 Adobe Commute Challenge presented by F5. We studied the rich Commute Challenge dataset to learn about possible bike commuting habits in the Puget Sound, and we want to share our findings with you. Read on for a recap of overall Bike Month statistics as well as some in-depth data analysis of Bike Month ridership.

 

Congratulations and great job to all Commute Challenge participants!

 

If you’d like to help us improve the Challenge and share your feedback, please fill out our short survey. Thank you!

 

Overall Commute Challenge statistics

Once again, participation in the Adobe Commute Challenge presented by F5 increased by leaps and bounds, and we saw a 10% jump in ridership from 2013. In May 2014, more than 16,000 new and veteran riders took to the streets and celebrated National Bike Month by going everywhere on two wheels. Of those 16,000, almost 2,400 (15%) tried bike commuting for the first time, and the average commute rate was a whopping 40% -- meaning that participants made almost half of their commute trips by bike!

Imagine if those folks made half their trips by bike year-round: decreased traffic and parking congestion, healthier (and happier!) population, more vibrant local economies, and more livable neighborhoods.


Rider demographics

 

Total 2014 Commute Challenge riders

16,186  (10% increase from 2013)

Riders actively logging trips throughout the month

81%

New commuters

2,376 new riders (15% of total participants)

Proportion of female riders

36%

Average participant age

38 years old

Average age of male participants

39 years old

Average age of female participants

35 years old

Number of teams

1926 teams

Miles, trips, commute rate, etc.

 

Total miles logged

1,702,401 miles

Total trips logged

125,854 trips

Average miles per rider

128 miles per rider

Average trips per rider

9.5 trips per rider

Average commute rate

40% among 16,000 participants, 49% among participants who logged trips throughout the month

Average commute rate among men (who logged trips throughout the month)

51% commute rate

Average commute rate among women (who logged trips throughout the month)

44% commute rate

Miscellany

 

Pounds of CO2 emissions prevented by not driving

1,732,040 lbs. CO2

Calories burned (approximate)

86,602,010 Calories

May 2014 Fremont Bike Counter counts

118,644 riders (9% increase from May 2013)

Bike to Work Day presented by F5 counts (May 16, 2014)

15,000-17,000 riders

Number of Bike to Work Day commuter stations

96 (up from 80 in 2013)

Endorphins produced, enjoyed

Incalculable

The Commute Challenge is a competition after all, and riders, teams, and organizations achieved some some truly impressive feats. You can find our write-up of 2014 individual, team, and organization awards here.

 

If you’d like to compare 2013 results and awards, check out last year’s awards blog post here.

 

 

Daily trips and miles logged during the 2014 Adobe Commute Challenge presented by F5

For the data wonks out there, here is a graph of trip logging activity throughout the month. It looks like Tuesdays and Wednesdays were big commuting days. Riders logged the most trips and miles on Tuesday, May 13, with nearly 100,000 miles and over 7,000 trips logged.

Graph of daily miles/trips logged in the 2014 Commute Challenge

(Source: Cascade Bicycle Club)

 

Data analysis: what can we learn about Puget Sound bike commuting habits from Bike Month?

The Commute Challenge is a bike statistician’s dream, since the program is essentially a monthlong survey of bike commuting habits.* We wanted to find out how and where Puget Sound folks are riding during Bike Month, which might reveal clues about relative year round commuting patterns. We created some simple maps of rider data to help answer the questions below about where and how Puget Sounders commute by bike.

 

*Disclaimer: We realize Commute Challenge participant data is not an exact representation of all bike commuters. Not everyone who bike commutes participates in the Challenge, not everyone who bikes during May bikes year round, and it is not possible to verify user input to the Commute Challenge website.

 

(Tip: To view or hide different layers, click the checkbox next to each layer)

 

1. Where are Commute Challenge participants? Who are we reaching well and where do we need to do more outreach?  (Click the ‘Number of riders’ layer on Map #1)

Observations: Major biking destinations include: downtown/central/north Seattle, downtown Bellevue, Redmond, Boeing Renton/Everett/Tukwila worksites, and Kent. It’s likely that large employers (Boeing, Starbucks, Expedia, Microsoft, REI) and a high density of employers in downtown Seattle and Bellevue are responsible for the high numbers of commuters arriving here daily. Some might also conclude that this map indicates where demand is highest for comfortable on-street facilities and end-of-trip amenities (e.g. covered and secure bike parking, lockers, and showers), since many people bike here. By the way, Cascade can help you make your workplace more bike-friendly. Email MaryC@cascadebicycleclub.org for more info.

 

 

2. Where are commute rates highest? In other words, to what destinations do people commute most often? (Click the ‘Average commute rate’ layer on Map #1)

 

Observations: The destination maps, reveal that people are likely, during Bike Month, at least, to commute most often to downtown Seattle, Fremont, SODO, South Lake Union, downtown Bellevue. This makes sense considering the high density of workplaces in these areas, and the fact that high parking costs,  traffic congestion, and density of bike infrastructure makes bicycling an attractive option.

 

3. In what areas are commuters most and least likely to start commuting? To begin to answer this, we created a map of density of new commuters.

(Click the ‘Number of new riders’ layer on Map #1)

 

Observations: Not all zipcodes had new commuters. Among those that did, the highest number of newbies were in downtown Seattle, SODO, downtown Bellevue, and Northeast Seattle. I attribute this to sheer number of people biking to major employment centers downtown, but also to incredible efforts of employers like Seattle Children’s, who offer incentives to employees who bike.

 

4. Where do women represent the highest and lowest percent of bike commuters? (View the geographic distribution of women commuters on a separate map here.)

 

Observations: Gender disparities were particularly high in Southeast Seattle, Redmond, and Lynnwood; while the gender split was slightly more even in North Seattle, West Seattle, downtown Everett, downtown Bellevue, Burien and Kirkland. Bear in mind, the average proportion of women bike commuters in Washington state is around 20%--one of the lowest in the country--and ~29% in Seattle. Not all participants identified gender, but of those that did, 36% were women.

 

Quite a few zipcodes had (gasp!) no women biking there. Let’s do something about that! Invite your female coworker, friend, or family member out for a ride around town, and get her hooked on two-wheels. Share with them Cascade’s awesome resources here for women interested in bicycling.

 

5. Are more people commuting by bike in the Puget Sound than before?



The short answer: maybe probably! Fremont Bike Counter monthly counts increased 9% between May 2014 and May 2013. You can read Seattle Bike Blog’s in-depth four part bike counter statistical analysis here.

Fremont Bike Counter monthly counts, May 2013 vs. May 2014

(Source: Seattle DOT.)

Takeaways

 

The limitations of Commute Challenge rider data --self-selected, May-only information-- make it difficult to draw definitive conclusions about year-round bike commuting patterns in the Puget Sound, but this data does reveal a pretty clear picture of where people are biking during Bike Month, how often people bike, and where newbies are likely to start commuting.

 

The gender split map shows us clearly where our opportunity to narrow the gender gap lie, and can help guide our outreach efforts so that the bicycling community is more inclusive. Cascade’s goal during Bike Month and beyond is to grow the bicycling community so that the demographics of people who ride more closely reflect the demographics of communities we hope to serve. This data, and the trends I observe on it are exciting and inspiring.

 

I can’t wait to compare these results in Bike Month 2015!

 

Thank you to all Commute Challenge participants, and keep pedaling!

 
 
Mary Collins
Mary.Collins's picture