Category Archives: Biking

Bike to Work Day: Progress in Minnesota by Miles to Go

Greg Lindsey writes about: Bike to Work Day: Progress in Minnesota by Miles to Go

But we only need look across municipal boundaries to know we had better put more energy into encouraging bicycling than into celebration. Bicycle commute rates in St. Paul remain below 2% less than half the Minneapolis rate, and rates in most suburban, exurban, and rural communities remain even lower. And the story remains essentially the same for all types of bicycle trips. Jessi Schoner, a doctoral candidate in the Department of Civil Engineering, is analyzing non-motorized mode shares for all trips recorded the Metropolitan Council’s recent Travel Behavior Inventory. Her analyses show that bicycling remains an urban phenomenon, with the share of all trips taken by bicycling highest in Minneapolis, followed by St. Paul, and then suburban and outlying communities. Why is this so? Better infrastructure no doubt is part of the reason, but there likely are other reasons, including housing patterns, access to employment, socio-demographic factors, and culture. Additional research is needed.

One day of the Divvy bicycle-share system

Published on Mar 6, 2014
This video (best watched in high-definition (HD 720p)) shows all the bicycle trips made in one day in Chicago’s Divvy bicycle-share system, 2013. Each circle represents a Divvy bicycle station. Larger circles indicate a greater number of trips beginning and ending at that station. The color of the circle indicates the proportion of trip arrivals and departures: yellow means more arrivals, pink means more departures, and white means an equal mix of both. Watch the pattern of colors in the morning rush hour.

The number of arrivals and departures at each station was calculated for every five-minute interval of the day and was averaged over the number of days that the station was active in 2013.

This video was produced by Colin J Stewart (, an urban-planning graduate student at Transportation Research at McGill (TRAM: Check out my previous video of Montreal’s public transit system:…

The music in this video (“The Koto Chill”) was written by Zircon ( If you like this track, check out his other work.

Data was provided by Divvy Bikes ( as part of their 2014 data challenge. Big thanks to Divvy!

Which Station? Access Trips and Bike Share Route Choice


Recent working paper:

Bike share systems are an emerging technology in the United States and worldwide, but little is known about how people integrate bike share trip segments into their daily travel. Through this research, we attempt to fill this knowledge gap by studying how people navigate from place to place using the Nice Ride Minnesota bike share system in Minneapolis and St. Paul. We develop a theoretical model for bike share station choice inspired by research on transit route choice literature. We then model people’s choice of origin station using a conditional logit model to evaluate their sensitivity to time spent walking, deviation from the shortest path, and a set of station amenity and neighborhood control variables. As expected, people prefer to use stations that do not require long detours out of the way to access. However, commuters and non-work travelers differ in how they value the walking portion of their trip, and what station amenities and neighborhood features increase a station’s utility. The results from this study will be important for planners who need a better understanding of bike share user behavior in order to design or optimize their system. The findings also provide a strong foundation for future study about comprehensive route choice analysis of this new bicycling technology.

Catalysts And Magnets: Built Environment Effects On Bicycle Commuting


Recent working paper:

What effects do bicycle infrastructure and the built environment have on people’s decisions to commute by bicycle? While many studies have considered this question, commonly employed methodologies fail to address the unique statistical challenge of modeling such a low mode share. Additionally, self-selection effects that are not adequately accounted for may lead to overestimation of built environment impacts. This study addresses these two key issues by using a zero-inflated negative binomial model to jointly estimate participation in and frequency of commuting by bicycle, controlling for demographics, residential preferences, and travel attitudes. The findings suggest a strong self selection effect and modest contributions of bicycle accessibility: that bicycle lanes act as “magnets” to attract bicyclists to a neighborhood, rather than being the “catalyst” that encourages non-bikers to shift modes. The results have implications for planners and policymakers attempting to increase bicycling mode share via the strategic infrastructure development.

This is based on Jessica Schoner’s Master’s Thesis.

4 wheels bad, 1 wheel good (From the vehicles have too many wheels, Dpt.)

A picture of the Ryno is to the right. (I have yet to see one in the wild). It is self-balancing, and so the Segway of mobility scooters/motorcycles. As they say, don’t let the road get in the way of your life. It is limited to 12.5 mph, and so one may ask, how is this better than a bicycle? Well if you don’t want to pedal. … How is this better than Segway? Well if you don’t want to stand, and somehow it looks cooler.

A page devoted to vehicles with only one wheel is here: Motorwheels monowheels They are not all of the unicycle variety.

Nice Ride – Gateway Bikes?

Jessica Schoner @ Network Distance on the perception of Nice Ride as Gateway Bikes? :

“One thing that I found difficult to swallow is how many different people quoted in the article think of Nice Riders as non-serious bicyclists.”

I am glad the drugs metaphor is being extended from automobiles (automobile dependence) to bicycles (gateway bikes).

Minnesota Nice

A nice write-up of NiceRide in the MnDaily by Jessica Lee, quoting Nexus researcher and MURP/CE graduate student Jessica Schoner and blogger and Geography graduate student Bill Lindeke:

Study finds Nice Ride boosts biz:

“Nice Ride planners also look at the area’s accessibility to recreational bike routes and the area’s population density.
‘The study definitely showed a positive relationship between the number of trips to the station and the number of food-related businesses nearby,’ said Jessica Schoner, the chief author of the report and a University graduate student. ‘The proximity of food-related businesses was a really good predictor of how well the station was doing.’
As of late August 2012, the IDS Center downtown and the station at St. Anthony Main were the two most popular kiosks with a combined 13,000 rentals, according to a Nice Ride report.
Nice Ride estimated 2012 was the best year yet with 275,000 rentals.
Two stations on the University campus were ranked in the top-10 most popular in 2011, according to the study. Dosset said he works ‘really closely with the University’s transportation department to select the locations that would be best.’
Schoner said the Nice Ride season of April through November is almost opposite of the academic school year and that affects the research.
‘I think if we were to look at the system at a finer level, maybe by month, we would see the [University] having a much bigger impact in terms of their overall usage,’ Schoner said.
Alexander Matson, economics senior and president of the University’s Cycling Team, said the Nice Ride bikes ‘have provided a topic of conversation here at the U.’
‘They are a much easier way to bike rather than having to worry about the logistics of riding or the stress of possible theft,’ Matson said. ‘I don’t know many hardcore cyclists that use the Nice Rides, but they definitely raise awareness and get people on bikes.’
Accounting senior Charles Kranz, another member of the cycling team, said that Nice Ride bikes ‘serve their purpose,’ but he thinks it’s better to own a bike.
‘I see them getting used around campus and throughout the Twin Cities a good amount,’ Kranz said. ‘In my opinion, people who are serious about biking will probably just buy their own bike for getting to class and stuff.’
Geography doctoral candidate Bill Lindeke agreed, saying that Nice Ride bikes are ‘starter bikes’ for people who are uneasy about tackling the city’s busy traffic and complicated routes.
‘One of the big barriers people have about riding a bicycle around the city is it’s scary; it’s intimidating,’ Lindeke said. ‘You see people wearing all this equipment, and you don’t really understand the bicycle
Lindeke specializes in non-motorized transportation. For his research, he interviewed people riding the Nice Ride bikes and talked to planners from the system as part of his study on bicycle advocacy that began last spring.
‘People I’ve been talking to see them as gateway bicycles,’ Lindeke said, ‘like that whole idea of a gateway drug. You start with these.’”

Linklist: May 31, 2012

KurzweilAI shows the press release from Volvo: Volvo’s autonomous cars travel 124 miles in Spain in ‘road train’

[This is interesting technology, I am glad they got it to work technically. I still want and expect autonomous robot cars.]

A podcast makes today’s Linklist: Horace Dediu on The Critical Path #40: Awaiting the Big Bang:

“This week, Horace follows up on his discussion of automobiles and road infrastructure by talking about how road networks were rebuilt in European countries to accommodate cycling. That leads to hints about the challenge of re-building energy infrastructure to support new power train technologies. Finally He and Dan also analyze comments made by Tim Cook at the recent D10 conference about Apple TV and disruption of the entertainment industry.”

Colin Harris @ Open Streets 2012 is Back:

“Following the inaugural Open Streets Minneapolis event in June of 2011, Minneapolis residents will have another opportunity to explore and enjoy their neighborhood streets without the presence of motorized traffic on June 10th, 2012.  Open Streets events (based on the Ciclovía from Bogotá, Colombia) bring together families and neighbors to bike, walk, socialize, play and shop in their communities in a safe, car-free environment.”

Linklist: May 22, 2012

NYT: Big Data Troves Stay Forbidden:

” In the future, he said, the conference should not accept papers from authors who did not make their data public. He was greeted by applause from the audience.
In February, Dr. Huberman had published a letter in the journal Nature warning that privately held data was threatening the very basis of scientific research. ‘If another set of data does not validate results obtained with private data,’ he asked, ‘how do we know if it is because they are not universal or the authors made a mistake?’”

In the “be careful what you wish for department” … NYT: George Lucas’s Plans in Marin:

“But after spending years and millions of dollars, Mr. Lucas abruptly canceled plans recently for the third, and most likely last, major expansion, citing community opposition. An emotional statement posted online said Lucasfilm would build instead in a place ‘that sees us as a creative asset, not as an evil empire.’
If the announcement took Marin by surprise, it was nothing compared with what came next. Mr. Lucas said he would sell the land to a developer to bring ‘low income housing’ here.”

TOLLROADSnews: Traffic congestion dropped off 30% in 2011 INRIX says – weak economy, higher gas prices :

“2011 saw a dramatic drop in traffic congestion in the US – 30% fewer hours wasted in congested traffic according to INRIX, the nation’s leading provider of traffic data. The 2011 improvement is only outmatched in the years since INRIX has been measuring congestion by the financial crisis year of 2008, when congestion dropped 34%. In 2009 congestion was up 1% and 2010 saw a 10% regrowth of congestion.

[I call 'Bullshit'. There may have been a methodological problem they are calling a trend.]

Wired: SpaceX In Orbit – Successful Launch of Falcon 9 Rocket :

“CAPE CANAVERAL, Florida — The second time’s the charm for SpaceX. This morning at 3:44 a.m. EDT the company’s Falcon 9 rocket lifted off Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral. After a faulty valve led to an aborted launch on Saturday, today’s successful flight marks the third of the Falcon 9 rocket, the second flight of the Dragon capsule, and the first flight for a commercial spacecraft bound for the International Space Station (ISS).”

Kottke: Douche parking: “I can’t tell if the app featured in this video is imaginary or not, but it’s a great theoretical solution to the problem of douche parking. Douche parking is basically parking like a douche, and is way more prevalent in Russia than in the US. The Village feels publicly shaming is the best way to deal with douches. Unfortunately, one trait of douches is an inability to be shamed.”

Matt Kahn @ Environmental and Urban Economics: New UCLA Research Suggests that Men Should Not Bike:

“A study by researchers at the UCLA School of Nursing has found that serious male cyclists may experience hormonal imbalances that could affect their reproductive health. “