World Transport, Policy & Practice Volume 18.2 April 2012

Posted by Content Coordinator on Monday, April 23rd, 2012


World Transport, Policy & Practice

World Transport Policy & Practice is a quarterly journal which provides a high quality medium for original and creative work in world transport.

WTPP has a philosophy based on the equal importance of academic rigour and a strong commitment to ideas, policies and practical initiatives that will bring about a reduction in global dependency on cars, lorries and aircraft.

WTPP has a commitment to sustainable transport which embraces the urgent need to cut global emissions of carbon dioxide, to reduce the amount of new infrastructure of all kinds and to highlight the importance of future generations, the poor, those who live in degraded environments and those deprived of human rights by planning systems that put a higher importance on economic objectives than on the environment and social justice.

WTPP embraces a different approach to science and through science to publishing. This view is based on an honest evaluation of the track record of transport planning, engineering and economics. All too often, these interrelated disciplines have embraced quantitative, elitist or mechanistic views of society, space and infrastructure and have eliminated people from the analysis.

To help it to reach a wide readership, encompassing advocates and activists as well as academics and advisers, WTPP is available free of charge as PDF files on the internet.

Cycling Trends and Policies in the Washington, DC Region


Encouraging more bicycling in U.S. metropolitan areas may help alleviate peak hour congestion on roadways and public transport. More daily bicycling can also help reduce CO2 emissions, local air pollution, oil dependence, and provide health enhancing physical activity as part of the daily routine. For the last 20 years, cycling levels have been increasing in U.S. cities. However, growth in cycling varies widely across and within jurisdictions. Most prior studies on cycling in large cities exclude adjoining suburban jurisdictions. This analysis comprises urban core and inner suburban jurisdictions of the Washington, DC area1 to capture cycling levels beyond the municipal boundaries of Washington, DC. The goal is to gain a better understanding of variability and determinants of cycling within one metropolitan area – controlling for interregional variability. Data for this analysis originate from the Metropolitan Washington Council of Government (MWCOG) Household Travel Survey 2007/2008, the U.S. Census Bureau, and information obtained directly from local bicycling experts. The first part of this article introduces the Washington, DC metropolitan area and describes trends in cycling levels, cyclist demographics, and cyclist safety in Washington, DC and the adjoining jurisdictions of Alexandria City (VA), Arlington County (VA), Fairfax County (VA), Montgomery County (MD), and Prince George‘s County (MD). The article then provides an in-depth comparison of historical trends and differences in bicycle planning, bicycle infrastructure, and programs across jurisdictions in the region.

Cycling in the Washington, DC Region

The Study Area: The Washington, DC Region:
Table 1 provides an overview of socioeconomic and spatial characteristics of the study area. The urban core of the region includes Washington and the two Virginia jurisdictions of Arlington County, and Alexandria City on the western bank of the Potomac Suburban jurisdictions included in this study are Fairfax County in Virginia and Montgomery and Prince George‘s Counties in Maryland bordering Washington to the north and east respectively (for map see Figure 3 below). Together the urban core and inner suburban jurisdictions comprise 3.8 million inhabitants.

Median household incomes in the region are higher than the national average of $50,000. Even Prince George‘s County—the least wealthy jurisdiction in this study—had a median household income that was 40% higher than the national average2. However, higher household incomes in the Washington area are partially offset by 40% higher costs of living compared to the national average for urban areas. With the exception of Arlington County, area jurisdictions have higher shares of minority populations than the national average of 29%. Washington and Prince George‘s County are majority African American (53% and 64%, respectively). Table 1 also lists population density, share of households without cars, percentage of university and college students in the population, and Metrorail stations per inhabitant for each jurisdiction, since these variables are significant predictors of bicycling and bike commuting. Higher population density is related to more cycling, because shorter distances between origins and destinations result in trips that are easily covered by bicycle. Washington, Arlington, and Alexandria have three to four times greater population densities than suburban Fairfax, Montgomery, and Prince George‘s County.

Table 1: Socio-demographic and spatial characteristics of Washington, DC and adjacent jurisdictions.

Figure 1: Trend in bike share of all trips and share of commute trips by bicycle in Washington, DC and adjacent jurisdictions, 1994-2008.


Read full report (PDF) here: World Transport, Policy & Practice Volume 18.2 April 2012

About Eco-Logica Ltd
“Eco-Logica Ltd was established in 1993 and since that date has worked with both public and private sector clients, the European Commission, NGOs and community organisations. Eco-Logica consists of a small group of people with broadly based experience in transport, urban and rural planning, environmental management, sustainable development and the practical implementation of high environmental standards in strategic and sectorally-specific policy areas. We have a particularly strong interest in transport policy and practice, international experience in this area and benchmarking.”

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