What are City Ratings? Created by PeopleForBikes, the nation’s largest bike advocacy organization, the PlacesForBikes City Ratings system sets a new standard in defining and measuring great places for biking. Our system:
- Is data-driven. We combine publicly available information and newly developed data sources to measure critical components of a community’s progress.
- Rewards rapid progress. We recognize hardworking cities that are implementing quick-building techniques to improve biking in their city.
- Incorporates all types of biking. By focusing on both transportation and recreation riding, we show a complete picture of how bikes fit into a given community.
- Includes cities of all sizes. We can evaluate any city while also normalizing scores so that communities of different sizes can be compared to one another.
- Uses global standards as the benchmarks of success. American cities can learn a great deal from their international peers when it comes to city design for biking + increasing participation.
- Transparent and available to everyone. All details about the formulas and calculations, as well as the actual data used are available to the public.
What does it mean for a city to earn a star? Earning a star is no easy feat! Evaluated against global standards of excellence, the PlacesForBikes City Ratings assess bicycling’s current status and future potential based on five factors: Ridership, Safety, Network, Acceleration, and Reach. To earn a star, cities must demonstrate significant progress toward achieving those benchmarks. Because scoring is based on many dynamic data sources, a city’s score can change year-to-year. Earning recognition one year doesn’t guarantee the same level of recognition the following year. It is incumbent on cities to keep working to improve bicycling.
Do you have the ability to rate international cities? Yes. Because the City Ratings are data driven, we have the ability to rate any city in the world where we have access to multiple, comparable data sources.
How long until this score is updated again? The City Ratings will be updated once per year—typically mid-year. We conduct several data collection efforts throughout the year to prepare for each year’s ratings. We plan to present updated scores each year at our PlacesForBikes Conference.
How are the PlacesForBikes City Ratings different than the Bicycle Friendly America program? Our City Ratings complement the Bicycle Friendly America program run by the League of American Bicyclists. Our City Ratings are an annual snapshot of the work a city or town does to improve biking conditions with a focus on the outputs, or results, of a community’s efforts. Bicycle Friendly America takes a much broader approach by evaluating everything cities can and should be doing for bicycling—including establishing policies and programs that set the stage for success. Both programs help cities improve their bicycling, and participation in both is highly encouraged.
What is the PlacesForBikes program? PlacesForBikes is a PeopleForBikes program to develop, connect and celebrate great places to ride. We aim to accelerate local innovations that make communities better for everyone through:
- A City Ratings system. An innovative data-driven system to set and reward a new standard for great places for biking in the U.S.
- The Big Jump Project. An in-depth focus on 10 promising U.S. cities connecting them with the world’s best ideas and resources for quickly building complete bike networks.
- An annual PlacesForBikes conference. Convening hundreds of local leaders and bike industry representatives from across the U.S., this conference gives attendees the tools, ideas and strategies to achieve broader community goals through biking.
- Guidebooks for City Leaders + Retailers. We have created specific resources for City Leaders and Retailers with ideas and expertise that enables them to implement rapid changes for bikes.
The PlacesForBikes program is supported by a generous grant from the Trek Bicycle Corporation as well as contributions from other bike businesses, foundations and individuals.
What is PeopleForBikes? Launched in 1999 as Bikes Belong, PeopleForBikes is a U.S.-based nonprofit organization that works to get more people riding bikes more often and make bicycling better for everyone across the U.S. We accomplish our goals in three ways:
- Supporting communities as they quickly build better places for bikes.
- Working at the federal, state and local level to advance bike project funding and pro-bike policies.
- Promoting the many benefits of bicycling and inspiring people to ride.
We’re 1.3 million supporters and growing…join us!