Let’s have a look at the Copenhagenize Index for Bicycle Friendly Cities

Copenhagenize Index byble freinldy cities 2013In the context of our search for creating a method for reliably and usefully benchmarking the sustainable transport performance of cities around the world – see https://worldstreets.wordpress.com/tag/benchmarking/ for first background – we would like to address our readers’ attention to the Copenhagenize Index for Bicycle Friendly Cities. In this short article you will find background information and reference on how they carry it out, as well as links to their results and conclusions.

We intend to continue to seek out and report on important benchmarking projects that can help us in our own thinking and efforts to create a more general approach to understanding city performance in the face of the tough challenges of sustainable transport, sustainable cities and sustainable lives. In addition to performance indicators for city cycling we are inventorying the state of the art  in such areas as walking, public transport performance, parking, car restraint, mobility for specific underserved groups, shared transport, etc. Stay tuned.

 Let’s have a look at the Copenhagenize Index for Bicycle Friendly Cities

Source: Mikael Colville-Anderson and  http://copenhagenize.eu/index/

About the Index 

The Copenhagenize Index gives cities marks for their efforts towards reestablishing the bicycle as a feasible, accepted and practical form of transport. The interest in taking the bicycle seriously as transport once again continues unabated around the world. Every city used to be bicycle friendly before planners and engineers started to change the paradigm and plan for cars and relegate bicycle users, pedestrians and public transport users to third class citizens. Now those cities around the world who are taking up the challenge and modernising themselves by implementing bicycle infrastructure, policy, bike share systems, etc. – as well as restricting car use – are the cities we all look to for New Century inspiration.

Cities were given between 0 and 4 points in 13 different categories. In addition, there was a potential for a maximum of 12 bonus points awarded for particularly impressive efforts or results. In short, a maximum of 64 points could be awarded. Then we translate the number to a number out of 100.

The 13 parameters are effective at determining the bicycle friendliness of any given city, showing what’s in place at the time of ranking. The bonus points allow us highlight extra efforts that are difficult to see in the parameters. For example, a city may score down the middle on politics because the mayor and other politicians are promising infrastructure. Bonus points can assist in determining the level of the political will and the scope of the proposed work. Once the infrastructure starts being built, the city will score higher in Infrastructure next time around.

One example for the purpose of illustration is Antwerp, Belgium. The politicians who won the 2006 municipal elections promised 100 km of cycle tracks, which would give some bonus points. They actually delivered on the promise leading up to the 2012 elections, which is also cause for allocation of bonus points, including a higher base score for infrastructure.

The amazing help we received from over 400 people around the world who helped us rank the cities has been instrumental in providing an even more clear and precise ranking.


Criteria: The 13 Categories

Advocacy: How is the city’s (or region/country) advocacy NGO(s) regarded and what level of influence does it have? Rated from no organised advocacy to strong advocacy with political influence.

Bicycle Culture: Has the bicycle reestablished itself as transport among regular citizens or only sub-cultures? Rated from no bicycles on the urban landscape/only sporty cyclists to mainstream acceptance of the bicycle.

Bicycle Facilities: Are there readily accessible bike racks, ramps on stairs, space allocated on trains and buses and well-designed wayfinding, etc? Rated from no bicycle facilities available to widespread and innovative facilities.

Bicycle Infrastructure: How does the city’s bicycle infrastructure rate? Rated from no infrastructure/cyclists relegated to using car lanes to high level of safe, separated cycle tracks.

Bike Share Programme: Does the city have a comprehensive and well-used bike-sharing programme? Rated from no bike share programme to comprehensive, high-usage programme.

Gender Split What percentage of the city’s cyclists are male and female? Rated from overwhelming male to an even gender split or more women than men cycling.

Modal Share For Bicycles: What percentage of modal share is made up by cyclists? Rated from under 1% to over 25%.

Modal Share Increase Since 2006: What has the increase in modal share been since 2006 – the year that urban cycling started to kick off? Rated from under 1% to 5%+.

Perception of Safety: Is the perception of safety of the cyclists in the city, reflected in helmet-wearing rates, positive or are cyclists riding scared due to helmet promotion and scare campaigns? Rated from mandatory helmet laws with constant promotion of helmets to low helmet-usage rate.

Politics: What is the political climate regarding urban cycling? Rated from the bicycle being non-existent on a political level to active and passionate political involvement.

Social Acceptance: How do drivers and the community at large regard urban cyclists? Rated from no social acceptance to widespread social acceptance.

Urban Planning: How much emphasis do the city’s planners place on bicycle infrastructure – and are they well-informed about international best practice? Rated from car-centric urban planners to planners who think bicycle – and pedestrian – first.

Traffic Calming: What efforts have been made to lower speed limits – for example 30 km/h zones – and generally calm traffic in order to provide greater safety to pedestrians and cyclists? Rated from none at all to extensive traffic-calming measures prioritising cyclists and pedestrians in the traffic hierarchy.


Release of 2013 Index

Source: http://www.copenhagenize.com/2013/04/copenhagenize-index-2013-bicycle.html

We released our Copenhagenize Index 2013 – Bicycle-Friendly Cities today. We did a countdown on Twitter and then published the full list afterwards. Business Insider published the results simultaneously, as well. The 2013 Index has taken a lot longer than we expected. We ranked 80 cities in 2011 and increased that to 150 this time round. Although this time round we had the help of over 400 individuals on every continent – our eyes and ears on the ground – to assist with the ranking.

While a mammoth task done con amore, it was just as interesting and rewarding as in 2011. While we would have liked to have ranked every single city on the planet, we kept it to a rough population size and included some cities because of their importance in their nation. Have a look at the Index. Lots of changes in the Top 20 what with the addition of 80 new cities.

We’ve had a lot of interest in the Index since 2011 and the way we calculate the ranking. We used it in a large report we did – together with our partners Civitas – for the Norwegian Ministry of Transport wherein we explored why Norwegian cities are less bicycle-friendly than their Swedish and Danish counterparts. All in all, it has been worth the time and effort and we thank the over 400 people who helped us out and I thank the whole Copenhagenize Design Co. team – especially Meredith Glaser in Amsterdam – for making this happen.

Copenhagenize Index byble freinldy cities 2013

For the explanations and background material, go to this graphic on the page http://www.copenhagenize.com/2013/04/copenhagenize-index-2013-bicycle.html – and then click the city name for details.

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World Streets warmly welcomes Comments and Suggestions – both on this approach, others you may know about, covering not only cycling conditions but more generally the full spectrum of means and modes for getting around in your city.


Eric Britton
13, rue Pasteur. Courbevoie 92400 France

Bio: Founding editor of World Streets (1988), Eric Britton is an American political scientist, teacher, occasional consultant, and sustainability activist who has observed, learned, taught and worked on missions and advisory assignments on all continents. In the autumn of 2019, he committed his remaining life work to the challenges of aggressively countering climate change and specifically greenhouse gas emissions emanating from the mobility sector. He is not worried about running out of work. Further background and updates: @ericbritton | http://bit.ly/2Ti8LsX | #fekbritton | https://twitter.com/ericbritton | and | https://www.linkedin.com/in/ericbritton/ Contact: climate@newmobility.org) | +336 508 80787 (Also WhatApp) | Skype: newmobility.)

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One thought on “Let’s have a look at the Copenhagenize Index for Bicycle Friendly Cities

  1. Pingback: Twenty questions to light the way to improving cycling in Bristol | Bristol Cycling Campaign

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