Bicycle Data for Portland, OR
December 8, 2007 12:11 AM   Subscribe

Where can I find data about cyclists in Portland, OR?

I've been doing some research about cyclists in Portland, OR. Everyone talks about how bike-friendly Portland is, and how the number of people commuting to work by bicycle is 8x the national average. I can't for the life of me find any actual data that shows these things.

I know the census bureau conducted a study a couple years ago that produced the stat about people commuting to work, but I can't even find that report - just articles mentioning it. I've been all over to no avail.

Can anyone point me to some "real" data showing the bike-friendliness of Portland?
posted by georgemandis to Travel & Transportation around Portland, OR (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
You could check portland's transportation site, or contact them: Director at

1120 SW Fifth, Rm 800
Portland OR 97204
Phone: 503-823-5185
Fax: 503-823-7576

I'm sure they'll have census bureau info

or check some local groups annual reports

or read the Bicycle-Related Industry Growth in Portland Report

One of these people
must be able to help you.
posted by takeyourmedicine at 7:09 AM on December 8, 2007

They people behind Shift are great, you might try contacting them for information.
posted by bumper314 at 9:41 AM on December 8, 2007

Bike Portland often has some articles about this, and they tend to be pretty good about talking with Portland officials about statistics.

If you can't find any articles that would answer your question, they have forums in which you could post your question.
posted by ugf at 10:39 AM on December 8, 2007

The folks down at the Bicycle Transportation Alliance i'm sure have a bunch of information like that.
posted by furnace.heart at 11:46 AM on December 8, 2007 recently posted some results from a survey given to 20,400 random residents in 75 Portland neighborhoods by the City of Portland Auditor's office, most notably:

"If you work outside of your home, what mode of transportation do you usually use to get to and from work? [Here are the results of the folks who answered “bicycle”].

SW - 3%
NW/Downtown - 4%
North - 6%
Inner NE - 12%
Central NE - 4%
SE - 10%
East - 1%
City Total - 6%"

That breaks it down by neighborhood, which is even more interesting to me as a full-time cyclist in Portland. This only addresses full-time commuters, but those are still some good numbers!
posted by hollisimo at 3:26 PM on December 8, 2007

(P.S. The results quoted above are very recent-- from August '07.)
posted by hollisimo at 3:27 PM on December 8, 2007

Did you find PDOT's 2007 Bicycle Count Report? It's an annual sampling of ridership through bike-spotters, rather than a survey. Results are only charted against previous years, though, not against any kind of national data, so it's really only a window into the trajectory that cycling is on within Portland itself.

The League of American Bicyclists' Facts and Figures page is a good collection of links to censuses, surveys, and other statistics. It suggests that you can extract bike-use information from this census site through proper mining.

Or, as suggested upthread, just contact the BTA and see what they can offer you. Or Jonathan Maus of BikePortland.

I'd be interested to know what you find, since I haven't turned up a national vs Portland daily commute statistic either. Please update the thread when you learn something.
posted by mumkin at 2:08 PM on December 14, 2007

This article from the current edition of the Willamette Week cites a census figure of 4.5% commuting by bike. You might try contacting the author, Henry Stern, for details of his sourcing that fact.
posted by mumkin at 3:16 PM on December 16, 2007

Have you found the definitive proof you were looking for yet? I just stumbled over this article from the Oregonian, in which the director of the census bureau "took note" of the 8x national average commuting statistic in a speech at city hall. Which lead me to search further. I found this press release which states that:

Portland, Ore., has the distinction among large cities as having the highest percentage of bicycle commuters. Approximately 3.5 percent of Portland’s workers pedal to work, about eight times the national average of 0.4 percent.

Seems a pretty damned official citation. But it sounds like what you really want is tabular data, yes? The actual bike commuting numbers for each city look to be found within the American Community Survey data. See the Journey to Work category of tables, I think.
posted by mumkin at 12:03 PM on March 3, 2008

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