the ones who deliver the
SmartTrips packets to
your door by bike.
(Photos © J. Maus)
The Transportation Options Division inside the Bureau of Transportation is a key piece of Portland’s success as a sustainable city. “Options” (as it’s known around here) is the marketing arm of the city’s transportation program and there the ones you see at street fairs and hundreds of events throughout the year. Their mission is to provide information, resources and tools to encourage Portlanders to, “make good choices about how to get around.”
One of their primary responsibilities is to send out bike maps and other bike information whenever someone requests it. When I moved to Portland in 2005 (totally unaware of the institutional support for biking in this city) I surfed the City website and found the Options page. Wanting to know how to get around by bike, I filled out a request for some free bike maps (now they have this handy online form).
I was shocked, pleased, and amazed when a few days later, a package full of stickers, fridge magnets, maps, and brochures arrived. Tucked inside was a hand-written note thanking me for choosing to ride.
According to Options staffer Jeff Smith, last year 2,439 people made a similar request. After sending out the goods, Options followed up with an online survey. This week, they released the results of the 753 people that responded to that survey. Here are a few highlights:
- — 88% said that the information and maps they received were “very helpful”.
— In 2008, the Options Divison sent out 60,000 bike maps and safe cycling guides.
— 23% of the 753 survey respondents “just moved to Portland area”. Of those recent transplants, 33% of them said Portland’s bike-friendliness was “a major factor” in their decision to move here (and another 29% said it was “a minor factor”. Bike-friendliness was a factor in 62% of people’s decisions to move here.)
— 71 survey respondents were just visiting Portland. Of those, 78% said Portland’s bike-friendliness was a factor in their decision to visit.
I have long been curious how many new residents move here because of our biking reputation. I hear about it all the time, so it’s interesting to see some actual numbers. It’s also good that the City has at least a base level of statistical proof of how our bike-friendliness is turning into tourism dollars (53% of visitors surveyed said biking was a “major factor” in coming and they spent an average of four days here).
To view the complete survey results or if you want more information, get in touch with Jeff Smith at Transportation Options: firstname.lastname@example.org or (503) 823-7083.