The City of Portland Office of Transportation just released a statement that includes results from the Census Bureau’s 2008 American Community Survey.
The annual survey found that Portland’s bike commute mode share has risen to 6.4%, that’s a jump from 4.2% in the 2007 survey — and the largest year-to-year increase in Portland’s history.
The 6.4% figure makes Portland the nation’s #1 big city for bike commuting.
In a press release about the survey, Portland Mayor Sam Adams — who has been in charge of PBOT since 2004 — said the survey numbers show that the City’s meager investment in bikeways is bearing fruit.
“Our small investment in bicycling infrastructure and education are paying off in a big way. Once again the data backs up our belief that when Portlanders are given a safe, convenient alternative to driving they will get out of their car and onto a bike.”
Here’s how the Census asks the commuting question:
How did this person usually get to work LAST WEEK? If this person usually used more than one method of transportation during the trip, mark (X) the box of the one used for most of the distance.
Many advocates and insiders realize that the Census number is not a good indicator of overall bike usage. Jessica Roberts, a bicycle planner with Alta Planning and Design told us last year that “it’s important to remember that this survey is only concerned with trips to work, which account for a mere 1 out of 8 bicycle trips.” That being said, Roberts added that the Census numbers are very useful as a comparative tool because they have been taken for many years with consistent methodology.
Along with the announcement this morning, PBOT released two graphs showing the dramatic increase in bike usage in recent years:
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