Arlington, Texas – North Texans want more dedicated bicycle facilities – trails and paths separated from vehicular traffic – according to a survey of 1,900 adults conducted by the North Central Texas Council of Governments. The survey was completed by telephone in both English and Spanish and had a 95 percent confidence interval.
Currently, the region boasts over 700 miles of off-street paths and more than 400 miles of on-street bikeways, with more funded or planned for the coming years. This will include efforts to connect residents to transit stations, jobs, schools, entertainment options and parks throughout the region. The Bicycle Opinion Survey covered a range of subjects, from how often people rode and their comfort level bicycling to perceived barriers to bicycling more often.
The survey classified respondents into four categories, the types of cyclist. Here are the results:
- 2 percent – Strong and Fearless: Will ride a bicycle regardless of conditions. Bicycling is an important part of their identity.
- 14 percent – Enthused and Confident: Somewhat comfortable sharing the roadway with vehicles, but prefer to have bike-specific facilities
- 36 percent – Interested but Concerned: Curious about riding a bicycle, but afraid to ride. They would ride more with safer facilities.
- 48 percent – No Way, No How: Not comfortable, physically able or interested in cycling
A majority of respondents (55 percent) would like to bicycle more. However, hot weather and a lack of various types of bicycle facilities were the reasons most often identified among all respondents as the top obstacles to bicycling more often. In addition, respondents reported a strong preference for bicycle facilities separated from vehicle traffic such as an off-street path or on-street dedicated bike lanes that are separated from traffic by wide buffers or physical barriers. Only a small percentage of respondents indicated they are comfortable bicycling with traffic on streets that do not have bike lanes separating them from vehicle traffic lanes.
The closer respondents lived to a bicycle facility, the more likely they were to report riding a bicycle. This included both on- and off-street facilities which NCTCOG works actively with local communities to improve through various transportation funding programs. In June 2017, for example, the Regional Transportation Council awarded $22 million to construct shared-use paths and on-street bike lanes as part of $34.2 million Transportation Alternatives Set-Aside Call for Projects. Included were facilities that will improve access to schools, large employment centers and transit.
The survey also sought to gauge frequency and safe riding practices. About 50 percent of those who reported they bicycled said they wear a helmet at least half of the time, but usage varied by age of the rider.
When asked about the availability of bicycle facilities and if there are too many, about the right amount or too few in their community, significant majorities of residents indicated there are not enough bicycle facilities. The percentage of residents reporting there are “too few” bicycle facilities are as follows:
- 62 percent – Too few off-street bicycle paths and trails
- 63 percent – Too few bicycle-friendly streets
- 73 percent – Too few on-street dedicated bike lanes
- 75 percent – Too few bicycle parking and storage options
Ultimately, knowing what people think about bicycling, whether it is their level of comfort or how likely they are to even ride a bike, will help NCTCOG prioritize funding and use its resources most effectively. Planners will use the data from this report and other initiatives to improve mobility options so residents can pedal even more places than today. For the full results of the survey and presentation slides, visit www.nctcog.org/bikesurvey.
About the North Central Texas Council of Governments:
NCTCOG is a voluntary association of local governments established in 1966 to assist local governments in planning for common needs, cooperating for mutual benefit and coordinating for sound regional development.
NCTCOG's purpose is to strengthen both the individual and collective power of local governments and to help them recognize regional opportunities, eliminate unnecessary duplication, and make joint decisions. NCTCOG serves a 16-county region of North Central Texas, which is centered on the two urban centers of Dallas and Fort Worth. Currently, NCTCOG has 240 member governments including 16 counties, 170 cities, 24 school districts and 30 special districts.
For more information on the Transportation Department, visit NCTCOG.org/trans.
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