How Portland increased bicycle mode share from 1% to 6% in 18 years

Portland increased the mode share of bicycling trips in the city from less than 1% in 1990 to 6% in 2008. They did this while spending just under 1% of the city's transportation infrastructure budget on bicycle facilities.

How did they do that? This series of maps makes it pretty clear: They built a complete, connected network of bicycle ways (bicycle lanes, bicycle routes, bicycle boulevards, and bicycle trails).

The graph below shows the almost perfect correlation between the miles of bicycle facilities and the percentage of trips by bicycle.

It also answers the question of why we don't have much bicycling in Missouri. The reason is that we don't have many bicycle facilities.

Portland considers their bicycle facilities to be the greatest transportation bargain in their budget--there is no other mode whose mode share is 6 times its share of the transportation budget.