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Who were these bike lanes built for? Social-spatial inequities in Vancouver's bikeways, 2001–2016

Caislin L. Firth, Kate Hosford and Meghan Winters

Journal of Transport Geography, 2021, vol. 94, issue C

Abstract: Over the past 15 years, Vancouver, British Columbia, has made substantial investments to their bikeway network, adding over 150 km of protected bike lanes, painted bike lanes, and local street bikeways. This investment in bicycling infrastructure corresponded with increases in city-wide commuting to work by bicycle (from 4.1% in 2001 to 6.1% in 2016). However, there has not been an examination as to who has benefited from the expansion of Vancouver's bikeway network. This study aimed to examine whether increases in bikeway access corresponded with increases in bicycle commuting, whether there are socio-demographic inequities in bikeway access, and if these inequities changed over a fifteen-year period from 2001 to 2016. Using census data and municipal open datasets, we considered access to bikeways overall, and also to specific types of bikeways (protected bike lanes, painted bike lanes, local street bikeways) which confer different comfort and safety benefits. We fit a series of non-spatial and spatial Poisson models using integrated nested Laplace approximation, with random effects for census tract. We found disparities in access did exist and that inequities in access to bikeways have not changed over time. Areas with more children have less access to protected bike lanes (RR: 0.69, 95% CI: 0.55–0.87) and areas where more Chinese people live have less access to protected bike lanes (RR: 0.75, 95% CI: 0.59–0.96). Areas with more university-educated adults had more infrastructure—particularly local street bikeways (RR: 1.11, 95% CI: 1.02–1.21). Indeed, areas with bike commuting had more local street bikeways (RR: 1.15, 95% CI: 1.03–1.27). Our analysis sheds light on certain inequities in the distribution of bikeways in Vancouver which have persisted over time, and can be used to inform policy actions to promote mobility across all neighbourhoods.

Keywords: Bicycle network; Bike lanes; Inequity; Neighbourhoods; Mobility; racial inequity (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2021
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DOI: 10.1016/j.jtrangeo.2021.103122

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