Nov 16, 2023 - News

Biking on the rise in Austin

Change in average daily bike trips per 1,000 people
Data: StreetLight Data; Map: Alice Feng/Axios

Austinites are biking more.

What's happening: The number of average daily bike trips per 1,000 people rose by six in Austin between 2019-2022, going from 17 to 23.

  • That's per a new report from mobility data firm StreetLight Data, which uses GPS and other location data to measure urban transportation patterns.

Driving the news: Urban cycling took off during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic largely because people were looking for ways to get around or get exercise without potentially exposing themselves to infection.

  • Urban bike-sharing programs, like Austin's MetroBike, have made two-wheelers easier to access.
  • The City of Austin recently won an $11.3 million federal grant to transition its MetroBike bike share fleet to all electric. About 43% of MetroBike's 800 bicycles are currently electric.

By the numbers: The annual nationwide average for daily bike trips grew 37% between 2019-2022.

Zoom out: When it comes to growth in bike use, the New York City area is king, with 43 more trips per 1,000 people in 2022 compared to 2019.

State of play: The Austin City Council will soon take up a bike trail expansion proposal.

  • By the end of last year the city had built 60%, of the 370-mile bike trail goal set in 2014.
  • Now the city wants to add an additional 800 miles of bike and shared-use paths, at a projected cost of $1.15 billion.

Flashback: Austin Energy rolled out a $300,000 pilot program in January that doubled e-bike incentives for residents and fleet owners, part of an effort to accelerate the adoption of electric bikes and other alternative forms of transportation. Reality check: Nationwide growth in bike activity flatlined between 2021-2022, at around 9 million total daily trips on average.

Meanwhile: The growth in bike trips between 2019 and 2022 in Austin pales in comparison to scooter trips, which have exploded in popularity the last several years.


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