Yonah Freemark

Making the Case for Improved Bicycling Infrastructure

Report information

Yonah Freemark, Yipeng Su, Wilton Oliver, and Olivia Fiol (2022). “Making the Case for Improved Bicycling Infrastructure: An Analysis of the Final Mile Bicycle Infrastructure Program.” Urban Institute.

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Report website: https://www.urban.org/research/publication/making-case-improved-bicycling-infrastructure


To stimulate municipal investment in cycling infrastructure, between 2019 and 2021 the Final Mile program funded communications, advocacy, and engineering in five US cities: Austin, Denver, New Orleans, Pittsburgh, and Providence. To examine the program’s effectiveness, we conducted interviews with community stakeholders and collected data on bike network extent and location. We found that the program’s use of continuous pressure on local officials—including convening frequent meetings between city staff and cycling advocates, funding advertising, and identifying quantified investment goals—was successful. Program cities expanded their respective protected cycling infrastructure at a much more rapid pace during the study period than did comparable cities elsewhere in the United States. Though gaps remain in achieving the equitable bike networks cities ultimately hope to build and in assembling effective long-term partnerships between local governments and nonprofit organizations, the program could be a model for advocates looking to encourage local governments to follow through with their policy goals.