Clever hedge fund managers have figured out ways to make money off of weather futures, the electricity grid and quite a few other unlikely sources. What I want to know is if anyone can help me find a way to invest my retirement savings in bicycling in Portland, Oregon. According to the latest numbers, it’s a serious growth industry.
Between 2004 and 2005 the number of cyclists using the four bridges that cross Willamette River into Downtown Portland grew 15 percent. That’s impressive. Yet, the growth rate jumped to 18 percent between ’05 and ’06. The next year, according to a sneak peak at preliminary ’06-’07 counts, the number of bikes using the four bridges jumped 21 percent. (Check out Clarence Eckerson’s StreetFilm, Portland: America’s Most Livable City, if you want to see what these heavily-biked bridges look like for yourself).
An analysis shows that in 2006 Smart Trips shifted 8 percent of single-passenger motor vehicle trips to more environmentally-friendly modes while cutting the total number of vehicle miles traveled across Portland’s Northeast Hub by 19 million. The city government program, which cost only $319,000, also helped increase the share of bike trips to 7 percent of the total. (You can download a detailed, 19 mb Powerpoint presentation on Smart Trips right here).
Gluttons for Livable Streets policy can download a preliminary version of Portland’s 2006 Bicycle Count Report here, including some wonky breakdowns on helmet use by gender. And if you are really looking to geek out on Portland transportation policy (Trams! Automated bike traffic signals! On-street bike parking! Community street reclamation projects!) download this 25 mb Powerpoint presentation of Raisman’s.