Initiative aims to double or triple bicycle ridership.
Austin is one of 10 cities selected for the Big Jump Project, a new initiative from the national organization PeopleforBikes. Austin will work with PeopleforBikes and nine peer cities across the country toward a goal of achieving a “big jump” in the number of people traveling by bicycle in the city’s central core.
The project will leverage infrastructure, motivational outreach, education and engagement to boost cycling in ways that meet people's daily travel needs. The ultimate goal: Connect more people to places of opportunity via bicycle while expanding the many community benefits that biking brings to Austin.
“Austin is excited to receive the recognition from PeopleforBikes in reaching for an ambitious goal to double or triple cycling in the central city within three years,” said Mayor Steve Adler. “Biking helps our city in so many ways – household affordability, low-carbon mobility, community health and competitive attractiveness as a world-class city. It’s not about what we can do for bikes – it’s about what bikes can do for Austin.”
The Big Jump Project emphasizes rapidly building a significant number of “high-comfort” bike routes (e.g. protected, separated and off-road facilities where people feel safest and most comfortable) and connecting them into a convenient, efficient network.
“Austin continues to pioneer ways in which low-stress bike networks can be planned and implemented,” said PeopleForBikes Director of Local Innovation Kyle Wagenschutz. “Austin will play a critical role in this project, inspiring other U.S. cities to think more strategically about investing in bicycle transportation.”
To boost ridership, the project also calls for a substantial program of community engagement to encourage people of all ages to take short trips (less than three miles) by bicycle rather than by car. PeopleForBikes and the 10 selected cities - which include New York, N.Y., Los Angeles, Calif., Tucson, Ariz., Memphis, Tenn., and others - will mutually support one another toward achieving a big jump in ridership.
“The motivational focus and community support provided through the Big Jump Project will help us make biking an even more viable transportation option,” said Austin Transportation Department Director Rob Spillar. “Biking is a choice we want to promote for people commuting and making other short trips – one that’s healthy, safe and attractive for them and reduces our city’s traffic congestion, too.”
The Austin Bicycle Master Plan, which the Austin City Council adopted in 2014, calls for the build-out of the bicycle network in service to shifting as many short trips to bicycle as possible so that all trips, regardless if they are by bus, car, bike or foot, can be made more reliably regionwide.
Austin’s Big Jump initiative will involve a broad base of community organizations and agencies working in collaboration with the City of Austin, including the Downtown Austin Alliance, the Capital Metropolitan Transportation Agency and many other health, business and community organizations.
PeopleForBikes is an advocacy group based in Boulder, Colorado, that has united millions of individuals, thousands of businesses and hundreds of communities to make better bike riding for everyone.