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Texas may be well-known oil and if it were a sovereign state, it would be the 10th largest economy in the world. However, its state capital, Austin is bucking the Texan image of oil and Formula 1 racing by creating an all ages and ability cycling network. Austin shows us that even a smaller city can still be a bike-friendly city.

Key facts

  • In 2012, they built their first several miles of protected bikeways and have consistently incorporated innovative bikeway treatments into their designs.
  • When the city published its 2014 Bicycle Master Plan, Austin had 210 miles of bicycle lanes, a 70 percent increase over what existed five years before. This plan proposed a city-wide plan for an all ages and abilities (AAA) cycling network.
  • In 2016, Austin had achieved a 5-6% cycling mode share
  • In 2016, Austin committed $20 million exclusively for new bike lanes, $26 million for multi-use trails and $28 million for school-access projects that will also include bikeways. Lots of the multimodal projects will include better bike lanes.
  • With more than 1,000 paying members, local advocacy group Bike Austin played a big role in advocating for the city’s $720 million mobility bond that was passed in November 2017, speaking up not just for cyclists but also for pedestrians.

Key Project: 2014 Austin Bicycle Plan

  • The 2014 Austin Bicycle plan appeared to be pivotal in the City’s transition into separated bicycle facilities.
  • The plan identified that internationally, there was a shift in best practice in bicycle planning and that painted single lines were simply not enough to make most people feel safe while riding.
  • The plan identified short trips as a mean to increase cycling. In particular, the plan focused on central Austin and connecting neighbourhood destinations such as schools, parks, businesses and shopping districts.
  • Lastly, citing the success seen in Seville, it noted that building a complete bicycle network as a key to success.