© Paul Carstairs / Arup

Bike network analysis tool

Bicycle transportation planning is rapidly growing in importance, with increasing funding allocations being supported by policy requirements at federal, state and local level. A key factor in encouraging a modal shift to cycling is potential riders’ perception of safety and comfort. The tolerance of riders to factors including roadway stress and the continuity of low-stress road networks have a significant impact on the success of a bike network in meeting stakeholders’ needs.

Traditionally, bike network analysis has been undertaken in a GIS (geographical information system) environment. For this particular application, GIS is a relatively cumbersome setting that offers little opportunity for dynamism or interactive exploration of bike network quality, accessibility, or the impact of different scenarios.

This project set out to develop an interactive online platform that can perform real-time, point-based analysis of the bike and street network in a study area.


Roadways were categorised as high stress, medium stress or low stress routes. Within these categories, types of bicycle infrastructure, such as bike paths, bike lanes, and bike boulevards, were assigned modifying scalar scores.

A key finding from research is that the presence of high quality bike networks does not present significant attraction relative to baseline low-stress roadways, but that the presence of any high-stress roadways acts as a major deterrent to usage.

The new analysis tool allows visualization of bike networks and street networks via an interactive online platform, enabling more rapid and efficient scenario planning.

The new, web-based analytical tool allows dynamic visualization of the quality and connectivity of bike networks, providing insight for public agencies and members of the public. The tool can be used in the decision-making that surrounds the planning and implementation of a bike network, including prioritization of investments and identification of gaps in suitable, low-stress routes in the bike network within a district.