Incorporating Bicycle Activity and Vehicle Travel Reduction from Bicycle Infrastructure into Strategic Planning Tools

Joe Broach, Portland State University


  • Kristina Currans, University of Arizona


Planners and modelers at all levels of government have been grappling with the problem of how to better represent bicycling when modeling and forecasting future scenarios. Planners want to know how and to what extent infrastructure projects can increase bicycling activity and reduce the health, environmental, and financial burdens imposed by single-occupant vehicle travel. This technical transfer report describes the development of an extension to existing tools that allows strategic assessment of changes in total vehicle miles traveled (VMT) due to changes in bicycle network accessibility. The base tool corresponds to the household-level models used in the Multimodal Module of VisionEval (VE-MM), a strategic planning model developed by the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) and the Federal Highway Association (FHWA). This initial development relied on readily available travel data from the Oregon Household Activity Survey (OHAS), but the methodology is designed to accept estimation data from other sources. 

The final tool developed here—a collection of models providing a VE-MM compatible link between bicycle network accessibility measures and household VMT—will be useful as a proof of concept and for further justification and development of VE-MM bicycle scenario planning and policy support capabilities. We found significant, meaningful sensitivity of VMT to increases in household bicycle network accessibility. For a 1% increase in various measures of bicycle network accessibility, models underlying the tool predict a corresponding 0.025% to 0.23% reduction in daily household motorized VMT. Even greater reductions were predicted among bicycle-owning households (used as a proxy for willingness to bike). Suggestions for applying the tool at different levels of complexity and capability are provided, as well as an online technical appendix. Future directions for further development of the tool and potential integration into VE-MM are outlined.

Project Details

Project Type:
Technology Transfer
Project Status:
End Date:
December 31,2022
UTC Grant Cycle:
NITC 16 Tech Transfer
UTC Funding: