Research Rest-Stop │ Introducing Bike Score

Every Wednesday, the Mayor’s Office of Transportation and Utilities (MOTU) highlights some interesting research related to or innovations in transportation, sustainability, or energy.


You’ve heard about Walk Score. You’ve heard about Transit Score. Well, now be prepared to hear about Bike Score!

Bike Score is the newest venture from the creators of Walk Score and Transit Score. Like the other “scores,” Bike Score “provides a 0-100 rating of the bikeability of a location based on the availability of bike infrastructure (lanes and trails), the hilliness of the area, destinations and road connectivity, and the number of bike commuters.”

Bike Score was developed through analysis of Geographic Information System (GIS) data provided by city governments, including data related to bike lane infrastructure. The data was organized and standardized into four categories: 1) on-street bike lanes; 2) off-street trails; 3) separated bike lanes; and 4) bike-friendly streets and greenways. For each location, Bike Score developers calculated the total sum of all nearby bike lanes as one of the factors for determining such location’s Bike Score. Additional factors related to hilliness, the amount of amenities in a given area, road connectivity, and bicycle mode share were also included. To learn more about the methodology behind Bike Score, check out this Bike Score post.

So far, Bike Scores have been developed for ten cities across the United States: Minneapolis, Portland, OR, San Francisco, Boston, Madison, WI, Washington, DC, Seattle, Tucson, New York City, and Chicago.

New cities are also being added. If you’re interested in finding out the Bike Score for Philadelphia, visit Walk Score to voice your interest. Walk Score will calculate Bike Scores for the top ten cities receiving votes between May 14 and May 31, 2012.


Join MOTU for the State of Cycling in Philadelphia – May 31st

Tomorrow MOTU hopes you’ll join them in attending a forum hosted by Next American City to discuss bicycling in Philadelphia. Next American City produces long form journalism covering issues relevant to the growth and development of cities.  Next American City is  based in Philadelphia and explores sustainable urban practices and investigates how the cities we live in are changing around us.

A panel will discuss the State of Cycling in Philadelphia; the expansion of new bike lanes, the demand for a bicycle sharing program, and developing a complete streets policy to improve accessibility and safety for bicyclists, pedestrians, and motorists. MOTU has been at the forefront of the bicycle network expansion in the city and bicyclist safety education.  Find out how this renewed and refocused attention on bicycle transportation will affect you.

Panelists include Andrew Stober from the Mayor’s Office of Transportation and Utilities, Alex Doty from the Bicycle Coalition, John Chin from the Chinatown Development Corporation, and bicycling advocates from Penn Design as well as University of the Arts’ Masters in Industrial Design Program.

Hope to see you there!

Thursday, May 31st, 2012
6:30pm to 8:00pm
The Storefront for Urban Innovation
2816W. Girard Avenue

MOTUnes Monday │ Take Me Home, Country Roads

Every Monday, the Mayor’s Office of Transportation and Utilities (MOTU) showcases a transportation related song. This week, we pay tribute to John Denver and his classic, “Take Me Home, Country Roads.” Happy Memorial Day, everyone!

Research Rest-Stop │ “Transport Pricing Reforms for Traffic Safety”

Every Wednesday, the Mayor’s Office of Transportation and Utilities (MOTU) highlights some interesting research related to or innovations in transportation, sustainability, or energy.


A March 2012 report from the Victoria Transport Policy Institute examines the connection between traffic safety and transport pricing reforms, including “fuel tax increases, efficient road and parking pricing, distance-based insurance and registration fees, and public transit fare reductions.”

The report finds that “such reforms can significantly reduce traffic risk, in addition to providing other important economic, social and environmental benefits.” So, what does this really mean?

There are many factors that contribute to traffic risk. Transport pricing is one of the oft-overlooked factors. Transport pricing includes fees that are charged for vehicles and parking facilities, fuel, and vehicle insurance, among others. Supporting reforms in transport pricing can help to increase traffic safety.

Current traffic risk strategies often do not consider pricing as a way to improve traffic safety; they primarily “measure risk using distance-based indicators (such as fatalities per 100,000 vehicle-miles) and so [do] not recognize the safety benefits that result from policies which reduce total vehicle travel.”

New traffic risk strategies that focus on transport pricing reform can help to further traffic safety measures. Such pricing methods have the potential to support not only traffic safety but also objectives related to “congestion reduction, equitable road and parking facility finance, equitable and affordable vehicle insurance, energy conservation, pollution reduction, and more efficient land use patterns.”

MOTUnes Monday │ Ticket to Ride

Every Monday, the Mayor’s Office of Transportation and Utilities (MOTU) showcases a transportation related song. This week, we’re lining up for “Ticket to Ride,” a classic by the Beatles.

MOTU Missives │ Celebrating Bike to Work Day

Today marks National Bike to Work Day! We couldn’t think of a better way to celebrate this event by getting out that bicycle and commuting to work along Philadelphia’s ever-growing bicycle network.

If you’re interested in planning your bike route, check out these maps of the city’s bicycle network.

You may also be interested in two open house sessions that are being held next week on Tuesday, May 22nd, and Wednesday, May 23rd, regarding the 10th Street bike lane pilot program. To learn more about the sessions and their locations and times, check out a previous MOTU post on the subject.

We look forward to seeing you out on the lanes and at the upcoming open house sessions!

Research Rest-Stop │ A Call for Mileage-Based Fees

Every Wednesday, the Mayor’s Office of Transportation and Utilities (MOTU) highlights some interesting research related to or innovations in transportation, sustainability, or energy.


The debate over the current gas tax is well known. The federal gas tax is currently 18.4 cents per gallon, a rate that has not increased since 1993. While gas tax is the primary source of transportation funding, there are issues with relying solely on this tax. Cars today often get better mileage than they did in the past. More drivers are turning to electric vehicles to save fuel and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. With less reliance on the gas tax and funding still needed to support transportation investments, the issue then becomes one of how revenue can be captured in different ways and from new sources.

A recent Transportation Research Board Journal paper by two University of Iowa professors Paul Hanley and Jon Kuhl, presents the concept of vehicle miles traveled (VMT) fees, which would charge drivers based on how many miles they travel rather than how much gas their vehicles consume. Using a VMT-based fee system allows for drivers of all vehicles, including electric vehicles, to be charged based on how much they drive and use the roads.

As part of Hanley and Kuhl’s research, they ran a field study, with support from the federal government, to see if a VMT-based fee system could work on a national level. Their findings show that participants in the pilot support the concept of paying for their road use. Under the study, participants collectively drove 21 million miles on U.S. roads, which equals about 9,000 miles per driver. With user charges applied based on miles driven, this has the potential to raise revenue for the U.S. transportation system.

May 22nd and 23rd open house sessions on the 10th Street Bike Lane Pilot

The Mayor’s Office of Transportation and Utilities hopes you’ll join us for one of two open house sessions next week to review the results of the 10th Street bike lane pilot program.  At the open house sessions you can view the data collected during the pilot, review roadway plans for 10th Street and share your comment with MOTU.  If you read Stu Bykofsky’s column last week you got a preview of our recommendations. Here are the details, when 10th street is repaved late this summer the current proposal is to:

  • remove the bike only lane between eastbound Vine Street and Filbert Street and install shared lane markings in left lane and
  • update and refresh bicycle lane markings between Ridge Avenue and westbound Vine Street and South of Market Street to Lombard Street.

Hope to see your there or send your comments or questions to Charles Carmalt (

Tuesday, May 22nd 2012
5:30 PM to 7:30 PM
Chinese Christian Church and Center,
225 N 10th St.
Basement meeting hall will be used, entrance on Spring St.
Chinese interpretation services available.

Wednesday, May 23rd 2012
4:30 PM to 6:30 PM
SEPTA Food Court 1234 Market St.
Basement Level

MOTUnes Monday │ These Boots Are Made for Walking

Every Monday, the Mayor’s Office of Transportation and Utilities (MOTU) showcases a transportation related song. This week, we’re tapping our feet to Nancy Sinatra’s “These Boots Are Made for Walking.”

Wanted: Ad firm to save lives and limbs

If you follow our blog, you know our office loves creative thinking, from MOTUnes Monday’s to the E-Lane. Today, we put a RFP on the street for an advertising agency to develop a dynamic campaign to save the lives and limbs of walkers, bikers and drivers. The selected firm will develop, implement, and manage a targeted, sustained, multi-media campaign to change the behavioral norms of Philadelphia cyclists, drivers and pedestrians and encourage proper travel etiquette and behavior. A key requirement of any campaign will be to reach the most at-risk populations with a maximum frequency of messages, within the budget constraint.

For complete details visit (using internet explorer only), click “New Contract Opportunities.” The opportunity number is 21120504135038 and should be near the top of list.

A mandatory pre-proposal conference will be held on Thursday, May 17th, 2012 at 11 AM at the Municipal Service Building, 1401 JFK Blvd 14th Floor Philadelphia, PA 19102

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