Monday, August 8, 2011

Bike Omaha Commuter Challenge: Inside the Numbers

Well, we've reached the 14 week mark of Activate Omaha's 2011 Bike Omaha Commuter Challenge.  This year's challenge has been expanded to May 1 - October 1, which is 22 weeks; however, we wanted to pause at the end of week 14 and take a snapshot of the stats so that we could compare "apples to apples" to the stats of the previous 5 years.  What we found is very interesting - and we're curious on your take, too!

Bear in mind as you ponder this that 2008 was the summer of $4.00/gallon of gas.

Data for your consideration:


2006 = 27                              2006 = 77,300
2007 = 32                              2007 = 109,000
2008 = 55                              2008 = 134,593
2009 = 60                              2009 = 129,104
2010 = 62                              2010 = 157,852
2011* = 109                          2011* = 157, 682

OK, so we had 47 (!!!) new teams in 2011, yet our mileage was still 170 miles short of 2010, when we had 62 teams?  Kind of a bummer .... until you look at this:

2010:  1000                              2010 = 10,500
2011*: 1352                             2011*= 12,054

These numbers have me very excited.  We have 359 more riders and 1554 (!!!) more trips in 2011.  This tells me that the new riders we added to the rolls are not riding as far as those who have participated in year's past ... which leads me to wonder: 

Has the idea of bicycle commuting in Omaha started reaching past the "choir" and into the masses? 

If I'm new to bike commuting (or cycling in general), I'm not as likely to start out going door to door, I'm probably going to start with a park/ride or bus/ride.  Another theory:  I live close to my office, but I've never considered riding to work before. 

Either way, this is cause for a happy dance.  More people making more short trips by bike is EXACTLY what we are going for. (...despite my recent challenge to BOCC team captains to see if we could break the 2010 mileage record. What can I say, I'm competitive. J). 
What is YOUR theory? 

In the mean time, carry on, bike commuters!  The challenge has been expanded from 14 weeks to 22 weeks  based on feedback from many of you who want to take advantage of the best weather of the year.  We'll celebrate with the BOCC Wrap Up Shindig on Friday, September 30 - so save the date!  More info will be coming soon.


john said...

My mileage is less than last year and by a lot thanks to the flooding. I normally would take the pedestrian bridge to Iowa and ride south to the south Omaha bridge. This would double my commute from 5 to 10 miles. With the closure of the bridge I take my normal, shorter, route home.

Now what would be nice is to see a winter commuter challenge. Though I feel I am one of the few that ride no matter the weather.

Patrick said...

To echo your point (that more riders are making more and short trips) in another way, look at how the total points earned compares to last year:

2010: 157,852 + (10 * 10,500) = 262,852
2011: 157,682 + (10 * 12,054) = 278,222

That is fewer points on a per rider basis (262.8 in 2010 and 205.8 in 2011), and on a per trip basis (25.0 in 2010 and 23.1 in 2011). The per trip numbers indicate the average trip in 2011 is about 13 miles round-trip, while the average in 2010 was about 15 miles round trip.

I assume that a smaller miles per trip figure roughly indicates that bicycling is becoming more and more integrated as a viable transportation option, which is the whole point, right?

Aaron said...

At first glance the mileage numbers seem slightly disappointing, but you are right to point out, and I completely agree, that the TRIP numbers are what's more important and telling here. And, like you said, more people taking more short trips by bike is exactly what this is all about!