Equity in Spatial Access to Bicycling Infrastructure in Mid-Sized Canadian Cities

Meghan Winters, Jaimy Fischer, Trisalyn Nelson, Daniel Fuller, David G.T. Whitehurst

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


The impacts of active transportation planning on equity are often overlooked, potentially leading to disparities in who receives benefits of infrastructure investment. This study examined income inequalities in spatial access to bicycling infrastructure in three mid-sized Canadian cities: Victoria and Kelowna (British Columbia), and Halifax (Nova Scotia), using non-spatial and spatial methods. We compiled municipal bicycling infrastructure data and calculated access to bicycling infrastructure (m/km2) for dissemination areas (DAs) within each city. We analyzed trends in access across median household income quintiles, and characterized spatial patterns using a local measure of spatial autocorrelation. DAs in Kelowna (n = 168) had the greatest access to infrastructure (median infrastructure = 2,915 m/km2), followed by Victoria (n = 386 DAs; median = 2,157 m/km2), and Halifax (n = 312 DAs; median = 0 m/km2). Lower income areas in Victoria and Kelowna had greater access to infrastructure compared with higher income areas. The majority of DAs in Halifax had no infrastructure (59%), consistent across income quintiles. Spatial pattern analysis identified clusters of low income areas with poor access in each city, which may be targets for strategic, equitable investment. Although in many cities bicycling infrastructure planning is not driven by equity considerations, there is increasing political pressure to ensure equitable access to safe bicycling. Measuring and mapping trends in access to transportation resources from an equity perspective are requisite steps in the pathway toward healthy, sustainable cities for all.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)24-32
Number of pages9
JournalTransportation Research Record
Issue number36
StatePublished - Dec 1 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering


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