Study: bike lanes don’t cause traffic jams

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Minneapolis’ new bike lanes have not led to an increase in traffic jams, according to a new analysis by the data crunchers at FiveThirtyEight.

For the study, researchers looked at the 10 road segments that gained a bike lane at the cost of a driving lane as Minneapolis builds out 45 miles of new bike lanes across the city.

Minneapolis’ efforts are part of a Twin Cities-wide multi-million dollar expansion of bike lanes and other infrastructure for its bikeway system. The build out includes new on-street striping, signs, traffic calming and other measures to make walking and cycling easier and safer, MPR News reports.

FiveThirtyEight says researchers chose Minneapolis for its analysis because of its high-ranking as a top cycling city. 

Despite those high marks, driver complaints over sharing the road with cyclists and bike lanes are still common.

But FiveThirtyEight researchers found their concerns are baseless.

They looked at rush hour data showing how many cars were traveling in the busiest direction during peak travel time to measure how “full” each road was.

The data showed that while the volume of traffic on streets increased, it didn’t slow down traffic.

They say bike lanes don’t cause a lot more congestion if you put them on the right streets.

If you cut down the size of streets that are already near capacity, you’ll create severe congestion. But if you start with roads that are well under capacity, you’ll only increase the congestion a little bit. And it may not even be noticeable. Slimming down these roads that are too “fat” is known as a road diet — and yes, that is the technical term.

Check out this cool graph:

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