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Bicycle and Pedestrian Infrastructure Improvements Realized in Communities of Less than 10,000 people

Project #: 4W6972
Start Date: 10/01/2017
End Date: 01/31/2019
Status: Completed

The final report describes the information collected and synthesized from the literature review, and the findings from the subsequent interviews. The following characteristics surfaced as being influential in whether or not bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure can be found within these smaller communities within Maine, Minnesota, and New Hampshire:

  • The speed limits, particularly adherence to speed limits within a community,
  • Having many champions for bicycle and pedestrian modes,
  • Having programs to teach or support bicycle and/or pedestrian modes,
  • Having bicycle and/or pedestrian groups, and
  • The community approval process.

The presence of infrastructure for bicycles and pedestrians (i.e. beacons, cycle tracks, bicycle lanes, bicycle racks, bicycle boulevards, wayfinding, etc.) has been found to be a strong indicator of whether or not and where people in a community walk and bicycle. To date, a lot of the research related to infrastructure improvements for bicycle and pedestrian modes has focused on large cities like Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minnesota; Seattle, Washington; Portland, Oregon; and Washington D.C. However, the funding mechanisms and support staff that can be used to leverage these modifications in large cities are often not available in small communities (those with less than 10,000 people), thereby making improvements in these areas especially challenging. Yet, a community that can implement such improvements can provide its citizens with additional transportation options and potentially change the local image to attract more tourists.


This research project intends to fill the gap for these small communities by first identifying locations that have successfully made infrastructure improvements, learning more about the infrastructure improvements made, synthesizing these findings, and identifying common trends across the communities. The knowledge gained from this research can be distributed to other small communities to provide them with ideas on what types of infrastructure improvements have been made in other small communities, and the costs and potential avenues for financing them.  The research will focus on small communities (those less than 10,000 people) in Maine, Minnesota, and New Hampshire.

This research effort is jointly funded by the Minnesota Department of Transportation and the USDOT University Transportation Center (UTC) program.  This project represents the UTC component of the overall research effort.



The  objective of this research is to identify the characteristics that enable communities with less than 10,000 people to build pedestrian and/or bicycle infrastructure.