The Copenhagenize Index 2015

We are excited and proud to release the The Copenhagenize Index 2015 - the world's most comprehensive inventory and ranking of bicycle-friendly cities.

As with the 2011 and 2013 Indexes, it was a long, arduous process but it was, of course, inspiring, thought-provoking, and at times, surprising. One thing is certain - we are always surprised.

Every year, the Copenhagenize Index evolves. A few things have changed with the 2015 version. In 2011, we ranked 80 global cities; in 2013, we ranked 150. This year, we really honed in on the metropolitan cities of the world, those with a regional population over 600,000 (with a few exceptions because of their political and regional importance and to keep things interesting). This factor allowed us to focus on - and rank - 122 cities for the 2015 Index. We added a few cities like Ljubljana and Strasbourg, but largely the list remains unchanged. The Index consumes a lot of time. Many members of the team at Copenhagenize Design Co. were involved in the making of the Index.
At our Copenhagen office: CEO Mikael Colville-Andersen, Adina Visan (urban planner), Marie Lindebo Leth (anthropologist)
At our Amsterdam office: Meredith Glaser (urban planner)
At our Brussels office: Clotilde Imbert (senior urban planner)
At our Zurich office: Anina Flury (branding & communication)

Thanks to James Schwartz from The Urban Country for helping us, back in 2011, with the development of the ranking system.

Why this Index?

Early in 2011 a discussion arose at Copenhagenize Design Co. about which cities really are the best cities for urban cycling. Professional curiosity was the catalyst for developing this Index. We work with cities around the world and we wanted to be able to give them a score in order to determine the best and most effective method for reestablishing the bicycle on the urban landscape.

The Index was originally meant to be a tool for internal use in the company but we quickly realised that the Index was perhaps worth releasing to the public. The scoring system and the criteria, of course, remain unchanged. We only publish the Top 20, since we use the Index in our work.

The success of the previous indexes shows that cities are very interested in measuring their progress around bicycle transportation issues. The overwhelming response we received about the 2011 Index was so encouraging that we decided to continue to dedicate staff time to the Index--and each year it’s released, we’re completely satisfied with the hard work we put into it. It’s worth every minute.

The bicycle makes sense in cities. Investment in bicycle infrastructure is a modern and intelligent move for a city to make. Plenty of research shows the social, economic, environmental, and health benefits from urban cycling. Studies from Denmark tell us that for every kilometre cycled, society enjoys a net profit of 23 cents, whereas for every kilometre driven by car we suffer a net loss of -16 cents. With rising urbanisation, our cities need modern mobility solutions and the bicycle proves time and again that it can offer results.

The 2015 Index

As with the two previous Indexes, this year offers up more surprises. We always think we have a pretty good idea of what the results will be, but cities continue to shine brighter. Copenhagen overtook Amsterdam for first place, but it's still those two cities that dominate. The rest of the list, however, was totally shaken up. New cities took the Top 20 by storm, and at the expense of others. Buenos Aires stomps the competition (bonus points!) and nails the South American continent, at the expense of Rio de Janeiro, who seem to have lost interest and subsequently dropped out of the Top 20. Europe continues to have a strong presence, though Germany is slacking -- Berlin falls, Munich slips off the list entirely and Hamburg is hanging on by a thread. Asia is also relaxing a bit with Tokyo and Nagoya exiting the list. Montréal clings desperately to 20th and now have North American competition in the form of Minneapolis who debut on the Copenhagenize Index - although we can see other American cities wangling their way up the list in the wings.

The most exciting aspect of the Index is seeing the newcomers to the list. The Emerging Bicycle Cities and the Bubblers are not just transforming their own urban landscape, they are inspiring cities around the world in showing what is possible in a short amount of time. These are the visionaries.

Enjoy the Copenhagenize Index 2015.

Mikael Colville-Andersen - CEO, Copenhagenize Design Co. - and the Copenhagenize Team
Copenhagen, 02 June 2015

Copenhagenize Design Company

We are an urban design consultancy based in Copenhagen, Amsterdam, Brussels and Zurich. We advise cities and goverments in how to work towards a more bicycle-friendly urban landscape. Infrastructure, planning and urban design. Our solutions employ anthropology and design principles, as opposed to solely focusing on engineering or traditional planning. Human-solutions for transport in the modern city.


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