The criteria for the copenhagenize index

The Copenhagenize Index gives cities marks for their efforts towards reestablishing the bicycle as a feasible, accepted and practical form of transport. The interest in taking the bicycle seriously as transport once again continues unabated around the world. Every city used to be bicycle friendly before planners and engineers started to change the paradigm and plan for cars and relegate bicycle users, pedestrians and public transport users to third class citizens. Now those cities around the world who are taking up the challenge and modernising themselves by implementing bicycle infrastructure, policy, bike share systems, etc. - as well as restricting car use - are the cities we all look to for New Century inspiration.

The ranking system was developed in 2011 together with James Schwartz from The Urban Country. Inspiration was gleaned from rankings like Monocle's Liveable Cities Index and rankings produced by The Economist.

In short, cities are given between 0 and 4 points in 13 different categories. In addition, there is a potential for a maximum of 12 bonus points awarded for particularly impressive efforts or results. In the case of a tie, the city with the highest baseline score is ranked higher.

The 13 parameters are effective at determing the bicycle friendlieness of any given city, showing what's in place at the time of ranking. The bonus points allow us highlight extra efforts that are difficult to see in the parameters. For example, a city may score down the middle on politics because the mayor and other politicians are promising infrastructure. Bonus points can assist in determining the level of the political will and the scope of the proposed work. Once the infrastructure starts being built, the city will score higher in Infrastructure next time around.

The 13 Categories

Advocacy:
How is the city's (or region/country) advocacy NGO(s) regarded and what level of influence does it have?
Rated from no organised advocacy to strong advocacy with political influence.

Bicycle Culture:
Has the bicycle reestablished itself as transport among regular citizens or only sub-cultures?
Rated from no bicycles on the urban landscape/only sporty cyclists to mainstream acceptance of the bicycle.

Bicycle Facilities:
Are there readily accessible bike racks, ramps on stairs, space allocated on trains and buses and well-designed wayfinding, etc?
Rated from no bicycle facilities available to widespread and innovative facilities.

Bicycle Infrastructure:
How does the city's bicycle infrastructure rate?
Rated from no infrastructure/cyclists relegated to using car lanes to high level of safe, separated cycle tracks.

Bike Share Programme:
Does the city have a comprehensive and well-used bike-sharing programme?
Rated from no bike share programme to comprehensive, high-usage programme.

Gender Split
What percentage of the city's cyclists are male and female?
Rated from overwhelming male to an even gender split or more women than men cycling.

Modal Share For Bicycles:
What percentage of modal share is made up by cyclists?
Rated from under 1% to over 25%.

Modal Share Increase Since 2006:
What has the increase in modal share been since 2006 - the year that urban cycling started to kick off?
Rated from under 1% to 5%+.

Perception of Safety:
Is the perception of safety of the cyclists in the city, reflected in helmet-wearing rates, positive or are cyclists riding scared due to helmet promotion and scare campaigns?
Rated from mandatory helmet laws with constant promotion of helmets to low helmet-usage rate.

Politics:
What is the political climate regarding urban cycling?
Rated from the bicycle being non-existent on a political level to active and passionate political involvement.

Social Acceptance:
How do drivers and the community at large regard urban cyclists?
Rated from no social acceptance to widespread social acceptance.

Urban Planning:
How much emphasis do the city's planners place on bicycle infrastructure - and are they well-informed about international best practice?
Rated from car-centric urban planners to planners who think bicycle - and pedestrian - first.

Traffic Calming:
What efforts have been made to lower speed limits - for example 30 km/h zones - and generally calm traffic in order to provide greater safety to pedestrians and cyclists?
Rated from none at all to extensive traffic-calming measures prioritising cyclists and pedestrians in the traffic hierarchy.

FAQ

Why don't you rank all cities?
There are over 4000 cities in the world with over 100,000. If we spend three months working on THIS Index, imagine how much time we would need on 4000 cities.

How do you choose the cities you rank?
It's tough, believe us. We would love to do loads and loads of cities, but even though we first developed the Index for use in our company, it is still basically a non-profit affair so we make some calls regarding which cities to rank. It would be fun and interesting to rank every city in one country, for example, but as this is an international ranking, we thought it important to spread it out. Choosing cities that have over 600,000 people in the metro area and adding certain cities that may not fit that profile but that have a regional or national profile that makes them relevant. Malmö and Ljubljana, for example.

We use the ranking in our work for clients, doing national or regional rankings, but for the purpose of the Copenhagenize Index we needed to make some choices.

Where's the whole list?
We publish the Top 20. That's it. If a city isn't in the Top 20, you can read about the cities that are, and figure why a city isn't on the list.

Yeah, but what about XXXX city?! It's totally bike-friendly?! How can you not rank it?!
See above.

WTF! I live in XXXX city and there's no way it's bike-friendly!
Okay. Thanks for sharing. Applying a sober ranking system eliminates the personal perception that is often fueled by emotions that run high. If we did a ranking based on the perceptions of individuals, it wouldn't be very credible. Also, nobody says you have to agree with us.