Our Methodology

The Copenhagenize Index gives cities points for their efforts towards reestablishing the bicycle as a feasible, accepted and practical form of transport. Countless cities around the world are taking up the challenge of modernising their public realm, to chip away at the decades of auto-oriented street design – implementing bicycle infrastructure, better policy, bike share systems, restricting car use and more. These actions are catalogued and coded in order to paint a holistic picture of bicycle-friendliness across the globe. That is the Copenhagenize Index.

To summarize our process:

  • Over 600 cities with over 600,000 inhabitants (as well as National Capitals) from all corners of the world are logged into our database.
  • Cities with a bicycle modal share above 2% (with reliable data) are put through to the next round.
  • The remaining 115 cities are given between 0 and 4 points across 13 different parameters as well as in a 14th bonus points category awarded for particularly impressive efforts or results.

The 14 scores taken together are effective at determining the bicycle friendliness of any given city, showing what's been happening on the ground in the two years leading up to the ranking. The bonus points allow us to 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 and timeline of the proposed work. Once the infrastructure starts being built, the city will score higher in the infrastructure parameter on the following ranking.

The Score Card & Parameters

Streetscape Parameters (0-4 points)

1. Bicycle Infrastructure: Higher scores are awarded for cities where bicycle users enjoy a high level of protected and separated bicycle infrastructure on a high-quality and well-maintained network that covers most of the city. On low-speed streets without cycle tracks, bicycles have the priority. A network of cycle highways connects the city to its metropolitan area.

2. Bicycle Facilities: Higher scores are awarded for cities where the bicycle enjoys a high level of ease-of-use and bicycle racks are available wherever they are needed – which is pretty much everywhere. A high level of services are in place. Signage is uniform, well-designed from a graphic design point of view and features prominently.

3. Traffic Calming: Higher scores are awarded for cities where bicycle users and pedestrians are prioritized over motorised traffic and their safety is considered first; low speed limits, traffic calming measures and campaigns directed towards motorists are well-established.

Culture Parameters (0-4 points)

4. Gender Split: Higher scores are awarded for cities where a rather equal gender balance of bicycle users is observed, or even more women cycle than men.

5. Modal Share For Bicycles: Higher scores are awarded for cities where bicycle modal share is higher, ranging from 2% to 25%.

6. Modal Share Increase over the last 10 Years: Higher scores are awarded for cities where bicycle modal share has increased the most, ranging from 0% to 7%.

7. Indicators of Safety: Higher scores are awarded for cities where official communications puts the responsibility of safe streets in the motorists hands. Helmets are rarely seen and the helmet-wearing rate is under 20%. There is little promotion of helmets and bicycle advocacy organisations are well-informed on the subject. In the event of cyclist deaths, legislation puts liability on motorist as a default, protecting vulnerable road users.

8. Image of the Bicycle: Higher scores are awarded for cities where bicycle traffic enjoys a high modal share and the bicycle is a respected, accepted and normal form of transport. Many children ride to school and citizens of all ages and abilities are seen on bicycles. Motorists are aware of the presence of bicycles.

9. Cargo Bikes: Higher scores are awarded for cities where the use of cargo bikes for private use and goods transport is well-established and perceived as a normal way to move people and things around the urban landscape. Cargo bikes are a normal and accepted sight in the city. High levels of goods transport happens on bicycles and families have access to several brands for private use. Facilities such as parking and wider cycle tracks to accommodate cargo bikes are commonplace. The local logistics industry use bikes for last mile transport.

Ambition Parameters (0-4 points)

10. Advocacy: Higher scores are awarded for cities where cycling organisation(s) actively encourage regular citizens to cycle by organising campaigns and events, as well as contribute to policy at local level.

11. Politics: Higher scores are awarded for cities where nearly all politicians are on board to develop high quality bicycle infrastructure. The political process for bicycle traffic and infrastructure is streamlined. Many politicians ride their bicycle to work.

12. Bike Share: Higher scores are awarded for cities where a comprehensive bike share programme is well-implemented and widely used all year-long with a more than sufficient number of bicycles and docking stations. Usage rates are generally high. If dockless shared bicycles are available, the provider and the local authorities have organised clear rules for parking, maintenance and the provider contributes to the City by paying a fee or sharing their data.

13. Urban Planning: Higher scores are awarded for cities where planners think bike first. A comprehensive network of infrastructure is in place and more is planned. Innovative ideas are tried and tested. The City probably has a dedicated planning office for bicycle infrastructure and their recommendations are taken seriously.