Planners in Montgomery County are working to determine how to best accommodate bicyclists as the county continues to grow. They’ve created a tool known as a “heat map” to figure out the best places to invest in bike infrastructure.

Red indicates higher demand. Click for full version (PDF).

With limited funds, planners have to prioritize bike infrastructure, just like other types of infrastructure. This tool should help planners figure out which projects will have the biggest impact.

As expected, the analysis indicated that primary bicycle hot spots are in the more urban communities in the downcounty area. Silver Spring, Bethesda, and Friendship Heights top the list of areas with high cycling demand.

Wheaton, White Flint, and Rockville also have high demand for cycling infrastructure.

Click for full version (PDF).

The map was developed by measuring proximity to trip attractors such as Metro stations and public facilities. Density and the mix of land uses also factored into the analysis.

Montgomery is the third jurisdiction in the region to develop a bicycle demand map. It follows efforts in the District of Columbia and Arlington County, to develop demand maps for locating Capital Bikeshare stations.

Planners will be able to use this tool to prioritize Capital Bikeshare stations, bike lanes, and other cycling facilities.

The agency is still looking for input into the methodology. If you have ideas about how to improve the study, please share them.

The author worked on this project as an employee of the Montgomery County Planning Department. Cross-posted on The Straight Line.

Matt Johnson has lived in the Washington area since 2007. He has a Master’s in Planning from the University of Maryland and a BS in Public Policy from Georgia Tech. He lives in Dupont Circle. He’s a member of the American Institute of Certified Planners, and is an employee of the Montgomery County Department of Transportation. His views are his own and do not represent those of his employer.