Bicycle Trends

Bicyclists stopped at a light.

Bicycle Trends in Cambridge

Cambridge promotes bicycling as a healthy, environmentally friendly way of getting around as an important part of the City's efforts to improve mobility and protect our environment. Cambridge is well suited to bicycling and more people are using their bikes every day for commuting, shopping, general transportation, and just because it’s fun!

Learn more:

Eco-Totem Bicycle Counter: Counting into the Future

In 2015, Cambridge installed a permanent bicycle count station in Kendall Square, on Broadway. Here’s how you can see what’s happening:

  • GET COUNTED! Ride in the bike lane on either side of Broadway and watch the number increase!
  • Check out the official Eco-Totem website for a quick, easy way to look at trends over time.
  • Download the complete dataset from the counter through our Open Data Portal and do your own analyses! Counts are automatically transferred to the Open Data Portal on a daily basis.

Fun Facts

Did you know that over 1.5 million counts have been made so far? Or that on February 14, 2016 - the coldest day in over 80 years - we still counted 53 rides? Here’s a 2016 summary of the data showing a few of the ways it can be visualized.

Image of bike counter in Kendall Square

The “Eco Totem” counter (made by the Montreal-based company Eco-Counter) counts cyclists via in-ground loop detectors and displays on the monitor how many cyclists pass by. The counter displays daily and cumulative totals and also captures weather data to use for analytical purposes. The data can be used in many ways:

  • To publicly show how many people are bicycling and make a statement that “bicyclists count”
  • The 24/7 data can be used to analyze daily, weekly, monthly and seasonal patterns. This can be used to help extrapolate data from other counts
  • The data assist with determining crash rate analyses

More People Bicycling

The percentage of Cantabrigians who commute by bicycle has been rising steadily over the past two decades. The 1990 US Census reported that 3% of residents commuted by bicycle; by 2000 that number rose to 4%; the American Community Survey for the three year period 2011-2013 shows 7% of residents commuting by bike.

Additional local surveys of Cambridge residents suggest that from 7% to 9% of Cambridge residents commute to work by bike. Local surveys also found a lot of bikes in Cambridge: for every 100 households, there are approximately 150 bicycles.

Traffic counts conducted by the city found that between 2002 and 2012, rush hour bicycle trips in Cambridge tripled in number. In 2014, the total numbers actually took a dip down, although detailed analysis seems to identify construction impacts as a primary cause.

For More Information

For more information, please contact Cara Seiderman at 617/349-4629 or