Active Transportation

Why is Active Transportation important to the OKI Region?

Bicycling and walking account for 11.4% of all trips

According to the 2009 National Household Transportation Survey, bicycling and walking account for 11.4% of all trips (1.0% bike and 10.4% walk)

Provide alternatives for SOV travel

Bicycling and walking provide alternatives for SOV travel

Connects with Transit

It is a means of connecting with transit

Reduces Emmissions

This type of travel helps reduce congestion, fuel consumption and vehicle emissions especially valuable for replacing short distance auto trips, which have the highest rate of emissions.

Health and quality of life

These modes also contribute to personal health and quality of life.

At a national level, surveys consistently indicate that non-motorized modes would be used more frequently for commuting and other trip purposes, if facilities were more widely available for safe travel. In addition, the FAST Act’s emphasis on Ladders of Opportunity includes provisions that are intended to improve transportation options, redevelop communities and to expand employment opportunities, particularly for low-income individuals, minorities, and persons with disabilities. Specifically, the Act “supports efforts to increase connectivity by improving bicycle and pedestrian networks.”

While bicycling and walking are addressed together as human powered or “active” modes of travel, they do not necessarily always share facilities. Rivers, hills, railroads and interstate highways create potential barriers for bicyclists and pedestrians traveling in and through the OKI region.

Active Transportation Recommendations

Bicycle and pedestrian transportation needs were identified during the development of this plan update process. Twenty improvement projects are recommended in the fiscally constrained plan to directly address bicycle and pedestrian needs. In addition, there are a number of roadway projects which include bicycle and/or pedestrian facilities as elements of their project descriptions. To view the Bike and Pedestrian projects that are included in the 2040 Plan by interactive map or table list formats, click here and search by “Project Type.”


Bicycle trips for transportation purposes, including commuting to and from work, average four miles in length. Recreational or touring bicycle day trips can be 100 miles or more in length. OKI’s Bike Route Guide (above) includes roads and trails used and recommended by area bicyclists through an interactive map app. The Guides are also available in printed form for the City of Cincinnati; the four Ohio counties (Butler, Clermont, Hamilton and Warren); and the three northern Kentucky counties (Boone, Campbell and Kenton).

Bicycle facilities are grouped into two categories: On-road facilities and separate facilities.

On-Road Facilities

Since the existing roadway network can be used by bicyclists to travel to almost any destination in and out of the region, on-road facilities are the primary facility for the purpose of bicycle transportation planning. This optimizes their visibility, although cyclists may be accommodated with additional road space to reduce conflicts caused by the differences in speed. Bicyclists are often prohibited by law from using sidewalks and can be a hazard to pedestrians due to the speed differential. Bicyclists and drivers of motor vehicles share travel lanes

and must interact together on the roadway including intersections and driveway locations. As bicycles are included in the definition of vehicles under state laws, cyclists are entitled to use the roads and must comply with appropriate traffic laws.


Separate Facilities

Separate facilities, such as trails, multi-use paths or sidepaths, are designed and designated exclusively for bicycles and other non-motorized uses. These facilities are most useful for travel demand on a localized basis, such as connecting with schools or shopping areas. Trails and greenways typically serve both recreation and transportation purposes. While existing trail facilities in the OKI region, such as the Little Miami Scenic Trail, are primarily used for recreation, their value for utilitarian trips may grow as they penetrate urban areas such as the Great Miami River Trail in Hamilton and Middletown.

A multi-purpose, Regional Trails System is being developed in the OKI region. The proposed trail system is comprised of many projects that have been initiated by local or regional groups that are working toward their implementation.

Bicycles, Transit and Parking

Merging bicycle travel with transit services further enhances the potential of both modes of travel. Nationally, more than 500 transit companies have implemented bike racks on buses. Other forms of accommodation include bike parking facilities at transit stops and park and ride lots. In the OKI region, the Southwest Ohio Regional Transit Authority (SORTA Metro) was designated a bike-friendly destination in 2011, 2012 and 2013 by Queen City Bike as part of its commitment to bike commuting. Metro maintains bike facilities at two Park & Ride locations: Anderson Township has four bike lockers at the transit center adjacent to the Anderson Towne Center near the Five Mile and Beechmont Road intersection; and the Forest Park Park & Ride located on Kemper Meadow Lane in Forest Park has four bike banks for long-term parking. Metro and TANK also have bike racks on all of its bus fleet capable of holding two bicycles. In addition, when the Cincinnati Streetcar begins revenue service in September 2016, riders will be able to bring their bikes on board with them. Downtown Cincinnati has over 100 bike racks and over 500 undesignated sign poles for bike parking along Fourth, Fifth, Sixth and Seventh streets.

Pedestrian Facilities

For safety, pedestrians are best accommodated with sidewalks placed adjacent to, but out of the roadway. While the 2009-2013 American Community Survey data reported that only 2% of the OKI population stated walking as their primary mode of travel, as street widths and the percentage of elderly persons have increased, the need for special street crossing treatments has become more critical. Increased attention for pedestrian travel is needed to help

  • Eliminate injuries and fatalities caused by pedestrian and auto crashes
  • Reduce congestion and motor vehicle emissions for short trips

Ongoing Bicycle and Pedestrian Planning

Due to the significance of active transportation modes, OKI developed the 2008 OKI Regional Bicycle Plan and the 2004 OKI Regional Pedestrian Plan.

The 2008 OKI Regional Bicycle Plan update contains information about transportation needs for the region along with extensive recommendations for improving the safety and utilization of bicycle travel and for integrating bicycle facilities into the planning and development of the regional multimodal transportation network.

The 2004 Regional Pedestrian Plan distinguishes between the functional activities of OKI as a regional planning agency and those of the administrative functions of member local jurisdictions. In effect, the planning, programming, implementation and maintenance of pedestrian facilities happen at the local level.

Both plans also address the connection of land use to effective bicycle and pedestrian travel. The work of the OKI Land Use Commission is acknowledged by reference to the public support for alternative modes to automobile travel. Specifically, bicycling and walking were identified as priorities in the series of public visioning workshops held during the initial creation of the SRPP.

In addition, many cities, townships and counties in the region have developed a program for bicycle facilities, prepared a bikeway plan to accommodate local needs and designated a staff person to identify and coordinate projects. Ideally, these plans are part of the local transportation or land use plan. The 2010 Cincinnati Bicycle Transportation Plan forms the basis for developing a bicycle transportation system that includes bike paths, bike lanes, signed bike routes, shared lanes and wide outside lanes. Since 2009, eight communities in northeast Hamilton County have partnered to coordinate the development of bicycle facilties primarily for recreational purposes. To the extent that such local bikeways are linear or suitable for travel from one place to another, meet accepted design standards, and are regionally significant on their own or as a component of a regional facility, they may be included in OKI’s recommended regional bikeway system.

The requirements for addressing bicycle and pedestrian travel are continued in the FAST Act and related guidelines for metropolitan planning organizations. The items below are recommendations for bicycle and pedestrian improvements that have been excerpted from the OKI regional bike and pedestrian plans and the SRPP.

  • Complete Streets
  • Land Use and Local Development
  • Clean Air
  • Transit Improvements
  • Education and Enforcement Programs
  • Funding for Bicycle and Pedestrian Improvements