• Portland, United States

City Summary

The city of Portland, USA, is one of the largest in its region. It is known for cycling and has currently the highest percentage of bike commuters in US cities and is a leader in innovative transport. Portland is supporting a transportation system that makes it more convenient for people to walk, bicycle, use transit, and drive less to meet their daily needs. To achieve this, the Portland Bureau of Transportation is a community partner in shaping a livable city. It is in charge to plan, build, manage and maintain an effective and safe transportation system that provides people and businesses access and mobility.

Portland has a comprehensive public transportation system including buses, streetcars and light rail. Along with the system, the city has established an urban growth strategy that outlines plans for focusing growth in concentrated neighborhoods near public transit stations.

To encourage non-motorized transport, the city has developed the program, “SmartTrips” citizens are encouraged to use alternative transportation choices such as walking, biking or carpooling. Finally, the City of Portland offers financial incentives to employees who bike, walk, carpool or use public transit to commute to and from home. As a result, approximately 8 % of commuters bike to work, the highest proportion of any major US city and about 10 times the national average.

Targets/ Vision

Portland currently has long term plans for parking management, multimodal transportation, and city plans. The City of Portland’s foundational plans include the Portland Plan, the Comprehensive Plan, the Transportation System Plan and the Climate Action Plan. The Portland’s Transportation System Plan (TSP) last updated in 2007. The TSP addresses local transportation needs for cost-effective street, transit, freight, bicycle, and pedestrian improvements and encourages driving less.

Main objectives include:

  • Push forward plans that will direct future growth toward centers and corridors;
  • Incorporate equity and human health considerations into land use and transportation plans;
  • Adopt a multimodal approach and related “complete streets” approaches;
  • Financially realistic;
  • Partnerships with regional and state agencies;
  • Build on existing plans including the 2040 Framework Plan Climate Action Plan, Bicycle Plan for 2030, and the City’s economic development plans into the TSP and Comprehensive Plan.

3 bicycle plans have guided Portland’s growth as a bike-friendly city for nearly 40 years by establishing policies, goals and a bikeway network that aim to make the bicycle an integral part of daily life. The plans were adopted by City Council in 1973, 1996 and 2010.

The city also has a Freight Master Plan which balance freight mobility needs with community impacts and other transportation modes. Finally, Portland has a “Vision Zero” charged with developing a community action plan to dramatically reduce serious and fatal crashes on Portland’s roads. Portland aims to reduce vehicle-miles traveled per resident in the metropolitan area by 10 % in 20 years and 20 % in 30 years.

Achieved results


  • Over 100 schools are served by Portland’s Safe Routes to School Program to educate children on pedestrian and cycling safety.
  • Support 28 Sunday Parkways events (car free days with activities)
  • Developed Crosswalk guidelines for Portland to identify and implement enhanced safety interventions.


  • Bike share system BIKETOWN with 1,000 bikes and 100 stations.
  • Developed 563 miles of bikeways including 302 km bike lanes
  • Publicly-installed 6500 bike racks

Public Transport:

  • Deployed 610 buses on a network of 80 bus routes
  • Developed 93.5 km of light rail system
  • 6 km streetcar system

City Statistics

Population (2016)
Area (in sq. kms)

Modal split (2015)

  • Walking 6%
  • Cycling 7%
  • Public transport 13%
  • Personal Car 72.4%


Vision Zero (2015) has the goal to eliminate traffic deaths and serious injuries by 2025.

Portland Bicycle Plan for 2030: 25% bicycle mode split for all trips by 2030

City News

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