My top go-to news source The Guardian blogs on “How cities fail their cyclists in different ways“. What a great article: rather than highlighting some of the best examples of bicycling infrastructure and policies around the world, Peter Walker shines light on cases where cycling is underserved in fundamental ways. The article takes up both cities where cycling faces seemingly insurmountable challenges (e.g. Hong Kong); cities that seem ripe for a cycling boom that has never emerged (e.g. Auckland).
And why not? From a social (and, indirectly, ecological) sustainability point of view, it could actually be far more important to address these kinds of cases, rather than to make the best (or fairly-good cities, like Stockholm) even better. From a systems-optimization or economic point of view, it is perfectly obvious that one should focus on places where the marginal benefit is the greatest for the marginal cost. Cities where transport problems are severe, like Hong Kong, are where the marginal benefit could be greatest; and cities like Auckland, in which increases could be just around the corner, are where the marginal costs are probably the lowest.