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Thread: Mode Splits

  1. #1
    Member Wulf9's avatar
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    Mode Splits

    Noticed a similar table in a book and looked it up online. Most transportation planners and land use planners look to transit as a solution to traffic congestion. However, most countries that are not auto dependent, the mode of choice for non car people is walking and bikes. Transit use doesn't get higher than 20% anywhere.

    I conclude that people don't like to ride transit, even if they don't ride in cars.

    So, shouldn't we be emphasizing planning solutions that are walkable & bikeable, rather than transit as the solution. I'm going to put this in my upcoming General Plan and see if we can't focus on walk/bike options.

    Edit. Apologies, the table looked okay in the draft and is a jumble in the post.

    Percent of Trips by Travel Mode (all trip purposes)
    Country bike walk transit car other
    Neth 30 18 5 45 2
    Denmark 20 21 14 42 3
    Germany 12 22 16 49 1
    Switz 10 29 20 38 1
    Sweden 10 39 11 36 4
    Austria 9 31 13 39 8
    England 8 12 14 62 4
    France 5 30 12 47 6
    Italy 5 28 16 42 9
    Canada 1 10 14 74 1
    US 1 9 3 84 3
    Source: John Pucher, Transportation Quarterly, 98-1 (from various transport ministries and depts., latest avail. year)

  2. #2
    Cyburbian jordanb's avatar
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    Are those just the urban populations, or the population of the whole country?

    What does Japan's mode split look like?

    What's the minimum trip distance?

  3. #3
    Member Wulf9's avatar
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    I think these are national figures without considering trip distances or anything else. This was a perceptual shift for me. I had always assumed that decreasing auto trips would be taken up mainly by transit trips. But transit remains the least used mode even when auto use is lower (if bike/walk is considered as a single mode). The chart doesn't include Japan. The chart is a bit into this web site.

    http://www.ibike.org/library/statistics.htm

  4. #4
    Cyburbian Achernar's avatar
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    Just making the table a little more readable....

    Code:
    Percent of Trips by Travel Mode (all trip purposes)
    Country	bike	walk	transit	car	other
    Neth	30	18	5	45	2
    Denmark	20	21	14	42	3
    Germany	12	22	16	49	1
    Switz	10	29	20	38	1
    Sweden	10	39	11	36	4
    Austria	9	31	13	39	8
    England	8	12	14	62	4
    France	5	30	12	47	6
    Italy	5	28	16	42	9
    Canada	1	10	14	74	1
    US	1	9	3	84	3

  5. #5
    Cyburbian jordanb's avatar
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    My point is that there is a lot to consider when considering transit. Rural populations are never going to have high transit use because it often simply isn't avaliable to them. If you live in the typical small european town where you can easily walk from one end to the other, there isn't a huge impetus to operate transit anyway.

    Also I assume those trips are total trips, not just trips to work? Often, transit trips make up a small percentage of off-peak trips but carry a huge number of rush-hour trips. This is, of course, invaluable for cutting down on congestion.

    Further, Europe wasn't built for transit like America and Japan were. They don't have massive downtown employment centers effectivly served by a huge, centrally focused rail network (with the exception of London), so transit is going to be less effective in those cities and point-to-point modes like bicycling are going to be more popular.

    It's not really applicable to combine bicycling with walking. They're very different modes. The only similarity is that they both are human-powered. When I get on my bike, I ride it from my front step directly to my location, lock it up close to the door, and walk a very short distance to the door. Walking isn't a significant part of bike trips. When I take transit, I usually walk several blocks to the L station, then walk several more blocks to the destination. If anything, walking and transit are more related than walking and biking.

    But anway. I asked about trip distance because I had just taken a trip to the supermarket. It is two blocks away and right next to my L station, so it doesn't make much sense for me not to walk to it. Actually I walk most of the trips in my neighborhood, or bike a few of the longer ones. But the majority of my trips outside of my neighborhood are on transit. Of course, that probably comprises only half of the trips I take or so.

  6. #6
    Cyburbian sisterceleste's avatar
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    Mode split in Miami is around 4%
    in Orlando 2%
    We do love our cars down here in the Hurricane State
    You darn tootin', I like fig newtons!

  7. #7
    Member Wulf9's avatar
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    I was not arguing against transit. I was just struck by the stats which show transit as the lower of the modes in almost all cases. I take that to mean a lower prefererance.

    So I was thinking about looking at the General Plan with walking and biking as an increased mode. That means a careful look at land uses, services, and employment -- trying to get them close enough to walk/bike. You don't get there until you start with a goal to do so.

    We have some cities in the area with a theoretical jobs/housing balance (1.5 jobs per household), but everyone who works in town commutes in to work and everyone who lives in town commutes out to their jobs. So traffic is twice as bad, rather than being relieved by the balance.

  8. #8
    Cyburbian jordanb's avatar
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    First of all, "walking and biking" is not a mode. It is two very seperate modes which are used for different types of trips.

    Second of all, it is incorrect to determine from that that data that transit has a "lower preference." Consider: What percentage of trips in the United States are via airplane? I don't know what it is but I'm sure it's very, very small. Does that mean that airplanes are of lower preference? Of course not. It means they're used for a certian subset of trips that, while very important, do not comprise a significant percentage of total trips taken. And it certanly does not mean resources should not be expended on airplanes.

    In the United States, most cities were built around a transit system feeding a central CBD. The best way to cut down on auto use is to nurture your existing downtown and rebuild the transit connections to it, not to try to remake your city in Amsterdam's image.

  9. #9
    Member Wulf9's avatar
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    I don't necessarily want to go round and round on this. We are small enough that we can do a lot more walking and biking, so the study has particular interest for me.

    One of the main characteristics of cars, walking, and biking is that they are "start where you want to start -- end where you want to end" modes. I still think the data shows a preference, particularly for walking, but walking and biking in some places.

    I hope to use the study as a reason to keep residential near and in the downtown, rather than zoning those functioning residential areas to commercial.

    With that said, any positive examples or suggestions would be welcome.

  10. #10
    Cyburbian jordanb's avatar
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    Well that data does not show a preference. If you want to believe there's a preference then go ahead, and if you have other data that does so, then there you go. But you're reading something into that data that simply isn't there (for reasons explained above).

    Also why did you start by looking at total trips and end up talking about trips to work? You do realize that if you looked at european trips-to-work data, transit would have a much larger share, right?

  11. #11
    Cyburbian nuovorecord's avatar
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    I think the question goes beyond whether or not people WANT to use transit, or if it is convenient. For many, the problem is that people lack the knowledge or incentive to do so. Portland recently completed a pilot project, modeled on a technique called Individualized Marketing. People are contacted individually, their interest in using alternative modes is ascertained, they're given the necessary information and encouragement, and the results are measured. One of the great things about this technique is that it doesn't try to make people do something they don't want to do. Interestingly, about 2/3 of the people contacted want to find out more about using transit and other modes.

    Portland saw a 9 percent increase in alt mode use in the project area. Encouraged by these results, they've embarked on a large-scale project coinciding with the opening of the new light-rail line in North Portland, and are planning additionally projects beyond this one. The FTA is funding 4 other TravelSmart projects around the US: Bellingham, WA; Sacramento, CA; Raleigh/Durham, NC; and Milwaukee, WI. Seattle is also starting a TravelSmart project.

    http://www.pdxtrans.org/Options/Travelsmart.htm
    "There's nothing wrong with America that can't be fixed by what's right with America." - Bill Clinton.

  12. #12
    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by Wulf9
    I was not arguing against transit. I was just struck by the stats which show transit as the lower of the modes in almost all cases. I take that to mean a lower prefererance.
    I don't think transit use necessarily reflects transit preference. Growing up, I lived in an area where I would have liked to use transit, but where there wasn't any to use (beyond the school bus). Transit use of 0% does not imply that transit preference is 0%; it implies something much more complex about preferance, availability (both simple existance *and* the details of routes and timetables), land use, etc. That's something my Econ. professor liked to hammer on--Just because something is such a way doesn't mean that's the way people want it to be.


    Quote Originally posted by Wulf9
    So I was thinking about looking at the General Plan with walking and biking as an increased mode. That means a careful look at land uses, services, and employment -- trying to get them close enough to walk/bike. You don't get there until you start with a goal to do so.
    This is, I think, an excellent approach. Regardless of quibbles over what the number mean, it seems pretty clear to me that an environment that supports walking will have more support for transit than an unwalkable environment (and, similarly, transit-friendly environments will increase walkability). To a lesser degree, bicycles also fit into the co-supporting picture; built forms that support walking and transit will also tend to support cycling, and, around here, the buses all have bike racks on the front, so those modes aren't all that separated.

    You're not going to increase walking by stating, "Go forth and walk!" You're going to do it by creating an environment that makes walking easy and enjoyable, and this will also be an environment that is more friendly to cycling and transit. Right on.

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