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Thread: Active travel for America

  1. #1
    Cyburbian b3nr's avatar
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    Active travel for America

    This report has been doing the rounds at work this morning: http://www.railstotrails.org/whatwed...TFA/index.html

    Although entirely centred around US policy, a great deal of the research is also useful in a UK context, which as usual finds itself somewhere in-between our English speaking American cousins and our European neighbours when it comes to the numbers, in this case of people walking and cycling. Its arguments are not too surprising; cycling and walking infrastructure is very cheap compared to large scale highway projects for example, and walking and cycling help to tackle obesity as another.

    But some of it includes data i haven't seen before, for example there's a great diagram of accessibility within 10 minutes to transit stops in Washington DC, the 10 minute band from stops expands by 16X by cycling. There's some good comparative stuff between the US (a cycling modal share of 1%?!) and some European cities (where its around 20%) and the difference between states with high obesity rates and those with lower rates.

    So i have to admit that i'm curious, and admit that i didn't realise just how bad America was with walking and cycling... so do you think that cycling and walking are realistic alternatives for your cities / towns?
    Where do you think investment in walking and cycling will work? For example, might it work well in small towns and large cities, but not in-between?
    How seriously do you take walking and cycling as a travel choice in your area?

    Anyway i strongly recommend reading the report.
    Last edited by b3nr; 27 Oct 2008 at 11:16 AM.

  2. #2
    Cyburbian Linda_D's avatar
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    Cycling and walking are not viable transportation alternatives in Jamestown, NY from November through March when we get a lot of snow here. There are a good number of bicyclists and walkers during the warmer days, especially since public transportation is virtually non-existent here, but since most of the residential areas are located on hills, this inhibits both bicyclists and walkers.

  3. #3
    Cyburbian Random Traffic Guy's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by b3nr View post
    But some of it includes data i haven't seen before, for example there's a great diagram of accessibility within 10 minutes to transit stops in Washington DC, the 10 minute band from stops expands by 16X by cycling.
    Note to any folks scratching their head over this stat, this is not the distance achieved by a 10-minute walk or bicycle ride, but the area within the circle it makes. Originally I thought that if I can walk 4 MPH, it meant I could bicycle 64 MPH... not. The 10-minute walk at 4 MPH is 0.66 miles or an area of 1.39 square miles. The 10-minute bicycle at 16 MPH is 2.66 miles or an area of 22.3 square miles.

    Interesting link, thanks.

  4. #4
    Cyburbian b3nr's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Linda_D View post
    Cycling and walking are not viable transportation alternatives in Jamestown, NY from November through March when we get a lot of snow here. There are a good number of bicyclists and walkers during the warmer days, especially since public transportation is virtually non-existent here, but since most of the residential areas are located on hills, this inhibits both bicyclists and walkers.
    Olso, Trondhiem, Copenhagen, Aberdeen, Zurich, Geneva, Grenoble, Riga, Kanuas, Poznan, Talinn, Helsinki ... well you get the point... all seem to do ok with snow... decent boots?.

    Thanks for the clarification Random!

  5. #5
    Cyburbian jmello's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Linda_D View post
    Cycling and walking are not viable transportation alternatives in Jamestown, NY from November through March when we get a lot of snow here.
    The City of Boston has one of the highest rates of pedestrian commuters in the United States. It is even colder and more snowy than Jamestown, NY.

  6. #6
    Cyburbian joshking2's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by jmello View post
    The City of Boston has one of the highest rates of pedestrian commuters in the United States. It is even colder and more snowy than Jamestown, NY.
    Jamestown is a very rural city. Its set in the middle of vineyards and vacation homes. Its doubtful many people live and work within walking distance. And when she says snow, she doesn't mean inches of snow, she means FEET of snow. Imagine snow banks as tall as people. Oh how I miss Western NY.

  7. #7
    When we get big snow storms or winers with lots of snow, driving drops here in Boston. Winters where we have big snow banks over six feet tall, making us look like we are all walking in trenches, no one can move their cars. So walking (and public transportation use) rises.

  8. #8
    Copenhagen isn't really a fair comparison: annual average winter precipitation is just about 5" and the average temp is actually above freezing. It certainly does snow, but it isn't common. Link.

    However, Copenhagen is the bicycle capital of the world (as we proud Danes like to proclaim). This blog is in English and gives a very good overview of the infrastructure Danmark has provided for both cyclists and pedestrians.

    Americans have parked our fat butts, either by choice or necessity, in the driver's seats of our (usually single-occupant) automobiles. Louisville KY is really trying to ramp up biking/walking but the effort will take years to catch up to Portland, and that's something like 6% of all trips IIRC.
    On pitching to Stan Musial:
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