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Thread: Take a car away...

  1. #1
    Cyburbian JNL's avatar
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    Take a car away...

    I'm currently working on a methodology to investigate the effect of taking one car away from a two-car (or more) family. It's hypothetical, we won't actually take a car off them, instead we'll get them to keep travel diaries and vehicle logs for maybe a week, then map out their activities and the locations of those activites, and ask them to figure out how they'd get to where they need to with one less car.

    I guess some of their options would be

    a) ride share
    b) take public transport
    c) walk, cycle or skateboard (non-motorised individual transport)
    d) cancel the activity
    e) delay the activity
    f) reorganise other activities
    etc

    The idea is to investigate whether putting restrictions on car ownership may actually lead to less efficient travel and higher VMT (or VKT here).

    My question is this: does anyone know of any software (or just clever ideas!) that we could use for visually mapping peoples' activities by location and time, to enable us to use as a discussion point with the participating families, to see how their travel would change.

    An interesting project....

  2. #2
    Cyburbian jresta's avatar
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    I don't think that a family hanging up a set of car keys would lead to an increase in VMT especially if one spouse has the car at work all day. It would be physically impossible.

    I've experienced the opposite. I didn't have a car then I was "watching" my brother's car for a few months during his national guard deployment. I found myself making trips by car that I didn't before. For instance my gf would normally do the grocery shopping on her way home from work but i started doing it even though she drove right past it on her way home.

    I'm actually more familiar with seeing cities encouraging one car households as a solution to a parking problem, not a traffic problem. Seattle has a program, or at least had a program, where the city was cashing out second cars.
    Indeed you can usually tell when the concepts of democracy and citizenship are weakening. There is an increase in the role of charity and in the worship of volunteerism. These represent the élite citizen's imitation of noblesse oblige; that is, of pretending to be aristocrats or oligarchs, as opposed to being citizens.

  3. #3
    Cyburbian JNL's avatar
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    Actually higher VKT is just one possibility of what might happen, but really we're interested in exploring what changes people might make to their travel and activities.

    Putting heavy taxes on a family's second vehicle is an idea that has been floated here, as a way to ease traffic congestion and reduce vehicle emissions. So I guess we're asking what effect that might have - is it likely to work as intended, or will people accommodate for it by finding other ways to make the same number of trips?

  4. #4
    Cyburbian jresta's avatar
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    If you live under a zoning regime then people won't have much of a choice but to make the same number of trips by car. They'll just to have to be smarter about it. You could see a rise in carpooling or you could see neighbors trading grocery lists.

    If the areas are already both pedestrian friendly and accomodating and the area has good transit then I believe you'll see a much larger reduction in VMT.

    I've always maintained that traffic is a secondary problem caused by limited access. If access is multimodal then taking one mode out of the equation will cause only minimal pain.
    Indeed you can usually tell when the concepts of democracy and citizenship are weakening. There is an increase in the role of charity and in the worship of volunteerism. These represent the élite citizen's imitation of noblesse oblige; that is, of pretending to be aristocrats or oligarchs, as opposed to being citizens.

  5. #5
    Cyburbian JNL's avatar
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    Yes we are very much living under a "zoning regime". In the whole region, including towns up to an hour's drive away, there are 3 main centres of employment, and the vast majority of people drive to work in one of these centres. Other challenges: a lot of people are provided with work vehicles and parking is abundant and reasonably inexpensive.

    2001 figures for travel to work: 49.3% by motor vehicle, 13.5% walked or jogged, 12% went by bus, 4% by train and 3% cycled.

  6. #6
    Cyburbian jordanb's avatar
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    2001 figures for travel to work: 49.3% by motor vehicle, 13.5% walked or jogged, 12% went by bus, 4% by train and 3% cycled.
    I wouldn't call 49.3% a "vast majority" :P. I think 13.5% walking is amazing. There aren't too many places in this country that can come anywhere near that. Bicycling seems pretty low though.

    Still, those don't looking like the commuting patterns of sprawl at all.
    Reality does not conform to your ideology.
    http://neighborhoods.chicago.il.us Photographs of Life in the Neighborhoods of Chicago
    http://hafd.org/~jordanb/ Pretentious Weblog.

  7. #7
    Cyburbian jresta's avatar
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    as americans i think we have a pretty warped sense of what is not sprawl.

    New Zealand isn't exactly a big country and if you're talking about the north island i would venture to guess that an hours drive is ridiculously far.

    But from those statistics - if you're trying to cut down on work based trips - it looks like you already have most of the answeres
    Indeed you can usually tell when the concepts of democracy and citizenship are weakening. There is an increase in the role of charity and in the worship of volunteerism. These represent the élite citizen's imitation of noblesse oblige; that is, of pretending to be aristocrats or oligarchs, as opposed to being citizens.

  8. #8
    Cyburbian JNL's avatar
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    Ok ok, we're not doing too badly

    I added those stats after I had written my reply and thought, hey, that's not too bad. There's still room for improvement though!

    I think we have the highest rates of walking to work in Wellington (cf. other NZ cities) because it is a reasonably compact city. It has natural geographical barriers to sprawl - ocean on two sides and surrounded by hills.

    You could drive from the bottom of the north island to the top in about 12 hours I think

  9. #9
    Cyburbian JNL's avatar
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    And jordanb, i think you should stop poking your tongue out at everyone and introduce yourself!

  10. #10
    Cyburbian
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    My family only has one car.... but I don't deny that there are families with more than one car... The soccer mom SUV, dad's car,etc... all of those habits have been imported,sadly

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