Bike & Pedestrian Planning

Is Travel Really That Bad?

Eric A. Morris

Okay, the title of this article is a bit tongue-in-cheek, but travel does involve considerable costs. The average household spends about $8,500 per year on transportation, making it one of our biggest expenditures. Time is another cost of travel, because the roughly hour and ten minutes American adults spend traveling each day might be better spent on things like work, family, and even sleep. Travel can also be tiring, stressful, dangerous, and more.

THE ACCESS ALMANAC: Running to Work

Robert Cervero

As a transportation researcher, I sometimes get asked what falls into the Census’s “other” category of how people get to work—hoverboarding, rollerblading, kayaking? In Ottawa, three percent of commuters ice-skate to work in winter months. In other cities, notably big, dense ones with awful traffic and jam-packed subways, an increasingly popular way to commute is running. Lacing up running shoes and hoofing it to work is arguably the most active form of active transport and helps meet the Surgeon General’s recommended 30 or more minutes of physical activity per day. Combining two things we need to do—exercising and getting to work—can pay off. Research shows active commuters cut their odds of obesity by 50 percent.

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Unraveling the Modal Impacts of Bikesharing

Susan Shaheen and Elliot Martin

Public bikesharing has emerged as one of the latest transportation innovations, transforming North American cities and providing people with more transportation options. Much attention has focused on how new bikesharing programs fit in with the largely auto-oriented transportation culture. But there is another fascinating question: how do bikesharing programs influence the travel patterns of their members with respect to travel by rail, bus, and on foot?

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Introduction: The Road Less Traveled

John A. Mathews

When I used to think of people biking to work, I pictured sweaty MAMILs (middle-aged men in Lycra) on ultra-light road bikes—riders who finished the Tour de France and then changed for their morning staff meeting. The reality is that not many people who bicycle are professional cyclists. I certainly don’t have an ultra-light road bike and a closet filled with polyurethane fiber. I just have my trusty 15-year-old mountain bike, and a cotton shirt or two.

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Retrofitting the Suburbs to Increase Walking

Marlon G. Boarnet , Kenneth Joh, Walter Siembab, William Fulton, and Mai Thi Nguyen

During the last half of the 20th century, cities and towns across America were built primarily for one transportation mode: the automobile. Much of this development occurred on the urban periphery, creating the suburbs that are now home to more Americans than either traditional central cities or small towns. Today, while federal transportation policies and urban planners have shifted toward promoting a more multimodal form of development, the legacy of the postwar era remains: thousands of suburban neighborhoods poorly served by any mode of transportation other than the automobile.

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The Davis Bicycle Studies: Why do I bicycle but my neighbor doesn’t?

Susan L. Handy

Pick a city, any city in the US, and then pick a house within that city. Open the door of its garage and you're likely to find a bicycle. Chances are good that it is covered with dust or has a flat tire. If not, and if its owner has in fact used it any time recently, odds are the purpose was exercise or recreation. Compare this to a garage, any garage, in Davis, California. Inside you're likely to find several bicycles—more bicycles, perhaps, than people living in that house. In all probability, one or more of those bicycles is used at least weekly, not for exercise or recreation but for transportation—to get the rider to work, school, the store, a restaurant, or another destination in town.

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2018-02-16T21:59:33+00:00Categories: ACCESS 39, Fall 2011|Tags: , |

Worldwide Bikesharing

Susan Shaheen and Stacey Guzman

Bikesharing has evolved greatly since the first program was launched in the Netherlands in the mid-1960s. As of May 2011, there were an estimated 136 bikesharing programs in 165 cities around the world, with 237,000 bikes on the streets. In the Americas, bikesharing activity has spread to Canada, Mexico, the US, Argentina, Brazil, and Chile. Asia, which represents the fastest-growing bikesharing market today, has programs in China, South Korea, and Taiwan.

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Vibrant Sidewalks in the United States: Re-integrating Walking and a Quintessential Social Realm

Anastasia Loukaitou-Sideris and Renia Ehrenfeucht

As a transportation mode, walking is healthy for individuals and beneficial for the environment. Fifteen years ago, the US Surgeon General highlighted the importance of walking for exercise as a means of combating obesity, diabetes, and other diseases. Since then, a wealth of studies published in public health and medical journals have extolled the virtues of walking. Moved by concerns about climate change, energy, and congestion, transportation planners now view walking as an inexpensive and enjoyable activity that could replace short auto trips, thus reducing congestion and fossil fuel consumption. Yet despite the general consensus that walking brings many benefits, policymakers still aren’t sure how to increase the amount of walking people actually do. One of the most obvious approaches is to improve pedestrian infrastructure. Walking is harder in places without good sidewalks, and the sidewalks in many cities are in terrible disrepair. Many other places have no sidewalks at all. But good sidewalks, while important, will not by themselves lead to more walking. Changes in the built environment are a necessary but not sufficient condition for a pedestrian-friendly city.

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Fixing Broken Sidewalks

Donald Shoup

Public infrastructure often decays invisibly, and we are shocked when a bridge gives way or a water main breaks. Sidewalks, however, decay right before our eyes and under our feet. Perhaps because sidewalks fail gradually rather than collapse spectacularly, many cities have neglected sidewalk repairs and have let neighborhoods become less walkable. In Los Angeles, for example, 4,600 of the city’s 10,750 miles of sidewalks need some degree of repair at an estimated cost of $1.2 billion. Despite this backlog, the city fixed an average of only 67 miles of sidewalks a year between 2000 and 2008. Even if sidewalks miraculously stopped breaking, at that pace it would take 69 years to repair all the existing damage.

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Which Comes First: The Neighborhood or the Walking?

Susan Handy and Patricia Mokhtarian

These days it's hard to miss the story that Americans spend more time stuck in traffic than ever, that they’re fatter than ever, and that the suburbs are to blame—or at least so goes the talk in the public media and in city planning and public health circles. The logic is simple: suburbs were designed for driving rather than walking, leading people to drive more and walk less, thereby contributing to increased traffic congestion and vehicle emissions, declining physical activity, and increasing waistlines. Recent studies show significant connections between suburban sprawl and traffic congestion, air pollution, and obesity. The solution as proposed is simple: redesign suburbs for walking rather than driving, so that people will walk more and drive less, traffic levels will decrease, and physical activity will increase. Problem solved.

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