About Susan L. Handy (Edit profile)

Susan L. Handy is Professor and Chair of the Department of Environmental Science and Policy at the University of California, Davis, and Director of the Sustainable Transportation Center, part of the Federal University Transportation Centers Program (slhandy@ucdavis.edu).

The First Big-Box Store in Davis

Susan L. Handy, Kristin Lovejoy, Gian-Claudia Sciara, Deborah Salon, and Patricia Mokhtarian

Davis, California, is well-known in transportation circles for having the highest share of bicycle commuters in the US, due in large part to pioneering efforts starting in the 1960s that created an extensive bicycling network. Less well-known is the substantial effort Davis has made to avert the kind of sprawl found in most US cities. Multi-family housing is distributed throughout the city, neighborhood shopping centers are within a short bike ride for most residents, and the city has improved sidewalks, landscaping, and public spaces to promote its traditional downtown. Davis restricts development beyond the current urban boundary while at the same time encouraging infill development within the boundary. As a result, Davis is the sixth densest urbanized area in the US and an exemplar of what small cities can achieve with coordinated policies and careful planning.

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Trip Generation for Smart Growth Projects

Robert J. Schneider, Susan L. Handy, and Kevan Shafizadeh

California encourages developers to pursue urban infill projects in order to achieve a variety of infrastructure efficiency and environmental goals. Since they are already surrounded by established developments, infill projects provide better opportunities for walking, bicycling, and public transit, and they encourage fewer automobile trips than new suburban developments. Nevertheless, developers often meet resistance when proposing infill projects.

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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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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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Driving Less

Susan Handy

Besides having to use our air conditioner only occasionally now, one of the nicest things about moving to Davis, California, last year after nine years in Austin, Texas, has been the biking. Before the end of our second week here, we had bought a bike trailer so we could commute by bike to campus with our two pre-schoolers in tow. The purchase was a sort of initiation rite: the city of Davis estimates there are more bikes in Davis than people, and I suspect that family-oriented Davis accounts for a significant share of all bike trailers sold in the US. I confess that over the past year we didn’t always bike to campus. But in that time we put less than five thousand miles on our primary car, and got some exercise along the way.

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2022-09-28T23:11:03+00:00Categories: ACCESS 23, Fall 2003|Tags: |

Highway Blues: Nothing a Little Accessibility Can’t Cure

Susan Handy

I recently moved from Berkeley to Austin, the “Berkeley of Texas.” Although there are similarities, and Austin is certainly as close to Berkeley as Texas gets, there are plenty of things I miss about Berkeley. I miss the hills and the bay. I miss good Chinese food and Thai food, Super Burritos, and cheap, expertly made caffe lattes. Most of all, I miss having my favorite restaurants, a copy shop, a bike shop, a pet store, a bookstore, and a supermarket, all within a short and pleasant walk from home.

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