A Call to Think Bigger About Transit

The way we get around in North America is changing from a work-home orientation to a node based network with multiple destinations. At first cars were used to fulfil this but as traffic worsens we need to rethink how we all get around. The solution, of course, is to kick the addiction to owning cars.

This raises bigger questions about the role of TOD in shared transport networks. One of the reasons services like Uber and Lyft, not to mention autonomous cars, make some planners nervous is because they don’t have a fixed node associated with them. So how do we continue to plan around them and for them? What is their relationship to transit? And, by extension, to transit-oriented development?

To answer these questions we need to re-think what transit is, just as we’re re-thinking what TOD is. If a chain of autonomous vehicles with vehicle-to-vehicle communications operate in a train-set type format, is that functioning just as transit would? Is that more or less efficient than the current local bus systems in some cities? I know this scares some people to talk about, and the answer often seems to be some sort of litmus test as to whether or not you really support public transportation, but I think to have an honest conversation we have to get rid of the sacred cows.

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France Pays People to Cycle to Work

France is experimenting with new way to subsidize transportation by getting more people to bicycle to work. Traffic in Paris is particularly awful and with ongoing population growth and car-focused infrastructure the transportation problems are only going to increase. France is hoping that getting people to ride bicycles will stymie the growth of transportation issues.

French Transport Minister Frederic Cuvillier, noting that commuting using public transport and cars is already subsidized, said that if results of the test are promising, a second experiment on a larger scale will be done.

The ministry hopes that the bike-to-work incentive scheme will boost bike use for commuting by 50 percent from 2.4 percent of all work-home journeys, or about 800 million km, with an average distance of 3.5 km per journey.

In Belgium, where a tax-free bike incentive scheme has been in place for more than five years, about 8 percent of all commutes are on bicycles. In the flat and bicycle-friendly Netherlands, it is about 25 percent, cycling organizations say.

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More Americans Are Biking to Work

Bicycling in urban areas has increased in the developed world over the last decade and the USA is no exception. The obvious health benefits from riding a bike and the increased attention to bike infrastructure contributes to the growth in riders. More people bicycling the better as it gets people out of their cars and cleans the air.

The increase comes as cities add bike-share programs and lanes to encourage cyclists. Portland, Ore., which boasts 319 miles of bikeways, has the largest share of bike commuters among big cities, about 6 percent. (Insert Portlandia joke here.) Madison, Wis., (5 percent) and Minneapolis (4 percent) are right behind. In some smaller cities, bike commuting is even more common: One in 10 Boulderites ride to work in Colorado, and the number approaches 20 percent in Davis, Calif. The trend is good news for the bike industry and the people who make this suit.

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Portland Continues Support For Sustainable Transportation

Portland, Oregon is already known for its amazing support of bicycle riders and pedestrians. Now they have taken their commitment to making their city even better by building the largest bicycle parking in North America. Similar parking for bikes is available in other places like in Amsterdam and Tokyo so seeing this come to North America is a good sign for cyclists.

As reported on the Bike Portland blog, a 657-apartment project planned for Portland's Inner East neighborhood will have a whopping 1,200 bike parking spaces, an acknowledgment of the city's cyclo-centric culture.

One of the architects of the project, which is being developed in a part of town where "mid-century planning principles called for surface parking lots in lieu of dense, walkable communities," explained:

"The demographic that we expect to show up here is going to be young urban professionals and it's going to be, we think, young families as well," said Kyle Andersen of Portland-based GBD Architects. "They all have bikes. When I think about my own neighborhood, the families I see riding there, if you move those people into a building they're still going to have a bike. I think you have to be ready for that demographic to be there, otherwise you're restricting yourself."

Read more here.

Thanks to Mike!

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Infographic: Footloose and Car Free

Riding bicycles is not only fun, it’s also great for the environment. Readers of this site already know many benefits of switching from a car-fcoused transportation society to one focused on sustainability and humanity. Because the internet is what it is, some people put together this infographic about the benefits that bike riding can bring to the USA.

Did you know that 30+ minutes of biking per day lowers women’s risk of breast cancer? Or how about three hours of biking per week reduces risk of heart disease and stroke by 50%?

From here.

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