A recent study done in Britain has, perhaps unsurprisingly, found that investing in infrastructure to support cycling grows absolute numbers of cyclists and bicycle share of traffic. The study also showed that commute trips by motor vehicle dropped and, where greenway type facilities were added, walking increased alongside bicycle travel.
An interesting element of the Guardian article covering the study includes links to the “Social Science and Medicine” journal that has published the findings.
An interesting find too was that an effective tool for shifting travel behaviours more well entrenched in Britain and not yet broadly used in North America is the individualized travel planning programs that help households analyze travel habits and identify appealing options for safer cycling and walking that can help wean them off of car dependence.
Thanks to Vancouver’s Gordon Price for sharing the piece on his “Price Tags” site.
The World Health Organization has lately identified air pollution as a leading cause of cancer and one of the leading sources are tailpipe emissions.
The Capital Regional District conducts regular bike counts in and around Victoria and across the region. Stats are up on their web site and staff are looking for volunteers to spend several hours sitting out in the fall weather at as many as 80 intersection locations where they are seeking to gather data.
Here’s the link to the CRD Bike Count page:
To volunteer on the next count please contact Corey Burger at the CRD at firstname.lastname@example.org
Urban parks in Portland are critical to the success of the city’s hip Pearl District. Here’s a piece on the elements that make for a successful neighbourhood and a series of successful parks that integrate walkability and livability into the heart of the city.
U.S. Engineeering firm Sprinkle Consulting has developed a tool to measure the level of accommodation provided for cyclists along arterial routes. The tool provides a means of understanding how cyclists react to road conditions, treatments and enhancements aimed at making their ride safer and more appealing. Sprinkle worked through a process of field surveys, observing cyclists using typical metropolitan streets in the U.S.
The paper was presented at the 2006 Pro Walk – Pro Bike conference in Madison, Wisconsin, in 2006.
The Pedestrian and Bicycling Information Center and the U.S. Federal Highway Administration are useful resource sources for information on a variety of issues related to cycling and walking. Their site includes many studies and research that will be useful to the advocate or practitioner.
The Pedestrian Safety Action Plan is a comprehensive guide for improving safety for pedestrians through engineering and program supports.
Bike lanes come with a variety of design approaches, from full separation provided by physical barriers, painted buffers or bike lanes simply featuring different colours.
The challenge of design along many corridors is the presence of driveway or intersection conflicts that introduce hazards in the cycling environment. Historic research shows that cyclists riding on sidewalks have a higher exposure to collision risks than do those riding on the road. It comes from the proximity of sidewalks to intersecting traffic and the expectation among drivers that they will encounter cross traffic at pedestrian speeds – cyclists moving faster are very much unexpected.
Drivers will often overshoot a stop line or driveway edge in order to see traffic approaching, though the visibility of pedestrians approaching at walking speed is sufficient for motorists to yield or pedestrians to stop while a vehicle exits. Not so with bikes – the collision risk for those traveling against the flow of traffic is much higher than those traveling in a direction that drivers expect to see. They don’t look for cyclists traveling at some speed coming from the opposite direction.
For driveways, which may be analyzed as an uncontrolled intersection, since that is how they operate, the risk of collision is much reduced by the infrequency of use (commercial driveways or other more significant trip generators excepted). The very infrequent comings and goings from residential driveways, at least a single family dwellings or other smaller developments, produces few instances of conflict, thought any collision can be catastrophic for vulnerable road users.
Here, by contrast, is a short video illustrating a design approach that supports cycle track designs even where multiple driveway crossings are found. Two elements help reduce conflicts and enhance safety. First, distinct sidewalks for pedestrians buffer the bike lane, creating enough space for drivers to edge out into the right of way to scan for higher speed bike traffic, observing nonethless the protocols with pedestrians. Other design elements emphasize that vehicles leaving driveways are crossing the sidewalk or cycle path, not that the sidewalk or cycle path are crossing a driveway. The video shows and describes well enough the difference and how important that is in signaling who has priority. A very worthwhile tour . . .
Quebedc is a national leader when it comes to investing in infrastructure to support cycling and walking. Latest project to get the green light is in Montreal.
The U.S. , at least, has data on the link between driving taxes (fuel taxes, user fees, etc.) and road costs. This piece of research shows that for every dollar motorists put in to the public treasury through taxes, they get two dollars worth of benefits – a very good return on their investment, except that everyone else is paying that cost.
Urban design that supports walking and cycling earns returns on investments in supportive infrastructure. Health outcomes, both for physical, social and mental health are better in active cities, and the cost of inaction expensive and growing.
Story from Toronto’s Globe and Mail can be found here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/luton/8409365622/in/photostream