For most people Monday begins the weekly work cycle of get up, get dressed, maybe eat, get in car, struggle to work, work, get back in car, struggle home…rinse and repeat. Interesting that my RSS reader had two articles related to transportation.
The desire for fewer cars on the roads is not a war on cars. It is a necessary regulation of the growing number of cars in the capital region so that the city’s logistics – in the future as well – can work. If the congestion charges in Copenhagen are to improve the traffic environment in Copenhagen, a number of important steps must first be taken.
The first step is defining a vision for what kind of city we wish to have in 10, 20 and 50 years. We mustn’t discuss congestion charges based on what Copenhagen is like today, but rather how we wish the city to be in the future, as well as which needs it must fulfill.
It’s interesting because here in Austin (and dare I say most American cities) the standard response to congestion is to build more lanes. Or we tweak and fiddle about at the margins with traffic signalling, incentives for high occupancy, or lecturing people about using transit more.
The second article comes via a link provided by TheWashCycle (DC bicycle blog). The Davis Bicycle Studies discusses bicycle commuting in Davis, CA, where nearly 16% of people traveling to work use a bicycle. Pale compared to Copenhagen or other cities, but it’s stunning for America. The study doesn’t spend much time celebrating, but discusses why the number is so low.
But perhaps even more interesting than the fact that so many people in Davis bicycle is the fact that so many more don’t, despite the favorable conditions. Nearly half of adults had not bicycled in the previous week, over half of students arrived at the high school by car, and over three quarters of soccer players were driven to their games. So why do some Davis residents bicycle but others don’t?
So what else, besides distance, explains why some Davis residents bicycle but others don’t?…For adults, the answer has much to do with individual attitudes. In analyzing the data from our 2006 survey, we found that comfort with bicycling was one of the most important factors differentiating residents who regularly bicycle for transportation from those who don’t.
The author sums up nicely.
Personally, I find it frustrating that bicycling in Davis is not more pervasive. I moved to Davis for my job rather than for the bicycling, but I naturally embraced bicycling as my primary mode of travel once I got here. Sure, I believe in the importance of minimizing my driving, but I also simply enjoy getting on my bike more than I enjoy getting into the car. This may have something to do with all the time I spent getting around by bicycle from the age of four or five through my high school years. Now I can’t imagine going back to a car-dependent lifestyle. And that is exactly what my research team and I are trying to understand in our next study: where do attitudes toward bicycling come from and why do some people enjoy bicycling so much more than others? We’ll see.
Highly recommend both articles.