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  1. #1
    Senior Member mikeybikes's Avatar
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    Bias in Transportation System Design

    If there ever was any doubt, we now have a study that 'exposes' it: Study exposes bias in transportation system design
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  2. #2
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    Here's a better article on the issue, complete with what California is looking to do about it (dump level of service).

    Transit Projects Are About to Get Much, Much Easier in California - CityLab

  3. #3
    Senior Member CrankyOne's Avatar
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    I'm not sure any studies are needed. Just look around. Look at how DOT $'s are spent. The question is what can we do about it.

    This?: Motivation For Safer Roads | streets.mn

    Other options?

    What's most interesting about the article the OP referenced is that it was pub'd in a journal for traffic engineers. Maybe something will begin to get through to them.
    "Trying to cure traffic congestion by adding more capacity is like trying to cure obesity by loosening your belt." - ATL Urbanist

  4. #4
    Senior Member mikeybikes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CrankyOne View Post
    What's most interesting about the article the OP referenced is that it was pub'd in a journal for traffic engineers. Maybe something will begin to get through to them.
    That's my hope. I have a couple friends I went to college with who are now traffic engineers that I forwarded the article to. They're trying to get a hold of the original journal article to read what it is entirely about. I'm interested to see what their thought is. LOS is an old outdated method for determining traffic flow.
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  5. #5
    Senior Member FenderTL5's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikeybikes View Post
    If there ever was any doubt, we now have a study that 'exposes' it: Study exposes bias in transportation system design
    from the article, "..many people assume roads are designed with all users in mind when in fact they are dedicated almost entirely to the needs of motor vehicles."

    I don't think that 'many people' make that assumption. What I hear as an almost unanimous chorus is, "roads were made for cars - get off the road."
    This just affirms that position.
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  6. #6
    Senior Member squirtdad's Avatar
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    it is really simple: there are way more cars, trucks, motorcycles on the the roads than bicycles. Most of us here are drivers also. This results in a simple bottom line:
    * roads are designed for the majority user
    * there are more voters who drive than there are than who cycle.


    How does this change? More cyclists.

    How do we get more cyclists?

    Massive govt intervention, like gas taxes, mandated bike parking, charging for car parking, huge infrastructure investments? that is simply not going to happen.....go back to majority of users and number of voters. Put this context I think it pretty amazing the investments that are being made.

    Ok what then?

    simple: Ride, not just for recreation/training on the weekends. Ride to work, help your kids ride to school, do a many errands as you can on your bike (not talking costco runs, simple one or two grocery bag kinda of errands)

    Encourage other people to ride....help newbies

    The more we ride, the more visible we are, the more other people may think about riding, the greater numbers of riders, the more voters, the more influence in government.


    this becomes a feedback loop getting more riders which means more influence which means more rides and so on
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  7. #7
    genec genec's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by squirtdad View Post
    it is really simple: there are way more cars, trucks, motorcycles on the the roads than bicycles. Most of us here are drivers also. This results in a simple bottom line:
    * roads are designed for the majority user
    * there are more voters who drive than there are than who cycle.


    How does this change? More cyclists.

    How do we get more cyclists?

    Massive govt intervention, like gas taxes, mandated bike parking, charging for car parking, huge infrastructure investments? that is simply not going to happen.....go back to majority of users and number of voters. Put this context I think it pretty amazing the investments that are being made.

    Ok what then?

    simple: Ride, not just for recreation/training on the weekends. Ride to work, help your kids ride to school, do a many errands as you can on your bike (not talking costco runs, simple one or two grocery bag kinda of errands)

    Encourage other people to ride....help newbies

    The more we ride, the more visible we are, the more other people may think about riding, the greater numbers of riders, the more voters, the more influence in government.


    this becomes a feedback loop getting more riders which means more influence which means more rides and so on
    Bear in mind that your "feedback loop" is a self fulfilling prophecy. Prior to WWII there were more people riding bikes, walking and using public transit than driving... Modern roads were designed with the automobile in mind, and in particular through a number of government sponsored programs, including the 1956 highway act. The result of this is that we often find many "incomplete streets;" streets that don't support walking (no sidewalks) and are poorly designed for sharing with cyclists (narrow, high speed, poor shoulder... etc).

    Cars are in the majority today, but that was not always the case. Roads were built to encourage driving... in some places, almost as a deterrent to anything else.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by genec View Post
    Bear in mind that your "feedback loop" is a self fulfilling prophecy. Prior to WWII there were more people riding bikes, walking and using public transit than driving... Modern roads were designed with the automobile in mind, and in particular through a number of government sponsored programs, including the 1956 highway act. The result of this is that we often find many "incomplete streets;" streets that don't support walking (no sidewalks) and are poorly designed for sharing with cyclists (narrow, high speed, poor shoulder... etc).

    Cars are in the majority today, but that was not always the case. Roads were built to encourage driving... in some places, almost as a deterrent to anything else.
    And a huge part of that encouragement that motorists received was the level of service standards. Other than enforcing traffic laws, getting rid of this bugger is the most important thing cycling advocates could do. Thankfully, there are a lot of allies in this fight like public transit folks and walkable city advocates. It might just be doable.

  9. #9
    Senior Member CrankyOne's Avatar
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    A few key points;

    - The vast majority of people, including many who would like to, will not switch to walking or riding a bicycle until they have safe places to do so. Fortunately some cities are recognizing this and slowly building out these facilities.

    - People are choosing to drive a lot less. We peaked about 2004 and are currently about where we were in the mid 1990's. Traffic engineers keep making wild projections of increases and for about 15 years the increases have been much less (and negative 9 out of the past 10 years).

    - Related to both of these is that many suburbs and exurbs are realizing that both younger and older folk are choosing to live in urban areas rather than suburbs and this is harming housing values. Many of these suburbs are making changes to become more bicycle and pedestrian friendly, insure that they have grocery and other places close to residential areas, and other things to be more of a community rather than just a city—all in hopes of keeping older folk and attracting millennials.

    - Many suburbs, exurbs, and rural towns are approaching a huge financial problem in not having enough revenue to maintain their road and other infrastructure because the suburban model creates a need for many more lane miles per capita and heavier use than a more dense urban model. A typical suburban family drives over 5 times as many miles (think wear & tear on roads) as a typical urban family.
    "Trying to cure traffic congestion by adding more capacity is like trying to cure obesity by loosening your belt." - ATL Urbanist

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