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Old 04-08-05, 04:10 PM   #1
richardmasoner
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This press release from the EPA is claiming that the Bike Rack at Cherry Creek Mall in south Denver results in an estimated "reduction of 6,505 vehicle miles traveled daily," corresponding to "a reduction of 245 pounds of pollution every day."

Are these numbers believable? (and never mind the "bicycles are not vehicles" bias inherent in the article)

I'm glad for this project and the award that Transportation Solutions received, but they seem to be claiming that there are about a thousand people bicycling to the Cherry Creek area almost every day who otherwise wouldn't if the Bike Rack didn't exist. Can that be for real?

RFM
My bike blog -- http://www.masoner.net/bike/index.php4
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Old 04-08-05, 04:29 PM   #2
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So that works out to .0376 pounds of pollutants per driving mile...

or .6 ounces of pollutants per driving mile...

That seems like a pretty valid number.

Just doing some simple thinking... if an auto gets 24MPG and a gallon of fuel weighs 8 pounds (water weight), then over 24 miles one is going to disappate .3 pounds of something per mile...
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Old 04-08-05, 05:02 PM   #3
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I wasn't thinking about the 245 lbs of pollutants claim, but rather the 6500 vehicle miles per day.

Say an "average" bike commute in Denver is five miles, with 10 mile round trip. The Cherry Creek Path in Denver is heavily used by bike commuters, but numbers drop off a lot during the cold months, so lets bias the trip by 3/4 (fair weather commuter rides the bike 9 months out of the year, and I'm being generous here I think), resulting in the average bike commuter contributing 7.5 miles to the reduced motor vehicle mileage per day (on average).

6500 / 7.5 is 867 people bicycling 5 miles one way for three fourths of their trips, all because the Bike Rack facility is there.

Several people do multi-modal trips, but Denver buses can only carry two bikes at a time, and bikes are banned from the trains during commute hours so the impact of transit won't be all that great, IMO.

RFM
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Old 04-08-05, 05:18 PM   #4
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I believe the numbers in the figure are annual emissions, based on fuel economy ratings and the average annual mileage driven in the US, or something like that (sorry, original caption lost...)
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Old 04-08-05, 05:32 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by richardmasoner
I wasn't thinking about the 245 lbs of pollutants claim, but rather the 6500 vehicle miles per day.

Say an "average" bike commute in Denver is five miles, with 10 mile round trip. The Cherry Creek Path in Denver is heavily used by bike commuters, but numbers drop off a lot during the cold months, so lets bias the trip by 3/4 (fair weather commuter rides the bike 9 months out of the year, and I'm being generous here I think), resulting in the average bike commuter contributing 7.5 miles to the reduced motor vehicle mileage per day (on average).

6500 / 7.5 is 867 people bicycling 5 miles one way for three fourths of their trips, all because the Bike Rack facility is there.

Several people do multi-modal trips, but Denver buses can only carry two bikes at a time, and bikes are banned from the trains during commute hours so the impact of transit won't be all that great, IMO.

RFM

Looks like the only way to verify that is to find out how many visitors the bike rack gets per day.
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Old 04-08-05, 08:26 PM   #6
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The truth is that most of those people would probably ride regardless of that rack, but who cares if they are tooting their own horn? Regardless of whether the statement on the effectiveness of the rack is true or not, the numbers probably are and that means a reduction in pollution.
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Old 04-10-05, 04:36 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by genec
Looks like the only way to verify that is to find out how many visitors the bike rack gets per day.
I talked with somebody who was at IMBA's 24 hours of Washington DC last week. He attended the press conference when the EPA presented the clean air award and was told by TranSolutions the Bike Rack gets anywhere from five to twenty bikes a day.

6500 vehicle miles divided by 20 bikes is a 325 mile round trip commute. By bike.

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...who cares if they are tooting their own horn?
We all lose credibility when funny numbers are used, making it that much more difficult to get funding. That's why I care.

RFM
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Old 04-10-05, 10:39 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by richardmasoner
I talked with somebody who was at IMBA's 24 hours of Washington DC last week. He attended the press conference when the EPA presented the clean air award and was told by TranSolutions the Bike Rack gets anywhere from five to twenty bikes a day.

6500 vehicle miles divided by 20 bikes is a 325 mile round trip commute. By bike.



We all lose credibility when funny numbers are used, making it that much more difficult to get funding. That's why I care.

RFM

Man, that is some serious commuting.

Sounds like someone padded the numbers somehow... and yeah, it does kill credibility.
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Old 04-13-05, 01:36 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by genec
So that works out to .0376 pounds of pollutants per driving mile...

or .6 ounces of pollutants per driving mile...

That seems like a pretty valid number.

Just doing some simple thinking... if an auto gets 24MPG and a gallon of fuel weighs 8 pounds (water weight), then over 24 miles one is going to disappate .3 pounds of something per mile...
Gasoline is lighter than water. Approximately 6 lbs /gal vs. about 7 lbs/gal for methanol.

At any rate, only a small portion of the burned fuel turns into polution, so the figures are fluffed way out of line for that mileage.
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