Study Shows Driving Decline in America’s Cities
Source: U.S. Public Interest Research Group
A first-of-its-kind report by U.S.PIRG Education Fund details reduced driving miles and rates of car commuting in America’s most populous urbanized areas, as well as greater use of public transit and biking in most cities.
The report, “Transportation in Transition: A Look at Changing Travel Patterns in America’s Biggest Cities,” is based on the most current available government data. It is the first ever national study to compare transportation trends for America’s largest cities and lists results for each. Among its national findings:
- The proportion of workers commuting by private vehicle—either alone or in a carpool—declined in 99 out of 100 of America’s most populous urbanized areas between 2000 and the 2007-2011 period averaged in U.S. Census data.
- From 2006 to 2011, the average number of miles driven per resident fell in almost three-quarters of America’s largest urbanized areas for which up-to-date and accurate Federal Highway Administration data are available (54 out of 74 urban areas).
- The proportion of households without cars increased in 84 out of the 100 largest urbanized areas from 2006 to 2011. The proportion of households with two cars or more cars decreased in 86 out of the 100 of these areas during that period.
- The proportion of residents bicycling to work increased in 85 out of 100 of America’s largest urbanized areas between 2000 and 2007-2011.
The number of passenger-miles traveled per capita on transit increased in 60 out of 98 of America’s large urbanized areas whose trends could be analyzed between 2005 and 2010.
Trends in Walking and Bicycling to School from 2007 to 2012
Source: National Center for Safe Routes to Schools
Soon after the establishment of the Federal SRTS Program in 2006, the National Center for Safe Routes to School launched a data collection system to support local program planning and evaluation and to monitor student commute patterns nationwide. Seven years after the start of the Federal program, the National Center analyzed more than 525,000 parent surveys from nearly 4,700 schools to look for changes in travel patterns and parent perceptions about walking to school.
Two key findings from the analyses include:
- Walking to and from school increased significantly between 2007 and 2012, from 12.4% to 15.7% in the morning and from 15.8% to 19.7% in the afternoon.
- The percentage of parents who reported that their child’s school supported walking and bicycling for the school commute rose from 24.9% to 33%. Parents who felt that their child’s school supported walking and bicycling were more likely to have children who used these modes.
Selling Biking: A New Study on the ‘Swing Voters’ of the Street
Source: People for Bikes
San Francisco and Portland are celebrated as two of the best U.S. cities for biking. In fact, one in every 25 American bike commuters lives in one of these two cities.
But even in these cities’ bike-friendly neighborhoods, hundreds of thousands of people — it’s perhaps half the population — have ridden bikes before but rarely use them.
What’s stopping them?
Even if they don’t personally bike, what images make them feel best about bikes and bike infrastructure? And what messages do they feel best capture the benefits of biking to individuals and to the city?
In a first-of-its-kind study funded by the PeopleForBikes Green Lane Project in partnership with transportation departments in San Francisco and Portland, Portland-based advertising and research firms North and Wild Alchemy set out to find out. Using professionally facilitated focus groups and a rigorous web survey of 332 registered voters in the two cities who own bikes but didn’t ride frequently, the organizations gathered one of the fullest portraits yet of the swing voters of the bike world.
Bikes on Trains Campaign Gaining Traction
Source: League of American Bicyclists
Campaigns to get bicycles on commuter trains are cropping up across the country.
We’ve seen recent success in the Bay Area, and there’s been a national push to get Amtrak on board with increased bicycle services.
This week, we’re seeing more positive movement in Chicago, where the South Shore Line rail is planning to announce a bike program by next spring, according to the Chicago Tribune. Last week, a number of local groups, including the Active Transportation Alliance, sent a letter to the rail line operator’s board, requesting bikes be allowed on the trains beginning next summer, with a pilot program phase in spring.
“We’re talking about allowing bikes on their trains, not landing them on the moon, and we hope they will have a final policy allowing bikes in time for peak riding season next summer,” Max Muller, director of government relations and advocacy at the Active Transportation Alliance, told the Tribune.
The League did some research into the issue to help Active Trans make the case in Chicago. We looked into all of the major commuter rail lines across the country, and examined their policies regarding bicycles on board.
Bicycle-Transit Integration in the United States, 2001–2009 (PDF)
Source: Journal of Public Transportation
This paper analyzes the recent trend in bicycle-transit integration in the U.S. It reviews data from the National Household Travel Surveys (NHTS) to show the characteristics of bicycle-transit integrated trips, where the integrators were from, and to which population groups the integrators belonged. Bicycle-transit integration was increasingly observed in commuters and younger travelers, and became more imbalanced by gender. Results indicate the rise in socio-economic diversity of bicycle-transit integrators, despite a racial gap. There was a clear concentration of bicycle-transit integrators in large and high-density urban areas, where most transit users lived. Evidence does not support that rail attracts more bike access/egress trips than bus. More transit users used bicycles to access/egress in the Pacific, East North Central, and Mountain regions. Given the non-trivial role of bicycles compared to transit in the U.S., the focus on bicycle use and the marriage between bicycle and transit should be further emphasized.
Source: Governors Highway Safety Association
In 1967, the federal government required states to enact universal motorcycle helmet laws to qualify for certain highway safety funds. By 1975, all but three had complied. In 1976, Congress revoked federal authority to assess penalties for noncompliance, and states began to weaken helmet laws to apply only to young or novice riders.
Currently, about half the states require helmets for all motorcyclists. Most other states require helmets for certain riders, and a few have no helmet law. GHSA urges all states to adopt a universal motorcycle helmet law and vigorously enforce existing laws.
47 states, the District of Columbia, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands have a helmet law for motorcyclists.
19 states, the District of Columbia, the Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands have a universal helmet law, requiring helmets for all riders.
The remaining 28 states and Guam require helmets for specific riders.
3 states (Illinois, Iowa and New Hampshire) do not have a motorcycle helmet law.
Fewer states have enacted bicycle helmet laws. GHSA only tracks state laws. However, many localities require helmet use for some or all bicyclists.
21 states, the District of Columbia, the Northern Mariana Islands and the Virgin Islands have a helmet law for bicyclists below a certain age, generally about 16.
Only the Virgin Islands requires helmets for all bicyclists.
29 states and Guam have no bicycle helmet law.
First Ever Bicycle Friendly Universities Announced – and 2011 BFBs too (PDF)
Source: League of American Bicyclists
The first‐ever Bicycle Friendly University designations were announced today at the National Bike Summit. Among the 32 universities that applied, 20 are receiving designations, with Stanford University earning the only platinum‐level award. The program recognizes colleges and universities that create exceptional environments where bicycling can thrive and provides a roadmap and technical assistance to create great campuses for bicycling.
This first class of BFUs shows the wide variety of ways to promoting bicycling on campus from great bicycling facilities like tose at UC-Davis and safe, convenient bike parking at the University of Minnesota, to incentive programs for students and staff to ride at Emory University. Stanford University stands out for their breadth of programs, including: a great cycling network, education programs like the Bike Safety Dorm Challenge, and bicycling incentive programs that resulted in an extraordinary number of people biking for transportation and recreation. Currently, 21.7 percent of people at Stanford commute by bike.
Also, 55 new Bicycle Friendly Businesses from restaurants to law firms will be receiving awards at this year’s summit. USAA, which is receiving the silver‐level designation, has experienced how bicycling can transform a workplace and surrounding community.