CONTACTTRAFFICABOUT TOM VANDERBILTOTHER WRITING CONTACT ABOUT THE BOOK

Traffic Feels the Love From the U.K.’s Department of Transport

The name Lord Adonis, were one to see it Brooklyn, conjures a Bed-Stuy middle-weight boxer, or maybe one of the dance-hall reggae performers ones sees on posters cruising along Flatbush.

But for the uninitiated, he’s the U.K.’s new Secretary of Transport and, it turns out, a fan of Traffic, as he notes in a recent talk. (I just hope he didn’t purchase it with taxpayer funds!)

The speech makes a number of worthy points, including the idea of connecting various travel modes.

One key factor is the ease of interchange between cycling and other forms of travel. Let me take the specific issue of the interchange between cycling and rail travel. While some 60 per cent of the population lives within a quarter of an hour cycle ride of a railway station, only two per cent of journeys to and from stations are made by bike. By contrast, in Holland, cycling accounts for roughly a third of all trips to and from rail stations. This massive difference isn’t in the different genes of the British and the Dutch; it has a lot to do with the provision of facilities for cyclists at stations.

I’ve just returned from the Netherlands, and was struck, as always, not just by the cycling numbers but the cycle parking. As it is with car traffic, parking is an often overlooked factor in the whole traffic equation; needless to say, the presence of a safe, convenient space at the end of a trip is of incredible importance to the desirability or even possibility of making that trip (more so than some cultural disposition to mode choice). As I looked at the long rows of bikes outside shops and train stations (where, David Hembrow notes, there is an actual crisis of parking) in Utrecht and Rotterdam, I couldn’t help thinking: What if all these were cars? Well, of course, those tidy, compact, well-populated streets wouldn’t exist. I suspect someone, somewhere, has crunched the numbers on how many bicycles can fit inside an average car parking space, I’d estimate the factor must be something like 15 to 1?

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This entry was posted on Monday, June 29th, 2009 at 12:14 pm and is filed under Bicycles, Book News, Cars, Cities, Etc., Uncategorized. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

5 Responses to “Traffic Feels the Love From the U.K.’s Department of Transport”

  1. Michael Says:

    If you turn one car space in a lot into bicycle space, I’d think more like 5. If you turned the whole lot into bicycle parking, you wouldn’t need the huge extra space for turning and backing up that cars need, so you could fit in a lot more. If you, as is often the case, decide that bicycles aren’t very important and obviously are either too cheap to care about or else invulnerable to damage or theft and want them parked all tangled together with the cyclists climbing over other people’s cycles just to get access (no one suggests parking cars literally scraping against each other with the drivers climbing over the hoods and roofs to get in and out), then even more, sure. Here’s my chance to note that people who install bike racks often seem to think they need space only for the rack itself, and forget about the actual bicycles. Bicycles are a lot smaller than cars, but they do have size. No one designates car parking spaces smaller than any car, or a space that can only be parked in by lowering the car in with a crane.

  2. chrismealy Says:

    Bike corrals (parallel parking spots turned into bike parking) in Portland and Seattle have space for 12-20 bikes, so your intuition is right on.

  3. Michael Says:

    Ah, from the side you’d fit more than from the end, which is what I had in mind, at least if you aren’t thinking about having enough space for a trailer. The very earnest all organic food co-op I frequent just finally decided to turn one car space into bicycle space. Previously they had the rack right up against the building (too little space) right in front of the door (bicycle obstructs access). Now even with the trailer there is space (it is a grocery store, the trailer is useful).

  4. Jack Says:

    Our “need” for carspace is overwhelming. A small parking lot designed for 50 cars supports at most 200 car traveling customers or potentially 750-1000 bike customers. In addition, the bike customers have more to spend as they haven’t wasted their income- wealth on auto expenses.

  5. spiderleggreen Says:

    This connects nicely with the burgeoning bike-sharing programs. Take a train downtown and hop on a bike, which you ride to work or where ever.

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Traffic Tom Vanderbilt

How We Drive is the companion blog to Tom Vanderbilt’s New York Times bestselling book, Traffic: Why We Drive the Way We Do (and What It Says About Us), published by Alfred A. Knopf in the U.S. and Canada, Penguin in the U.K, and in languages other than English by a number of other fine publishers worldwide.

Please send tips, news, research papers, links, photos (bad road signs, outrageous bumper stickers, spectacularly awful acts of driving or parking or anything traffic-related), or ideas for my Slate.com Transport column to me at: info@howwedrive.com.

For publicity inquiries, please contact Kate Runde at Vintage: krunde@randomhouse.com.

For editorial inquiries, please contact Zoe Pagnamenta at The Zoe Pagnamenta Agency: zoe@zpagency.com.

For speaking engagement inquiries, please contact
Kim Thornton at the Random House Speakers Bureau: rhspeakers@randomhouse.com.

Order Traffic from:

Amazon | B&N | Borders
Random House | Powell’s

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U.S. Paperback UK Paperback
Traffic UK
Drive-on-the-left types can order the book from Amazon.co.uk.

For UK publicity enquiries please contact Rosie Glaisher at Penguin.

Upcoming Talks

April 9, 2008.
California Office of Traffic Safety Summit
San Francisco, CA.

May 19, 2009
University of Minnesota Center for Transportation Studies
Bloomington, MN

June 23, 2009
Driving Assessment 2009
Big Sky, Montana

June 26, 2009
PRI World Congress
Rotterdam, The Netherlands

June 27, 2009
Day of Architecture
Utrecht, The Netherlands

July 13, 2009
Association of Transportation Safety Information Professionals (ATSIP)
Phoenix, AZ.

August 12-14
Texas Department of Transportation “Save a Life Summit”
San Antonio, Texas

September 2, 2009
Governors Highway Safety Association Annual Meeting
Savannah, Georgia

September 11, 2009
Oregon Transportation Summit
Portland, Oregon

October 8
Honda R&D Americas
Raymond, Ohio

October 10-11
INFORMS Roundtable
San Diego, CA

October 21, 2009
California State University-San Bernardino, Leonard Transportation Center
San Bernardino, CA

November 5
Southern New England Planning Association Planning Conference
Uncasville, Connecticut

January 6
Texas Transportation Forum
Austin, TX

January 19
Yale University
(with Donald Shoup; details to come)

Monday, February 22
Yale University School of Architecture
Eero Saarinen Lecture

Friday, March 19
University of Delaware
Delaware Center for Transportation

April 5-7
University of Utah
Salt Lake City
McMurrin Lectureship

April 19
International Bridge, Tunnel and Turnpike Association (Organization Management Workshop)
Austin, Texas

Monday, April 26
Edmonton Traffic Safety Conference
Edmonton, Canada

Monday, June 7
Canadian Association of Road Safety Professionals
Niagara Falls, Ontario

Wednesday, July 6
Fondo de Prevención Vial
Bogotá, Colombia

Tuesday, August 31
Royal Automobile Club
Perth, Australia

Wednesday, September 1
Australasian Road Safety Conference
Canberra, Australia

Wednesday, September 22

Wisconsin Department of Transportation’s
Traffic Incident Management Enhancement Program
Statewide Conference
Wisconsin Dells, WI

Wednesday, October 20
Rutgers University
Center for Advanced Infrastructure and Transportation
Piscataway, NJ

Tuesday, March 8, 2011
Ontario Injury Prevention Resource Centre
Injury Prevention Forum
Toronto

Monday, May 2
Idaho Public Driver Education Conference
Boise, Idaho

Tuesday, June 2, 2011
California Association of Cities
Costa Mesa, California

Sunday, August 21, 2011
American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators
Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Wednesday, October 26, 2011
Attitudes: Iniciativa Social de Audi
Madrid, Spain

April 16, 2012
Institute for Sensible Transport Seminar
Gardens Theatre, QUT
Brisbane, Australia

April 17, 2012
Institute for Sensible Transport Seminar
Centennial Plaza, Sydney
Sydney, Australia

April 19, 2012
Institute for Sensible Transport Seminar
Melbourne Town Hall
Melbourne, Australia

January 30, 2013
University of Minnesota City Engineers Association Meeting
Minneapolis, MN

January 31, 2013
Metropolis and Mobile Life
School of Architecture, University of Toronto

February 22, 2013
ISL Engineering
Edmonton, Canada

March 1, 2013
Australian Road Summit
Melbourne, Australia

May 8, 2013
New York State Association of
Transportation Engineers
Rochester, NY

August 18, 2013
BoingBoing.com “Ingenuity” Conference
San Francisco, CA

September 26, 2013
TransComm 2013
(Meeting of American Association
of State Highway and Transportation
Officials’ Subcommittee on Transportation
Communications.
Grand Rapids MI

 

 

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