When Traffic Slows, Biking to Work Accelerates

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Ross Conrad

Jan 15, 2022, 5:39:56 PMJan 15
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FYI - 

Reducing traffic speeds to 20 miles per hour could significantly increase the number of commuters using bicycles to get to work, a new study found.

Researchers at the University of Surrey in the United Kingdom looked at census data for 172,000 Surrey residents that showed where they lived, where they worked and what mode of transport they used to get to work. All the people included in the study lived 1.2 to 3.1 miles away from their workplaces.

The researchers examined the shortest route between home and work for residents who said they biked or drove to work and looked at the factors along the route that might be affecting commuters’ transport decisions, like traffic speed, traffic density, hilliness and the presence of bike paths.

The speed of traffic was the main factor deterring people from cycling to work, the researchers found. When traffic speeds along the route exceeded 20 mph, fewer commuters chose to bike to work.

The effect was more significant among women, the researchers found.

“Women are underrepresented in cycling in the U.K., and actually often in Western nations,” said lead author Nick Grudgings, who was a doctoral student at the University of Surrey when the study was conducted. “Not only does this give you a route to increase cycling levels overall, it also gives you a route to increase it in a targeted demographic and address some of the socioeconomic inequalities there.”

Increasing the number of commuters choosing cycling instead of driving can reduce carbon emissions, lessen traffic congestion and improve health among people opting to cycle, co-author Alex Hagen-Zanker said.

“We do know that there is a lot of potential gain,” Hagen-Zanker said. He estimated that the number of cyclists could increase by as much as sixfold if routes are made more bicycle friendly through improvements like bike paths

Bees be with you,
Ross Conrad (he, him, his)
Dancing Bee Gardens
PO Box 443
Middlebury, VT 05753
802-349-4279 (cell)
“The point is that the relative freedom which we enjoy depends on public opinion. The law is no protection. Governments make laws, but whether they are carried out, and how the police behave, depends on the general temper in the country. If large numbers of people are interested in freedom of speech, there will be freedom of speech, even if the law forbids it; if public opinion is sluggish, inconvenient minorities will be persecuted, even if laws exist to protect them.” - George Orwell: ‘Freedom of the Park’ - First published: Tribune. — GB, London. — December 7, 1945.

"We don’t have to engage in grand, heroic actions to participate in the process of change. Small acts, when multiplied by millions of people, can transform the world." – Howard Zinn 

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