Rebuilding Place in the Urban Space

"A community’s physical form, rather than its land uses, is its most intrinsic and enduring characteristic." [Katz, EPA] This blog focuses on place and placemaking and all that makes it work--historic preservation, urban design, transportation, asset-based community development, arts & cultural development, commercial district revitalization, tourism & destination development, and quality of life advocacy--along with doses of civic engagement and good governance watchdogging.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Getting better transportation usage data: Alliance for Walking and Biking release 2014 benchmarking report

One of the problems with getting good data for the use of sustainable transportation modes, is that most metropolitan areas aren't gathering the data every year. 

(I think this is a real problem in DC proper.  DC DOT should begin collecting this data, and do special research projects on sustainable transportation behavior, parking, etc., by different types of households and spatial conditions.)

It's tough too because you need to oversample to ensure that you get enough walkers and bicyclists as respondents (in other communities it would also be for transit users, where transit use is low), because they make up a small portion of the total population.

The complete American Community Survey form from the US Census Bureau that collects data on transportation is only a sample, and it's difficult to be able to drill down to the neighborhood level because the sample size is too small. 

The same goes for the National Household Travel Survey.  It is an intermittent survey, without the ability to go deep. 

So these studies create limits on the quality and utility of data on walking and biking, even though the Alliance for Walking and Biking creates useful reports, based on this data.

Plus you need more detailed information and better information, because the ability to promote sustainable transportation modes varies according to urban form, density, and distance to major activity centers, which is difficult to capture in traditional study techniques.

-- Download the 2014 Benchmarking Report

2.  I was very surprised to come across the very interesting City Clock blog, and it has a feature on the neighborhoods across Canada with the highest use of bicycling for transportation ("Top 10 cycling communities in Canada"), the highest being 21.15% of trips, in the Studio District neighborhood in Toronto. 

Sadly, conservative forces in Canada have led the nation to drop the collection of Census data, which face it, is an insanely stupid decision.

3.  And in Helsinki, they've been collecting data on transit use for 50 years, and this past year was the first where more trips were conducted by transit than the automobile.  See "Historic transport shift as capital dwellers switch from cars" from YLE.

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