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Bicycle Transportation Literature Review - Joel Kirk

Bicycle Transportation Literature Review - Joel Kirk

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Published by: Green Sudbury on Jan 09, 2011
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Bicycle Transportation Infrastructure (Signage/Connectivity) in the Area of Laurentian University and the core of the City of Greater Sudbury from thePerspective of a Laurentian University Student.A Review of Urban Centres with Interconnected Bicycleway Networks, Connectiveand Supportive Infrastructure in North America.Joel Kirk 
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I
 NTRODUCTION
Throughout North America virtually every demographic of the population is becoming more dependent on the private automobile for transit. As urban populationdensity decreases and people move farther away from their jobs and services, dependenceon the private automobile increases. Data from the last US census shows that 76% of Americans use private automobiles for travel to and from work (US Census Bureau,2004). In Canada that number is much closer to 90% (The Daily, 2003).This trend is also seen at post-secondary institutions throughout North America.In the majority of universities in North America many automobile related problems havearisen. Such problems as inadequate parking services, congestion, high road maintenancecosts and air pollution are now common place not only in urban areas but also inuniversity campuses (Balsas, 2003).This problem has been addressed at many levels of administration; from the USfederal government to post secondary institutions and private businesses. In recognitionof the trend of increased automobile use the US department of transport conducted the
 
2 National Biking and Walking Study in 1994 to gauge national interest in active forms of transit. They recommended two goals to combat the automotive trend, firstly, that bicycleand pedestrian commuting should double and secondly, that injuries and fatalitiesresulting from ‘pro-green’ methods of commuting should be reduced by 10% (Harkey etal, 1998; Krizek and Rio, 2005).To address this problem at the university level, both university administrators andcity planners have tried encouraging other means of transport through ‘pro-green’transport initiatives such as pedestrian and public transit programs and ‘anti-auto’initiatives through automobile parking restrictions (Balsas, 2003). For post-secondaryinstitutions the use of public transit has met with success. Still more can be done toimprove transit throughout university campuses and nearby subdivisions for studentcommuters.The second major issue facing commuter cycling is the lack of connective andsupporting infrastructure. Unlike pedestrian infrastructure where a street without asidewalk is the exception, a street without proper bicycleway infrastructure is the norm inalmost all North American cities. Implementing bicycle transportation initiatives tocombat the increased trend of automobile use is very difficult and unsafe without thenecessary infrastructure. There is relatively little literature published on the lack of connectivity of bicycleways in North America. Krizek and Rio (2005) measured thediscontinuity of bicycle lanes in the city of Minneapolis, Minnesota. The study identified30 discontinuities of bicycle lanes within the city and measured cyclist’s opinions of the
 
3discontinuities via a survey. This method was able to provide an outline of theconnectivity and bicycle compatibility of Minneapolis, however, the scope of thisliterature review encompasses too many centres to apply the Krizek and Rio method.The second relevant study found was Harkey et al. (1998) who developed a method tomeasure the compatibility of specific roadways for bicycle transit. When approaching bicycle transit from the interconnectivity of entire cities the compatibility index is notlarge enough in scope to address the problem.Since these problems are so universal throughout North America, they haveapplications in the City of Greater Sudbury. Greater Sudbury is still considered to be inits infancy in terms of non-motorized transportation however it does have a functional public transit system which services the greater city. Laurentian University, in Sudbury,has similar transportation issues to the rest of the city. Since Laurentian University andthe City of Greater Sudbury are located in Northern Ontario they have a large proportionof private automobile users and thus a lot of the associated traffic problems. The conceptof addressing these traffic issues through non-motorized forms of transit should befurthered studied to improve the overall transportation efficiency.Fortunately the timing of this research could not be better. The City of Greater Sudbury is conducting a comprehensive review of its existing official plans. One of the background studies addresses transportation infrastructure in the City of Greater Sudbury. The city estimates that 5.7% of all trips in Greater Sudbury are by method of walking and only 0.04% is by bicycle. The city feels that this low number of cycling trips

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