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Why Biking and Walking Can't Be Lumped Together

Biking and walking are often assumed as two peas in a pod, when in fact it might be more helpful to think of them as apples and oranges.
November 2, 2015, 9am PST | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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Tyler Olson

Michael Andersen shares news of a study that reveals insight into a fundamental challenge facing the designing and building of alternative transportation infrastructure: pedestrian infrastructure is much more challenging to develop than bike infrastructure.

The proof is in Portland, according to Andersen: "Portland has a long way to go, but it’s one of the country’s best cities to bike in. Sad to say, it isn’t yet one of the country’s best cities to walk in."

Christopher Muhs—who wrote the study while an engineering grad student at Portland Statue University and working with PSU professor Kelly Clifton—"looked at various studies that found correlations between characteristics of cities and neighborhoods and the amount of biking and walking that happens in them — number of intersections per mile, for example, or the size in square feet of local retail stores."

That survey revealed key differences between bike and pedestrian infrastructure, including the greater difficulty in making pedestrian infrastructure investments that can actually influence mode choice. So for instance, directly from the study: "In three US studies, the magnitudes of the trip distance coefficient for walk mode choice were more than three times those of the corresponding coefficient for bicycling."

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Published on Wednesday, October 28, 2015 in Bike Portland
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