How can communities effectively integrate pedestrians and bicycles to promote more nonmotorized travel?

Mineta Transportation Institute’s free report provides direction.
February 9, 2012
|
San José, CA

The Mineta Transportation Institute has published a free report that identifies best practices and program characteristics in communities where many people walk, bicycle, or use other non-motorized means of travel. Integration of Bicycling and Walking Facilities into the Infrastructure of Urban Communities focuses on case studies in Davis, Palo Alto, and San Luis Obispo, Calif. Principal investigators were Cornelius Nuworsoo, PhD, Erin Cooper, Katherine Cushing, PhD, with assistance from Eugene Jud, PE.

“Several manuals, handbooks and web resources already provide varied guidance on planning and designing bicycle and pedestrian facilities,” said Dr Nuworsoo. “However, these resources offer no specific indications about which of these varied treatments work well in a practical sense. Our research went deeper to investigate what compels people to give up their cars and start walking or biking.”

The case studies illustrate how urban communities have integrated non-motorized transportation into the physical infrastructure and how they educated local residents and employees. The most salient themes emerging from this study are linked to several user preferences, including distance to desired destinations and activities; route directness; route connectivity; separation of motorized and non-motorized transportation; safety; convenience; and education and outreach.

These themes are integrated into key guiding principles that correspond to the process of making a trip, from the decision to engage in an activity, through the choice of route, to arrival at the destination.

The case studies illustrate how urban communities can better integrate non-motorized transportation into the physical infrastructure and how they can educate and reach out to community residents and employees.

The report includes 29 tables, such as the survey respondents’ age distribution across the cities in the study; income distribution; employment; types of vehicles available to them; weekly frequency of commute mode choice; perceptions of environmental friendliness; average time they are willing to ride a bicycle; and many other factors.

Nearly 60 photos also are included, such as those illustrating bicycle parking facilities, highway underpasses, pedestrian and bicycle overpasses, crosswalk demarcations, and more.

“This research found that some of the main issues involved with creating a cyclist- and pedestrianfriendly community include safety, weather, distance, parking, lifestyle, and education,” said Dr. Nuworsoo. “These issues point to an idea that is well understood in Europe. Rather than providing alternative mode infrastructure after development has taken place, plan for development to occur around alternative modes. Continuing to build roadways and large parking lots that serve medium density development steers funding away from alternative modes, and it entrenches lifestyles best served by driving a car.”

ABOUT THE AUTHORS

Cornelius Nuworsoo Ph.D., AICP is associate professor of transportation planning at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo. His research covers multi-modal planning to integrate non-motorized and automobile modes with public transit and intercity bus and rail. Prior to Cal Poly, Dr. Nuworsoo was a researcher with the University of California Transportation Center at UC Berkeley after earning a PhD in transportation engineering from UC Berkeley in 2004. He has two decades of professional experience in transportation planning and traffic engineering.

Erin Cooper is a transportation analyst with EMBARQ of the World Resources Institute’s Center for Sustainable Transport in Washington DC, where she is engaged in transportation planning for sustainable mobility in many countries. Prior to joining EMBARQ, Ms. Cooper was a graduate student researcher and teaching assistant at the California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo. She earned the joint degree, master of city and regional planning and master of science in civil engineering with a transportation planning specialization in 2010.

Katherine Kao Cushing is an associate professor of Environmental Studies at San Jose State University. Her research focuses on environmental attitudes and behaviors and residential street livability. Prior to joining the faculty at San Jose State, Dr. Cushing was the associate director for the Program on Urban Studies at Stanford and was a senior research associate at the Institute for Studies in Development, Environment, and Security in Oakland.

Eugene Jud is a lecturer in public transportation, sustainable mobility and transportation management. He has 50 years of experience in transportation, city planning and sustainability in Europe and the US. He is a licensed civil engineer in all European Countries (FEANI # 114892), a Life Fellow of the Institute of Transportation Engineers ITE, and a member of the American Planning Association and of Swiss professional organizations.

ABOUT THE MINETA TRANSPORTATION INSTITUTE

The Mineta Transportation Institute (MTI) conducts research, education, and information and technology transfer, focusing on multimodal surface transportation policy and management issues, especially as they relate to transit. MTI was established by Congress in 1991 as part of the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act (ISTEA) and was reauthorized under TEA-21 and again under SAFETEALU. The Institute has been funded by Congress through the US Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Research and Innovative Technology Administration, by the California Legislature through the Department of Transportation (Caltrans), and by other public and private grants and donations, including grants from the US Department of Homeland Security. DOT selected MTI as a National Center of Excellence following competitions in 2002 and 2006. The internationally respected members of the MTI Board of Trustees represent all major surface transportation modes. MTI’s focus on policy and management resulted from the Board’s assessment of the transportation industry’s unmet needs. That led directly to choosing the San José State University College of Business as the Institute’s home.