Wednesday, July 9, 2014

What is the Most Efficient Mode of Urban Transportation?

A group at MIT has compiled a series of interactive maps which show the most efficient form of transportation in an urban center. The results will likely shatter some of the misconceptions people have about transportation and bicycling in particular. What these maps show is that bicycling is often the fastest, most efficient form of urban transportation. More specifically, the bicycle is usually the fastest for short, urban trips. As distances increase, cars win out. Sadly, public transport trails both forms badly.

I explored several of the maps, but spent the most of my time on the San Francisco map since it's the city I live closest to. I picked the intersection of Market and Van Ness streets since it's a busy, central starting point. It's located in the small, green blob near the center of the map. As you move out from that point, the colors indicate which form of transportation will serve you most efficiently. The color codes are as follows:

Green = Walk
Orange = Bike
Blue = Transit
Red = Car

sf transportation map

The results here are pretty typical compared to what I found in most of the other cities that were mapped. A positive take from my perspective is that it might help people realize that bicycling is a efficient and viable urban transportation option. A negative take is that public transport isn't.

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