Take a look around and it’s easy to see that cycling is booming. The roads of Washington, D.C. are crisscrossed with bike lanes, and the District-based Capital Bikeshare program bills itself as the largest in the nation.
To delve into how good planning equates to safe, accessible, enjoyable cycling, Virginia Tech professor and Metropolitan Institute Faculty Fellow Ralph Buehler will present at the Montgomery County Planning Department’s speaker series on Tuesday, April 9. His talk, Making Cycling Irresistible: Lessons from Europe and North America, will link transportation and land-use policies with bike use.
Continuing education credits (1.5 hours) have been approved for planning professionals.
Who: Ralph Buehler, Assistant Professor of Urban Affairs and Planning, Metropolitan Institute at Virginia Tech What: Making Cycling Irresistible: Lessons from Europe and North America When: 7 p.m. Tuesday, April 9 Where: Park and Planning Headquarters auditorium
8787 Georgia Avenue, Silver Spring Learn more: www.montgomeryplanning.org/department/speaker_series
Bicycling in cities is booming, for many reasons: health and environmental benefits, time and cost savings, more and better bike lanes and paths, innovative bike sharing programs, and the sheer fun of riding.
Faculty Fellow, Ralph Buehler, reports on cycling trends and policies in cities in North America and Europe, and offers information on such topics as cycling safety, cycling infrastructure provisions including bikeways and bike parking, integration of cycling with public transportation, and promoting cycling for women and children. Dr. Buehler presented a talk on “Making Cycling Irresistible” at the CyCity Conference in Stockholm, Sweden in September 2012.
The presentation emphasizes that bicycling should not be limited to those who are highly trained, extremely fit, and daring enough to battle traffic on busy roads. Buehler describes ways to make city cycling feasible, convenient, and safe for commutes to work and school, shopping trips, visits, and other daily transportation needs. The presentation makes clear that successful promotion of city cycling depends on coordinating infrastructure, programs, and government policies.
Dr. Buehler is the co-editor of a forthcoming book on cycling, called City Cycling, published my MIT Press. Pre-order your copy online here.
Faculty Fellow Ralph Buehler‘s research and forthcoming book ‘City Cycling’ is mentioned in a thoughtful article in the September 8, 2012 issue of The Economist. Noting that cycling is on the upswing, but still only accounting for 1% of all trips in the US, the article explores the aspects of access, safety, and affordability of cycling in the US compared to in Europe.
In a forthcoming book, “City Cycling”, John Pucher and Ralph Buehler argue that the bike boom needs to be expanded to a broader cross-section of people. Almost all the growth in cycling in America has come from men aged 25-64. Rates of cycling have actually fallen slightly among women and sharply among children, most probably because of nervousness about safety. But in fact cycling is getting safer all the time. According to a paper by Messrs Pucher and Buehler with Mark Seinen, fatalities per 10m bike trips fell by 65% between 1977 and 2009, from 5.1 to 1.8. In their book, the authors claim that the health benefits of cycling far exceed the safety risks.
Faculty Fellow, Ralph Buehler, presented at the APA’s Tuesday evening speaker series on travel behavior, transport policy and sustainable transport differences and similarities between Germany and the US. This presentation reviewed daily travel behavior in the two countries and examined the policies in Germany that have encouraged more walking, bicycling, and public transport use.
The complete audio presentation is available streaming on the APA site.
Professor Buehler can often be found exploring the Alexandria, VA, area by bicycle.
Q: Please tell us a bit about your academic background.
I am from Germany originally, where I studied Public Policy and Management at the University of Konstanz. While getting my degree in Konstanz, I had the opportunity to live in London (UK), Paris (France) where I was an exchange student at the Sorbonne University, and in Germany’s capital Berlin. Moreover, in 2001/2002, I was an exchange student at Rutgers University, where I received a Masters degree in City and Regional Studies. In 2002, I returned to Germany to finish my Masters degree in Public Policy and Management. In fall 2003, I began my doctoral studies at the Bloustein School at Rutgers University. I finished my PhD in 2008 and my dissertation won the award for best dissertation by the Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning in 2008.
Q: What are your main research projects at the present time?
At this time, there are several research projects. One project focuses on the determinants of bicycling the Washington DC area. We use data from the regional travel survey and analyze cycling trends and policies in the District of Columbia, Alexandria, Arlington, Fairfax County, Montgomery County, and Prince George’s County. There are two parts to this study. First we develop case studies for each jurisdiction looking at trends in cycling levels and policies. Second, we use multiple regression analysis to identify determinants of cycling and bike commuting. The model on bike commuting includes interesting variables about facilities at work, such as showers, lockers, or changing rooms. Additionally, my research assistant added the regional bike infrastructure network to the data. Thus, we can analyze if people living within ¼ mile of a bike lane are more likely to cycle.
For another project we have two great data sets to compare transit riders in Germany and the USA. Continue reading →