Quantcast

Biking Is Faster Than Driving in These Major Cities

For those of you who constantly battle with bumper-to-bumper commutes, have you ever wondered if it would be better to ditch your car and walk to your destination instead?

In the past two years, traffic congestion has increased in every U.S. city. Is it time to join the many people in cities around the U.S. opting to commute by bike?
Photo credit: Shutterstock

The answer, according to a fascinating article from Scientific American′s Tali Trigg, is probably not if you move at the average walking speed of 3.1 mph. The energy and transport analyst based his article on INRIX's data on the speeds of the worst traffic corridors during peak hours in the U.S.:

  • Austin, Texas: 6 mph
  • Cincinnati, Ohio: 9 mph
  • Los Angeles, California: 8 mph
  • New York, New York: 7, 8, 8 mph (three corridors)
  • Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania: 8 mph

The conclusion is that vehicular traffic—even in the country's most congested areas—moves at least twice as fast as walking. One city where walking might be the better option is in New Delhi, India where the average driving speed crawls at a mere 3.1 mph, Trigg pointed out.

That said, instead of walking, you might want to consider a different active, zero-emission mode of transportation: biking. As Trigg noted, the average speed for bicycling in Copenhagen—a city with heavy bike traffic—is 9.6 mph. In places with less bike traffic, the average speed is between 11 and 12 mph. At both those rates, biking is definitely faster than driving in certain city corridors.

According to the same data from INRIX, these other U.S. cities listed below also have incredibly slow-moving corridors at peak rush hours, meaning a fast-moving bike could go faster than traffic in these areas:

  • Baton Rouge, Louisiana: 11 mph
  • Chicago, Illinois: 12 mph
  • Honolulu, Hawaii: 11, 12 mph
  • Houston, Texas: 10, 11 mph
  • Miami, Florida: 11, 12 mph
  • Milwaukee, Wisconsin: 12 mph
  • Minneapolis, Minnesota: 11 mph
  • Portland, Oregon: 12 mph
  • Riverside, California: 10 mph
  • San Diego, California: 12 mph
  • San Francisco, California: 10, 11 mph
  • Santa Cruz, California: 11 mph
  • Seattle, Washington: 10, 11 mph
  • Virginia Beach, Virginia: 10 mph

It's important to note that the corridors listed are mostly freeways and major roads where foot-traffic or biking isn't even an option. However, it begs the question: If a city has the funding and the resources, why can't it build a designated bike or walking path to relieve congestion? Imagine all the hours of frustration and the amount of pollution cities could eliminate if more people could bike instead of drive.

Of course, with so many cars and emissions to contend with, it might not even be safe for walking and cycling. But here's a good example in Miami, Florida. In an experiment, city planners decided to carve out bike lanes on three 55-mile-an-hour bridges, where people had already been biking through illegally. The results of the two-year pilot program were impressive. After setting up the bike lanes, biking increased by 40 percent on one bridge (the William Lehman Causeway) from when people crossed it illegally, while another bridge (the Julia Tuttle Causeway) saw an impressive 167 percent jump in weekday bike trips and a 68 percent jump on weekends.

With so many advancements in motor technology, it's actually quite interesting that we haven't figured out how to beat traffic. In fact, TIME reported that every U.S. city has seen an increase in vehicular congestion in the past two years. As more people pile into cities for jobs and, thus, increase urban traffic, it's clear that cities need to find ways to battle the slow-moving beast. Allowing more space for good ol' fashioned walking and biking just might be one of the solutions.

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

Charge Your Battery While You Bike to Juice Up Your Phone

Google’s Self-Driving Car About to Hit Public Roads

World’s First Solar Road Already Generating More Power Than Expected

Show Comments ()
Sponsored

Thirsty? Here Are 9 Types of Water You Can Drink

Plus, learn if there's one that's best for your health.

Catherine Falls Commercial / Moment / Getty Images

By Jennifer Still

You hear it all the time: You should be drinking more water. How much depends on the person, but generally speaking, staying well hydrated offers a host of health benefits. That includes higher energy levels and better brain function, just to name a few.

Read More Show Less
An invasive Amynthas worm, also known as a crazy snake worm, Asian jumping worm and Alabama jumper Tom Potterfield / Flickr

By Jason Bittel

My wife and I built a house two years ago on a few acres of woodland outside of Pittsburgh. The backyard is full of maples, poplars, briars and common spicebush. Two-lined salamanders and grumpy-looking crayfish wade among the rocks in the small stream that runs down the edge of the property. Deer, raccoon and opossum tracks appear regularly in the snow and mud. Sometimes, my trail-cam even catches a pair of gray foxes as they slink through the night.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
AleksandarNakic / Getty Images

By Kate Murphy

No matter the time of year, there's always a point in each season when my skin decides to cause me issues. While these skin issues can vary, I find the most common issues to be dryness, acne and redness.

Read More Show Less

David Woodfall / The Image Bank / Getty Images

By Sam Nickerson

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in April 2018 proposed relaxing standards related to how it assesses the effects of exposure to low levels of toxic chemicals on public health.

Now, correspondence obtained by the LA Times revealed just how deeply involved industry lobbyists and a controversial, industry-funded toxicologist were in drafting the federal agency's proposal to scrap its current, protective approach to regulating toxin exposure.

Read More Show Less
Steve Irwin poses with a three foot long alligator at the San Francisco Zoo on June 26, 2002. Justin Sullivan / Getty Images

February 22 is the birthday of conservationist and beloved TV personality "Crocodile Hunter" Steve Irwin, who would have been 57 years old today.

Irwin's life was tragically cut short when the barb from a stingray went through his chest while he was filming in 2006, but his legacy of loving and protecting wildlife lives on, most recently in a Google Doodle today honoring his birthday.

Read More Show Less