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?
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.
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EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
By Dana Drugmand
An unprecedented climate lawsuit brought by six Portuguese youths is to be fast-tracked at Europe's highest court, it was announced today.
The European Court of Human Rights said the case, which accuses 33 European nations of violating the applicants' right to life by disregarding the climate emergency, would be granted priority status due to the "importance and urgency of the issues raised."
‘Protect Our Future’<p>Cláudia Agostinho (21), Catarina Mota (20), Martim Agostinho (17), Sofia Oliveira (15), André Oliveira (12) and Mariana Agostinho (8) are <a href="https://www.desmogblog.com/2020/09/03/youth-climate-lawsuit-portugal-33-european-countries" target="_blank">bringing the case</a> with nonprofit law firm Global Legal Action Network (<span style="background-color: initial;">GLAN</span>), arguing that none of the countries have sufficiently ambitious targets to cut their emissions.</p><p>Portugal recently sweltered through its <a href="https://www.ipma.pt/pt/media/noticias/news.detail.jsp?f=/pt/media/noticias/textos/resumo-clima-julho-20.html" target="_blank">hottest July in 90 years</a> and has seen a rise in devastating heatwaves and wildfires over recent years due to rising temperatures. Four of the applicants live in Leiria, one of the regions worst-hit by the forest fires that killed more than 120 people in 2017. </p><p>Responding to the development, André Oliveira, 12, said: "It gives me lots of hope to know that the judges in the European Court of Human Rights recognise the urgency of our case." </p><p>"But what I'd like the most would be for European governments to immediately do what the scientists say is necessary to protect our future. Until they do this, we will keep on fighting with more determination than ever."</p>
‘Highly Significant'<p>The decision represents a "highly significant" step, <a href="https://www.glanlaw.org/about-us" target="_blank">GLAN</a> Director Dr. Gearóid Ó Cuinn said in a <a href="https://youth4climatejustice.org/" target="_blank">press release</a>.</p><p>"This is an appropriate response from the Court given the scale and imminence of the threat these young people face from the climate emergency," he added. </p><p>By suing the 33 countries all together, the youths aim to compel these national governments to act more aggressively on climate through a single court order, which would potentially be more effective than pursuing separate lawsuits or lobbying policymakers in each country.</p><p>If successful, the defendant countries would be legally bound not only to ramp up emissions cuts, but also to tackle overseas contributions to climate change including those of their multinational enterprises.</p>
‘Major Hurdle’<p>The <a href="https://youth4climatejustice.org/the-case/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">countries targeted</a> include all of the European Union member states as well as Norway, Russia, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine and the United Kingdom, none of which are currently aligned with <a href="https://www.ecowatch.com/tag/paris-agreement">Paris agreement</a> target to limit global temperature rise to well below 2 degrees C (3.6 degrees F) and pursue a limit of 1.5 degrees C (2.7 degrees F).<a href="https://climateactiontracker.org/countries/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"> </a></p><p><a href="https://climateactiontracker.org/countries/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Climate Action Tracker rates</a> most of Europe as "insufficient" in terms of its emissions reduction policies based on the Paris target, while Ukraine, Turkey and Russia are assessed as "critically insufficient" – meaning they are on track for a warming of 4 degrees C or higher.</p><p>The European Union has pledged to slash its emissions by <a href="https://ec.europa.eu/clima/policies/eu-climate-action/2030_ctp_en" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">at least 55 percent by 2030</a>. But the Portuguese youth plaintiffs are calling for cuts of at least 65 percent by 2030, a level that <a href="http://www.caneurope.org/energy/climate-energy-targets" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">European climate campaigners say</a> is necessary to meet the 1.5 degrees warming limit.</p><p> The 33 countries must each respond to the youths' complaint by the end of February, before lawyers representing the plaintiffs will respond to the points of defense. </p><p>"Nothing less than a 65 percent reduction by 2030 will be enough for the EU member states to comply with their obligations to the youth-applicants and indeed countless others," Gerry Liston, legal officer with GLAN, said in a press release.</p><p>"These brave young people have cleared a major hurdle in their pursuit of a judgment which compels European governments to accelerate their climate mitigation efforts."</p><p><span></span><em>Reposted with permission from <a href="https://www.desmogblog.com/2020/11/29/court-advances-landmark-youth-climate-lawsuit-against-33-european-nations" target="_blank">DeSmog</a>. </em></p>
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Kristal Ambrose, the Bahamas<img lazy-loadable="true" src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yNDg0NzI3MC9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY1MDM5NTk5MX0.fdMrrUqf0HvWq0Uh0Ii3mXxJczHPyN1jcnSsQoXoerE/img.jpg?width=980" id="b9e66" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="b8b8777f7964bb7100672b3be0abf3fe" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" />
Kristal Ambrose. Goldman Environmental Prize
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Chibeze Ezekiel. Goldman Environmental Prize
Nemonte Nenquimo, Ecuador<img lazy-loadable="true" src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yNDg0NzM2Ny9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYwNzYxODYwM30.cys5ZsFGd75UcjybADGBPFt20jrzgrsFujoj_qMTK4E/img.jpg?width=980" id="96b5a" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="0778ab7334e3297e0ead52d5fd1499e5" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" />
Nemonte Nenquimo. Goldman Environmental Prize
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