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Get Off That Vicious Cycle, And Onto A Bicycle!

Written by Boston Biker on Mar 12

3

Once you get stuck in a car centric way of life its hard to get out. See more here.


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Posted in advocacy | 8 Comments »

Now We Know Who To Blame For All That Traffic

Written by Boston Biker on Feb 18

The dark blue on the map shows the neighborhoods whose residents spend the most time stuck in traffic. The red outlines identify 15 census tracts whose drivers disproportionately clog traffic, because they all tend to travel on the same small number of roads at the same time. When commuters from these census tracts clog the roads, the congestion ripples throughout the entire metro area, making everyone’s commutes longer.

The dark blue on the map shows the neighborhoods whose residents spend the most time stuck in traffic. The red outlines identify 15 census tracts whose drivers disproportionately clog traffic, because they all tend to travel on the same small number of roads at the same time. When commuters from these census tracts clog the roads, the congestion ripples throughout the entire metro area, making everyone’s commutes longer.

A recent study by MIT and UC Berkely using anonymous cell phone data and gps have determined that it is just 15 areas in the Boston metro area (out of 750 tracked by the census) are causing almost all of the traffic jams in Boston.

What they found, perhaps surprisingly, is that during rush hour, 98 percent of roads in the Boston area were in fact below traffic capacity, while just 2 percent of roads had more cars on them than they could handle. These congested roads included short stretches of I-495 southbound and Route 128 southbound, a number of downtown streets, and a wide scattering of suburban arteries, such as Bridge Street in Lowell (southbound) and Water Street in Haverhill (northbound). Each of these roads has what the engineers term a high degree of “betweenness”—that is, they’re essential for connecting one part of the metropolitan area to the others.

The backups on these roads ripple outward, causing traffic to snarl across the Hub. Marta Gonzalez of MIT, one of the lead engineers on the study, explains the effect this way. “The analogy we make is of your circulatory system,” she says. “When you have one artery that is blocked, it will affect your entire circulation.”

By tracking the cell records, they found that it’s just a small number of drivers from a small number of neighborhoods who are responsible for tying up the key roads. Specifically, they identified 15 census tracts (out of the 750 in Greater Boston) located in Everett, Marlborough, Lawrence, Lowell, and Waltham as the heart of the problem, because drivers from those areas make particularly intensive use of the problematic roads in the system.(via)

What this says to me is that, if we could connect these areas to decent public transportation and cycling options we could eliminate large amounts of traffic in this town. By working smarter, not harder, we could burst the bubble of traffic with laser guided improvements to our infrastructure.

The study demonstrated that “canceling or delaying the trips of 1 percent of all drivers across a road network would reduce delays caused by congestion by only about 3 percent,” MIT wrote. ” But canceling the trips of 1 percent of drivers from carefully selected neighborhoods would reduce the extra travel time for all other drivers in a metropolitan area by as much as 18 percent.”

The effectiveness of this “selective strategy” is attributed in the study to the facts that “only [a] few road segments are congested” and that these road segments are clogged by people originating largely from only a few areas. Even though data was anonymous, researchers were able to infer drivers’ home neighborhoods “from the regularity of the route traveled and from the locations of cell towers that handled calls made between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m,” UC-Berkeley said.(via)

If we can get drivers in these targeted areas to bus/train/cycle to work, we could dramatically reduce traffic in the rest of the town. Combined with some sort of congestion tax to keep otherwise non-car drivers from filling in the empty space made by the reduction of traffic, and using the money from that and a re-organized tax system to fund improvements in public transportation infrastructure, we could be living in a very pleasant city devoid of most single occupancy car drivers.

Science!


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Posted in advocacy, Commuting | 6 Comments »

The Dutch Are Developing External Air Bags To Protect Cyclists And Pedestrians

Written by Boston Biker on Nov 12

Love it, all cars should have something like this.


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Posted in news, video | 1 Comment »

Everyone Is Guilty

Written by Boston Biker on Jun 08

3-Way Street from ronconcocacola on Vimeo.

I have said a million times on this website, everyone is breaking the law all the time. If you ever hear anyone start complaining about just one group of road users be sure to remind them that basically its everyone’s fault, and that everyone is breaking the law in a rather rampant fashion.

One thing of note here is how much smoother the law breaking between the pedestrians and cyclists are in the video above. Not to say its a good thing, but at least when you are smaller you have a better ability to share limited space. Cars it would seem are just too big for their own good.


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Posted in advocacy, education, video | 3 Comments »

2009 One Of the Safest Years On Record For Bikers

Written by Boston Biker on Sep 29

2009 was almost the safest year on record if you drove, cycles, or walked in America, at least that is what the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) numbers show.

In 2009, 33,808 people died in motor vehicle traffic crashes in the United States – the lowest number of deaths since 1950 (33,186 fatalities in 1950). This was a 9.7-percent decline in the number of people killed, from 37,423 in 2008 to 33,808, according to NHTSA’s 2009 Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) (see Figure 1). Fatalities declined among all categories of vehicle occupants and non-occupants as shown in Table 1 below. Motorcyclist fatalities broke the continuous 11-year increase with a large decline of 850 fatalities (24% of the total decline of 3,615). Motorcyclist fatalities now account for 13 percent of total fatalities. Passenger car occupant fatalities declined for the seventh consecutive year, and are at their lowest level since NHTSA began collecting fatality crash data in 1975. Light-truck occupant fatalities dropped for the fourth consecutive year, and are at their lowest level since 1997. The largest percentage reduction of people killed was among large truck occupants (26%) compared to any other vehicle category, followed by motorcyclists with a 16-percent reduction.

There was also a reduction in Pedestrian and Cyclists Fatalities.

You can read the full report here (pdf)

Alcohol still plays a large part in crashes and fatalities, but overall the roads are safer than they have ever been, so go ride your bike!


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Posted in advocacy, news | 1 Comment »

Your Car Is Killing You

Written by Boston Biker on Mar 12

And I don’t just mean from the global warming emissions. Car crashes account for millions of people killed and injured every year. More than most wars, more than terrorist attacks, more than many well known medical illnesses, so why don’t we have a war on cars?


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Posted in education | 5 Comments »

You Know What Is Funny?

Written by Boston Biker on Feb 21

Calling a car a shitbox. I know it is childish but I giggle every time I hear someone call a car this. What fun names do you have for cars?


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Posted in fun | No Comments »

I Would Say This Is About Right

Written by Boston Biker on Jan 29

Beware the car effect!


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Posted in education, video | No Comments »

The Word On The Street

  • RSS Here is what people are saying

    • Misinterpreting Statistics To Show Cyclists As Causing More Bike-Car Crashes Than Drivers November 24, 2014
      TweetYet again, the passage of a 3 foot passing law, designed to protect cyclists as drivers pass them, sparked a debate. This time, the debate ensued in San Diego, California. The argument was over sharing the road, not surprising given … Continue reading →
      IsolateCyclist
    • Capitalizing On The Death Of Cyclists November 21, 2014
      TweetSometimes it seems as if advertising people will do anything to sell us their wares. Many of the things they do are outrageous, and if the rest of us did these things, we would be admonished for being unethical or … Continue reading →
      IsolateCyclist
    • Cranks Giving! November 20, 2014
      TweetFrom the F-book: ————– Saturday, November 22 at 1:00pm in EST Copley Square Copley Sq, Boston, Massachusetts 02116 First annual Cranksgiving Boston bike ride! Bring a bike, a bag, and a lock. This event is FREE but you’ll need about … Continue reading →
      Boston Biker
    • Action Alert: Allston I-90 Interchange Project November 20, 2014
      TweetLets make sure we don’t end up with just another highway, see below From Livable Streets: ———-   We have a vision for something more than just a new highway.  After months of MassDOT I-90 Allston Interchange task force meetings, … Continue reading →
      Boston Biker
    • THE DANGERS OF SAFETY: Why Focusing on Car Accidents May Hurt Our Health November 18, 2014
      Everyone officially puts “safety first.” Everyone wants to prevent accidents. Car crashes are treated as lead stories on TV news – the images are horrific and we all fear our vulnerability. But, in fact, our roads are safer than ever. In 1956, when Interstate construction began, the national fatality rate was 6.05 per 100 million […]
      Steve Miller
    • rain, wind and cold. ride anyway. November 17, 2014
      Tweetwell yeah, rain, wind, cold, dark, traffic – it beats driving a car, and def beats riding the ever so depressing Boston Subway system. Plus it makes you feel strong to be out in the elements. Ha, bad weather… ride … Continue reading →
      altbiker
    • Building Sidewalks For Children November 17, 2014
      TweetWhat have our societies become when local authorities are forced to apply for grants to build sidewalks for children? While this is a good thing, as it allows the children to engage in healthier options for traveling to school, it … Continue reading →
      IsolateCyclist
    • Help MIT Students Test Outdoor Bicycle Training Device November 14, 2014
      TweetFrom the email, looks like fun! ———- We are engineering students at MIT who are building a device (Terrainer) for competitive cyclists to train outdoors.  To further improve our project, we are looking for competitive cyclists to help test and provide feedback … Continue reading →
      Boston Biker
    • Cambridge To Follow Boston’s Lead On Side Guards For Trucks November 14, 2014
      TweetI have talked about this a couple of times (here and here and here), and its great to see Cambridge moving forward with this simple and awesome plan.  Via On Monday, November 10, the City of Cambridge took a major step … Continue reading →
      Boston Biker
    • Cold weather glove review November 13, 2014
      TweetCold weather riding has it’s advantages. If you ride the paths, you begin to notice that there is much less traffic on the bike paths. The people out there tend to be more experienced and cordial that the fair weather … Continue reading →
      altbiker