the benefits of congestion

Vorpal
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the benefits of congestion

Postby Vorpal » 24 Feb 2017, 10:43pm

Where I live, they've had 1 of 3 main roads through the town closed for a couple of weeks because of tunnel repairs. The consequence of that has been (I'm sure you guessed it), more traffic on the other routes. Four wheeled motor vehicle journey time has doubled, and yesterday (due to a crash), it quadrupled.

I've had to drive the last couple of days because of other errands, but today I rode my bike. It was a chilly -8 C when I set out. Despite that, there were more bikes today in the indoor cycle parking than I've ever seen before. Usually on a -8 C day, there would be three bikes in there. Today, it was as if it were the first warm day in spring. I didn't ask any of the others if the traffic was why they rode their bikes, but it seems a logical explanation.

Also, there's this on the underpasses thread viewtopic.php?f=6&t=112427&start=15#p1100350

So, it got me to thinking. What if congestion were terrible all the time. What if we limited traffic to a couple of main throughfares, and only allowed it off into residential areas for access. Would more people cycle? Just to get away from the nightmare traffic? Can we do an experiment somewhere with this? What is the tipping point at which people start to cycle? It is down to journey time?
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NATURAL ANKLING
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Re: the benefits of congestion

Postby NATURAL ANKLING » 24 Feb 2017, 10:52pm

Hi,
In the UK it might start sometime in the future.
Why and how and when who knows, I will probably not be around when it does.

Bad weather will always put a dampener on exposed transport.
Some won't even go out in the car when its raining.
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horizon
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Re: the benefits of congestion

Postby horizon » 25 Feb 2017, 12:38am

Vorpal wrote:
Also, there's this on the underpasses thread viewtopic.php?f=6&t=112427&start=15#p1100350

So, it got me to thinking. What if congestion were terrible all the time. What if we limited traffic to a couple of main throughfares, and only allowed it off into residential areas for access. Would more people cycle? Just to get away from the nightmare traffic? Can we do an experiment somewhere with this? What is the tipping point at which people start to cycle? It is down to journey time?


Vorpal: you must know that I would love this post. :D

Congestion is its own solution: people simply find other ways to travel or travel less. Trying to solve congestion by building more road space leads, yes, to more congestion but on a grander scale. And in the meantime we get Devil's Punchbowl tunnels, Stonehenge tunnels, Ely by-passes and goodness knows what. Road pricing of some form (and congestion charging of course) helps but the best is to allow congestion points to remain.

Thank goodness for some radical thinking! Thank you Vorpal.
Let's just get Brexit done so that we can get on with the important job of re-joining the EU!

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Heltor Chasca
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Re: the benefits of congestion

Postby Heltor Chasca » 25 Feb 2017, 7:27am

Yes. Time is money. Or just money...

Image

Vorpal
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Re: the benefits of congestion

Postby Vorpal » 25 Feb 2017, 8:55am

That's a great graphic, HC :)

But I was more wondering, if people travel 10 miles to work, how bad does the traffic have to be before they start using alternatives?

My work is 10 miles away, but it's also on top of a 300 metre (1000 ft) hill, so most people take a lot longer to go up the hill by bike or walking than by car. Of course, going home by bike can be pretty quick :mrgreen: My typical journey times are as follows: (total travel time to & from work)
car - 40 min.
bus aprox. 120 min (it's possible to do it in 100 minutes if I take a twice per day express bus)
bike - 90 minutes in summer, 100 - 110 in winter

Wednesday and Thursday, when I drove, the journeys home were very long, so the total travel time was close to typical bus journey time.

Bus journey times are less affected by the traffic. They use residential streets that are not, for the most part, through roads, so traffic doesn't build up on them as much. Aslo, busses use a couple of routes that are closed to other motor vehicle traffic. Cycling, I have more alternatives, including a couple that are partly or mostly off routes where motor vehicle traffic is allowed.
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Re: the benefits of congestion

Postby landsurfer » 25 Feb 2017, 9:02am

Totally in favour of congestion and turning off traffic lights .....although turning off lights tends to improve traffic flow and reduce accidents eventually the equilibrium of congestion should be established
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TrevA
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Re: the benefits of congestion

Postby TrevA » 25 Feb 2017, 5:21pm

I think we are already there, especially during rush hour. I occasionally have to travel out of town when everyone else is driving in. You see mile upon mile of traffic crawling along at barely 10mph. And yet, they are prepared to just sit there and do it. They don't see an alternative. It's not very nice to have to cycle along the same roads, even though you are overtaking loads of cars, the noise and fumes make it unpleasant. So if there's a traffic free alternative, then more people may cycle, but don't hold your breath.

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Re: the benefits of congestion

Postby atlas_shrugged » 25 Feb 2017, 9:19pm

I really like that graphic.

I think the distance travelled in 30 mins for the train and bus are too optimistic.

By train:
Not door to door. Train stations are mostly not convenient so need extra travel time to/from stations
Trains need to stop at stations - so 8 mile journey from Cambridge with 1 stop takes 24 mins.

By bus:
Buses often late
Not door to door. Usually a bit of a walk to/from bus stops

So walking, bike, taxi are usually the only true door to door transport methods. A car can sometimes be door to door, but into cities is increasingly less so.

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Re: the benefits of congestion

Postby reohn2 » 26 Feb 2017, 2:02pm

The problem is that the car is convenient even if the journey takes longer.The driver can listen to the radio is warm and dry and doesn't have to put up with other people(who can be annoying if not a PITA)in their presence unless invited.
IMHO unless the car is made very inconvenient by cost and time it'll remain the first option for the majority of people.
There are ways of doing this but society won't grasp the nettle because the car brings in a lot of tax revenue and the car has become an extension to the home/castle.
Cycling for the majority can only be a viable option if it's convenient,perceived as safe and quicker.If the UK could get over itself and build quality direct and convenient cycle roads some would be tempted,otherwise it would need reliable,convenient,clean and affordable public transport to rid the roads of cars.

To get UK cycling into perspective from a general public POV,talk to anyone who doesn't cycle and quite quickly it becomes obvious that it's traffic and their perceived lack of safety in it on a bike that's the big turn off,before anything else is considered for the individual.
So an increase in traffic however inconvenient doesn't make cycling more appealing to someone who doesn't cycle,quite the opposite IMHO.
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Re: the benefits of congestion

Postby De Sisti » 26 Feb 2017, 4:34pm

I agree.

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horizon
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Re: the benefits of congestion

Postby horizon » 26 Feb 2017, 5:52pm

I think it's almost impossible to disentangle what really puts people off cycling. People say it's to do with the danger of traffic and that may be true; but underlying that (or even much more likely in first place) is the dislike of the hassle, the weather and the effort. Even hills aren't the real reason according to some research. I also read once that fear of punctures was the number one reason for some people.

You need a strong reason to override these objections. For some it's health and fitness but for many it could surely be the almost impossible commute to work in a car. Congestion may well drive people onto bikes. And I personally find slow moving traffic in congested streets a much safer proposition. So I don't believe that traffic growth per se is a barrier to cycling. The real barrier IMV is the constant effort to make car travel not just easy, smooth and inexpensive but indeed the only viable or practical means of travel.
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Re: the benefits of congestion

Postby reohn2 » 26 Feb 2017, 6:36pm

horizon wrote:I think it's almost impossible to disentangle what really puts people off cycling. People say it's to do with the danger of traffic and that may be true; but underlying that (or even much more likely in first place) is the dislike of the hassle, the weather and the effort. Even hills aren't the real reason according to some research. I also read once that fear of punctures was the number one reason for some people.

You need a strong reason to override these objections. For some it's health and fitness but for many it could surely be the almost impossible commute to work in a car. Congestion may well drive people onto bikes. And I personally find slow moving traffic in congested streets a much safer proposition. So I don't believe that traffic growth per se is a barrier to cycling. The real barrier IMV is the constant effort to make car travel not just easy, smooth and inexpensive but indeed the only viable or practical means of travel.


Puncture resistant tyres such as M+ ,electric assist and less rainy days than any of us will admit to for most of the year are all reasons to cycle,the major obstacle to people cycling is fear pure and simple,fear of being hit by a motor and the bigger the motor such as a bus or HGV the bigger the fear,however unreasonable that fear maybe,it's instilled in people who have never ventured onto a road unprotected by a comfortable metal box with plush seats and the comforts of home,however unreasonable their safety perception of the car is,it feels safe.That's before any threat of a mechanical problem or a sore arris.
You are asking people to venture out of their comfort zone everyday just to get to work.
People on here will think 'what's all the fuss about it's great' but then they're used to it and up for it but forget we are enthusiastic about cycling and prepared for a little discomfort because we actually enjoy cycling.
The problem with the non cycling public is initially you're asking them to be vulnerable and feel vulnerable,that's before they even attempt to get over the prejudice against cycling and cyclists seen as a nuisance on the roads or the bike being a poor man's form of transport(the class problem).
UK roads aren't accomodating to cycling other than getting bikes out of the way of cars,cycling isn't taken seriously by UK authorities,which is seen as an 'out group',we've been an out group since the 60's,things in recent years have improved but only minutely.

In short cycling infrastructure is crap and will remain crap as long cycling isn't taken seriously by society as a whole,and it won't be taken seriously until the car is seen as a burden we can't afford either in time or cost.
That's the nub of the problem,the car is way to easy to use,and it's becoming easier to use however long journey times are,it's still convenient and safe.
Ask someone to take a 3mile journey door to door that takes 20minutes in a car or the same time on a bike and they'll go for the car every time.
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Wanlock Dod
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Re: the benefits of congestion

Postby Wanlock Dod » 26 Feb 2017, 7:21pm

I'd have to agree with that, there are two differences in the Netherlands, driving is slightly less convenient, and there are protected cycle paths anywhere where there is likely to be traffic danger. Those fairly minor differences mean that cycling is perfectly normal for everybody, it's even more "normal" than driving is here because even primary school kids are cycling too.

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Re: the benefits of congestion

Postby Vorpal » 26 Feb 2017, 9:50pm

I think it's mainly down to convenience. People will accept slightly longer journey times in a car because they also can/need to pick up the kids or the shopping on the way home, drop a package off at mum's, etc. They may also accept slightly longer journey times against getting wet, having to shower and change, or because parking at the station is expensive. These judgements may also be different for different people.

What I am curious about is how bad it has to be before people get fed up with driving and use other modes of transport. My tolerance for sitting in queues is quite low. If traffic were as bad every day as it was last Thursday, I'd simply not take the car to work. I can use the bus if the weather is bad. Or take my bike on the bus and ride home.
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Re: the benefits of congestion

Postby reohn2 » 26 Feb 2017, 10:36pm

Vorpal wrote:What I am curious about is how bad it has to be before people get fed up with driving and use other modes of transport.

In the UK for most people very bad,and it would need there to be other modes readily available,which there aren't unless you like being packed in like sardines and extortionate cost :shock:

My tolerance for sitting in queues is quite low. If traffic were as bad every day as it was last Thursday, I'd simply not take the car to work. I can use the bus if the weather is bad. Or take my bike on the bus and ride home.

You have the luxury in Norway of being able to take your bike on the bus which is great,however you've lived in the UK......
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