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02/01/2010: "Nothing Succeeds Like Success"
Just saw a reference to a Federal Highway Administration report on a "scan," as they call it, of European cities and their support of cycling and walking as transportation modes. Since it was the FHA, I read it with some trepidation, but was most pleasantly surprised! They visited Denmark, Germany, UK, Switzerland, and a few other places, studied diligently and without preconceptions, and drew some gratifying conclusions, such as:
If it were possible to sum up the lessons from the scan study in one sentence, it would be this: To increase safety and mobility for walkers and bicyclists, a country must embrace foot and bicycle traffic as transportation modes and consider them as a means to attaining livability and sustainability goals.

[Photo caption:] In all the countries the scan team visited, parking lots for bicycles are common and sometimes large, as in this lot at a transit station in Lund, Sweden.

Variations on this concept played out in each country the scan team visited. In Switzerland, transportation policy puts human-powered mobility on a par with motor vehicles and transit. In Germany, bicycles are permitted on transit with no exceptions--that is, on all trains. In contrast, many transit systems in the United States prohibit bicycles on board trains at rush hour. Many of the countries invest significant funds in bicycling facilities. They set ambitious targets for mode shifts at both the national and local levels, even for communities that already have substantial bicycling rates.
The entire report is clear, concise, readable, and well worth reading, and I highly recommend it. So here it is: Handy Lessons from Overseas on Walking and Bicycling

Maybe a little bit of all that hope and change stuff is really happening after all....

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