Why does Germany have More Sustainable Transportation?


Sustainable Transport that Works:Lessons from Germany(34 page pdf, Ralph Buehler, John Pucher, World Transport Policy & Practice, Apr. 2009)

Also discussed here: Demand for Public Transport in Germany and the USA: An Analysis of Rider Characteristics(27 page pdf, Ralph Buehler and John Pucher, Transport Reviews, Sept. 2012)

And here: Making Urban Transport Sustainable: Lessons from Europe and North America( Keynote speaker, Dr. Ralph Buehler, Carleton University, Oct. 18, 2012)

And here: City considers cuts to Bronson Ave. speed limit after fatal crash (Ottawa Sun, Nov. 2, 2012)

And here: Who owns the road in Montreal?(Pollution Free Cities, Feb. 11,2011)

Today we review a paper authored by Prof Buehler and John Pucher who have also published a book very recently about safer cycling in cities. The paper compares the degree of sustainable transportation in Germany to the USA and other countries and notes that “The USA is perhaps the best known example of unsustainable transport” for a number of reasons, ranging from much greater support for public  transit as well as progressive land use and taxation policies in Germany that result in much less use of cars for commuting  (5 times greater use of transit),  as well as 2-3 times fewer traffic casualties and 80% fewer cycling casualties. Virtually all German cities have car-free zones and few have motorways that penetrate into the city core (unlike 99% of the large urban areas in the USA and Canada).

It is somewhat telling that shortly after an evening presentation on sustainable transportation by Prof Buehler at Carleton University in Ottawa, a student cycling home was killed by a car on a 6 lane roadway that links the airport with the city core and lacks a safe bike lane (noting that a segregated bike lane is being piloted downtown and Ottawa currently has over 541 km of bike lanes including 258 km off road and is planning for 2,500 km, more than any other Canadian city).

There are many lessons to learn here.

To see Key Quotes and Links to key reports about this post, click HERE

One Response

  1. translates to about 7.5 km total distance for average cycling speeds of 15 km/h. Since this amount can be obtained in several bouts of exercise, a trip by bicycle to and from a destination ~4 km away would satisfy daily physical activity requirements. In our data, one third of the bicycle trips were this distance or longer. Of the car trips, about one third were at least 4 km but less than 12 km, corresponding to 15–45 min bicycle travel times. Shifting these trips to cycling from driving can therefore be expected to improve individual health. While there are increased risks of personal injury and possibly air pollution exposure associated with this shift, evidence indicates that the multiple health benefits of cycling outweigh the risks.

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