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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on November 9, 2006 6:33 AM. The previous post in this blog was Keep an eye on the Blazers. The next post in this blog is Winning another close one. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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Thursday, November 9, 2006

Hoofin' it

A while back, I blogged about the City of Portland's efforts to get me and other residents of the inner northeast section of town out of our cars. They sent me a free kit with a pedometer, a bike odometer, a book of discount coupons for local businesses, maps, and brochures galore. I wondered how much it all cost me as a taxpayer, but it was fun to get.

I now see that this program has its own newsletter, and the latest edition has just come out. In it, the city transport bureau is claiming some pretty impressive results:

Transportation Options 2006 NE Hub target area program reached a whopping 13 percent relative reduction in drive alone trips. The largest decrease yet in the four years of Transportation Options targeted programs shifted from drive alone trips primarily to walk, carpool, transit, and bike trips....

With generous donations from Kaiser Permanente we are again able to offer 6000 Ten Toe Express Walking Kits, complete with pedometers to track those new walking trips. TriMet, our transit partner, provided all the bus and MAX schedules and a special Honored Citizen packet for seniors and disabled riders. Business community support helped us deliver Portland By Cycle kits, complete with reflective leg bands, bike maps and local business coupons, to 5000 households in the NE Hub.

The kits and information weren’t the only tools employed by Options. We also offered Ten Toe Express guided walks and Senior Strolls, Summer Cycle and Women on Bikes bike rides, clinics as well as many Smart Living Classes. All our clinics and activities give an added level of hands-on assistance to residents interested in choosing alternative transportation.

The combination of information, maps, events and activities produces results. At a cost of $10 per person – including staff, printing and expenses – NE Hub residents are experiencing fewer cars on their streets and rediscovering their neighborhoods by foot, bike and transit, while local businesses gain new customers who walk and bike to their store.

I'd love to see the data that underlies these claims; I suspect the numbers have been massaged harder than a Mark Foley intern. But if they're even close to accurate, the city's actually talking some people out of some of those bad, yea downright immoral, single-occupant car habits.

Of course, given the lousy job they've done keeping the sewers clear of fallen leaves lately, for now you may want to take your snorkel with you on your walk or bike ride to work.

Comments (12)

rediscovering their neighborhoods by foot, bike and transit

How do you "rediscover" your neighborhood by transit?
Wouldnt that be the least effective way to do it?

"massaged harder than a Mark Foley intern"

Zing! Nicely done.

The way my car's been hydroplaning the last few days, I'm thinking walking is the safer bet.

How about a Mark Foley metaphor contest?

...massaged harder than a Mark Foley intern

That's a story with no happy ending.

Jack: I suspect the numbers have been massaged harder than a Mark
Foley intern. But if they're even close to accurate, the city's actually
talking some people out of some of those bad, yea downright immoral,
single-occupant car habits.


JK: Of course, the reality is that few long trips are being replaced by walking. Sure, you might be persuaded to walk a 1/4 mile to the store instead of driving, but how much gas do you save - not much.


To the extent that they persuade you to take the bus over your late model small car, you are actually wasting energy because buses use more energy per passenger mile than late model small cars.


Further transit users only pay about 20% of their actual cost. Therefore they are effectively welfare users. The actual cost of tranist is right up there with low end cars. And even low end cars are a heck of a lot more comfortable and convenient. And faster.


Here is some data from the The transportation Energy Data Book: Edition
25 - 2006


Energy consumption of car-bus-air compared


Table 2.10 lists energy consumption of various modes of passenger travel. It shows that cars use less energy than rail, transit bus or commercial air.
Here are the numbers that I took from table 2.10:


mode
btu/passenger mile


Van Pool
1401


Car
3549


Commerical air
3587


TriMet bus
3792 (data directly from TriMet)


Transit bus
4160


The car number is an average based on the current fleet and an average number
of passengers. More efficient cars are readily available, for instance the
$10,770, 2006 KIA Rio is listed at 32 MPG city. This is 3906 btu/mile. With
an average of 1.2 passengers, it becomes 3255 btu. At 1.9 passengers it uses
less than the energy of transit busses per passenger mile. The Honda Insight at 60 MPG city is 2083 btu per passenger mile, about one-half that of a transit bus. At two passengers it consumes only 1042 btu per passenger mile.


Why do people think that transit buses save energy?


Because they did in 1970, but over the years, buses became less efficient and cars more efficient. See table 2.11


Conclusion


The most practical way to reduce transport energy consumption is to encourage people to switch to small cars. It will save more energy than transit and is more likely to succeed.


Thanks
JK

It will save more energy than transit and is more likely to succeed.

It'll be interesting to see if this policy prevails in Washington over the next few years. Now that the "Jesus wants you to drive an SUV" crowd has been swept from power, we might see some change. But with DeFazio and Earl the Pearl potentially chairing transportation sub-committees, I won't hold my breath.

"Now that the Jesus wants you to drive an SUV" crowd has been swept from power

What about the "my three teenagers wont fit in the back of a Camry" crowd? ;-)

Those three teenagers ought to get bus passes or learn how to ride a bike around Portland.


"It will save more energy than transit and is more likely to succeed."

Of course, "succeed" is a relative term. If BTU's are directly convertible into union Tri-Met jobs, then the more the merrier.

"Those three teenagers ought to get bus passes or learn how to ride a bike around Portland."

Just don't have Randy Albright counsel them on "how to ride a bike" or the bus passes won't do them any good.

Jon: What about the "my three teenagers wont fit in the back of a Camry" crowd? ;-)
JK: Then get a bit bigger car/SUV. If you fill a 10mpg SUV with 8 people you are getting 80 passenger-miles/gal, over twice what a Trimet bus gets.

Probably pollutes less too:
The truth is that Metro buses pour out much more air pollution than your average car and much, much more than new cars. According to numbers from the Environmental Protection Agency and the Union of Concerned Scientists (an environmental advocacy group based in Cambridge, Mass.), a modern diesel transit bus puts out over half a ton of smog-creating chemicals every year. Mile for mile, the bus pollutes nearly 60 times more than a new passenger car like a Ford Taurus or a Nissan Sentra.

(From: http://www.seattleweekly.com/diversions/0322/diversions-bus.php )

Would TriMet like to supply their pollution numbers, including the older buses that are still (or were last year) on the streets?

Thanks
JK

few long trips are being replaced by walking...but how much gas do you save - not much.

From what I understand, vehicles run worse when first started. If true, a short walking/bike/transit trip can actually save a decent amount of pollution and possibly gas. Also, as they say, "every little bit helps".

"Now that the Jesus wants you to drive an SUV"

I believe if you read your Bible, the Disciples were all in one Accord. God wants us to buy Honda Accords and carpool.


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