04 Apr

On Cars and generations

Between Millenials one side of the pincer not being interested in driving nearly to the extent previous generations were, and between baby boomers retiring and realizing it would be nice to be able to walk places, a very interesting demographic crunch is coming our way:

“It used to be that having your own car provided the ultimate sense of freedom for young adults, allowing them a means to get together with friends, establish independence and separate from their parents. It was a critical right of passage to real adulthood to drive your own car, and it was the one place you could blast music without your parents complaining. Popular movies of the later Baby Boomer’s and Gen X’s coming of age, such as Risky Business and Dazed and Confused shaped this generation’s sense of self, portraying images of fancy sports cars as the ultimate young adult possession.

Today however, older teens and young adults don’t need cars to achieve a sense of self and freedom. This generation’s coming of age consisted of graduating from the Internet and CD-ROM computer games to hand-held mobile devices where they’re establishing identities, relationships, and individualism online all day long–as much as, if not more than, in the real world.”

(Via Millennials Don’t Care About Owning Cars, And Car Makers Can’t Figure Out Why | Co.Exist | ideas + impact.)

Interesting thing in Europe, too:

We know that Europeans love their bicycles — think Amsterdam or Paris. Denmark even has highways specifically for cyclists.

Indeed, earlier this month, NPR’s Lauren Frayer reported that Spain, which has long had a love affair with cars, is embracing the bicycle: For the first time on record, Lauren noted, bicycles outsold cars in the country.

But it’s becoming a Continent-wide phenomenon. More bikes were sold in Italy than cars — for the first time since World War II.

This prompted us to look at the figures across the 27 member states of the European Union for both cars and bicycles. New-car registrations for Cyprus and Malta weren’t available, so we took them out of the comparison.

Here’s what we found: Bicycle sales outpaced new-car sales last year in every one of those countries, except Belgium and Luxembourg. The top five countries by bicycle sales can be seen in the top chart.

10 Jul

Impact of car-oriented design on health

I’m constantly stunned at the number of people who use a car to travel 1/2 a mile. But this article is right, some of that is because we live in environs that make even a 1/2 mile walk appear easier to do in a car.

Madness.

“According to the Federal Highway Administration’s 2009 National Household Transportation Survey, 68 percent of the trips taken by U.S. residents between ½ and 2 miles in distance were made by vehicle. Only 23 percent of such trips were made on foot.

One-third of respondents reported no walking trips whatsoever in the previous week.

‘The greatest barrier to walking more is the perception of too much traffic, not enough street lighting, or wide road crossings,’ reports the FHWA. ‘People are also concerned about crime, had no nearby paths or sidewalks, and were too busy to walk more often.’”

(Via A treadmill desk or trip to the gym is not a substitute for the perils of a sedentary lifestyle – Quartz.)

10 Apr

Cul-de-sacs kill community

NewImage

There is a dead pool feel to them, isn’t there?

“The theory behind cul-de-sacs was that they lessened traffic, since they change the primary function of local streets — rather than offering a way to get anywhere, now they simply provide access to private residences. The problem is that this design inherently encourages car use, even for the shortest trips. It also limits the growth of communities and transportation options.”

(Via How Cul-de-Sacs Are Killing Your Community | INFRASTRUCTURIST.)