CTAI Blog

A Multitude of Advantages of Bicycle Commuting

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Many of those who have made the lifestyle change to bicycle commuting made the choice in an effort to break from the daily rat race of traffic congestion within their commute. Have these individuals also helped to break the cycle for the rest of us? The jury is still out on whether bicycle commuters have much impact on overall congestion, but one thing is clear: mixed-use roads, those designed for both cars and bicycles, seem worth the investment in our future.

Bicycle commuting offers not only an escape from sitting stuck in a car, but also helps aid the fight to lessen car pollution. Although you can't keep cars off the road altogether, one less vehicle on the roads is, most assuredly, one less vehicle on the road. Ridesharing and carpooling, of course contribute to this end as well.

Studies show that those who commute by bicycle are healthier than even the most active of those who do not. Of course, in considering this average, there are certain outliers, but overall, the average result is clear: Those who commute by bike gain less weight on average than whose who do not, even when they are physically active. For more on this, continue reading at PlanetSave.com.

In considering biking as a viable commute alternative, it's important to note also the economic factors. Within our economy of late, there has been an increase in bike commuters out of sheer need. According to the La Crosse Tribune, "National trends show that bicycle commuting took off again during the recession." Between difficult economic times and extremely high gas prices, bikers have begun to get practical and save where they can. Fortunately, this increase in bike ridership seems to have brought about greater awareness and acceptance, both in the general public and in policymakers. Hopefully, this trend will continue, and lawmakers will recognize the value in planning mixed-use roads.

Lastly, let's consider the impact that biking has on a personal level as well. As is lessening congestion and pollution, gaining health benefits, and saving money weren't enough of an impetus to take us bicycle commuting, perhaps your mental health and self esteem will benefit from making the switch! Phillip Schwartz, a bicycle commuter, reflects on how biking brought an entirely new dimension into his life, including competitive bike racing, "Bike commuting has done a lot for me—from getting me in shape to helping me save gas money. Now it has led me to racing, a place I never thought I’d be. Who knows what’s next?" 


How much time do you waste on your Commute?

Friday, February 22, 2013

By the year 2020, you can expect your commute to eat up another 7 hours per year and to burn through 6 more gallons of gas annually. 

A new report on America's congestion was developed by Texas A & M drawing from data compiled by Inrix, the leading traffic information and driver services hub. This report clearly indicates that our traffic situation, already bad, is only going to get worse. 

Increasing traffic numbers are not necessarily a direct result of population growth, Robert Miles, the region 2 traffic operations engineer at the Utah Department of Transportation says. “Each one of us travels more vehicle miles per year. People are just driving more every day... It’s not always as simple as add more lanes, add more lanes,” Miles said. “We have to be more creative and smarter than that.”

The A & M Report shows that cities whose travel times ranked lowest can attribute their successes to several factors including: Carpool Lanes, Public Transit lines, and even metered freeway on-ramps. Clearing crashes quickly and efficiently, and diverting traffic cleverly in the case of construction are crucial efforts as well, but the truest benefits can be seen in communities who responsibly plan for and encourage mass transit, alternative forms of transportation like walking or biking, and ridesharing.


Community Planning Group Encourages Biking and Walking

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

A Minnesota-based Community Planning group called 'Smart Towns' is currently touring Idaho to share their ideas for re-modelling the average American community to be less automobile-centric. An important idea in our growing environment of commuter communities, incorporating more biking and walking into our communities would be overall healthier, would create a more cost-effective lifestyle, and more responsible use of tax funds.

As explained in Strong Towns' Mission Statement

"The current approach to growth emphasizes investments in new infrastructure to serve or induce new development. This approach uses public dollars inefficiently, destructively subsidizes one type of development over another and leaves massive maintenance liabilities to future generations.

A Strong Town approach emphasizes obtaining a higher return on existing infrastructure investments. We can no longer simply disregard old investments in favor of new, but instead we need to focus on making better use of that which we are already committed to publicly maintain."

Planning more responsibly for community growth and development will allow our communities to bolster public transit and provide on-going support for bike paths and walking trails, rather than pouring funds into highway expansion and the constant expense of maintenance.

CTAI encourages all Idahoans to take advantage of opportunities to educate yourself on the status of your community, and certainly to let your own voice be heard! Strong Towns' 'Curbside Chat' programs will be on-going throughout Idaho until February 22nd and will include a community-specific discussion session. 

Bike and Pedestrian Funding Still on the Chopping Block Come the March Reauthorization

Friday, September 16, 2011

Although the Senate has agreed to extend the existing transportation bill for six months without any policy changes, The Washington Post reports that Senator Coburn of Oklahoma is expected to work to eliminate the small program that funds the lion’s share of bike and pedestrian projects.

This program represents less than 2 percent of all federal transportation spending and for 20 years has been the primary funding source for sidewalks, crosswalks, bike lanes, and trails.

If you support biking and walking safety, contact your Congressmen and ask them to keep the funding in place to keep our bikers and walkers safe in our communities.

Transportation Reauthorization Extended...Again.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

The Community Transportation Association of Idaho commends Congress for extending the nation's surface transportation at current funding levels.

"The six-month extension of federal highway and transit programs approved by Congress this week ensures the continuation of critical services and thousands of job-creating infrastructure projects across the nation," said Heather Wheeler, CTAI executive director. "We congratulate the leadership on both sides of the aisle in the House and Senate for their hard work to bring about this extension. We encourage Congress and the Administration to develop and pass a robust, multi-year surface reauthorization bill over the next six months. CTAI is prepared to work with the Idaho Congressional Delegation with the development of this bill."

Watch the APTA video...