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Research Recap, April 11: Bike Lane Shortage, Cyclist Demographics, Electric Vehicle Investments
Study finds 83 percent of bike commuters have bike lanes for less than half of their ride. Photo by Richard Masoner.

Study finds 83 percent of bike commuters have bike lanes for less than half of their ride. Photo by Richard Masoner.

Welcome to “Research Recap,” our series highlighting recent reports, studies and other findings in sustainable transportation policy and practice, in case you missed it.

BIKE LANE SHORTAGE

A British national survey by cycle insurance provider, Cycleguard, finds that 83 percent of cyclists have bike lanes for less than half of their daily commute and 53 percent of cyclists only have bike lanes for one-quarter of their daily commute. Cycleguard has since called for the creation of more bike lanes in Britain.

CLOSE TO HOME AND WORK

A new research study on the relationship between location of work and location of household promises potential for city and transportation planning.  Using U.S. Census data, David Levinson and Nebiyou Tilahun of the University of Minnesota found that social networks, both at work and within neighborhoods, play a part in employees of a given company settling in the same neighborhood. Among its applications, such findings could be applied to planning that facilitates shorter commutes.

CYCLIST DEMOGRAPHICS

U.S. cyclist demographics from 2009 were outlined in a new report from the University Transportation Research Center. White people are slightly overrepresented, making up 79 percent of cyclists, while blacks, Hispanics and Asians make up only 21 percent. These numbers, however, show a trend towards more racial parity among cyclists, considering that data from 2001 found that only 17 percent of cyclists were people of color. In regards to income, the least affluent economic quartile made up the majority of riders with 31 percent, and the remaining three quartiles were represented almost equally with 21 percent, 25 percent and 23 percent, moving from the next to most affluent.

WASTING TIME AND FUEL

The OTREC research team at Portland State University won the annual Transportation Research Forum with a report on the effect of freeway traffic bottlenecks on time and fuel costs. The report found that traffic flows are disrupted more or less at random as freeways approach their capacities. This described randomness proved more costly to both time and fuel, as more travel time must be allotted for potential uncertainty and “stop and go traffic” increases the demand output on car engines.

ELECTRIC VEHICLE INVESTMENTS

Investments in electric vehicle IT systems are on track to fall short of growing industry demands, according to a new study by Pike Research. In preparation for more vehicles charging from electrical grids and, consequently, an increased demand on electrical utility informational systems, about $5.1 billion in worldwide IT investments are expected between 2010 and 2015.  Pike’s analysis determined this sum inadequate in handling the necessary IT system compatibility updates.

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