Blog Archives

Happiness: a new way to measure transportation systems

People experience different emotions during daily travel. Their happiness varies depending on the mode they use, trip duration, and other factors. U of M researchers are exploring how happiness could become a useful metric to assess transportation systems and guide policymaking, supplementing more common measures such as mobility and accessibility.

“Happiness is increasingly seen as a gauge of an individual’s well-being, and this has many social implications,” says Yingling Fan, associate professor in the Humphrey School of Public Affairs. “Happier people often are more productive and creative, have better family and social relationships, live longer, and, in general, are more successful.”

Americans spend, on average, about 75 minutes on daily trips. “Given the known benefits of emotional well-being, it’s important for planners and policymakers to understand the connection between transportation and happiness,” Fan says.

Posted in Bicycling, Planning, Public transit, Transportation research, Travel Behavior

Street design and bike sharing: A student’s reflection on visiting Nanjing

In May, the Global Transit Innovations (GTI) program coordinated a study-abroad course that took 16 University of Minnesota students to China. The intensive two-week course focused on high-density urban and regional development and included visits to five cities in the Yangtze and Pearl River Delta regions.

In this guest post, student Joe Polacek reflects on Nanjing, the third stop on the course’s itinerary. His highlights include an example of creative street design and experiences with Chinese bike-sharing systems.

Posted in Bicycling, Education, Planning, Sharing economy, Urban transportation

Healthy, equitable development in Twin Cities suburbs: report provides insight to overcome barriers

A new report by a team of researchers at the U of M’s Resilient Communities Project (RCP) provides insights into barriers stakeholders face to building healthier, more equitable developments in first-ring suburbs of Minneapolis and Saint Paul. The report also suggests steps that could positively influence development decisions moving forward.

The Healthy and Equitable Development Project, funded by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota’s Center for Prevention, was developed for over a year and focused on 18 developments within four cities: New Hope, St. Louis Park, Hopkins, and Richfield. It reflects the thoughts of community members, elected officials, city staff, and developers on the problems and opportunities around affordable living and active transportation.

Posted in Bicycling, Pedestrian, Planning, Public transit, Urban transportation

How equitable is bicycling infrastructure?

As the movement to promote bicycling as a means of transportation has grown, so has the amount of money governments and nonprofit organizations are investing in the nation’s urban bicycling infrastructure. A concern, however, is whether these investments are distributed equitably among neighborhoods.

In a new study, U of M researchers looked at this issue using Minneapolis as a case study and found that though inequities still exist, equity is improving.

Posted in Accessibility (access to destinations), Bicycling, Planning, Transportation research, Urban transportation

New podcast explores commuting in the Twin Cities

A new 10-episode podcast is exploring what commuting in the Twin Cities is like—and what it could be.

Here to There, developed by Apparatus and Transit for Livable Communities & St. Paul Smart Trips, examines the inextricable link between the ways we commute and the ways we live.

Each episode focuses on a different “destination”—defined not as a place but as a goal for the Twin Cities mobility system. Episode destinations include accessibility, equity, cohesion, and flexibility.

Posted in Accessibility (access to destinations), Bicycling, Pedestrian, Planning, Public transit, Travel Behavior, Urban transportation

Report estimates magnitude of bicycling in Minnesota

Bicyclists riding in a bike laneHow often do Minnesotans ride bicycles? How far do they ride? A report from University of Minnesota researchers provides some estimates.

The research, funded by MnDOT, is part of a larger study that provides a comprehensive understanding of the economic impact and health effects of bicycling in Minnesota. This part of the project systematically estimated the use of trails, roads, and other bicycling infrastructure.

Posted in Bicycling, Planning, Traffic data, Transportation research

Commute by bike: job accessibility and bicycles

jackson street bikepathIn conjunction with Bike to Work Week, Brendan Murphy gives an update on the Accessibility Observatory’s work measuring access to jobs by bicycle in this guest post.

People are steadily increasing the rates at which they choose to bike to where they need to go, and with that comes the need to focus more intently on whether our road, trail, and path systems do a good job (or not) of getting people on bikes to destinations safely and efficiently.

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Posted in Accessibility (access to destinations), Bicycling, Planning, Transportation research, Urban transportation
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