Sunday, November 18, 2012

Book Review - Making Transit Fun!


Making Transit Fun!

How to Entice Motorists from Their Cars (and onto their feet, a bike, or bus)

By Darrin Nordahl
Published by Island Press
 April 17th, 2012
This is a book which was way, way overdue to be written, and it deserves to be widely disseminated, read, discussed and its ideas implemented in as many places as possible.
Everyone would agree that cars are useful, have a definite place in society - and that our roads are congested and our larger towns and cities are becoming difficult to traverse simply because of the enormous volume of vehicles on the roads.
The answer is not likely to be to build more and bigger roads and parking areas; even with restrictions on vehicle exhaust emissions, environmental pollution from cars remains a matter of concern to many "ordinary" people as well as to scientists and politicians.
Many urban car users would argue quite forcefully that they are forced to use their cars rather than public transport or alternative modes of transport because of cost, accessibility and ease of commuting; there are obviously many variables to take into consderation, but this book cleverly pulls together information and evidence from communities around the world and postulates that it really is possible to get motorists out of their cars and using other forms of transportation instead.
Interesting, thought provoking and full of remarkable photos, this book emphasises that alternative transport can be made to be fun, cheaper for communities to provide and use than cars, and that walking and cycling are also viable urban alternatives.  I was particularly taken with the idea of cycle sharing, which I knew had been introduced into London with a high degree of success.
Nordahl examines the sociological, political, town planning, safety  and time perspectives of transportation, as well as the all-important financial  perspectives; he fervently believes and teaches that it is necessary to think and plan "outside the box" to produce acceptable and viable alternatives to our traditional modes of transport. I'm not entirely certain how practical some of the ideas are -  it would certainly be interesting and fun  to have swings at bus stops to keep commuters happy while they wait, but in our community, they would sadly be vandalised within a short space of time - but I am still convinced there are ideas in this book which could change our community for the better.
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margaret said...

I used to have a bike and I loved it but it was just too dangerous. Many drivers just don't seem to see bikes and many actively dislike cyclists.

Elizabeth @ The Garden Window said...

Heavy traffic is only compatible with cycles if there are decent cycle lanes, I agree.
Cycling is really popular in our town, but I've been frightened to death by lorries thundering only inches past me on more than one occasion.
We need more cycle lanes.