How’s Your Commute?

I ran across this interesting graphic in the Victoria Transport Policy Institute’s report titled “Valuing Transit Service Quality Improvements“, by Todd Alexander Litman (2007). From the Abstract:

This report investigates the value travelers place on qualitative factors such as comfort and convenience, and practical ways to incorporate these factors into travel time values for planning and project evaluation. Conventional evaluation practices generally assign the same time value regardless of travel conditions, and so undervalue comfort and convenience impacts. Yet, a quality improvement that reduces travel time unit costs by 20% provides benefits equivalent to an operational improvement that increases travel speeds by 20%. This report recommends specific travel time value adjustments to account for factors such as travel and waiting comfort, travel reliability, and real time transit vehicle arrival information. It describes how service quality improvements can increase transit ridership and reduce automobile travel.

The walking and cycling numbers really jumped out at me. The report is written for transit planners, so it naturally focuses on getting people out of cars and onto public transit, but I was surprised that the ped/bike numbers were virtually ignored in the document text. It would have been nice to see a column for Mixed (Cycling & Transit), my usual mode. It’s interesting that Automobile Only fared better than Transit Only, but the two combined fared the worst.

So what does all this mean? Ride your bike to work and be happy! :-)

6 Responses to “How’s Your Commute?”

  • yangmusa says:

    I love my bike only commute. Now if only San Francisco could fix the incredibly poor pavement and it would be bliss… As it is, potholes are probably more of a hazard than traffic. And they certainly increase the amount of maintenance I need to do, in particular truing wheels and replacing spokes.

  • Duncan Watson says:

    I love my bike only commute. Though my train only commute (LIRR) from 1992-1998 was great, in fact my wedding photographer was my conductor, 2 of my fellow commuters were in the wedding party and my car (rail car) helped plan the location where I asked my wife to marry me. 16 years later and on a different coast I still talk to 4 of the people from my regular rail car.

    I have to admit though that my cycle commute is great, I feel so good riding to work, always more chipper and more connected to my local community. I often stop and chat with passers by on my shorter evening route. My longer route is early (5:30am) and I am more focused on time. Though I do talk to the couple who hold signs over the interstate as I cross the ped bridge. It is a ritual.

  • Tom says:

    What’s on the signs?

    “The End is near!” Or how about, “Sucks to be you” to those stuck in their cars. ;-)

  • Duncan Watson says:


    Mostly political signs, regarding the bailout, iraq war, etc. They are a nice couple and they bike to the bridge themselves. They like to hold signs out for the I405 morning commute traffic. Personally I love to know the people I commute with or travel near. It makes me feel more connected to the world we live in. Cars insulate you from your neighbor, transit and cycle commuting tends to connect me to my neighbors at least for me.

  • Deb says:

    My bike commute takes about 4x as long as when I drive (which at the moment, I have to do every friday to make an appointment), but my bike commute makes me so happy. It is fun. On the bike, it is all “me time”, and even though I don’t dislike driving, I have come to resent every second I’m in the car. So in that sense, my car commute is 20 minutes of lost time, and the bike commute is over an hour (I’m slow) of gained time.

    It makes sense to me, anyway!

  • becky tesch says:

    I love my commute. I feel sad when I drive or get a ride. Although it’s only about 4 miles, it’s such a nice feling to get the legs and lungs and heart moving a little before sitting in a chair all day. I also love the ride home. I usually wait until after most people leave to avoid the crazy 5:00 rush, and also, riding in the dark is so fun. It’s so quiet, peaceful, and lovley. I feel like a super hero flying silently in and out of the shadows, enjoying the clean crisp air and the joy in my chest.

    I live in a place with lots of crummy weather, and I ride in most of it. People don’t appreciate the thrill of a challnege. Most people are so fixated on being completely comfortable all the time that they miss out on a lot of fun. They think I suffer through these things, when in fact, I get a real kick out of them! Riding in the snow is a whole new and interesting challenge, and when you have the right gear, you’re not cold. I believe that I am warmer on my bike in winter than I am sitting in the car in nylons and dress shoes waiting 10 minutes for the heater to kick in. Yeah, riding my bike is much better.

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