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Lancet Study: We Must Reduce Auto Dependency

Lots of catching up to do after the holiday weekend. Here's a sampling of what's been coming in over the network:

Austin on Two Wheels threw a link up on Twitter to a very intriguing article published last week in the influential medical journal The Lancet (registration required). According to the Montréal Gazette, the researchers concluded that infrastructure spending should be diverted from road building to pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure for a variety of public health reasons:

incompletestreet.jpgStreets like this one in Dallas's Oak Cliff neighborhood won't get us where we need to go. (Photo: Bike Friendly Oak Cliff)
The urban transportation study says encouraging more walking and cycling would have big benefits for both health and the climate. It compared different transportation scenarios for London and Delhi. Walking and cycling came out on top even when compared to increased use of low-emission vehicles that are widely touted as "green" solutions.

"Important health gains and reductions in CO2 emissions can be achieved through replacement of urban trips in private motor vehicles with active travel in high-income and middle-income countries,” the researchers conclude.

They suggest policy-makers divert investment away from roads and toward provision of infrastructure for pedestrians and cyclists. They suggest motor vehicles be slowed down and more strictly controlled, while pedestrians and bikers should have direct routes with priority at intersections, to "increase in the safety, convenience, and comfort of walking and cycling."

Elsewhere around the network: Jarrett Walker at Human Transit continues his comprehensive coverage of Bus Rapid Transit around the world. The Chicago Bicycle Advocate has the scoop on a "bicycle simulator" that could be used to help people learn how to ride safely in challenging traffic conditions. And Bike Friendly Oak Cliff talks about the need for a radical new vision of how streets are designed.