Monday, March 26, 2012

Rutgers to Host Seminar on How to Encourage Biking and Walking

Prof. John Pucher speaking at the 2010 NJ Bike-Walk Summit (c) Benepe
The Center for Transportation at Rutgers will be holding a special session on walking and cycling for healthy cities this April.

The special session on "Planning Healthy and Sustainable Cities" to be held Friday, April 27 is a must-go for any communities contemplating the perplexing issue of how to get their populace to drop their cars in favor of human-propelled transit.

Studies show that a full 25% percent of all trips made by motorists are one mile or less, and 50 percent are 3 miles or less, according to data recently collected by the Alliance of Biking and Walking in their Benchmarking Report. Those trips could easily be translated into biking or walking, but getting people to switch is the challenge.

"Walking and cycling are the most sustainable means of transportation, providing a wide range of economic, social, and environmental benefits," said a statement from the Bloustein School which is holding the event in New Brunswick, NJ on Friday, 2 pm to 3:45pm.

The session will focus on the health benefits of walking and cycling and how to encourage these activities by a wider spectrum of the population, including women, men, children and seniors, economically disadvantaged, and to the extent possible, persons with disabilities.

Source: Alliance for Biking and Walking Benchmarking Report 2012
Studies have also shown a strong relationship between increased walking and biking and improved population health, according to the Alliance.

"Walking and cycling provide a convenient, affordable, and dependable form of daily physical activity that can be integrated into our everyday activities such as commuting to work, getting to school, shopping, and visiting friends.  Moreover, by helping reduce car use, walking and cycling can generate environmental benefits such as less air pollution, noise, energy use, and depletion of non-renewable resources."

Among the speakers will be Prof. David Bassett of the University of Tennessee who will examine regional variations in walking and cycling in the United States and the relationship of those differences with corresponding regional variations in rates of obesity, cardiovascular disease, stroke, and diabetes.

He will make the argument that car-dependent, sprawled development without good walking and cycling facilities discourages active travel, leading to low levels of physical activity and serious health problems.

The second talk features Prof. Jennifer Dill of Portland State University, who will talk about the special concerns of women, especially related to their much lower levels of cycling compared to men in the US.

Women in northern European countries cycle as often as men, suggesting that the cycling infrastructure and transport policies there provide lessons for encouraging more women to cycle in the US.

Prof. Dill will talk about Portland, Oregon which has been at the forefront of cycling in the US, and has been successfully implementing a wide range of measures that have not only raised cycling levels by more than 6-fold since 1990 but also encouraged a higher percentage of women to get on bikes.

Prof. Ralph Buehler of Virginia Tech and Prof. John Pucher of Rutgers University will also talk about how they have documented the high levels of walking and cycling among all segments of the population in Germany, Denmark, and the Netherlands, as well as the much greater safety of active travel on those countries compared to the US.

Here is the URL link to the full conference details and registration. Attendance is $100 for more registrants, $25 for Rutgers students, but registration allows attendees to listen to other sections of the conference which spans two days, April 26 to April 27 AICP credit is being considered. For more information: http://policy.rutgers.edu/symposium2012/ 

New Brunswick is accessible by NJ Transit train service, and is within an hour from New York City and Philadelphia. The Bloustein school is walking distance from the staton. Although bicycles are not currently allowed on the buses, they are allowed on certain trains. For more information on train rules, call NJ Transit.  Click here for directions.

New Jersey Safe Routes to School Resource Center
Alan M. Voorhees Transportation Center
Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy
Rutgers University
33 Livingston Avenue
New Brunswick, NJ 08901

Telephone: (848) 932-7901
Fax: (732) 932-3714

Visit the New Jersey Safe Routes to School Resource Center at http://policy.rutgers.edu/vtc/srts

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