Car down, cycle up

Number crunching… this is back to my engineering roots really. Territory that I feel nicely comfortable and at home with. It seems I needed a counteract to all the ethnography, interviews and qual stuff that is happening (aaargh).

Sets of figures, spreadsheets, formulae, yea, bring it on. There are two data sets of relevance that I have managed to locate. Bremen has the SrV survey carried out by Universität Dresden (although Bremen city as the data owner does not want to share the raw data with me, for reasons beyond me); whilst Tyne & Wear has a household travel survey of a similar layout. Thanks to Trevor Arkless from Newcastle City Council who stripped the T&W data to midweek only (Tues-Thurs) so I could carry out a direct comparison.

This is work in progress (yet nearing completion), however the striking thing and glaring difference is the modeshare, as you can easily imagine. Bremen is thE German cycle city of over 500,000 inhabitant: higher percentage of people cycling than Berlin, Hamburg or Munich, you name ’em. I present the mode-share data below in distance bands. As for the legend which is in German, please read:

Amber line = walking ie zu Fuß

Green line = cycling ie Fahrrad

Red lines = car use ie MIV (motorisierter Individualverkehr)

Blue line = public transport ie ÖPV (öffentlicher Personenverkehr)


When overlaying the graphs it becomes even more apparent. In Bremen we have a “car use down and cycle use up” effect, compared to NewcastleGateshead and denoted by the red and green arrow, inserted in the figure below. I outlined before the big differences in the two cities. The variance in their urban designs is very striking with regard to cycle infrastructure. It is interesting to note that walking (amber) and public transport (blue) lines are near-matching.


This graph does not tell us about how transition away from car use happens (people may abandon the car to use public transport, before they start cycling for example). It does however demonstrate that there is a good correlation, not surprisingly, between mode-supportive urban design and resultant mode share.


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