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4.0 out of 5 stars Persuasive research on a key transport issue, 3 Nov 2013
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T. Ryder (Norfolk, UK) - See all my reviews
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This monograph is based on extensive quantitative and qualitative research in four English towns and cities, and aims to identify policies at the local or national level that could increase the number of people willing to walk or cycle when making short urban journeys. The quantity of research is impressive, and the authors' arguments are well structured and persuasive. The research yields a number of intriguing insights: for example, the authors demonstrate that, even in areas of England where "utility cycling" is relatively common, most cyclists still perceive themselves to be part of a marginalised group; this compares starkly with studies in Europe that have revealed the extent to which cyclists believe they are conforming to a societal norm. The authors are under no illusions regarding the size of the challenge that addressing such perceptual issues in the UK represents.
I was surprised by the extent to which the authors consider walking and cycling largely in isolation from other forms of `sustainable' transport, although they recognise that integrating all such forms of transport is essential. They also acknowledge that not only are walking and cycling not necessarily a natural pairing, they are actually fundamentally different modes of travel, and at times the authors' focus on these two modes at the expense of, for example, tram and suburban-train networks comes across as somewhat detached from the realities of urban transport planning.
The authors make a number of policy proposals they believe are essential if real change is to occur. They recognise that while it should be possible to achieve some of these in the short to medium term, some - for example, "the provision of cycle storage in most homes" - would require a number of agencies to undertake a huge amount of work in order to be implemented. The authors develop their conclusions to a certain point, but arguably they are in fact setting out an agenda for further research: any reader interested in how, for example, the "provision of fully segregated cycle routes on all arterial and other busy roads" could be achieved in their home town will not find an implementation plan here. Nonetheless, the book is so rich with research findings and constructive ideas that I am sure policymakers, academics and those interested in transport planning generally will all find reading the book highly worthwhile.
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Promoting Walking and Cycling: New Perspectives on Sustainable Travel
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