Category Archives: Policy

Leipzig Residents Compete: Ideas for Urban Transportation

Poster for Ideas for Urban Transportation (source: City of Leipzig)

Poster for Ideas for Urban Transportation (source: City of Leipzig)

As part of the updated Urban Development Plan – Transport and Public Space due to be presented in 2013 the city of Leipzig invited public participation through a competition entitled Ideas for Urban Transportation (Ideen für den Stadtverkehr) in which city residents were able to submit their innovative ideas for developing the transportation network in Leipzig. 382 submissions (from individuals, schools, community groups etc) were received for a total of 618 ideas, and each entrant received a response regarding her or his ideas from the jury. Continue reading

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Mobility Education

Back in December 2012 the Federal Ministry of Transport, Building and Urban Development introduced the new German National Cycling Plan 2020 (pdf – in German!). The main theme of the new Plan, which builds off the National Cycling Plan 2002-2012, is the collective advancement of bicycle transportation among all levels of government including advocacy groups on both the national and local level. One of the key areas the Plan focuses on is Continue reading

The Art of Rational Decision-Making

Economics is generally based on the assumption that people are able to make rational decisions based on weighing all the costs and benefits of something. An individual may take into account things like fixed costs and variable costs. There are opportunity costs. For example, if I decide to go to a concert instead of study for an exam then I probably think that the benefit I get out of going to that concert outweighs the costs of getting a poor grade on the exam. But what if there are costs that I don’t factor into my decision-making? Am I still making a rational choice based on the information available to me? Or am I choosing to ignore certain costs because they’re too abstract or too difficult to quantify?

Very often this kind of problem is the result of external costs, those costs that one doesn’t consider when making decisions, as opposed to internal costs or out-of-pocket costs. Continue reading

Does Germany Have All the Answers?

The European Cyclists’ Federation (ECF) has an article from the beginning of January that I’d like to highlight. The article is entitled “Cycling Solutions: Why Germany Has All The Answers” and while I think that may be a bit of an exaggeration, Germany really is an interesting case study for U.S. cycling advocates and transportation planners. Buehler, Pucher, Merom und Bauman (2011) compared active travel (pdf) in the United States and Germany. In their introduction they list off a number of reasons why the comparison is so appropriate: market economies, democratic systems of government, high rates of auto ownership, similar proportions of licensed drivers and, importantly, similar design and timing of travel surveys. The general conclusion of their research was Continue reading