Stephen Rees's blog

Thoughts about the relationships between transport and the urban area it serves

That graphic again

with 3 comments

You have seen this more than once on this blog.  I am adding this to my collection of street space stats picsCanberra bsu car walk

They put 40 cars for 69 people. That is 1.7 people per car – way more than most North American cities manage. We get around 1.2.


Written by Stephen Rees

January 11, 2018 at 4:51 pm

Posted in Transportation

3 Responses

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  1. I love this picture. Public transit saves so many things: money, the environment, time spent in traffic.

    Elizabeth Grisham

    January 11, 2018 at 5:44 pm

  2. It’s really hard to get this sort of graphic just right. Riders on a rush-hour bus actually are as densely packed as they’re shown here. Cyclists would take up considerably more space than that, even on a busy bike path—probably three times as much. The cars, though, are getting a free ride, despite the intention to show how much more room they occupy.

    First, as you say, there aren’t nearly enough of them in the photo. Second, as for the cyclists, they would take up more room on an actual street—cars are literally bumper-to-bumper only when traffic is at a standstill. Most importantly, though, the visual bulk of those cars is drastically reduced by foreshortening. The riders and cyclists are right up front, where they look largest, and most of the cars are way in the back, looking tiny.

    An overhead shot would be more informative. Fifty-seven cars (to carry 69 people at ~1.2 per car) would appear at least twenty times larger than the bus, whereas here they seem only about four times larger.

    So, as popular as this sort of image has become among advocates of transit and cycling, it actually understates the impact of auto-dependence. I have a few ideas for video treatments of the same idea, but no idea where to take them.


    January 11, 2018 at 7:48 pm

  3. Maybe they did not have enough cars for the photoshoot because some actors/models could not afford their own car and either walked, rode a bike or took the bus, leaving some poor PA to pull his hair out while watching the street closure permit expire without enough cars! Perhaps he hoped it would be excused under artistic license or fixed in post.

    Ian W

    January 16, 2018 at 1:07 am

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