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1.4 billion cars are estimated to be there on the road, according to Cars Guide (2022)

The Australian source indicates that nowadays, the vehicle saturation rate of global roads nears around 18 percent (roads saturated by the excess of cars).

That means the following: the probability of losing time because of heavy traffic, anywhere in the world is 18%. 1 of each 5 times we rent a car or drive our own one in any city of our planet, we will lose time.

Time Constraints

Liao, et al (2020) have calculated the disparities in travel times between car and transit by creating "Spatiotemporal Patterns" in cities. See Nature (2020). They touch the following points about time constraints:

  • Cities worldwide are pursuing policies to reduce car use and prioritise public transit (PT) as a means to tackle congestion, air pollution, and greenhouse gas emissions.

  • The increase of PT ridership is constrained by many aspects; among them, travel time and the built environment are considered the most critical factors in the choice of travel mode.

  • They propose a data fusion framework including real-time traffic data, transit data, and travel demand estimated using Twitter data to compare the travel time by car and PT in four cities (São Paulo, Brazil; Stockholm, Sweden; Sydney, Australia; and Amsterdam, the Netherlands) at high spatial and temporal resolutions.

  • They use real-world data to make realistic estimates of travel time by car and by PT and compare their performance by time of day and by travel distance across cities.

  • Their results suggest that using PT takes on average 1.4–2.6 times longer than driving a car.

As a result of their research, cars demand should seem more efficient in terms of saving 1 hour (ceteris paribus) each time we decide to drive a car, instead of taking PT.

Some problems arise from the calculation: 1) not every person can afford to buy a car; 2) not every city can afford to build a road; 3) not every road built diminishes traffic in the medium run; 4) not every hour "lost" in PT is unproductive; 5) not every hour "saved" in-car is free of environmental costs; 6) not all the habitats require neither a car nor PT to move around.

Walkable Cities

Researchers at the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy (ITDP, 2000) said making cities walkable was vital to improve health, cut climate-heating transport emissions, and build stronger local communities and economies. However, they said very few cities overall gave pedestrians priority and were dominated by cars. The report found US cities ranked particularly low for walkability due to urban sprawl.

The study defines that the world’s most walkable cities include London, Paris, Bogotá, and Hong Kong. The UK capital outranks almost 1,000 cities around the world on citizens’ proximity to car-free spaces, schools+healthcare, and the overall shortness of journeys.

For the other cities with traffic problems, Liao (op cit) takes into account the situation where you cannot walk and do not have a car and choose PT in their study. "The share of area where travel time favours PT over car use is very small: 0.62% (0.65%), 0.44% (0.48%), 1.10% (1.22%) and 1.16% (1.19%) for the daily average (and during peak hours) for São Paulo, Sydney, Stockholm, and Amsterdam, respectively".

The travel time disparity, as quantified by Liao using a travel time ratio RR (PT travel time divided by the car travel time), varies widely during an average weekday, by location and time of day: "A systematic comparison between these two modes shows that the average travel time disparity is surprisingly similar across cities: R<1R<1 for travel distances less than 3 km, then increases rapidly but quickly stabilizes at around 2"

Three questions stand there: 1) for 3km distances, is it more efficient to use the bike, as Amsterdam proposes, or combine PU + walk-in compact walkable communities, as London proposes? 2) If you would live in a safe zone, or have safe public transport, would you value your car the same? 3) If cities are not safe in general, not for cars, neither for bikers, walkers, or PT users, would you choose to stay home and use your money for developing platforms where you can do your work at home and abandon even the use of the taxi, or any other transport platform, including options like Uber?

The transportation of people is going towards a new normal. Studying options, where choosing PT (in safe zones) would allow to "work" in the PT would contribute to providing a more realistic performance evaluation that helps future studies further explore what city characteristics, as well as urban and transport policies, make public transport more attractive, and to create a more sustainable future for cities.

The probability of losing time because of heavy traffic, anywhere in the world is 18%
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