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Old October 27th, 2007, 08:48 PM   #1
ChrisZwolle
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car-friendly cities? Or not?

There are many ways to indicate if a city or metropolitan area is car-friendly. There are also many stereotypes if a city is car friendly, or not.

Here is a list of US and some European agglomerations sorted by the number of residents per kilometer motorway/expressway/freeway. This is only an indication of how car-friendly a city is. 10.000 inhabitants on 1km of 2x3 or 2x5 freeway is quite different. But it shows a bit the attitude of a city towards cars; did they build many possible routes, or are they routing all traffic on one route?

Here's the list. The lower the number of residents per km, the better for cars.

Hartford, Connecticut 4.206 per km
Kansas City, Kansas/Missouri 4.296 per km
Minneapolis, Minnesota 4.725 per km
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 4.746 per km
Orlando, Florida 5.980 per km
Cleveland, Ohio 6.413 per km
Jacksonville, Florida 6.455 per km
St Louis, Missouri/Illinois 6.685 per km
San Antonio, Texas 6.839 per km
Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas 6.973 per km
Denver, Colorado 6.691 per km
Salt Lake City, Utah 7.026 per km
Copenhagen, Denmark 7.690 per km
Oslo, Norway 7.701 per km
San Diego, California 7.886 per km
Madrid, Spain 7.895 per km
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania/Delaware/New Jersey 8.037 per km
Hampton Roads, Virginia 8.500 per km
San Francisco Bay area, California 8.532 per km
Tampa Bay, Florida 9.176 per km
Seattle, Washington 9.193 per km
Detroit, Massachusetts 9.349 per km
Houston, Texas 10.036 per km
Baltimore, Maryland 10.374 per km
Lisboa, Portugal 10.843 per km
Rhein-Ruhrgebiet, Germany 11.122 per km
Milwaukee, Wisconsin 11.168 per km
Phoenix, Arizona 11.346 per km
Portland, Oregon/Washington 11.810 per km
Greater Los Angeles, California 11.890 per km
Miami, Florida 12.223 per km
Barcelona, Spain 12.252 per km
Randstad, Netherlands 12.326 per km
Sacramento, California 12.599 per km
Boston, Massachusetts 12.732 per km
New York City, New York/New Jersey/Connecticut 12.947 per km
Stockholm, Sweden 13.328 per km
Brussel, Belgium 13.462 per km
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 13.547 per km
Las Vegas, Nevada 13.569 per km
Chicago, Illinois/Indiana 13.918 per km
München, Germany 15.439 per km
Berlin, Germany 16.358 per km
Atlanta, Georgia 16.487 per km
London, United Kingdom 18.261 per km
Milano, Italy 18.766 per km
Washington, DC, Virginia, Maryland 19.594 per km
Tucson, Arizona 21.508 per km
Ile de France (Paris), France 22.982 per km
Roma, Italy 25.286 per km

Last edited by ChrisZwolle; October 28th, 2007 at 03:21 PM.
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Old October 27th, 2007, 08:52 PM   #2
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What can we say? Well, maybe it's surprising some cities don't have that much freeways compared to the population. Chicago, Los Angeles, Atlanta and Phoenix are usually rated as very car-friendly with "many freeways".

However, some agglomerations differ very much from eachother. Some are very dense, others aren't. The latter needs more freeways to cover an area, resulting into a lower number of inhabitants sharing one kilometer or mile. The Randstad for instance, is a whole lot different as Paris or New York.
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Old October 27th, 2007, 09:02 PM   #3
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Interesting thread, although I still think there's no accurate formula to say if a city is car-friendlier than another city or not; we have to look at each city separately. But it's a good measurement nevertheless.
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Old October 27th, 2007, 09:04 PM   #4
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Paris is not car-friendly and is not pedestrian-friendly.

Are you sure that the data for Paris is right ? It seem me weird that London has less residents per kilometer motorway/expressway/freeway than Paris.
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Old October 27th, 2007, 09:09 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Minato ku View Post
Are you sure that the data for Paris is right ? It seem me weird that London has less residents per kilometer motorway/expressway/freeway than Paris.
It surprised me too. Most if it comes into account from the M25 orbital, which is 191km long. And i counted Paris as a larger city as London, since a lot of London figures includes large rural area's, i only counted urban area's, not entire metropolitan area's.
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Old October 27th, 2007, 09:11 PM   #6
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Another thing is if a city is car-friendly just in terms of transit, or also in the city itself (and vice-versa).
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Old October 27th, 2007, 09:19 PM   #7
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The number of traffic jams might be a good indicator too.

Compare the Ruhr area to the Randstad Region. The Ruhr ofcourse has traffic jams, but it is nothing compared to the Randstad, while the Rhein-Ruhr is actually a bigger agglomeration in terms of population.

A car friendly city does not only comes to freeways. Parking spaces, parking fares, urban roads also counts.
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Old October 27th, 2007, 10:27 PM   #8
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Perhaps I'm the only one in here who is against car-friendly cities? And supporting public transport?

Sorry, but....
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Old October 27th, 2007, 10:31 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by davidkunz/VIE View Post
Perhaps I'm the only one in here who is against car-friendly cities? And supporting public transport?

Sorry, but....
No, you're not the only one here. Cars are murderous to city life.
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Old October 27th, 2007, 11:16 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rebasepoiss View Post
No, you're not the only one here. Cars are murderous to city life.
Thats a pretty bold statement. Nowadays people seem pretty quick to bash cars, saying that everyone should use public transit ... this of course ignores why people abandoned public transit for cars in the first place ...
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Old October 27th, 2007, 11:32 PM   #11
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I think it's interesting to look how some cities are handling it.

Take Kansas City. A metropolitan area of 2 million inhabitants, the only public transportation are buses, and a huge urban sprawl, the most miles of freeway per capita of all US cities and a low density.

However, this didn't turn out bad. There aren't so many traffic jams, and the traffic volumes are exceptionally low for an agglomeration of this size. The highest AADT's are 161.000 on the I-35 near Overland Park, and 135.000 on the I-70 east of Downtown.
Despite the lack of public transportation, Kansas City is often voted most livable city.
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Old October 27th, 2007, 11:36 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by davidkunz/VIE View Post
Perhaps I'm the only one in here who is against car-friendly cities? And supporting public transport?

Sorry, but....
Car-unfriendly cities are often very congested. Not very livable. That's no good either. Public transport can never totally replace a car, PT and private transport are often 2 different needs, which cannot be replaced by the other. So i think it's about a good balance. The problem is often money. Sometimes, the government gives priority to public transportation while there are huge problems with traffic congestion. Others build numerous freeways while there isn't almost a public transportation. Some have a lot of money, and can do it both, but that's rare.
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Old October 27th, 2007, 11:43 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sonysnob View Post
Thats a pretty bold statement. Nowadays people seem pretty quick to bash cars, saying that everyone should use public transit ... this of course ignores why people abandoned public transit for cars in the first place ...
Because people were too lazy to make a few steps?
I can tell from my own experience that the most livable places in cities are those where there are no cars or few space for cars and lots of space for people. I have nothing against using cars in sparely populated areas because there public transport just doesn't work, but building huge roads in city centres is silly. That's why I think park & ride system is great.
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Old October 27th, 2007, 11:51 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rebasepoiss View Post
I can tell from my own experience that the most livable places in cities are those where there are no cars or few space for cars and lots of space for people.
I agree. But only in places with a lot of people and a lot of things to do, like city centers. Imagine car-free suburbs; I think they would be pretty boring.
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Old October 27th, 2007, 11:54 PM   #15
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It's also about how visible cars are in the streetscene.

In the Netherlands, they are building huge new suburbs, but all cars have to be parked in the streets. Everywhere you look are cars. Ofcourse there is a huge shortage of parking space, so cars are often parked in the greenery. I don't think that helps the image of a city.

A better solution is, more carparks in downtown, and parking garages in suburbs.

A street with congestion is not very nice, but a major street without traffic would be very boring.
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Old October 28th, 2007, 12:07 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chriszwolle View Post
A street with congestion is not very nice, but a major street without traffic would be very boring.
Let's say it wouldn't be for some people. But even then I think it would be boring b/c people just wouldn't walk huge distances. And as we know the (un)effectiveness of PT, it still wouldn't be nice.

Last edited by Verso; October 28th, 2007 at 12:31 AM.
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Old October 28th, 2007, 12:24 AM   #17
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City govs should try to make cars unnecessary between center and suburbs and within the city, while at the same time offering affordable alternatives, ie not like in Vienna, where, at the same time, parking fares and PT fares were raised....
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Old October 28th, 2007, 12:34 AM   #18
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They tried that in the Netherlands. Making unlogic routes, preferring public transportation & bicycling.

What was the result? Ever growing traffic jams.

I think they shouldn't keep going this way, it obvious isn't the right solution.

They now build new neighborhoods near every larger city, but too far from the city center to take the bicycle (Dutch average is that over 7km, people prefer the car over bicycle). This generates a lot of car traffic, since buses are very slow and inefficient.
In a lot of cities, taking the bus to the city center costs 20 - 30 minutes for 5 - 10km. People don't do that.

You have to be realistic. Suburb to city center or office parks with public transportation is almost always slower then with the car, especially in the US with it's low-density suburbs.

Public transportation has only a high ridership in very dense cities, like Paris, New York or Tokyo. Not in 100.000 - 500.000 cities.

The only real efficient public transportation is the subway in my opinion. Fast, reliable and always on time due to the 5 - 10 minute intervals. However, subways are too expensive to build in cities with less than 1 million in the metropolitan area.

And also with subways, you have the problem with low densities. Imagine how many miles of subway would be necessary to serve the Los Angeles agglomeration properly... That would be so extremely expensive.
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Old October 28th, 2007, 01:17 AM   #19
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I think freeways are hardly the main measurement of car friendliness, although they are a part of it. In North American standards, Toronto is considered to be quite car friendly, even though our freeway system, while developed, is incomplete due to citizens' protests against building a massive system some decades ago. And possibly that's a good thing. However, the car friendliness of Toronto is mostly in the fact that our streets are generally very wide - in downtown 2x2 is very common, and in the outer neighbourhoods (still not suburbia!) 3x3+centre turning lane are very common.

The suburbs of Toronto are basically designed for car use, which can be good or bad, depending on how you look at it. Our highways are generally very jammed all the time, but it's often possible to find streets that are actually much faster than freeways in rush hours.
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Old October 28th, 2007, 01:55 AM   #20
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Quote:
Public transportation has only a high ridership in very dense cities, like Paris, New York or Tokyo. Not in 100.000 - 500.000 cities.
Population has nothing to do with density(look at Anaheim,CA for example). What if 100,00-500,000 cities are just as dense? Same with inner suburbs.

Quote:
And also with subways, you have the problem with low densities. Imagine how many miles of subway would be necessary to serve the Los Angeles agglomeration properly... That would be so extremely expensive.
What choice do they have? They can't build more freeways and upgrading them will taking a very long time.
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