Getting around the County Efficiently TAM Survey: Better Bike Infrastructure Needed

Results from the Transportation Authority of Marin’s (TAM) recent survey revealed broad support for better walking and bicycling facilities in Marin County.

Although the vast majority (85 percent) of the survey’s 3,791 respondents travel primarily by car, 28 percent reported bicycling as a secondary mode of travel. The survey results suggest that Marin residents are interested in making short trips, such as errands, by bike.

“Both regular and occasional bicyclists want to be on their bikes more often for short, non-recreational trips and errands,” according to TAM’s report on the study. “Targeted bike infrastructure improvements to facilitate shorter, non-recreational bike trips may be most effective in encouraging some travelers who already bike occasionally to take more regular bike trips.”

In Marin and nationwide, there is a massive opportunity to get people out of cars by investing in walking and biking. The 2009 National Household Travel Survey found that half of all trips are under three miles. One-fifth of all trips made by car are less than one mile in length.

There are a number of factors that compel people to continue to make these short trips by car, including the absence of safe, convenient, and connected bike routes, and an abundance of free car parking. MCBC’s focus is very much on the former through our efforts to create a network of bike routes–beginning with the North-South Greenway–that are safe and convenient for people of all ages and abilities.

On the latter, TAM’s survey interestingly found that limited and/or paid parking could be one of the most effective ways to generate mode shift away from the automobile. Over two-thirds of those who drive alone to work would rather take another method of transportation if forced to pay for parking.

Elsewhere in the survey, Safe Routes to Schools’ resounding success–which decreases congestion by nearly one-third at most of the 58 participating schools–continues to garner widespread support, with 87 percent of respondents expressing a desire for children to safely walk or bike to school rather than being driven.

The survey’s findings will help inform a draft Strategic Vision Plan that will be put before the TAM Board of Commissioners for their consideration in March 2017. MCBC will provide members with updates on the process, including opportunities to provide input.

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