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Bike beats car, Red Line in race from Davis to Kendall this morning

Rush Hour Race pitted the three transportation modes in a battle to the death, um, fastest commute this morning between Davis Square and Kendall Square. LivableStreets reports bike won, followed nine minutes later by the T. The car sputtered in last.

Steve Annear reports that, yes, the bicyclist stopped for all red lights.

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For my commute from Rozzie Square to Copley, the fastest to slowest is:

Commuter Train
Bike
Orange Line
Car
Walk

I've done extensive research on this, and the results are consistent. And keep in mind, Orange on that side of the city runs much better than Red in Cambridge, so it is particularly not surprising that the bike won this morning.

Cycling is a very efficient transportation mode for the 1 to 5 mile distance.

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A motorized bicycle would have beaten them all (street/parking accessibility of a bike, speed limit of a car on city streets). Of course, scooterslimited use vehicles used to fit that bill until they destroyed their advantage.

I think I heard that some of the latest e-Scooters can actually still lay legitimate claim to the "motorized bicycle" classification...and as a bonus, they don't burn fuel. (Their biggest drawback is that they are so stealthy/silent that they sneak up on cyclists pretty easily.)

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The silent-running thing came up a few years back with Prii and parking lots, with people proposing the cars be equipped with some sort of noisemaker that would come on during electric-only mode. Nothing ever came of it, but I'd be all for it for electric vehicles (or hybrids in e-mode) if they sounded like this.

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Domino's Pizza uses e-Scooters to make deliveries. To combat the stealth problem, they engineered it to make fake engine sounds that consist of a guy saying "Domino'sDomino'sDomino's...YUMMM!" and other related noises for turning, speeding up, and braking.

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Bike beats all.

I was there for the start of the event, coffee, munchkins, and swag ... but had to get to work by 9. I and others were discussing how it really wasn't a fair test seeing as the redline is a straight shot and there were no buses involved. My husband suggested Arlington Center to Government Center as a true test of the speed of bike.

Even so, I'm not surprised to see that the bike still won given the throughput of bikes vs. cars on the likely route. When the redline gronks and people at Davis hear the "disabled train" announcement, you'll see everyone with a helmet go up and get their bikes anyway.

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Are motorized cycles allowed on the SE Corridor Bikeway? I dont know myself, but if not wouldn't it take as long as a car, just using alot less gas to do so?

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in the same way that a pedal-powered bike does -- by riding in on-street bike lanes, or to the right of all car traffic on streets without bike lanes, or even between lanes of stopped car traffic.

Whether the motorized bike is allowed on the SW Corridor and other bike paths may depend on its rated speed and its energy source. (I would not like being passed on a bike path by a 25mph gasoline or diesel-powered scooter.)

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The corridor is allegedly state controlled. Allegedly the pedestrians are supposed to stick to the sidewalks too (haar).

The rules include no motorized anything, despite the frequent maintenance trucks blocking the bike path and the occasional staties and blue and whites. Also, bicyclists are to yield to pedestrians at all times, even those waddling all over the bike paths in both lanes and taking the bike paths while ignoring the walker ones. Plus, bikers are to go no more than 12 miles per hour, which approaches the fall-over speed.

Obeying the laws, a cyclist clipping along at 15 to 20 MPH would do much better on the street.

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On non-windy days (also with no errant dogs or holier-than-thou thugs or hipsters in the way) I've clocked myself at up to 25 mph on the straight, flat stretch between Green Street and "New" Minton Street, and up to 23 mph between on the straight, flat stretch between Tremont Street and Prentiss Street.

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No, they burn coal in the coal-powered plants that supply the electricity. Not much better.

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1) Yes, burning coal at a power plant is far better because its emissions can be easier and better regulated, and even cleansed, unlike millions of independent fuel-burning sources...like motor vehicles.

2) Electricity doesn't only come from coal burning power plants. You can generate and store vast quantities from wind, solar, and hydroelectric sources too. That's, again, something that happens far better and easier at scale with distribution than it does on a vehicle-by-vehicle basis.

On both accounts, it is much better.

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Both sources are heavily regulated, but their impacts vary incredibly by geographic scale and their pollutant emission profiles are very different - in more lay terms, they don't emit the same pollutants, the control technologies have differing objectives, the distance over which those pollutants matter differs, the contact of populations with those pollutants differs, and the pollutants have different impacts on public health.

I wouldn't call coal-fired power plants better controlled, however. Not in the least. Differently controlled? Yes. Fewer, but more massive and remote sources, yes. But not better controlled.

Motor vehicle pollution can be "cleansed" as well - see post 2007 diesel engine technology with particle filters for more information.

[/public health and air pollution wonking]

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I talked to the T rider at the end of the event. She did not encounter any delays, but she had just missed a train as she entered the station, and had to wait 6 minutes for the next one. Had she gotten her train immediately, she would still have lost to the cyclist by 3 minutes.

The rules of the race stated that participants were not allowed to run, only walk. An unofficial jogger did run the entire distance, clocking in at 23 minutes (more than 8.5 miles per hour)

The actual starting and ending points were Redbones, 55 Chester Street (2 block walk from Davis T station) and Genzyme, 500 Kendall Street (4 block walk from Kendall T station)

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Ideally there wouldn't be a 6 minute wait for a train at rush hour. 2 to 3 minutes would make more sense.

The Red Line used to run more frequently, but the 1980s signal system can handle fewer trains per hour than what it replaced. The capacity loss was somewhat made up by the switch from 4 car to 6 car trains, but it's still less convenient for passengers.

Even with a 6 minute wait, 29 minutes is a long time for the transit trip. Once the train shows up, it should only take 10 minutes to Kendall, and the two walks don't add up to 13 minutes.

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In Moscow, people complain if there's a 5 minute wait for a train.

At midnight.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Or5lLdvDL10

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Train wait for YOU!

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Did the cyclist have to count showering time in their commute time?

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with temperatures in the mid-50s and a light misty rain falling.

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Good point but we have to assume that commuters of all modes will shower at some point in the morning. The biker can roll out of bed and hit the road 15-30 minutes before the T or car commuter and shower just before work.

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I have to wash up or shower anyway, and it takes me less time to shower at work. That's because I don't have to wait for the hot water to come back after two teen boys pursue their morning ablutions or stand there while my husband occupies the sink to shave.

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Let's run this same trial with the Green Line. Even from Riverside, I'm betting that the bicyclist would beat the T to Park St., and perhaps even to Kenmore. The B, C, and E branches wouldn't have a prayer at any distance.

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Buns of steel beat the Green Line.

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I think we all know who would win and lose on the Green Line. But the Red Line trial only covered 4 stops. Would you go by distance or # of stops for a Green Line trial? Not that it makes a difference :)

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When I lived in Allston I would groggily walk down to campus (BU) and would usually beat the train unless I saw it leaving as I left my apartment. Even stopping at all red lights (which I think is stupid as long as you aren't blowing through big intersections) a cyclist could get to Somerville and back to BC by the time the B line even gets downtown.

The green line is such a joke... and the B line is the worst of all

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from Jackie Douglas of Livable Streets, whom I just spoke with on the phone:

Cyclist - 20 minutes
T rider - 29 minutes
Car driver - 32 minutes

The cyclist and car driver were required to stop for red lights. Nobody was allowed to run, only to walk. Time spent unlocking and locking the bike, or parking the car in the Genzyme garage, was included in the official time.

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They should do this again, but say, going from Cambridge to Back Bay at 6 PM on a Friday to meet people for dinner. For every dollar spent on parking, add another minute or two to the car time.

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I was pondering these kind of trip comparisons lately as well, in some kind of weird coincidence. But I was looking at trips starting at 7am-8am, which seems more realistic for rush-hour traffic (people needing to be at work between 8:30am-9am). Isn't this "race" being run a little bit late?

Though I suppose they're thinking of folks who work in tech companies around Kendall that maybe they get in around 10am? I never worked anywhere at Kendall but other tech companies were often like this.

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Now this is an interesting bike-bus-car comparison.

(I peer reviewed this article - and I have worked with three of the authors on various projects).

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Yet another reason to promote the use of trolleybuses and streetcars.

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Sure, instead of a slow death from air pollution, you could always choose to die from a communicable disease on a packed streetcar instead.

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In my family, people who don't incorporate physical activity into their daily lives weigh 350 lbs by my age.

I've been through this argument with a colleague of mine (not involved with the cited research) who has stopped biking at rush hour as a result of his own research findings. Sure, I get a nice dose of pollution from biking to work ... but I don't weigh 350 lbs like my brother did by his early 40s (and he did use mass transit to get to work!) and I don't get sick as often as when I ride the main line buses (not express)and trains.

I also bike much less polluted corridors than if I carpooled, took the express buses down 93, or took the 95 or 134 to the Orange Line.

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The trolleybuses leave no pollution in the immediate vicinity for the germaphobic bicyclists and pedestrians to suck up as they travel along the same corridor.

Unless you are worried about an airborne mixture of deadly bacterium and virii emanating from the open doors of said buses, in which case, they don't help.

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There has been a fair amount of research in the area of virus transmission indoor environments, although it tends to be ignored by the "handwashing fetish" folks. The vast majority of respiratory virus transmission is airborne and it scales with occupancy level and decreases with fresh-air ventilation(as measured by CO2 levels). Not just somebody sneezing on you - viral particulates can travel in recirculated air.

A crowded bus, train, or trolley will be a germlab, particularly in the winter during parainfluenza and influenza outbreaks. You can't escape it by washing your hands (although that does prevent the spread of intestinal viruses).

The trolleys themselves don't emit this stuff - but they sure as hell spread it around if they are crowded and poorly ventilated!

So, even with electric trolleys around, I'll stay out of the crowded ones and keep to the bike when I can because respiratory viruses just love my lungs(and I'll continue to argue with collegues about the greatest risks, individual susceptibility, etc. until the beer/wine runs low ...).

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The commute from Davis to Kendall is a commuter's wet dream. Shoot down elm (no lights, just the walkers around Porter), left on Somerville Ave (a few lights which rarely turn over), and down on Hampshire (very few lights).

Questions:
-Did the bicyclist obey all traffic rules, including STOPPING for pedestrians behind Porter (rather than weaving through them while threatening to mow them down)?

-Did they race back to Redbones for a beer after work as well - say leaving around 4:15 this afternoon right before the deluge?

Food for thought....

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