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Of course biking doesnt have much impact. If you assign a few percent of p0 VMT by car, it is not going to have much impact.

What they miss is that creating the enviroment where ppl can walk or bike is going to also encourage dense mixed use housing, and discourage long commutes. Those changes will have a bigger effect.

That's crazy talk. Nope, we should keep a pattern of people driving to work and home, then driving to the gym to get the exercise they could be getting biking.

Using “doubling the density” as a metric to go off of for future predictions doesn’t make sense to me. On a nation-wide scale population densities vary greatly. You can quadruple the density of places and still have it not be sufficiently connected to have an impact on VMT’s because it still won’t be nearly dense as a walkable urban environment. Take for example my current very walkable neighborhood of Ward 1 versus my hometown of Toledo Ohio. Ward 1 has a population density of 27,000 people/sq mi (76,197 people 2010 census by 2.87632 sq miles). Toledo has a density of 3,599 people per square mile. That's 7 1/2 times less dense. Doubling it won’t do a thing. Quardrupling it would only make it half as dense as Ward 1.
What they ought to have researched is how setting a minimum population density of #,### people/sq mi for new developments would impact the VMT’s. They would quickly find that using a number that makes sense to a walkable urban environment would reduce the numbers by far greater than 8-11%.

What's fringe about strapping 3k lbs of steel, glass, and rubber to your back every time you go out for coffee? Heck, if you want two cups, better take the minivan...

@UrbanEngineer -- the housing density is part of it, but the mixed-use part is just as important. I think it might be tough coming up with a threshold, because 20,000 can be extremely walkable, like Logan Circle, or not quite so much, like 395 and Seminary Road in Alexandria, as discussed on Greater Greater Washington and shown on this map.

If I were going to pick, though, I'd say somewhere around 10K per square mile with a reasonable mix of uses gets to the point where many trips can easily substitute walking or cycling for driving. And a decent (or better yet, robust) transit system really bumps that percentage up.

Very sage, Washcycle. Very sage.

On a practical level, if you had a MPG or VMT czar you need someone to ask at every meeting, "What about the bikes".

I'd estimate that biking might shave 500-1000 miles off my driving every year. Very very hard to measure.

I'd agree biking isn't the low hanging fruit but there is very little low hanging fruit in this debate.

Why are the talking about growth in VMT? Last I checked, per-capita (absolute) VMT has been falling since 2005 (2007).

VMT has been falling because the economy tanked. There has been some structural changes (more teleworking), but expect to see increased VMT with increased economic growth

My personal VMT dropped by 17,000 a year when I started biking to work (combined with a job closer to where I work). I know everyone can't do that, but it seems strange to trivialize that potential.

@SJE I'm not convinced. For one thing, VMT peaked in 2007 and the economy tanked in 2008. For another, I'm seeing DC, Arlington and Alexandria building more transit than roads and spending money to cajole people out of their cars where possible.

I think they could be doing a better job of it (especially Alexandria, where the people actually building things seem to have not gotten the memo), but efforts to expand and improve transit in the DC area seem pretty serious to me.

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