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Exploring Transportation in Europe

A photo of Zurich, Switzerland shot by Lauren HilliardWhat makes a community walkable?

Whether a student, professor, or professional in the field of transportation or urban design, we have all tried to wrap our hands around this question. We’ve also all heard at some point that those Europeans seem to walk around their cities and neighborhoods quite a bit! I would also say that I’ve come across ‘the culture’ argument more than once – perhaps an efficient transit system and numerous bicycle/pedestrian paths make no difference. Would people still be walking their streets if their communities were designed differently? While this may be partly true, I am not completely convinced this is the case.

It has been fascinating in so many ways staying with a family this past week in Uster, Switzerland. So much of their lifestyle includes transporting themselves, just as in America of course, only it seems to be a much more ‘active transport.’ Walking or bicycling down the wanderweg to the lake for a swim or to watch the sunset is just something everyone does. Commuting on the bus and train from Uster into Zurich on workday mornings is just the way you get to work. And one thing I think that is important to remember: it’s still perfectly acceptable to drive – though I should note that this family of 6 only has one vehicle that they share.

I also find it interesting that the idea of funding public transportation and advocating pedestrian rights is entirely independent of people’s political views. Whether liberal or conservative in personal perspective, everyone seems to agree that transit should be affordable, efficient, and accessible to everyone. Perhaps putting politics aside contributes to walkable communities…

I have been documenting my experiences on Swiss transport and community design on a blog called www.movingeurope.blogspot.com and if you are interested in seeing pictures of what I am writing about, I encourage you to visit the site.

Tschuess!

Lauren Hilliard

Student 'in transit' to Professional

Update: Here is a list of the articles that I wrote as a part of this series:
Exploring Transportation in Europe
On SWISS Culture…
On SWISS Walkability…
On SWISS Smart Growth…
On SWISS Marketing…
On SWISS Bicycling…
On FRENCH Bike Paths…
On GERMAN Women and Transport…
Fahrrader in Freiburg
On GERMAN Pedestrian Zones…
On GERMAN High-Speed Rail…
On GERMAN City Bicycles…
On GERMAN Traffic Lights…
On GERMAN Hauptbahnhofen…
On DANISH Ability to Alter Travel Behavior…
On DANISH Bicycling Attire…
On DANISH Trains…
On DANISH City Bikes…

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