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Susan Handy

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Susan Handy

Progress toward sustainable transport depends on policies that reduce the amount of travel by motor vehicles. Land use policies are an essential element of a sustainability-approach, as transport and land use are inextricably linked: land use patterns shape travel behaviour, transport investments shape land use patterns, transport is itself a sizable land use, and these relationships are self-reinforcing. These principles explain the car-oriented approach dominant in the US in which investments in highways have fuelled low-density development and car dependence. They also suggest a path toward a sustainability-oriented approach in which compact development supports walking, biking, and transit, and in which investments in these modes support compact development in a virtuous cycle. Policy is moving in this direction in California as well as many cities around the US. What is not in doubt: land use policy is essential to the goal of sustainable transport.

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Susan Handy

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Brigitte Driller, Calvin G. Thigpen and Susan Handy

Children walk and bicycle much less in the U.S. than they did just a few decades ago. This trend clearly has negative implications for public health and the environment, but it may also lead to longer-term consequences, as travel behaviors and related attitudes formed in childhood can have a lasting effect on a person’s future travel patterns. We conducted semi-structured interviews with 25 sixth graders and their parents in Davis, California to explore the formation of attitudes and behaviors related to bicycling. Our analysis suggests that the children generally liked riding a bike, but also viewed bicycling as being physically uncomfortable, physically demanding, and risky. Parents influenced their children’s bicycling behavior and attitudes through their own bicycling behavior and attitudes and through the decisions they made about their children. This qualitative study is a starting point for further qualitative, quantitative, and intervention studies.