There is reason to believe that Padova—a town with more than 200,000 people in the Veneto region in the north of Italy—is capable of becoming one of the country’s best cycling towns…
If Nature and Science are the proclaimed “rock star” journals, then it behooves us to pay attention to how some of the research published there might pertain to our specific field (It is not often that transport or other planning applications appear in these venues).Here is an idea that might grow some legs: A universal model for mobility and migration patterns.
The authors appear to rightfully “taking down” the tried and true gravity model based on, among other things:
-the size or “attraction” component of either the origin or destination matters less,
-the often used K-factors are site specific,
-impedance functions are too often borrowed,
-it is too difficult to calibrate to local settings and if you don’t, it is prone to big time error.
I have not read the details of their prescribed solution. It sounds good. But, it is interesting (and refreshing) that these improvements are coming from fields not directly tied to either land use or transport. We need more of that.
A PhD student at the University of Maryland, Rahul Nair, did an operations based dissertation on vehicle sharing. He is now fortunately sharing his skills to the bicycle planning world. Check out the 1.4 million trips he graphically analyzed from the capital bicycle share system in Washington, D.C. spread across 140 stations. Edward Tufte would be proud. But moreso, it is great to see this bikesharing data now being analyzed. This is the first step to having better informed conversations about the degree to which these systems are worth it and to whom.