Thanks to all those who have made suggestions to improve the Bike to Work Book PDF sampler. The updated, peer-reviewed, feel-free-to-link-to-it, pass-it-to-your-friends version will be online soon. Sign up for a notification update here.
I’m doing some revisions of my own, too. Such as updating the section on average car speeds in congested city centres. The book currently has a stat from Citroen which claims that average car speeds in London are as low as 7 mph in peak periods. This is from a press release Citroen published in 2006.
However, that was a guestimate. SatNav systems can now send real speed data to central hubs. For instance, US traffic information company INRIX says that on the Cross-Bronx Expressway in New York, cars average 9 mph.
TomTom – not to be confused with Tom Vanderbilt – has a system called IQ Routes which “puts the driving experience of millions of TomTom users into your maps, calculating your route based on actual speeds driven on roads compared to speed limits….As a result, TomTom now has a huge database, containing billions of miles of real customer driving experience, collected over the years from more than 7 million TomTom users.”
The TomTom website says:
“We all know traffic is different during a Monday morning rush hour from a lazy Sunday afternoon. We all want the best shortcuts to bring us to our destination in the fastest way possible. But heavy traffic, speed bumps, traffic lights, roundabouts and even schoolchildren or shopping crowds can slow you down.”
Even schoolchildren? Even? I’d like to think drivers automatically slow down when near hazards to their paintwork such as schoolchildren but, of course, most don’t and need all sorts of whizzbangs to civilise their behaviour.
Anyway, back to average speeds. The TomTom website uses an example of a London route, 9.2kms, from Commercial Road to Gloucester Terrace. Even at “a relatively quiet time, and without any hold-ups” this short trip will take a motorist 20 minutes. That’s an average speed of just 17mph.
Remember, that’s without hold-ups (children daring to cross the road perhaps?) and outside of rush hours.
Using actual data from thousands of TomTom users in London, the IQ Routes database ignores the shortest route and takes motorists on a longer but quicker route. The 10.2km journey is estimated to take 26 minutes. Add in a couple of minutes to account for less than optimum traffic light changes and that’s an average speed of 13mph.
And a motorist travelling the TomTom route would also be paying the £8 congestion charge. Not factored into the TomTom equation is the time taken to find a parking space at the end of the journey.
However, TomTom is pleased as punch that it can save you three minutes over other satnav routers:
“3 minutes may not sound much, but it’s over 10% off your journey time. Just consider for a moment how much time that will save you over a whole year… Exactly!”
An average cyclist on a standard bike, wearing a suit, can travel in London at 15mph without breaking into a sweat, with no congestion charge fee, no downtime to find a parking space.
Stuff TomTom, use a bike, just consider for a moment how much time that will save you over a whole year. Exactly!