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Providing effective transit service to the kind of suburban development that dominates most US cities is a great challenge. The necessary density of users within easy reach of the bus or rail line is hard to achieve. Similarly, bicycling and walking can be challenging in these neighborhoods because most foot and bike trips are less one or two miles long. By successfully combining transit with bicycling and walking, however, there is a great potential to reduce car trips: provided people can realistically walk and bicycle to the transit service.
In some US cities, such as New York City and Chicago, transit is thriving and levels of walking are signifcantly higher than in other cities. European cities such as Amsterdam, Zurich and Copenhagen, where one quarter to a half of all trips are made by bicycle, are proof that bicycling can be the major mode of access to transit. Early successes with bicycle access to the Caltrain rail service in the San Francisco Bay area offer hope that this combination can also be effective in the United States.
Learn more about walking-related transit issues and solutions.