Apr 21, 2011

In many cases, living in suburbia means relying on an automobile for most trips, even short trips to nearby stores. If housing developments incorporated better paths and sidewalks, however, would anyone use them?

Researcher Nico Larco found that people who live in well-connected developments are significantly more likely to walk and bicycle than those in developments only accessible by automobile. He details his findings in this OTREC report.

Larco, an assistant professor of architecture at the University of Oregon, found that people who live in well-connected developments walked to their nearby commercial strips nearly twice as often as did people in less-connected developments. In addition, a greater percentage of residents in well-connected developments reported sometimes walking or cycling.

Despite suburbia’s reputation for large single-family homes, more than a quarter of suburban housing units are higher density. In fact, the suburbs are home to more than 9 million multifamily housing units, with 5 million more projected for the last 20 years. Although these units tend to be near commercial centers, a lack of pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure makes trips using these modes difficult.

For this research project, Larco developed criteria for measuring connectivity in trips taken from, to and through multifamily suburban developments. Studied developments were rated as “well...

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Mar 10, 2010

designBridge is a student-based organization at the University of Oregon that exposes students to real architectural and planning projects in their community. The organization promotes studentsí engagement in their community while providing them with professional experience that will benefit them in their careers. In this OTREC-funded education project, led by Professor Nico Larco, the students of designBridge undertook the design and construction of a new transportation shelter for Roosevelt Middle School in Eugene, Oregon. The project results include not only the completion of the shelter but also the continued development of a service learning program that can effectively address small community transportation-related needs. To learn more about the project, down the final report at: http://otrec.us/project/247

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