Which mode of transport is the best? The irritating answer to that question is ‘it depends’. It depends on personal preferences – are you more a cyclist or a car driver. It depends on travel distance – no one is going to walk from Moscow to Singapore. And it depends on all sorts of boring economic factors, such as costs and availability.
I recently found out that is also depends on the level of abstraction with which you look at the transport network. Take the roundabout. A nice large one with cycle lanes, a bus lane, and zebra crossings. And, don’t forget to mention that, traffic entering and leaving the roundabout has to yield to all traffic on the roundabout. Let’s start analysing it.
To enter the roundabout cars and trucks yield to buses, cyclists and pedestrians. Buses yield to cyclists and pedestrians. Cyclists yield to pedestrians. And pedestrians…yield to no one. They can just walk on.
The best mode to take this roundabout is on foot! It is an uplifting experience for a usually endangered and ignored species in traffic land. All those truck drivers with their heavy trucks, all those busy businessmen in their company cars, all those teenagers racing on their bikes, they all have to stop for you, King Pedestrian. (Not that those teenagers do by the way, they will just swerve around you).
My hands are itching to organise a roundaboutwalk, taking the zebra crossings like the Beatles did, with more than enough people to cause a traffic jam. And then see how long it takes the police to arrive…