Drivers, bikers in Philly have the edge on public transit passengers, pedestrians

A new analysis by the Social Computing Group at the MIT Media Lab shows that the fastest way to travel throughout most parts of Philadelphia is usually by driving. More surprisingly, perhaps, is that it’s often quicker to bike around the city than it is to take public transportation.

Only 2 percent of the city’s workers get to their jobs on two wheels though, according to the most recent Census data.

Rina Cutler, Philadelphia’s deputy mayor of transportation and utilities, said many residents are interested in jumping on the bike bandwagon, but are worried about their safety.

“There’s not going to be a comfort level riding on city streets until we really start building protected bike lanes,” she said. “That’s a little more complicated and makes people a lot more politically nervous because usually it means you need to either take out some parking or relocate the parking.”

Cutler hopes that more people will pedal around the city when a bike-sharing program launches next year.

She also said she isn’t shocked that public transportation is slower than other modes of travel because subways and buses have fixed routes, whereas cars and bikes can change their pathways in case of traffic. In the future, Cutler predicts, more trains and buses will have Wi-Fi access so that riders can at least get something done while in transit.

The MIT Media Lab did not take into account the cost of the methods of travel.

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