According to a recent article in the Sun News, Vancouver took the top spot on a list that is really not a place where you want to be ranked high. The list ranks that most congested cities in all of North America. While it may seem a bit hard to believe that any city in Canada beat out well known traffic laden cities such as Los Angeles and Washington, D.C., the reality is that Vancouver did, in fact, take that number one spot. The study in question was conducted by a major GPS provider and concluded that Vancouver commuters spend the most time waiting in traffic.
From an environmental standpoint, this top ranking is bad news for everyone in the city, whether commuting or not, because it results in an increase in air pollution from the auto emissions. The dangers of such pollution are well documented and include increases in conditions such as asthma as well as complications from existing heart conditions.
One way to tackle this potential eco disaster is to reduce the number of commuters in vehicles by turning them onto alternatives such as public transportation or riding a bike. If you are an employer, then you can take steps to motivate employees to ride a bike to the workplace by making the office more bike friendly.
An easy change you can make in the workplace to encourage more employees to bike to work is to install some good bike racks outside or create a bike room for storing the bikes. This gives employees a safe place to keep the bike, which alleviates any concern regarding the bike getting stolen or damaged while the employee is on the clock.
Employers can also considering offering a financial incentive to employees to choose to bike into work as opposed to taking their personal vehicle. The Vancouver Courier notes that HUB, the cycling advocacy network in Vancouver, actually works with businesses in the area to improve bike-friendliness.
One thing to keep in mind when considering biking as an alternative to driving a personal vehicle is safety. Businesses will want to be certain that employees know how to bike to work safely and individuals can learn safety tips on their own.
Considering the heavy amount of urban traffic and congestion, it is not advisable for bike riders to use earbuds for cycling as they need to be able to listen for horns, sirens and other safety hazards. It is also worth mentioning that a recent article in the Vancouver Sun notes that road rage between drivers and cyclists seems to be increasing in Vancouver. This is just another reason to leave the cycling headphones at home when commuting by bike.
And when riding a bike in low light conditions, it is a good idea to either wear something reflective or use reflective accessories on the actual bike. This helps ensure that drivers can actually see the bike.
As more people take up biking when possible, the level of vehicle congestion in the urban area will decrease and help both the environment and commuters. And if employers can help with this process, the transition can be a more effective one for commuters.