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The Muenster Photo remade in Canberra. How much space do those cars need?

By johnboy - 18 September 2012 37

allara st photo

Amongst car hating transport advocates the Muenster photograph is the stuff of legend.

Over the weekend before last the Cycling Promotion Fund recreated the photo on Allara Street here in Canberra:

On Sunday 9th September 69 volunteers, 69 bicycles, 60 cars and one bus gathered in Canberra to recreate a world-renowned photograph taken more than 20 years ago to demonstrate the advantages of bus and bicycle travel in congested cities.

The captured image shows the typical space occupied in a city street by three common modes of transport—cars, bicycles and a bus—and is being made available free of charge to organisations, group and individuals to help promote the efficiency of public transport and cycling in congested cities.

“The image succinctly illustrates the greater space efficiency of bus and bicycle travel,” spokesperson for the Cycling Promotion Fund (CPF), Mr Stephen Hodge said.

“In the space it takes to accommodate 60 cars, cities can accommodate around sixteen buses or more than 600 bikes.”

While many developed nations are embracing active travel, Australia is missing major opportunities to develop efficient and convenient transport options that have significant health and economic benefits.

“Eight out of ten Australian adults still use a private motor vehicle to travel to work or full-time study, just 14% take public transport, 4% walk and a mere 2% cycle, with 30% of these trips in the cities under 3km” Mr Hodge said.

“If Australians continue on this path it is estimated that productivity loss due to avoidable congestion—the economic loss due to the amount of time wasted in traffic—will be $20 billion by 2020.”


UPDATE 18/09/12 11:44: There’s also a video of making the photograph:

What’s Your opinion?


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37 Responses to
The Muenster Photo remade in Canberra. How much space do those cars need?
c_c 5:57 pm 18 Sep 12

Postalgeek said :

c_c said :

About the most simplistic, stupid contribution one could make to the debate over transport.

The photo assumes that every one will be travelling to the same place, at the exact same time, and back again, to the same place, at the exact same time. Which is BS.

So what exactly is ‘peak time’ to you?

While you’ve talked about time, you’ve neglected to address the key point of this photo, which is space. You haven’t said anything about how cars provide a superior solution to parking, one of the major issues in urban centers.
Yes, buses aren’t the be-all-and-end-all solution, nor are bicycles. No one says they are. That’s just what you’re projecting onto this discussion. And no doubt there are many motorists who won’t be swayed, but if they want to dismiss all alternative suggestions, well, their parking woes are going to be firmly entrenched.

I would suggest the solution in part to both traffic and public transport usage issues is to first look at breaking the traditional mould of when the day starts and finishes.

It’s moronic asking what peak time is, you should know, it’s painfully evident whether you car, bus or bike to work or school.

Everybody crushes in to the city centres during a window in the morning, and then again during a window in the after noon. The stupidly you’ve got next to no bus options late at night on nights when people generally crowd into the city, and you’ve got busses running empty during the middle of the day when no one needs them.

rosscoact 5:29 pm 18 Sep 12

With apologies to Leonard Cohen; there’s a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in…..or in the case of this debate how the darkness seeps in

Postalgeek 5:15 pm 18 Sep 12

c_c said :

About the most simplistic, stupid contribution one could make to the debate over transport.

The photo assumes that every one will be travelling to the same place, at the exact same time, and back again, to the same place, at the exact same time. Which is BS.

So what exactly is ‘peak time’ to you?

While you’ve talked about time, you’ve neglected to address the key point of this photo, which is space. You haven’t said anything about how cars provide a superior solution to parking, one of the major issues in urban centers.
Yes, buses aren’t the be-all-and-end-all solution, nor are bicycles. No one says they are. That’s just what you’re projecting onto this discussion. And no doubt there are many motorists who won’t be swayed, but if they want to dismiss all alternative suggestions, well, their parking woes are going to be firmly entrenched.

c_c 3:43 pm 18 Sep 12

About the most simplistic, stupid contribution one could make to the debate over transport.

The photo assumes that every one will be travelling to the same place, at the exact same time, and back again, to the same place, at the exact same time. Which is BS.

When I’m stopped at the lights during the day beside a bus burning much more fuel and taking up much more space than my car, yet has only a couple of passengers, all I see is my tax dollars literally being burnt.

During peak hour, I can make it from Tuggeranong to Civic in under 30mins. On a bus… gosh how much time have you got.

So sick of these car hating advocates. Buses have their place, but they’re not a be all and end all solution, nor are the majority of car users going to be swayed by this.

Holden Caulfield 2:42 pm 18 Sep 12

Holden Caulfield said :

When do the “customer satisfaction survey” results from the three types of commuters get released?

Or the numbers of productivity lost by transport method due to contracting illness due to commuting in inclement weather or sharing confined spaces with sick people?

Also, how many in the 69 bus commuters have missed a service in the last week because it arrived at the stop either before or after its advertised arrival?

We all know using cars so much has its drawbacks, but in Canberra, especially, there isn’t a reliable alternative.

I lived in London and the tube etc, while not perfect, was immeasurably superior for getting around than anything ACTION could ever hope to offer.

Canberra doesn’t have the population density. Fix that or make the public transport system free/heavily subsidised so that is easier to forgive its many shortcomings.

Holden Caulfield 2:41 pm 18 Sep 12

When do the “customer satisfaction survey” results from the three types of commuters get released?

Or the numbers of productivity lost by transport method due to contracting illness due to commuting in inclement weather or sharing confined spaces with sick people?

Also, how many in the 69 bus commuters have missed a service in the last week because it arrived at the stop either before or after its advertised arrival?

We all know using cars so much has its drawbacks, but in Canberra, especially, there isn’t a reliable alternative.

I lived in London and the tube etc, while not perfect, was immeasurably suitable for getting around than anything ACTION could ever hope to offer.

Canberra doesn’t have the population density. Fix that or make the public transport system free/heavily subsidised so that is easier to forgive its many shortcomings.

rosscoact 2:10 pm 18 Sep 12

Luckily Muenster didn’t shoot the original shot here or it would have been shot down by Rioters long before it ever became legendary.

cea075 1:28 pm 18 Sep 12

Surely if we had a much higher density of housing, cycling, public transport and even scooters would be more prevelant on our roads.
Canberra is just too spread out to have an efficient public transportation system that would see higher utilisation rates, so we’re forced to drive.
If I only lived a couple of kms from my work, I’d certainly entertain the thought of riding. 14kms is just too far for me to ride when the car trip is just over 10 minutes (and nice and warm).
Don’t get me wrong, I love the green spaces around Canberra, and the way it has been designed for the most part, but I don’t believe that you’ll get more and more people using either bikes or the exiting public transport infrastructure until there’s a radical re-think on how we live and our city is layed out.

blueterrestra 1:10 pm 18 Sep 12

Grail said :

…you are not going to travel down Tuggeranong Parkway with cars packed that tightly.

Are you sure? Looks like peak hour at 100km/h on the Parkway to me. If you can’t reach out and touch the car in front, you’re not close enough!

Henry82 11:49 am 18 Sep 12

I’m not sure the photos prove anything, for either “side”. Anyway, each method of transport serves a different purpose, just sometimes for people don’t choose the best option

Grail 11:38 am 18 Sep 12

jase! said :

much like having the bikes sitting even closer than they would be in a professional peleton

In a peloton, the riders would be on the bikes. A peloton is just as packed as those bikes, if not more tightly packed – to the point that slight deviation from a straight line can cause pile-ups of dozens of cyclists. Similarly, you are not going to travel down Tuggeranong Parkway with cars packed that tightly.

What this photo does show is the relative area consumed on roads. In bike sheds you can hang bikes off the ceiling much closer together than the parked bikes in this shot. You can’t hang cars off the ceiling to save space, you won’t squeeze cars in this tightly at a parking lot, and you don’t need to park busses since they will keep running until returning to the depot (which will not be in the space-constrained business district).

Snarky 11:34 am 18 Sep 12

jase! said :

much like having the bikes sitting even closer than they would be in a professional peleton

Wouldn’t want to be driving my car as closely packed as these are either, jase.

Deref 11:28 am 18 Sep 12

Skateboards? Dogsleds? Horses?

How about light rail? That’d be a hard one because the photo would have to span many kilometres.

jase! 11:25 am 18 Sep 12

Onceler said :

Nice concept; would be complete with a motorbikes/scooters shot.

probably doesn’t suit the argument that the organisers were trying to get across.

much like having the bikes sitting even closer than they would be in a professional peleton

Onceler 10:53 am 18 Sep 12

Nice concept; would be complete with a motorbikes/scooters shot.

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