TRB: The History of Bicycle Transportation & Planning
Thursday, May 11, 2017
Important aspects of the bicycle’s role in the development of modern transportation systems have been documented by historians, planners, and engineers. It’s well understood, for example, how early bicycle technologies, such as ball bearings, chain drives, and differential gears, contributed to the development of automobiles. Similarly, the role of bicyclists in advocating for paved roads in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries —through organizations like the League of American Wheelmen and the National League for Good Roads—has been well studied.
Many other aspects of the bicycle’s role in transportation planning remain incompletely understood, however. Since the 1990s a renewed attention on planning and designing communities to facilitate bicycling has been effective at increasing the use of active modes of transportation. But the resurgence of bicycle advocacy and action raises questions about the impact of the bicycle on transportation systems between the technology’s infancy in the 1800s and early 1900s and this recent period of activism.
Deepening our understanding of the history of bicycle planning (and of bicycle activists’ relationships with planners, engineers, public health specialists, and other professionals) can provide important lessons for today’s transportation planning and engineering communities. With the increasing visibility and impact of Complete Streets, Vision Zero, and other safety and multi-modal initiatives, the time is right to study the history of the bicycle’s role in transportation planning in greater depth.
With this call for papers, the members of TRB’s Transportation History (ABG50) and Bicycle Transportation (ANF20) committees encourage researchers to explore the bicycle’s place in transportation planning and engineering histories. We invite researchers to submit papers addressing any aspect of the transportation history of the bicycle, including (but not limited to) topics such as these:
- twentieth century changes in infrastructure specifications and standards to accommodate bicycles on roads and streets
- case studies of the transformation of urban environments to accommodate bicycles
- bicycle transportation’s role in the creation of new avenues of mobility and autonomy for women
- initiatives to promote public health through bicycling
- connections between bicycling and the environmental movement
- conflicts between motorists, bicyclists, and pedestrians in urban environments
- the impact of the 1990s Critical Mass movement on bicycle advocacy and its effectiveness in shaping urban transportation policy
- the establishment of bicycle clubs and advocacy groups for people of color
- comparisons of the North American experience of the bicycle as an urban transportation mode with Asian, European, Latin American, African, and Australian experiences
- the impact of the 1968 Vienna Convention on Road Traffic on planning and engineering for bicycle transportation
- the impact of the 1970s bicycle boom and oil embargos on bicycle planning and advocacy
- pre-ISTEA sources of funding and support for bicycle planning efforts
- the relationship of bicycle racing to recreational and commuter bicycling
- the history of urban shared bicycle use programs
These are suggestions only and any topic linking bicycle transportation to historical analysis is welcome.
For More Information: See TRB’s Paper Author Resource webpage (http://www.trb.org/AnnualMeeting/AMPaperAuthorResource.aspx) and the following three online documents:
Committees’ Contact Person and Email Address: Bradley Flamm (email@example.com)