Persuading people to embrace multimodal systems, with David Sands

David Sands-Mode Shift-Urbanism Speakeasy

Bike Detroit?

If we’re playing word association, you say Detroit, I’m gonna say cars.

David Sands joins the podcast to talk about transportation advocacy – basically how to get people motivated to improve their communities. He’s a journalist who’s been working with Mode Shift, an online hub for people ready to make Michigan communities more walkable, bikeable, and livable.

The Detroit metro region is still dealing with proposals for new highway projects and expansions to existing car infrastructure. If you haven’t seen Detroit firsthand, it’s similar to much of the American landscape: roads, roads, roads. One difference, however, is the eerie lack of car traffic downtown.

David shares some observations about Michigan car culture. Is it possible for those car-oriented communities to fundamentally shift their transportation philosophy?


recreation vs. transportation

This is one of the most important topics in bicycle urbanism. It’s easy to support parks or waterfront trails for long-distance recreational biking. But using street space for non-motorized transport? That’s hotly debated in modern American culture.

Michigan residents have been hearing more about the “20-minute neighborhood“. The idea is that people should be able to go through their normal routines by walking or biking less than 20 minutes.

Portland’s been talking about it. Madison’s been talking about it. Listen to David talk about it.


Slow rolls make happy cities.

One way to get more butts on bikes is to remind people how much fun bicycling is. And one way to remind people about the fun of bicycling is to organize a group ride. Nothing intense like a commute to the office. Casual rides with neighbors.

A community ride takes a little planning, but it’s certainly something anyone could organize. David offers some practical tips based on his experience.


Tips for changing your friend’s perspective about transportation.

Transportation experts have all the scientific tools to make streets safe and inviting for people, but they don’t.

They claim “regular people” want car-oriented engineering – that bicycle infrastructure is for an obscure fringe.

David shares strategies Mode Shift is using to persuade the average person that walk-friendly, bike-friendly streets are worth fighting for.


Connect with David Sands


Website: Mode Shift


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