Read the reflection below
At the beginning of the project we easily agreed to tackle some sort of environmental issue and initially started on the topic of electric versus gas cars. After doing some initial research, we very quickly came to the realization that an argument about the cars alone would be very difficult. On almost every account (cost to own, environmental impact etc) the more fuel efficient traditional, fossil fuel powered cars were still competitive or even better than the newer electric cars. Knowing that comparing cars would be too difficult, we pivoted to an argument about cars versus no cars or more specifically, an argument for the adoption of bike-sharing programs and increased bike lanes.
In the US, there has been a recent trend in larger cities to start bike-share programs, construct bike lanes and increase general cyclist accommodations. Increasing and promoting cyclists in our urban areas decreases the general dependence on automobiles and has many other benefits for our collective health. Despite these benefits, detractors argue that these projects shouldn’t be a high priority for our policymakers and represent a misallocation of vital public dollars. Our infographic implicitly argues for the importance of these changes through personal questions.
We approached this by visualizing the decision making process in deciding between biking and driving to work. Through a fairly unbiased and non-argumentative infographic, we tried to make an impact on the viewer by bringing up questions that they may not think of in their daily routine. There could be many people that have always driven to work and never actually considered the option of biking. We try to simply bring that question back to their lives and give them a systematic, step-by-step process to reexamine exactly why they commute the way they do.
In this section we used a pie chart to illustrate the relative differences fatality causes in modes of transportation methods. The cars crashing add extra emphasis to the danger that driving poses. Normally people glaze over pure numbers so the eye catching graphics tries to better convey the message we have for readers and drive home the message (pun intended).
This bar chart serves much the same purpose as the previous section. Here there is a double/hidden message with the actual height of the bars.
In the final part of the graphic, the final decision is made between biking and driving. The greater number of paths to driving is indicative of the real life factors that pull people to drive to work. But by greying out those paths and highlighting the biking choice, we tried to promote cycling as the better or literally more attractive option. Throughout the infographic we used the step-by-step choices to not-so-subtly promote our pro-biking agenda.
Ironically we actually a hard time making a convincing point for the pro-biking side of our infographic, which is indicative of the real-life decision making process itself. At every step of the flowchart, driving was the easier, simpler and more robust choice. And despite that, the benefits of biking and taking cars off the road is still important enough to warrant this flowchart.
Clearly biking is not the best method of transportation for every city or town, especially in rural areas. But with an open mind and the right planning and implementation, we think that there are many more places that stand to benefit from increasing cyclist presence in their communities.