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What's The Fastest Way To Get Around Portland?

OPB | June 23, 2014 2:59 p.m.

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Nine months after my move to Portland, I’m still happily car-free. I walk or take transit nearly everywhere I need to go. Friends in other cities wonder how I do it, assuming it’s faster to drive. Sometimes it is, which is why I also do car sharing, but usually catching the bus just makes more sense. And now I have proof.

The Social Computing Group with MIT Labs created a map through the You Are Here project to highlight the fastest mode of transportation in Portland between walking, biking, transit or driving. If you click on where you want to go, that section of the map turns green (symbolizing the walking distance radius), orange for biking, blue for public transit and red for driving.

Social Computing Group / MIT Labs

Think of it like a concentric circle. Start at your destination, and the map shows you how far away you’ve got to be for walking to make the most sense, then biking, then driving or public transit. The mapmakers even accounted for how much time you might spend parking when you do drive your car.

An interesting takeaway is that it’s faster to get into downtown by public transit than to any other part of the city. In fact, not much blue comes up when you click anywhere in East Portland. (Here’s hoping some of the higher-ups at TriMet will have a look at the map).

This would have been handy for OPB a couple years ago when reporters raced from our offices in John’s Landing to the former Amnesia location in North Portland by bike, bus and car — no one braved the walk. Bikes won by a landslide, likely because the reporters in the car stopped for gas.

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