Friday, June 24, 2005
London study says PTC cart path unique
By JOHN MUNFORD
Two staffers at the University College in London have published a detailed study of Peachtree Citys golf cart path system and how it affects transportation in the area.
The study, authored by Ruth Conroy Dalton and Nick Sheep Dalton, also noted the social benefits of traveling by golf cart, partly because their open-air nature allows for more interaction between cart drivers and passengers. The pair visited Peachtree City three times in early summer 2003, renting golf carts to traverse the path system.
As we drove through Peachtree City, our encounter rate (the number of cars we passed) was consistently high and the majority of people whom we passed greeted us, either with a smile or verbally, the authors wrote in An American Prototopia: or Peachtree City as an Inadvertent, Sustainable Solution to Urban Sprawl.
If we looked lost, i.e. if we were caught in the act of consulting our map, immediate offers of help were forthcoming. This was certainly not the kind of experience familiar to car drivers.
The study also noted that golf carts benefit the city because they can be driven by elderly and less physically able citizens in addition to youths who can take themselves and siblings to school and other activities.
The golf cart path also allows some households to avoid purchasing a second car, or even one automobile in some cases, the study noted. Additionally, the study determined that the golf cart paths reduced traffic on the roads and helped the environment because they are electric and do not produce particulate emissions.
The study also suggests that the citys path system could be used as a blueprint for other cities to transform them into sustainable communities, and yet do so in a manner which would be distinctly American in character and hence palatable to its citizens unlike many current public-transport focused proposals.
The authors were also surprised how often that their initial impression of secluded surroundings revealed the opposite: they could catch glimpses of back doors and windows of homes along the path.
The study concluded that the path system reduces the total number of dead-end streets by 22 percent by providing interconnection between subdivisions.
The authors also noted that the path system is successful because it functions well, partly due to paths laid over sewer easements, which take direct routes to save costs.
It is not enough to have a cart system; you have to have the right cart system and Peachtree City seems to have got it right, the study said.
Copyright 2004-Fayette Publishing, Inc.