I write this at about 200 mph as scenery flies past my window on the Shinkansen (or "bullet train"). We just passed by Mount Fuji, and watching it while the sun set by it was one of the most beautiful moments on this trip so far.
The Shinkansen is fast, but the energy around the train is rather slow and calm compared to the anxiety-filled and packed trains within Tokyo. For one, there are less people on the train than a typical subway in Tokyo at any time of the day. Another factor is seating. In intercity rides around Tokyo, lucky passengers can find a seat around the perimeter of the car and the rest are standing, packed together as needed. On some monorails and longer routes, like one of our trains to Fukushima, seats face each other for a more casual social atmosphere—although sometimes this has standing patrons too. But on the Shinkansen, seats are organized in rows like on a plane. At least in our car, no one had to stand and we had seats to spare. We had leg space too, which was such a luxury. The calmness I felt on this ride came largely from having this reserved space.
My first blog post discussed how train stations in Tokyo make use of their land for retail space, and places like Tokyo Station have entire streets within them. Further from the city, stations are less complex. When we arrived in Fukushima prefecture, our station was just a roof to cover some standing space along with some Suica card readers. At these stations there's less options for where to go—which for me, a tourist, meant less of an information overload. I could imagine those living in more rural regions like this may be limited by this, or choose other forms of transportation like cars or buses.
I was able to experience other forms of transit after getting off the Shinkansen at Kyoto for our next few days of this travel leg. Kyoto is a beautiful, mountainous region that is my favorite area so far. In this new megaregion, I found that getting around was somewhat different from Tokyo. Attractions here are further apart, and I got around by bus and subway (about half each). Trains were notably older than the ones I rode on in Tokyo, and all had an old style of velvet seats.
Navigating by bus, I found, was similar to intercity trains since they were standing room and often packed, and each stop was announced by intercom so navigation was fairly simple. One difficulty however is that the bus stops are not centralized like in a station and it can be tricky here to find where to get on. We waited at one stop for awhile until a helpful shopkeeper kindly told us we were going in the wrong direction. Another difficulty of buses is from their classification as C transportation—they aren't removed from surrounding traffic, and it stopped frequently. Overall, due to comfort and efficiency I would usually choose a train over bus.
Tomorrow, we'll head off to Hiroshima by way of Shinkansen again. I've really enjoyed getting around this way and am already not looking forward to getting home to my car in suburban Atlanta.
In terms of transit systems and trains in general, Japan definitely has an upper hand. Technologically, sustainably, and systematically, Japan is one of, if not the world’s leader in efficient transit/train travel. Specifically, in the case of the Shinkansen, Japan’s several bullet trains, this is a system that is truly impressive and trumps many forms of transportation around the world.
Compared to intercity travel in other countries, the Shinkansen is just better in every way frankly. Patrons can be assured that their train will arrive on time with little delay at all and reach the destination at the time listed by the train, unless there is the very minimal chance of an issue on the tracks. The service is timely for sure to say the least, and the customers are comforted by this by not worrying too much on the status or dependability of the train, as they know the Shinkansen is a train they can trust in its management and timeliness. Not to mention this train is super fast and can travel longer distances than your average train enabling easier access to cities across the entire mainland of Japan. Furthermore, their access to the public is very convenient and easy, as there are stations basically every mile around cities or so that you can easily navigate to and through to whatever trains you need. On top of this, the information available to navigate between cities in Japan is very straightforward and easy to understand. This enables both veterans and rookies to the Shinkansen and other train services to simply navigate through the stations and find the correct lines to ride on to get to their destination in a timely manner with a 99.9% guarantee that their train with leave and arrive at the next stop within max a minute of the time posted on the bulletin screens around the train stations.
So, with all this and just neatness and cleanliness of the physical train services and of how the train systems operates, the Shinkansen and other train services in Japan rank among the highest in efficiency compared to the rest of the world. Maybe more people around the world need to come on the program to learn a thing or two to improve other transit systems, maybe like the MARTA, but you know it’s just a thought.
It is very clear after the in-class lectures and from my firsthand experience over the past week that Japan’s approach to sustainable transit far surpasses that of the United States. They equip their extensive network of trains and monorails with some of the worlds’ finest technology, and have privately-owned rail companies that invest in research and innovation. The Tokyo Transit system has mastered the elements of good transportation, creating a system that other forms of transportation are not able to compete with in terms of convenience and sustainability.
The most critical elements of providing good transit include having stops and stations in major hubs that are easily connected to each other. The Tokyo Metro does an excellent job of this - it has more than 170 stations around the entire city, with bigger stations in popular areas and business districts. A good deal of US transportation systems, on the other hand, do not typically consist of as many stopping places. Back home in Atlanta, MARTA receives criticism because it has very few stops, and many of the stations are not in easily accessible areas. Personally, I only ever really rely on MARTA when I’m in a pinch to get from the airport to Georgia Tech or from Georgia Tech to downtown. In Tokyo, we’ve been able to use the train system each day and locate a walkable station from wherever we are.
Another important element of good transit systems is frequency of arrivals and departures. Japanese trains have a very quick turnover –so far in Tokyo I’ve never had to wait more than five minutes for a train, whereas in the United States trains usually come in fifteen minute intervals. MARTA and similar US transit services can also experience delays and are often late, while the Japanese rail system is extremely timely. It helps that Japanese transit systems get the right of way and don’t have to account for traffic or sharing the rails as US transit services do. This reliability is an important element of good transportation because it gives customers an incentive to choose the railways over private transportation. Many Americans don’t use their local public transportation systems for this reason – the risk of being late to work or missing a connecting service outweighs the other benefits.
Source: Georgia State University
Our tour of the JR East facility showed me just how much money and research the Japanese have invested into making their transit system more sustainable and user-friendly. They are piloting solar panel blinds and window attachments to generate electricity for the station. They also are looking into technology that could capture the energy used when braking to conserve as much energy as possible. I thought it truly showed their commitment to being more sustainable that as a private company, they were taking the initiative to fund the development of a more energy-efficient system. JR East is also testing improvements that prolong the lifetime of the tracks and make the rail system more accessible to all customers. We got to tour their cement testing facility, where they are able to simulate the weight of a train on various types of concrete to test its durability. They also showed us new turnstiles that are more easily accessible for wheelchairs and an overhead system that can read Suica cards automatically. These sustainable improvements will save JR East money on energy while also reducing their energy demand and emissions.
Overall, exploring Tokyo’s transportation system has shown me that the US has a lot to learn from the Japanese in terms of providing effective and sustainable transit. Many of our transit systems struggle to meet the goals of good transit service, making private transportation the most desirable option to get around a metro area. JR East is constantly working to improve the sustainability, durability, and accessibility of their railways. If the US could invest in similar technologies, it would make public transportation more feasible for many people and reduce its energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions.
In a categorically "good" transit service, all people are able to get from one desired point to the next: quickly and safely…and, in context with our learnings from INTA 2050, transit today also shouldn’t affect the ability for future generations to have safe and accessible transport.From this interpretation, the goodness of transportation is simple to conceptualize. Developing a good transportation system, however, is much more difficult, which I've discovered today especially.
From a basic standpoint, how do you successfully move the mass amount of people that make up Tokyo ?
But within the words "quick" and "safe" also are the following questions…
How do you encourage people to live healthy and mobile lives?
How do you make public transit safe for young children and accessible for persons with disabilities?
How do you protect women from sexual assault on their way to work?
How do you prevent suicides by train?...and much more.
From this, transit is really a multidisciplinary system. When you unpack what it requires for everyone to feel safe, and everyone to get where they need efficiently, it's incredibly overwhelming.
But overwhelming is certainly the Tokyo rail system.
Almost all of Japan is fully-controlled rapid transit, which allows people to move from stops at a time completely removed from interfering traffic. I experienced this several times on the tour today, through multiple forms of transit: rapid rail, monorail, and automated guideway. In this experience, I found that Tokyo has an amazing transit system that's still improving and is seeking to answer questions of user experience and sustainability that I've never known of other cities to do.
My immediate amazement was by the efficiency of the rail system. I never waited more than five minutes for a train, and we rode a combination of express and local lines which allowed us to travel both short and longer distances without having to wait for many other stops. Today made me realize more of the sheer size of this city's population; trains typically ran every few minutes and were still packed with people. And these people were of all ages, indicating the inclusivity of this service. I saw several people offer their seats to older passengers, and later in the day, I found myself riding on a women-only car, which helps increase gender-oriented safety.
Having no knowledge of Japanese, I found that this system is also still fairly easy to navigate; all trains are alphanumerically designated and with its compatibility with apps like Google maps, I can find the quickest route and the specific trains I need to switch to. Beyond efficiency, what I was the most amazed by was how this city has made transit a lifestyle. As we rode the monorail, I noticed seats facing each other filled with people chatting on their way to the airport.
Later, at Tokyo station, I saw Transit-Oriented Development at work as we entered a station with 14 floors of retail. I was able to spend some time there the following day at "Character Street" and "Ramen Street": two hallways filled with stores for the best gifts and meals. By this, Tokyo has developed a whole economy around their public transportation. This lifestyle is also created through aesthetic. Like a standard Japanese home, the railway stations are pristine: no trash, lots of light, and beautiful commissioned artwork throughout.
I learned that the art choices here are more than just beautiful. Incorporating blue light into some stations is a form of suicide prevention as the color psychologically makes humans happier. These small details could save lives.
I hesitate to say that Japan has a perfect rail system, because I've only experienced it for a few days. That being said, I've yet to find any fault to it in my experience and am in awe of the efficiency and lifestyle that I discussed above. Now I have a better sense of how to get around here, and am excited to try out new forms of transit, such as the Shinkansen, in the following week.
Today, we took trips to the Japan Railway Museum and the Japan Rail (JR) East Research facility. We got to explore the history of the railway and get sneak peeks into the makings of the present of the transit services and get a glimpse of the future of the JR. From these trips and the information gained from them, I can now see what makes a good and sustainable transit system and how Japan’s rail system compares to the good old USA.
The JR and US transit systems differ greatly, with Japan having a very far lead in transit sustainability over the US. For the US, it seems as though the US transits are more concerned with having the most updated technology available for passengers, without taking an equal amount of concern towards on access to these systems, easier understanding of the stations themselves, and efficiency of the trains in general in reference to timeliness, cleanliness, and safety. For Japan railway systems, it is the complete opposite. Their main focus is on providing a safe, understandable, convenient service to the passengers to ensure they get to their desired destination on time, without confusion or interruption. Furthermore, the technology being used is nothing to turn a blind eye to, as Japan’s technology is very up to date with new innovations in more efficient transit travel on the way in the near future. These focuses prove to make the JR transits far more sustainable than their US counterparts, purely because they stick to the critical elements to provide good transit service.
Now, what are these critical elements to provide good transit service? Well these can be summarized into four simple points: mobility must be a service, space is a priority, service is first, and knowledge is power. If travel is a utility, then mobility must be a service. A transit system has to create seamless travel with collective transportation as the backbone in order to make a system efficient, and good information and minimal delay has to be provided to have mobility transformed into a high-quality utility. Spatial priority must be given to collective transportation modes with exclusive right-of-way given to transit services, for with our current society, efficiency of travel is interrupted by regular workday traffic with no incentive to share the road. The focus needs to first be on service, then on technology, because if you have the best tech but then no way to use it efficiently or to even get people to have access to it, then how does that prove sustainable in the long run at all? (it doesn’t) Lastly, knowledge is power, and before applying the latest tech, knowledge on how to improve the sustainability of the current system is crucial to master, because once you understand what you have and what you need, then you can work to improve the problems already present to even have the availability to add new tech in the future.
On this note, for JR East specifically, some of their newest initiatives in improving their transit systems are more centered around the areas of customer convenience and safety. We were shown a new project on the gating systems when boarding and departing the trains. Currently they have a simple sliding door system that activates when a train arrives and departs. The project they showed us however is actually a whole fence-like barrier between the passengers and the train that ascends and descends upon arrival and departure of the train. This will increase customer safety and further decrease the chances of people committing suicides on the railways. Another project shown was an improved version of the Suica card scanner where the scanning part is at an angle and also above the customer suspended from the ceiling. The tilted gate gives easier access to handicapped passengers in wheelchairs and shorter customers to scan their card with less strain, and the suspended scanner eliminates the need to touch a card on a scanner at all, as the scanner will just scan your card from your pocket! With these new innovations, I am confident this will keep Japan in the lead for sustainable transit systems, and will make an example of a transit network the rest of the world should take notes from and replicate.
Tokyo’s transit system runs seamlessly and efficiently, even while serving a massive population, making it one of the most impressive transportation systems in the world. Even after using the railway only once, I was struck by how a system so expansive and complex runs so smoothly and effectively, especially when compared to simpler systems I have experienced in different cities. While I have only been traveling on it for a couple of days, I feel more confident in my ability to navigate and more impressed by its efficiency after every use.
One of the first things I noticed about the train stations was that they are busy, but not as busy as you’d expect in a city as densely populated as Tokyo. We learned that around 8.5 million people use the Tokyo Metro each day, but you’d never feel that congestion when riding it. While the rail system is undoubtedly frequented by many, the quick turnover of the trains alleviates a lot of the crowding. One of the stations we visited, Shinjuku station, serves 260,000,000 people per year. They even have employees called “pushers” that will push people onto the train in peak hours. The train cars themselves tend to be pretty packed, but people arrange themselves facing the windows to optimize the space. The use of private cars seemed to be low relative to the population density of the city. From what I observed on the bus ride to Shinjuku on the first day, bus transportation is popular but is only really useful for specific routes. Overall, it seems the metropolitan railway system is the most feasible and busy transportation in Tokyo.
Inside of a Train Car on Yamamote Line Bus in Chiba
All forms of transportation we used were extremely timely. While I didn’t actually time the arrivals and departures myself, there were no noticeable delays or interruptions that occur on other public railway systems. The cars on the trains and monorails also have a screen showing your transit in progress and listing an ETA for each station. It is also very clear that timeliness is a big part of Japanese culture; the locals line up for the trains well before they arrive and are quick to hop on and off. It is convenient that the trains arrive very frequently in case you miss the line you were hoping to take. The commitment to timeliness and cooperation of the riders make the transportation system very reliable.
It’s relatively easy to find information about the transit systems if you have a general idea of the layout of the city. When you enter each station, there’s an overhead sign showing the trains and their arrival times. Before the card entrance, there are color-coded posters depicting the lines between each city. They also have platform information posters that list the locations of each line and give you an estimate of the travel time between your current location and desired destination. Once you’re on the train, you’re able to see the number of stops until your destination along with any announcements of delays. They also have an English announcement system that comes on as the train approaches the station that tells you which trains you can connect to at the upcoming station. We even had a local man assist us in the Shinjuku station when he saw us looking at the maps and struggling to determine the quickest train to Tokyo station. All of these factors together make the transit system much more navigable for both locals and first-time riders.
Tokyo has by far one of if not the most efficient transit systems in the world. It’s timely behavior and clean track record despite it’s overwhelming company aboard is astonishing to say the least to an observer of the system. Today we went on many different lines and many different kinds of transits to see first hand just what makes the system run better than most transit systems across the globe.
The Tokyo transit system, while being the most sustainably developed compared to the rest of the world, is also one of the busiest transits. The Shinjuku station in particular, that we visited today, is the world’s number one busiest train station serving approximately 1,260,000,000 people per year! Along with Shinjuku, Japan is home to many of the worlds most busy train stations, some being right here in Tokyo that we got to travel on. So, from these statistics and from the many people that bumped into me today, there is no question in saying that the transit service in Tokyo is indeed busy.
Regardless of the amount of people rushing in and out of the stations, the Tokyo transit systems are actually very timely. The most a train will to delay is less than one minute past its listed arrival time, but seeing that this rarely happens, the train for the most part arrives right on time consistently. Having a timely transit system is not only good for the reputation of the trains, but also convenient and beneficial to the people using the transits. This way people know they can count on the trains and trust in the fixed time from when the train departs, without any traffic or interruption between the two points in order to arrive at their destination on time.
With finding information, for our group, let me say that it was very nice to have three people who knew their way around the stations initially so there would be no need for guessing. However, for a newcomer to the transit system, I suspect it would be a little challenging and overwhelming. While yes there are many maps and signs instructing passengers on which line is which and where the lines go and what stop to get off at, I would be one to possibly argue that the size of the stations and the amount of people rushing around can maybe confuse an individual very easily and very fast. On the other hand, like I said before, there are many signs and maps and even transit employees to help someone in need of guidance, so that person should be smart to take a breath and ask for help if needed in order not to get lost. Despite the possibility of a person overcome by all the action, I do still believe that there is a multitude of information and guidance available for passengers to ensure safe travels to their desired destination.
Enlightenment. Enlightenment is defined as the act of receiving greater knowledge and understanding about a subject or situation. Throughout the trip to the Netherlands, I can definitely say that I have truly been enlightened beyond my expectations. Due to the fact that I was afforded to take this trip as a study abroad class, it gave me the opportunity to ensure that I consistently took note of Dutch culture and history at every turn. This assured use that information to understand how this has affected their infrastructure and transportation system as a whole. Based on their culture, three aspects seem to truly drive a majority of the design solutions: timeliness, collective good, and caring for the most vulnerable.
Timeliness. Though Dr. Watkins had hinted at the timeliness of the Dutch, it was not until our class was in the Netherlands and in the environment that made us understand the gravity of what she meant. Whether our class was in Rotterdam, Delft, Utrecht, or The Hague, the timeliness was so imbedded in the system and culture that it was seen and felt everywhere. For example, all the train departure times were extremely accurate and anyone who was exactly on time or late either struggled to make it on the train on time or missed it, respectively. Additionally, the reliability of timeliness was paramount as well. Thus, even as a major point of information in each conversation that we had, the Dutch assured that timeliness was implemented in the design of the nearly all transportation solutions. For example, one of the main metrics that is used to determine the successfulness of the initiatives that they try to implement are related to assuring that people are given multiple modes of transportation to meet the needs of such a compact nation. Therefore, transportation options such as trains, trams, and buses are much more efficient in the Netherlands and is truly driven by this fact as well as the collective good.
Collective Good. During much of the conversations with professionals and academics, it was evident that the Dutch had a more cohesive idea that collective good was not only important but necessary for the advancement of the society. In a variety of ways, their more socialist ideology attributes to this idea substantially. For example, whether it was when the people collectively protested against cars due to extremely high childhood death rates or the government understanding that it would need to use resources to truly ensure that the flooding disaster of 1953 never happened again, much of the design of the infrastructure is a direct result of action by the public to ensure that the public collective good is upheld whether it would originally be sacrificial on a more individual level. Therefore, this ideology is truly the basis of their bicycling infrastructure. The collective good that a robust bike infrastructure ensures--even if it means to take away some of the dominance of the cars--is worth the benefit. For example, much of the infrastructure is based on the separation of speeds rather than extremely focused on separation of modes as paramount; thus, there is always a location for bikes in the system and always a safe route in which these bikes can travel. Additionally, the collective good that aided the design of the road has in itself influenced the culture as well. With many of the roads, the cars truly respect the vulnerability of the bikes and pedestrians and understand that it is necessary to properly yield to them in nearly all situations. Moreover, due to the fact that many more bikers can be serviced in the span of a green light green time than that of cars, the Dutch have implemented a system that makes cars yield to bikes in nearly every situation--especially at intersections and roundabouts.
Overall, the culture has influenced the design of the system but has the design of the system influenced the culture? After only a week in the Netherlands, it was evident that the answer to this question is a resounding yes. Though the increase in bikes was directly in response to protests and sustainability originally, it has influenced the health, longevity, and lifestyles of the Dutch in general. People are not only less likely to use cars for their short trips but they are also proud of the fact that they do. In the United States, the fact that you can get your driver’s license at 16 years old is an extremely big milestone and declares that you are closer to adulthood. Conversely, in the Netherlands, at the age of 12, it is an extremely important cultural milestone to get your certificate that you can ride your bike alone. Though the certificate is very symbolic, these types of programs ensures sustainability of the bike system for the future while also contributing to the pride of bike culture.
Throughout this examination of culture and infrastructure, I tackled how the bikes and the culture have mutually influence one another and promote a more holistic approach to transportation.
European cities have grown around the concept of shared space. With cities such as Amsterdam dating back to the 1200s, streets were designed for pedestrians, horses, and carts, all using the same, often quite narrow, roads. As transportation evolved, so did the supporting infrastructure, but the history of sharing roads between different modes of transportation never faded. Riding or walking down narrow streets that were home to bike, car, and pedestrian left me with the impression of older times when residents worked with one another on sharing public space rather than relying solely on signage or vehicle size to determine right of way. The interactions between the various commuters, how a road would transform depending on the needs of the moment, from a one-way with a bike lane to a two-way with cars barely squeezing by each other, everyone watching out for one another, was something I had never experienced in the U.S. Many American cities, young and impressionable, have given the run of the road to the latest game-changer, the car. This dominance is distinctly felt in most cities in the U.S., with cyclists and even pedestrians often feeling like trespassers on the land of the car.
A Car Dominated Road Converted for Tram and Bike
While the Dutch planners admitted that their cities did experience a car-centric era, they are actively working to reverse that trend. Even after showing us how they transformed a street that was once meant solely for cars to a shared space between pedestrians, bicycles, and public transit, it was still hard to imagine such transformations in Atlanta, for example. American roads are missing the historical element of communal space, with road sharing between different forms of transport as the norm streets in old European cities. Not to say that it cannot be done, there have been successful implementations of shared spaces in the U.S., such as a woonerf in Seattle, but the cultural barriers (stemming from historical context) seem larger here than in the Netherlands.
Shared Street in Amsterdam
The Dutch have homed in on many strategies that prioritize bikers and make them feel safe. Beyond bike lanes, they have built thousands of kilometers of separated bike paths, and often give cyclists the right of way when interacting with cars. The effort to build expansive and safe cycling infrastructure has had a lasting effect on Dutch culture, allowing for everyone to participate in cycling culture rather than the brave few who venture onto car-dominated streets. Cycling has now been so integrated into Dutch culture that it is the norm for everyone, no matter their age, lifestyle, gender, or economic status. This is in sharp contrast to the U.S. where cycling is seen through certain lenses, such as for people who love exercise/the outdoors or people who cannot afford a car. Beyond culture, safety is also a huge factor for people when deciding to travel by bike. Bikers are 30 times more likely to be injured in the U.S. than in the Netherlands. The Dutch believe their safety success stems from their efforts to completely separate cyclists and cars, only sharing the road when necessary and even then, teaching the cars to respect and make space for cyclists. In the U.S., shared streets with cars and bikes is the most common and, in some cities, cars are uncomfortable sharing the road with bikers and don’t drive safely around them.
For Pedestrians, Bikes, and Cars in Delft
The experience of biking in the Netherlands is one that I hope I don’t forget when continuing in my career. I want to remember that feeling of ownership on the roads and hopefully help create systems in the U.S. that give cyclists a similar feeling. I want to remember how simple it was to just hop on my bike and go, and that I don’t need to drive to the grocery store or the local restaurants (while it might be a little less simple here in Atlanta, it’s definitely still doable). I want to be a part of a generation that challenges our reliance on cars and moves towards more sustainable modes of transportation.
After traveling a week in the Netherlands, stepping off MARTA from the airport felt like a shock to my system. I walked from the station into a concrete and bike-less street. It felt a little empty. Compared to many parts of the Netherlands, my walk through the heart of Midtown was eerily quiet. Without proper bike and pedestrian infrastructure, streets don’t feel like shared social spaces and become dominated by cars (and fallen scooters). Before biking around on this trip, I didn’t realize how much I walked and how much time biking could save me. Trips around Delft, similar in lengths to my current campus trek, were much more manageable and fun because of bikes.
The Netherlands is consistently ranked as one of the happiest countries in the world. After traveling around the Netherlands for a week, I understand why; Dutch infrastructure is designed to make people happy. I truly felt peak bliss biking next to friends, strangers, and canals. Their infrastructure made my mood even happier. (The cheese and flowers of the Netherlands were pretty nice too … )
As more people bike, there becomes a greater need for more biking infrastructure. This positive loop creates quality bike infrastructure that is safe, efficient and gives people for the priority. It is common in Dutch culture to bike regardless of age, gender, and activity because their design is built for all types of people. A child grows up biking to school in the Netherlands because they can travel on a safe route and their friends are biking. Bike culture and infrastructure reinforce each other.
Bike design in the US is often an afterthought. The first priority is often moving vehicles to reduce congestion and safety concern. Even I was in this camp! I have written traffic impact reports and right before I turn it in, I quickly write a blurb about bikes. In the Netherlands, roadway design prioritizes people, not cars. When people are the priority, transportation becomes safe, efficient, and enjoyable. Transportation systems are not thought of as a corridor but a network to facilitate movements.
One of my favorite podcasts is “99% Invisible” (99PI). At 99PI, their goal is to “expose the overlooked aspects of design, architecture, and activity in the world” because "Ninety-nine percent of who you are is invisible and untouchable”. Because of this podcast, I always thought that most people overlook design. After having my eyes opened to the awesome bike infrastructure of the Netherlands, I realized that I was a blind designer. My eyes weren’t open fully to the importance of bike infrastructure design. I can’t wait to explore the rest of the world with my eye now open to quality roadway design.