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Nicu Calcea, a data reporter at New Statesman Media Group, published a compelling piece for City Monitor, on How Google mapping is ruining your neighbourhood.

'Rat-running... describes the practice of motorists using minor roads to avoid traffic, tolls and red lights, or to use shortcuts to reach their destination faster....In the US...researchers released a paper in 2017 that showed how navigation apps, rather than solving congestion issues, “have led to new congestion patterns that never existed before.” '

Furthermore, UK research found that 'pedestrians are 17% more likely to be killed or seriously injured on minor roads compared with major roads for each mile a vehicle travels.'

Google maps encouraging rat runs

(Image courtesy of Healthy Cities, Illawarra)

There are also the issues of increased pollution as air gets trapped in narrower streets, and children are unable to walk safely to school. Safety concerns create traffic so parents drive their children resulting in a culture of physical inactivity and poor health outcomes later in life. Seriously, what's more important- a 20 second difference to one's car trip, or kids being able to get to school safely?

This is why Bicycle NSW is campaigning for 30 km speed limits for non-arterial streets, as this is the proven safe threshold for liveable, walkable streets. We are also campaigning for Safe Paths to School to encourage active, healthy and engaged kids. Join us.

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