Sunday Statshot



Site Updates: Weekly Roundup and Sunday Stats

As of this week, The Gondola Project will discontinue posting on Saturdays and Sundays. Recent developments and a large surge in readership have caused us to rethink our strategy and focus on high-quality posts during the prime readership days of Monday through Friday.

We’re hoping this will result in a shift from quantity to quality and help to facilitate our rebuild and reorganization of the site.

For those interested, The Weekly Roundup will shift from Saturday to Friday (and commence tomorrow) while The Sunday Stats With Nick Chu will shift to a new web-based urban application CUP Projects be launching in the coming couple months.

These are exciting times for Creative Urban Projects (CUP, CUP Projects, whatever you like) and we are so truly grateful for the support everyone has extended us. Your participation, enthusiasm and generosity are an inspiration to us to keep improving what we do and how we do it.

We can’t wait to share what’s next . . .



Sunday Statshot with Nick Chu: Science of Walking and Transit


Being a pedestrian in Toronto offers many advantages over driving: 1) It's a healthy form of exercise; and 2) Free entertainment from "Jesus Man" - a devotee responsible for more heart attacks than McDonalds and Burger King combined. Image by flickr user Metrix X.

A quick look at some of the things that make walking and riding transit work (or not):

Year when humans started walking: 1.5 million years ago

Year when walking became a sport: 19th century (1801-1900)

Year when most North Americans forgot how to walk: Post WWII

Percentage of Americans not meeting 30 minute a day recommendation for physical activity: 50

Percentage reduction in oil consumption in US if more trips were walked than driven: 38

Average number of steps taken during a transit trip (Montreal): 1250

Round trip: 2500

Daily recommended number of steps per day: 10,000

Hours of walking to achieve 10,000 steps: 1

Percentage of recommended daily exercise achieved by 2500 steps: 25

Average stride length: 2.5 ft (0.762m)

Average Walking Speed: 4.5km/h

Time to walk 1250 meters: 13 minutes

Transit trips requiring most steps to least steps: Train > Subway > Bus

Dollars saved from obesity-related medical costs through additional walking associated with public transit: $5500 per person

Gender that walks more on average during transit trip: Men

Gender that jaywalks more: Men

American city most dangerous for pedestrians: Orlando

Canada: Toronto

Percentage of pedestrians seriously injured by motor vehicles in UK: 21

Percentage of pedestrians seriously injured by bicycles in UK: 22

World’s worst pedestrian: Richard Ashcroft

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Sunday Statshot with Nick Chu: Zeppelins and Airships


An artist's rendition - dated 1910 - of modern travel by year 2000. The past is so much more awesome than the present. Image by

A quick, fun look at the history of Zeppelin travel and its (im)possibility for future applications:

Year which Zeppelin idea first materialized: 1874

Year which Wright Brothers first took flight in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina: 1903

Speed of initial Zeppelins: 21km/h

Zeppelin length: 126m

Bus length: 12m

First successful Zeppelin: LZ3

Total kilometres travelled: 4398

First revenue airline service in the world: German Airship Travel Corporation (aka DELAG)

First regular transatlantic airship line: 1930

Travel package offered: Frankfurt, Germany to Recife, Brazil

Total travel time: 68 hours (~3 days)

Zeppelin nickname during WWI: Baby Killer

Killer dish inspired by Zeppelins: Cepelinai (Lithuania’s national dish)

Modern airship technology: Zeppelin NT

Maximum Speed: 125km/h

Popular lifting gas in early Zeppelins: Hydrogen

Result: Hindenburg Disaster

Safer alternative gas used in present day applications: Helium

Cost to fill up Zeppelin: $1.5 million USD

Percentage of world helium supplied and controlled by US: 80

Number of years before US helium stockpile is exhausted: 4

Future cost of inflating a party balloon: $100

Balloon volume: 4 cubic feet

Zeppelin volume: 300,000 cubic feet

Projected future cost of filling up Zeppelin: $7 million

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Sunday Morning Statshot with Nick Chu: Transit Strikes

Bonus/ransom (depending on your perspective) paid to Tube employees to avoid a similar 2008 strike (pictured above) during 2012 Olympics: £1800. Image by Flickr user C. G. P. Grey.

With an impending GO Transit strike in the near horizon, let’s take a quick look back at some of the more memorable public transit strikes in recent times:

Last transit walkout in nation’s capital (Ottawa): 2009

Days lasted: 51

Payroll savings: $3 million/day

Economic losses: $4 million/day

Property damage losses due to seriously irate commuters in 2010 Bogota transit strike: $400,000

Economic losses due to 2007 London Tube strike: $100 million/day

Economic losses due to 2005 New York transit strike: $400 million/day

Penalties: 2 days pay per day spent picketing

Cost of fine imposed on union: $2.5 million

Days in jail for union leader Roger Toussaint: 10

Legality of transit strikes in New York: Illegal – under Taylor’s Law (1967)

Legality of transit strikes in London: Legal – under democratic right to industrial action

Legality of transit strikes (as of March 2011): Illegal – under “essential services” rules

Definition of “essential services” job: Needed to protect human health (doctors, police, firefighters)

TTC bus drivers: Essential service

Ambulance drivers: Non-essential service

Effects of 2008 Toronto transit strike: $50 million loss in productivity per day

Effects of 2006 Los Angeles transit strike: 20% decrease in traffic speeds, 200% increase in rush hour traffic time

Effects of 1976 Allegheny County (Pittsburgh) transit strike: Not much (relatively mild)

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Sunday Statshot with Nick Chu: Urban Transit Speeds

Mexico City - IBM ranked as the world's worst place to drive. Average speed during peak hour traffic times: from the looks of it.. probably 0.

A look at some of the things that make urban transit speeds laudable (or laughable) when compared to speeds achieved by other (in)animate beings on planet earth:

Sloth speed: 0.12km/h

Goldfish speed: 1.38km/h

Average human walking speed: 4.5km/h

Michael Phelps’ speed during 100m butterfly: 7.1km/h

Average  vehicle speed in Jakarta: 10km/h

Average Toronto streetcar speed: 12-13km/h

Average urban bicycling speeds: 14-16 km/h

San Francisco Cable Car average speed: 15km/h

New Delhi’s average traffic speed: 15km/h

Medellin’s Metrocable Line K average speed: 17km/h

Portland Aerial Tram average speed: 20km/h

Estimated average speed of Sheppard LRT Line: 22km/h

Chicago subway average speed: 24km/h

Wuppertal Schwebebahn average speed: 26km/h

Average subway speeds in Toronto: 30km/h

Usain Bolt’s average speed in 100m race: 37km/h

Lance Armstrong’s average speed during 2005 Tour de France: 42km/h

Lance Armstrong’s record average speed: 53km/h

Amtrak’s average speed: 112km/h

Cheetah speed: 120km/h

Beijing-Tianjin high speed rail average speed: 234km/h

Santa’s speed while delivering presents: 1,080,000,000 km/h

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Sunday Statshot with Nick Chu: Public Transit and Sexual Harassment (Groping)


The unintended ramifications of a lonely male sitting by himself at the back of a bus.

A quick look at some of the things that may make the disturbing realities/perceptions of sexual harassment on public transit a serious roadblock to encouraging more transit ridership (or not):

Percentage of women in UK who felt unsafe riding public transit: 12.5%

Percentage of women who sometimes or frequently feel threat of sexual assault and/or harassment on New York subway: 51%

Percentage of women groped on New York subways: 63%

Percentage of women sexually assaulted on New York subways: 10%

Year of the lewd behaviour subway police squad: 1983

Result: Men falsely arrested and squad relinquished

Number of groping incidents on Boston transit system in 2007: 17

Year anti-groping campaign launched: 2007

Number of groping incidents the next year: 38

Transit stops most feared in US: Empty bus stops and train stations

Transit stops most feared in Taiwan: Crowded buses and subways

The percentage capacity of Japanese trains during rush hour: 160

Percentage of Tokyo teenagers groped while riding trains: 70%

Solution to groping in Japan: Women only passenger cars

First female-only train carriage: 1954

Results: Insignificant decrease in sexual harassment cases

Potential unintended consequence of female-only cabins: Targeted assaults

Mexico’s answer to transit perverts: Pink taxis

New York’s answer to transit perverts – not to mention the overall best way to combat sexual harassment on transit: Rage +  Cell Phone Camera

While this post is an admittedly superficial look at sexual harassment on transit, it is a serious concern and can undoubtedly act as a barrier to encouraging further transit usage. From my experience, it is one of the most common complaints from female passengers. So the question is, aside from full on confrontation with the perpetrator, are there any solutions to curb this type of behaviour? And could gondola transit help combat this problem or will gondola cabins aggravate this problem?

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Sunday Morning Statshot with Nick Chu: Hurricanes


Top selling items in advance of Hurricane Charley in 2004: Beer... you guessed it, and Strawberry Poptarts. I better get on it... Image by flickr user Rachel D.

A quick look at some of the things that make hurricanes super deadly in your city:

Top wind speeds Roosevelt Island Tram can operate in: 50 miles per hour

Hurricane wind speeds: 111 miles per hour

Percentage of US population threatened by hurricanes: 12

Most hurricane prone city in Florida: Miami

Number of hurricanes Miami can expect every 12 years: 1

Number of hurricanes projected this year in US: 6

Vital statistics needed to forecast hurricanes: El Nino and La Nina (strong variations in ocean surface temperatures)

Ocean surface temperature variations this year: Neutral

Last time ocean temperatures were neutral: 2005

Result: Hurricane Katrina and Rita

Percentage of New Orleans flooded: 80

Damaged caused: $80 billion

Cost of potential hurricane damage in Eastern Seaboard: $100 billion

Cost of flood insurance in high risk areas: Up to $350,000/year

Median US income: $29,000

Human death toll due to Katrina: 1464

Total hurricane deaths in US between 1970-1999: 589

Deadliest hurricane in history: 1970 Bhola Cyclone

Total fatalities: 500,000

Most dangerous activity during a hurricane: Driving

Percentage of hurricane deaths as a result of storm surges: 90

Percentage of flood-related deaths occurring in vehicles: 80

Feet of water required to float a bus: 6

Number of months New York subway would be out of service if flooded and corroded with hurricane salt waters: Months, Even Years

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