Monday, August 04, 2008

Bicycle commuting hot, SUV's not

Image of Google Trends graphs for Hummer and bicycle commuting
I thought this was an interesting finding using Google Trends, a tool from Google that allows users to analyze the trends for search volume for any term. What the graphs above show is that Google search requests for the terms "bicycle commuting" have surged this year beginning in the second quarter, up between 15 and 20 times compared to the baseline average search traffic for the terms (represented as 1.0) since 2004. At the same time, searches for "hummer" peaked in 2005 and have decreased steadily ever since. In short, this provides another clue that high gas prices are causing people to take a closer look at bicycling for transportation.

Note this is a relative comparison: searches for "bicycle commuting" this year compared to such search volume for those terms in past years. An absolute comparison shows that more people still search for "hummer" than "bicycle commuting", but at a slower level when compared to previous years. And maybe they're looking for ways to sell or dispose of their Hummer.

Image: Web capture.
Visit: Google Trends About
Visit: Ditch the Gas Guzzler? Well, Maybe Not Yet, New York Times
Visit: SUV-enthusiast embraces cycling, Bike Commute Tips Blog
Visit: Paul Dorn's Bike Commuting Tips Site

3 comments:

Tony Bullard said...

That's a kind of weird comparison. The slow decline in search for "Hummer" can also indicate that Hummers are more a part of the social consciousness, and people don't need to search for info they already know.

But it's certainly interesting to see so much building interest in Bike Commuting. Now I just wish I could se that reflect here where I am.

JiMCi said...

Check Google Trends results for "best mpg"! It matches the oil prices graph!

Life Insurance Canada said...

Google trends is a perfect tool, however your comparison is a bit weird. I think better would be "hummer" and "bicycle". Anyway, I fully approve bicycles. In Europe even the "greatest" businessmen are not ashamed to use bicycle and bicycle roads are very common, especially in BENELUX. Just in our parts of the world big thirsty car the most important symbol of social status. We introduced in Toronto life insurance brokers four day work week - not to save some $100 a month for gas, but because we want to show it's not a shame to be gas saving!
Lorne