Bicycle Contraflow Lanes: Death Wish or Life Line?

A counterflow lane or contraflow lane is a lane in which traffic flows in the opposite direction of the surrounding lanes. *

Contraflow is a common part of decent cycling infrastructure and is often seen on one-way streets. A standard example is that car and other vehicular traffic might have only one lane while on both sides there are bike lanes; one going in the same direction as the vehicular traffic, the other (the contraflow bike lane) allows cyclists to safely go in the opposite direction to the cars

Counterflow cycle lane in Paris. Credit: Vladimit Zlokazov

Counterflow cycle lane in Paris. Credit: Vladimir Zlokazov

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Go Lillestrøm! Pedestrians and cyclists receive “reverse toll money” in Norway

japan pedesstria cyclist dressedAs part of Norway’s ongoing European Mobility Week celebrations, around 10,000 NOK (€1,200) was handed out in the town of Lillestrøm to pedestrians and cyclists in “reverse toll money”. The money symbolised the health benefits of walking and cycling, including better fitness, improved air quality and more efficient transport.

Cyclists received around €12, while pedestrians gained €11. Calculations carried out by the Norwegian Directorate of Health shows that active transport provides the state with a saving of 52 NOK (€6) per kilometer for pedestrians and 26 NOK (€3) per kilometer for cyclists. An average bike trip in Norway is 4 kilometers, providing a health benefit of 100 NOK (€12), while an average walking trip is 1.7 km, worth almost 90 NOK (€11)

The only thing I have to say about this is . . .  EXCELLENT!

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“Words ought to be a little wild . . . “

keynes general theory

 

“Words ought to be a little wild, for they are the assaults of thoughts on the unthinking.”

 

John Maynard Keynes, “National Self-Sufficiency,” The Yale Review, Vol. 22, no. 4 (June 1933)

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Uber casualty

Small taxi operations could be eliminated with new regional taxi authority

City Pulse, Lansing MI USA. Wednesday, September 17,2014

A taxi authority that began with a goal of regulating ride share services like Uber could end up adopting rules that squeeze out the little guy.

USA Michigan taxiThe Greater Lansing Taxi Authority, already approved by East Lansing and awaiting the Lansing vote, would consolidate regulations and licensing for cabs and ride shares in both cities. Officials say the effort will improve service quality and ensure the safety of riders.

The rules would require annual vehicle inspections, background checks and minimum insurance requirements. Cab companies would be required to have at least three vehicles and meters on all vehicles (which could be actual or a smart phone app). Ride share services would be required to send electronic receipts and only take rides booked through a digital platform . . .

Read the full story here:
http://www.lansingcitypulse.com/lansing/article-10574-uber-casualty.html

Tips from China on How to Win the Sustainability Wars . . . (Which by the way we are losing badly)

What is our goal in the sustainability wars?  If it is to feel noble because we are doing the “right thing” and to build our programs and plans of attack on that (call it “moral suasion”), we run the risk of ending up a proud soldier lying dead on the field of action with the last words from our mouths, that of Gott mit uns (god is on our side).  Those of us who  feel deeply enough about these issues to wish to act effectively have to put our pious thoughts and personal preferences aside and gear up 100% for a single goal — to win!  Sun Tsu had a few thoughts on that in The Practical Art of War.

If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.

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World Carshare Timeline: 1948 – 2014

Netherlands go dutch - top title page

The following draft listing is part of a report in progress of by EcoPlan, being carried out for and with CROW/KpVV, the Dutch Knowledge Platform for Transport and Mobility. The goal of this particular section of the report is to prepare and comment briefly a synoptic timeline identifying major events shaping and reshaping the carshare sector over the last half century plus.  Here are some of the milestones we would hope to get on that timeline. Your corrections, comments, additions will be most welcome.

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World Transport Policy & Practice. Twentieth anniversary issue. Editorial by John Whitelegg, Founding Editor

f1fa6-ws-pic-whiteleggThis issue of World Transport Policy and Practice is a significant milestone in the life of the journal. It marks 20 years of publication and for anyone with a serious interest in understanding the importance of transport, the links between transport, mobility and accessibility and the links with sustainability, health and quality of life, there is more than enough material here to work on.

At the outset we chose to emphasise the word “policy” and that remains a strong focus. 20 years of publication have examined policy in detail, more often the lack of intelligent policy, but always with a keen eye on “this is what we have to do if we want to improve things”. There is now no excuse for anyone anywhere in the world to sit at his or her desk on a Monday morning and wonder how to sort things out. The answers lie in our freely available archives.

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Twenty Questions to consider to improve cycling In your city. (First guidelines for 2015 WCFD Citizen Cycle Audit )

velib-guyAs original organizers of the World Car Free Days movement, we are always attentive to finding ways to make real use out of these generally festive occasions. We have been working consistently on this task since the first program announcement in Toledo Spain at a major European conference in October 1994 under the title of  “Thursday: A breakthrough strategy for reducing car dependence in cities“.  (See http://wp.me/psKUY-U9)

This year we propose that considering cities may give some thought to the possibility of organizing on a pilot basis a special core Car Free Day event — specifically intended to examine, encourage and support cycling in cities.  This makes sense: a Car Free Day is seen as an occasion to  step back and think together about how your city is doing in the challenging transition from an essentially private car-based to an equitable and efficient mobility-based society.  With this in mind we are proposing at the core of the other planned CFD events this year  the tool of a “Civil Society State of City Cycling Audit” — in order to provide independent  background and perspective on the state of safe and abundant cycling in their city. The following posting sets out the latest proposal for this “collaborative citizen self-audit”.

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What is the difference between a bus stop and a parking bay for carsharing?

By Friso Metz, CROW-KpVV, the Netherlands

Recently a medium sized Dutch city asked my counsel about carsharing. The city wants to promote carsharing and is looking for ideas.  While discussing with the city officials and their marketeers, we discovered a particular issue in carsharing. I explained that an average parking bay for carsharing in the Netherlands only shows a sign explaining that it’s intended uniquely for carsharing. The road surface shows a white cross which tells you that it is prohibited to park there (unless you are driving the shared vehicle).

netherlands bus stop vs. carshare place

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European Mobility Week- Cycling Events Guidelines 2014

netherlands amsterdam cyclists - bottom halfThe following is intended to provide for our readers a useful overview of the cycling component of the EC’s European Mobility Week, with a view to being useful both for cycle planning and programs and eventually as background for the planned city cycle audit activity presently being discussed as a possible component of a certain number off cooperating cities’ 2014 Car Free Days. This information has been extracted from their European Mobility Week Handbook which is available at http://goo.gl/ahWEyO

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xPlanning Chaotic Transit Systems: Off we go

manstanding  in door of moving mutatuWe are already close to one-seventh of the way  through this very different 21st century: an era not of “order”  in the older and more comfortable sense.  But rather of chaos, that illusive universe that combines mystery and a certain sense of order .  Chaos however  is not the end;  it is only a beginning.  And while we are on the subject, this in from Jarrett Walker in his blog Human Transit in which he reminds us of the power and potential of informal transport.  His concluding recommendation is especially interesting and to the point. The full original piece is available at http://goo.gl/TW5meY.

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Let’s have a look at the Copenhagenize Index for Bicycle Friendly Cities

Copenhagenize Index byble freinldy cities 2013In the context of our search for creating a method for reliably and usefully benchmarking the sustainable transport performance of cities around the world – see https://worldstreets.wordpress.com/tag/benchmarking/ for first background – we would like to address our readers’ attention to the Copenhagenize Index for Bicycle Friendly Cities. In this short article you will find background information and reference on how they carry it out, as well as links to their results and conclusions.

We intend to continue to seek out and report on important benchmarking projects that can help us in our own thinking and efforts to create a more general approach to understanding city performance in the face of the tough challenges of sustainable transport, sustainable cities and sustainable lives. In addition to performance indicators for city cycling we are inventorying the state of the art  in such areas as walking, public transport performance, parking, car restraint, mobility for specific underserved groups, shared transport, etc. Stay tuned.

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AD Little & UITP Benchmark Urban Mobility in 84 World Cities

ADLitle logoAs is by now well known to our regular readers, as part of our 2015/15 program to make progress in the development of a general theory of transport in cities, we are giving especial attention to the possibility and usefulness of improving understanding of how different cities around the world stack up with each other when it comes to the performance in terms of sustainability of their urban mobility arrangements. You can see more on that background by clicking to two recent entries at “Weekend fishing expedition: You have heard of about PISA course. But what about PISTA?”  at http://wp.me/psKUY-3EU  and International Sustainable Transport/Cities Award Programs at http://wp.me/psKUY-3F5.

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International Sustainable Transport/Cities Award Programs

STA graphic 2010Work in progress:  Over the last dozen years or so we are seeing a growing number of international award programs aiming at naming and compensating cities which are leading the way to sustainable transport. We are opening this posting today with short descriptions of programs already known to us, and it is our hope that with the help of our readers we will be able to extend this listing and make it more useful. Let’s have a look at what we have found thus far.

PS. Our special interest in all this of course is the nomination process, and above all the multiple criteria  for selection, weighing and judgment. Eventually we intend to expand coverage to take into account some the leading national and regional award programs.

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Prologue. Carsharing: A One Percent Solution

(And why it is a critical 1%)

This article is excerpted from the opening pages of our on-going report for the Dutch government Knowledge Platform for Transport and Mobility (KpVV)which will be available from them this month. Contact: Mr. Friso Metz, Friso.Metz@kpvv.nl. Your comments are welcome here or to the author: erc.britton@ecoplan.org

carshare street markingThe learning process has been long and painful. But it is soon 2015, the results are in, and we now know this one thing for sure: There are no one single, mega-dollar, build-it, big bang, fix-it solutions for transportation systems reform.

No, the process is far more complex than that. Successful 21st century transport policy depends on the coordination and integration of large numbers of, for the most part, often quite small things. Small perhaps in themselves, one by one, but when you put all these small things together you start to get the new and far better transportation systems that we need and deserve. Large numbers of small things, each doing their part in concert. We call them “one percent solutions”. And carsharing is part of that complex , heavily interactive process.

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World Streets on Public Bicycle Systems and City Cycling

i feel good todayThe “humble” bicycle has a major role in 21st century cities, large or small, North or South, rich or poor. Getting city cycling right is a matter of high priority when it comes to local and planetary environmental impacts, solid economics, affordability, fossil fuel and resource savings, public health, equity, democracy and quality of life. For all of those of our cities around the world who have over the last decades bought into the car-plus-speed lifestyle without giving it much thought, getting this transition right is a significant technical, social and political challenge.

Fortunately there is a large and fast expanding base of experience and information on the topic, which should guarantee success for all those who are not too lazy or in too much in a hurry to do their homework properly and lay a successful base for their project.

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Discussions and Views on proposed Public Bicycle System for George Town, Malaysia

See the latest government announcements, vigorous discussions and media coverage of the proposed 2015 public bicycle project for George Town on our supporting Facebook site at https://www.facebook.com/SustainablePenang.

malaysia penange pbs map

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European Mobility Week 2014: Cities

Eu EMW 2014 logoSince 2002 European Mobility Week has sought to influence mobility and urban transport issues, as well as improve the health and quality of life of citizens. The campaign gives citizens the chance to explore what the role of city streets really is, and to explore concrete solutions to tackle urban challenges, such as air pollution. Local authorities are strongly encouraged to use the Week to test new transport measures and get feedback from citizens. It is also an excellent opportunity for local stakeholders to get together and discuss the different aspects of mobility and air quality, find innovative solutions to reduce car-use and thus emissions, and test new technologies or planning measures.

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“The Social Life of Small Urban Spaces”

This for your weekend viewing pleasure just in from Clarence Eckerson, Streetfilms, NYC:

When I first got started making NYC bike advocacy and car-free streets videos back in the late-1990s on cable TV, I didn’t know who William “Holly” Whyte was or just how much influence his work and research had on New York City. A few years later I met Fred and Ethan Kent at Project for Public Spaces. I got a copy of Whyte’s 1980 classic, The Social Life of Small Urban Spaces, which in its marvelously-written, straightforward style is the one book all burgeoning urbanists should start with.

Recently, I read it again. With all the developments in video technology since his day, I wondered: How might Whyte capture information and present his research in a world which is now more attuned to the importance of public space? What would he appreciate? Are his words still valid?

So I excerpted some of my favorite passages from the book and tried to match it up with modern footage I’ve shot from all over the world while making Streetfilms. I hope he would feel honored and that it helps his research find a new audience.

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