Friday, August 1, 2014

Cycling in Wallonia; does it pay off?

Cycling is a transport mode with high social benefits. It is good for health, cheap,  provides more quality of life in cities, less pollution, better use of the limited space. Cycling also provides in its way a direct contribution to the local economy through the sale and especially the maintenance of bicycles. Very often, however, more cycling also means a higher accident risk. The effects were studied for 2012 and 2030. The 2030 effects were calculated with a small model based for a situation with a 10% modal share for cycling.   The main conclusions on the impacts of a scenario with a cycling modal share of 10% in 2030 can be read in: 'Estimation of the direct and indirect impacts of cycling today and in the future'. Final report (in French) can be found on the website of La Service Public de Wallonie DGO2. Also read Social Cost and Benefits of investment in cycling.


Thursday, July 24, 2014

Hosting cars on a cycling zone

A cycle route in ʼs-Hertogenbosch leading to an industrial zone was not well-connected to the rest of the cycling network. To get from the normal cycle network to the start of this cycle way you had to know your way through a maze of residential back streets. It was okay to cycle there, but you really needed to know where you were going and the route was not optimised for cycling.So the city chose the best route through that residential area and decided to change the ordinary streets into cycle streets. All the streets were already in a 30km per hour (18mph) zone, but motorists certainly did not always obey this limit. To make the streets better for cycling they were completely redesigned. Before that was done, and as is usual in the Netherlands, all sewerage pipes and other utilities under the street surface were first renewed. The street profile went from a standard street designed for motor traffic with black asphalt from kerb to kerb (curb), to one that is optimised for cycling. There is now a central ‘red carpet’ of smooth red asphalt. At either side of that red asphalt there are bands of bricks that optically narrow the streets even more, but that do give drivers the opportunity to go there with their cars, when they need to pass other drivers or people cycling. Read on here

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

The most congested cities in Europe and the USA

The average London commuter loses 83 hours a year to congestion – and many other cities are just as clogged. Here is an article with the worst victimsThe Inrix traffic-data company has raided its archives to calculate the most congested cities in Europe and North America, as well as the total number of hours wasted in traffic. Inrix looked at its records of real-time traffic on every road segment during peak hours (6am-10am and 3pm-7pm, Monday through Friday) to see how the actual speed every 15 minutes related to how fast traffic would have been if the road were free-flowing. Inrix added together all the congested segments in a given city and averaged it to create a score for that city. To calculate the wasted minutes in traffic, the firm looked at an estimated typical commuter trip length, and the number of trips taken each year. Have a look at more pictures.


Monday, July 21, 2014

South Africa Celebrates Cycling

City of Johannesburg officials are hoping the new bicycle lanes will help reduce traffic congestion newly paved lanes were tested on Sunday by Freedom Ride cyclists who raced from Braamfontein to Soweto - and back. At least 4,000 people took part in the event. The 36km social ride was meant to encourage cycling in the city, and to celebrate the spirit and legacy of Tat’Nelson Mandela. Officials are showing their commitment to making the streets of Johannesburg cyclist friendly. The city says it’s part of efforts to encourage the use of other modes of transport. “This is now becoming a major part of our policy both in terms of the city and the Gauteng provincial department of transport," says Gauteng Transport MEC, Ismail Vadi. "We want to make cycling part of a form of transportation not just for sporting and recreational activities. Read more here. " 

Monday, July 14, 2014

The ultimate Amsterdam 'Cycling Policy & Design' publication!

3rd of October 1960 cyclists were banned from Leidsestraat for the first time ever, and Amsterdam was moving towards becoming more of a car loving city. Between 1960 and 1970 the number of cars quadrupled. This had a negative effect on road safety and fatality rates climbed. For a short while the outlook for cycling in Amsterdam seemed bleak. However, the Amsterdam residents were determined not to let this happen. During the late sixties and early seventies, a cyclist protest movement gathered momentum, gradually forcing the city council to take more action. In 1978 a new traffic circulation plan was introduced by the city council, promising to allocate more space for cyclists and pedestrians by reducing space for cars and car parking. Today the city recognises the importance of the bicycle as the most valuable part of its mobility. In comparison to motorised traffic, it requires very little space, it’s cheap and clean, it’s convenient and quick and it keeps us healthy. Cycle policy has therefore become an integral part of the Amsterdam mobility policy. What would happen if all these people would drive a car or use public transport for that matter? There simply wouldn't be enough room! The City of Amsterdam composed a wonderful booklet entitled: 'Cycling policy and design; Putting knowledge into practice'. It is the best from the best!

Friday, July 11, 2014

Cycling in relative isolation; is that at all possible?

Phoenix is one of the first handful of cities nationwide to get bike share. But experts are scratching their heads at this step toward bicycle friendliness because it’s happening in relative isolation. If the city isn’t bicycle friendly on the whole, how successful will a bike share program be? “It’s only when bicycles are coupled with safe and more ubiquitous biking facilities that bike share is likely to get a large following,” warns walkability expert, architect and urban planner Jeff SpeckBut you have to start somewhere and even including bicycle infrastructure. The key is to begin to change the car culture in the city, which is starkly reflected in the Department of Transportation and to take steps to promote bicycling on the roads of Phoenix. Reasons for cycling for Phoenix: 1. Bikeways make places more valuable 2. Bikeways help companies attract talent 3. Bike commuters are healthier and more productive. 4. Bike facilities increase retail stores’ visibility and sales. 5. Bicycling saves a city money. 6. It reduces congestion and therefore reduces the need for more freeways. 7. Bicycling saves in health related costs. Read more here.

But it's clear that urban mobility badly needs to be rethought

The Finnish capital Helsinki has announced plans to transform its existing public transport network into a comprehensive, point-to-point "mobility on demand" system by 2025 – one that, in theory, would be so good nobody would have any reason to own a car. Helsinki aims to transcend conventional public transport by allowing people to purchase mobility in real time, straight from their smartphones. The hope is to furnish riders with an array of options so cheap, flexible and well-coordinated that it becomes competitive with private car ownership not merely on cost, but on convenience and ease of use. Subscribers would specify an origin and a destination, and perhaps a few preferences. The app would then function as both journey planner and universal payment platform, knitting everything from driverless cars and nimble little buses to shared bikes and ferries into a single, supple mesh of mobility. Imagine the popular transit planner Citymapper fused to a cycle hire service and a taxi app such as Hailo or Uber, with only one payment required, and the whole thing run as a public utility, and you begin to understand the scale of ambition here. Read on here.



Getting rid of helmet law boosts Tel-Aviv bike share program

Eran Shchori of Israel’s peak cycling body is an advocate of helmets, yet he is opposed to helmet laws. The Advertiser spoke to him about his successful campaign to overturn the helmet law in Israel.  To help put the dangers of cycling into perspective, the Israel Bicycle Association organised a soccer game, which was played with helmets on. Heading a soccer ball has been linked to brain trauma – making soccer arguably a better candidate for helmet wearing than cycling. The press loved the images of soccer players looking silly in helmets – and it made people look again at cyclists. The efforts of Mayor Huldai, lobbyists, a handful of Knesset members and the Israel Bicycle Association brought about a modification of Israel’s helmet law in 2011, which allowed adults to cycle without a helmet in urban areas. “The number of cyclists in Israel has increased dramatically, especially in Tel Aviv,” says Eran. “The Tel-Aviv Municipality says that from 2010 to 2012 there was an increase of 54 per cent in the number of people who use their bicycles regularly.” Helmet law issues out of the way, Tel-Aviv’s bike share program has also taken off, growing from an initial 250 bikes and 35 docking stations to 1500 bicycles today at more than 150 stations. And yes, if you want to wear a helmet the Tel-O-Fun bike hire scheme can supply you with one. Read on in Bike News.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

'Free parking' is expensive and does not sell more

When considering free or cheap parking in shopping areas, it is important to research what this will bring to the shops. Most municipalities aim for a thriving retail sector but the research and practical experience available to CROW-KpVV in The Netherlands, show free parking to be an an expensive measure that hardly contributes to the number of shop visits or shop revenues. Moreover alternative measures are cheaper and contribute (much) more. These measures are in the fields of investing in a high quality public realm, a good mix with other entertainment functions like bars, cafes and restaurants, museums, and special events at or near the shopping area. Looking at the impact of transport related variables, the most important factor is that it is well organised. Easy accessibility and ease to find a parking spot is influential in the choice of the  shopping area for a mere 15 percent of the visitors. Parking rates play only a role for 6 percent of the visitor. Altogether municipalities have measures to their disposition promoting the retail sector that are much more effective than free or cheap parking. There is no such thing as free parking because the cost of free parking is very high for the municipality, i.c. the tax payer; An attractive shopping environment'  is key to the success of shopping areas, not free parking. Read more here.