Monday, December 26, 2011

IT solutions for Safe Cycling

Approximately 7 per cent of European traffic casualties are cyclists. There are many traditional measures conceivable to help prevent accidents involving cyclists. The SAFECYCLE project studies how IT applications may be used to improve traffic safety for cyclists. Mobycon Consultants surveyed a number of possible IT applications. A Swedish design bureau, for instance, has proposed the idea of an airbag for cyclists. The airbag is folded into a collar. When an abrupt movement occurs, it inflates into a protective ‘helmet’ around the head in 0.1 seconds. The Italian designer Giovanni Doci has developed a helmet that doubles as a direction indicator. This so-called ‘Blink’ is provided with four LED lights, two at the front and back and two at the sides. The lights at the sides may be switched on and off by a simple gesture, allowing the cyclist to indicate an intended change of direction.  The ‘speed vest’ has been developed by Brady Clark. It is worn by the cyclists and indicates current speed in easy-to-read lighted digits on the back. This ensures increased visibility of the cyclist and awareness of his speed by motorists. ‘Night View’, a system being developed by Toyota, is e an addition to the regular car lights. Read more here.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

It only takes 17 minutes

On average Dutch people spend one and a half hours en route each day. That is 15 minutes longer than the average time on the road for citizens of 16 EU countries, and it is also the longest. Even so, the Dutch spend only 2 minutes longer per day commuting between home and work, than commuters in other countries do.  These are some of the results presented in the report “The Netherlands in one day; time allocation in the Netherlands compared with fifteen other European countries” issued by the The Netherlands Institute for Social Research. Many Europeans are on the road daily for the home-to-work commute, shopping, transporting children to and fro, and leisure time activities. The Dutch travel frequently and long: The Netherlands has, at 92%, the highest percentage of the total population traveling daily and France has, at 72%, the lowest percentage. Even on weekdays, people spend more travel time for leisure activity purposes than they do commuting. This is not only the case in The Netherlands, but is also true for other west European countries and Northern Europe. Of the 91 minutes that the Dutch travel on average per day, 17 of those minutes are spent on the bicycle (19%). Commuters in Holland spend on average 2 minutes longer per day commuting than commuters do in other countries.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

ITS lead to free-flowing traffic in Bologna

Medieval city, strategic transport hub, major economic centre. Balancing the characteristics of such a city with the mobility demands of its citizens is a challenging prospect that the Italian city is currently trying to address within the CIVITAS MIMOSA Initiative. Using a combination of access restrictions and technological developments, the local authority is seeking to improve air quality, traffic flow and traveller behaviour, while retaining its charm. “Intelligent transport system (ITS) technologies allow us to make a quality leap in urban mobility management, providing information on the state of the road network and public transport systematically and in real time,” said Dr. Andrea Colombo, councillor for mobility and transport at the Municipality. A feature of Bologna’s approach for some time, ITS technologies were initially implemented in the city for two distinct purposes: electronic enforcement and traffic management. At the heart of the city’s approach is a limited traffic zone (LTZ) in the historical city centre. Restricted access has been in place since 2000, enforced through a network of cameras. Since its introduction 25 percent less traffic in the city centre and 70 percent less traffic in bus lanes has been recorded. Download the CIVITAS Ndewsletter for more on ITS and other mobility isues. 

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Mobility on Hydrogen

The Clean Hydrogen In European Cities Project was officially launch in November 2010, and more than a year later the project has seen extensive progress in each of the cities and regions involved. Public transport operations of Fuel Cell Hydrogen (FCH) Buses commenced in Cologne, Hamburg, and London. While Oslo and Aargau have begun testing their first buses, Milan is expecting their first buses delivered before the end of 2011. The CHIC project has established an important milestone for hydrogen infrastructure developments within the past year. Although a few cities are able to utilize existing refuelling facilities, new hydrogen stations have been completed and in service in Cologne and London; progress is being seen on the building of new hydrogen stations and production facilities in Hamburg, Oslo, Aargau, Milan, and Bolzano/Bozen. Let us not forget our transatlantic friends in Whistler, Canada who have continued and improved their fleet of 20 FCH buses in regular operation. New cities and regions that have interests in hydrogen bus deployment are also able to contact the CHIC project to learn more on the steps and integration of Clean Hydrogen In their European City through the Phase 2 help-line. Read more here.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Car Free Day in Kampala Uganda

During the first Car Free Day in Uganda, over 350 people cycled through Kampala’s city centre to raise awareness about sustainable modes of urban transport. The event drew attention to growing concerns over the capital’s traffic congestion and air pollution. Rush hour chaos has become a troubled reality of life in Kampala. Zigzagging matatu’s, crisscrossing boda-boda’s, cars, bikes, pedestrians and livestock fight to be mobile on the cramped and potholed roads of the capital. Foggy residues from old motorised vehicles create an eerie, purplish sky. But this morning is different. About 350 people drive their decorated bicycles freely through the centre of Kampala on the first Car Free Day in East-Africa. Motorised traffic is blocked on the designated cycling route that meanders straight through the capital with help from local authorities and the police. Organiser and Urban Planning tutor at the Makarere University Amanda Ngabirano heads the cycling group. With a determined face he comments: “This is historical. We have claimed the roads!” The atmosphere among the cyclists – mostly young people dressed in professional cycling gear- is exuberant. Bystanders look on in disbelief. Read more here.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

World City Modal Split Database

This open project from EPOMM – the European Platform on Mobility Management does not require much explanation to get started; you can be off and going if you simply to click here and dig into their Google map. That said, a few words of introduction may not be altogether without their use to help you take full advantage of their good work. Just below is what you see when you click to the site. A slight caveat though: one thing that I completely missed the first time around was the menu offering several alternatives, which you will find just to the left of the welcoming line and toward the top of the screen. You will see that the menu offers a handful of options including a capacity to select cities, compare cities and also a form here which will allow you to enter data on your city to further enhance the usefulness of this collaborative tool. We find that this tool gives considerable food for thought, as well as valuable information for planners and policy makers, and we hope you will have a close look and communicate your reactions either to our readers and directly to the EPOMM team. Please contact Glen Turner at LEPT or you can  also contact the country administrators on the EPOMM country pages.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Measuring Public Transport Performance

How can we make public transport a more attractive and viable mode of travel? What do our riders expect from our services and how can we serve them better? How can we make our cities more sustainable by increasing the modal shares of public transport? What sort of indicators shall we develop to evaluate and benchmark our existing public transport systems? Most developing country cities and public transport authorities face these questions as they take on the big challenge of augmenting and improving public transport services. While doing so, cities need an effective performance measurement system for public transport which helps them assess their progress and define where they want to go in the future. This technical document describes the role that performance measurement can play in public transportation planning and management, the need for developing cities to adopt performance evaluation and the steps for initiating this. The document also presents examples on performance measurement from various cities across the world and their experiences. The information in this document will be useful to policy makers, analysts, and practitioners involved in urban transport planning and particularly public transport planning and provision in cities, in both developed and developing countries.

Monday, December 12, 2011

And the winners are .... Amsterdam and Hong Kong

Using 11 criteria Arthur D. Little assessed the mobility maturity and performance of  cities worldwide. The mobility score per city ranges from 0 to 100 index points; the maximum of 100 points is defined by the best performance of any city in the sample for each criteria. In addition the study reviewed and analyzed 39 key urban mobility technologies and 36 potential urban mobility business models. The average score of the 66 cities was close to 65 index points (64.4 points). Which means that in average the 66 cities just achieve two thirds of the potential that could be reached today, applying best practice across all operations. Only two cities (Hong Kong, Amsterdam) scored above 80 points, with just 15 per cent of cities scoring above 75 points. Some remarkable results: Cities that promote walking, cycling, bike-sharing, car-sharing and smart mobility cards as part of an integrated mobility vision and strategy do reduce travel times, fatal accidents and carbon emissions. The average city achieves only two thirds of what is possible today by applying best practice across all operations. If cities in emerging regions replicate the pathway that cities in mature regions have followed, they run the risk of introducing the very same problems of poor modal split, high carbon emissions and low travel speed. Read on here.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Occupy [W]All Streets

Occupy All Streets: The Role of Carfree Cities in a More Sustainable World (shorter version) from J.H. Crawford on Vimeo.

Delhi plans congestion charge to ease gridlock

No one could fault the plan for lack of ambition: to tame the choked streets of India's notoriously chaotic capital by imposing a congestion charge modelled on that in London, Singapore and a handful of other cities. The Municipal Corporation of Delhi, the authority charged with providing civic services to the city, hopes to introduce a system to levy a 150-rupee (£2) fee on cars, motorbikes and even rickshaws entering central areas during the day. "This will help reduce congestion … [and] encourage people to use public transport," the head of the authority, KS Mehra, told local press. Lorries will be made to pay a higher fee. A congestion charge has existed in Singapore since the 1970s and various systems have been successfully introduced in London, Rome, Milan and several Scandinavian cities in recent years. Authorities in Beijing recently said they were considering congestion charging, and other Chinese cities such as Shanghai and Nangjing are reported to be interested. But no city of the size and complexity of Delhi has attempted to introduce such a scheme. Few doubt the necessity of radical measures in India's capital. A decade of rapid economic growth means there are now 6.8m vehicles on Delhi's roads, at least twice as many as five years ago. Read on in The Guardian here.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Bicycles with real power

It’s not finalized yet, but there’s a breakthrough in the European Parliament discussion on allowing for more powerful motors in electric bicycles. It will mean that e-bikes with a power output of over 250Watt (and with pedal assistance limited to 25 km/h) will remain excluded from the type-approval for mopeds and motorcycles. As a result, they will remain classified as bicycles. Here a majority of the MPE’s voted in favour on one of the amendments on Rapporteur and avid motor rider van de Camp’s report on the new type approval. This amendment pleaded for the exclusion from the type-approval of all electric pedal assisted cycles with assistance up to 25 km/h without specification of a motor output limit, because speed and not power is the determining safety factor. With the majority of the European Parliament in favour of allowing more powerful motors in e-bikes as long as the pedal assistance power stops at a 25 km/h speed; such electric bikes will become suitable for usage in hilly and mountainous areas. Next to that e-bikes with bigger motors will find a wider usage for people suffering from obesity, for three-wheelers developed for physically impaired people, for vehicles developed to transport cargo etcetera. Read more in Bike Europe

Monday, December 5, 2011

Changin course in Urban Transport in Asia

Cities in Asia should transform their transport systems to provide growing urban populations with greater mobility while ensuring a healthy and attractive urban environment, says a new book published jointly by the Asian Development Bank and the German GIZ: Changing Course in Urban Transport – a major factor behind the rise in global greenhouse gas emissions. The publication showcases low-carbon transport from around the world, which, if replicated on a large scale, could make Asian cities greener and more livable.  The book highlights the importance of urban planning, traffic demand management, public transit, non-motorized transport, streetscape design, road planning, low-emission vehicles, and freight planning to promote sustainable transport in mushrooming cities. The 205 page document contains more than 250 high quality images on urban transportation. With pictures as the evidence the document shows best practices of cities that have "changed their course" in addressing urban transport problems. Registered SUTP download here (36.08MB).  Not registered? Click here


Monday, November 7, 2011

Cyclists should shift 'safety gear'

According to SWOV, the Dutch Foundation for the Research of Traffic Safety, it’s time for a culture shift: one should by now also confront cyclists with their behavior when they risk their own and other people’s safety. In such cases, not simply everything should be allowed. “Everything is permissible” was the cyclist’s slogan for many years “This created the notion that bicycle lights were superfluous; that it was normal to make a right turn on red; and in one-way streets it was taken for granted that bicycles could ride in the opposite direction. This form of civil disobedience led in the last two cases to the official adoption of these traffic habits. In addition to concern for the infrastructure, more concern for cyclists’ behavior is necessary in the interests of their safety. There has been much research into the effects of automobile driver behavior on traffic safety. The time has come to do the same for cyclists.” The number of cyclist fatalities declines slower than the number of fatalities for other traffic participants; the number of severely injured cyclists grows faster than the same for other groups, according to the SWOV. The SWOV intends to deal with this safety issue through the instigation of the “The National Cycling Research Agenda”. Read more here.

Friday, November 4, 2011

One plug fits all

The European motor industry has agreed on a common system for charging any electric car across Europe. The ACEA, the automobile manufacturers' trade association, wants one type of plug to become standard for all electric cars. The association wants regulators, infrastructure bodies and rivals across the world to adopt the same standard. Currently, several types of charging methods are used and this has resulted in the "fragmentation of the market across Europe and abroad. The main agreement announced by ACEA relates to a standardised plug. Reaching agreement on what sort of plug to use to recharge electric cars might sound easy. Not so. It is not just about agreeing on using the same plug; it is also a matter of how much electricity should be pumped through it, and how fast this should be done. Some electric cars have batteries designed to be charged slowly using ordinary household plugs, others to charge quickly using dedicated fast chargers. Traditionally, carmakers see such differences as competitive advantages that can be used to get a leg-up on the competition. But for once, when it comes to electric motoring, they see eye to eye. Read more here.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Sustainable Mobility in Times of Financial Crisis (1)

“Cycling Is the New Golf. Middle-aged men and women have decided that they are better off spending three or four hours on their bike than hitting a little white ball around a fairway.” This comment is made by Humphrey Cobbold, chief executive of Isis Equity Partners; owner of Wiggle in Bike Europe. He considers to float the UK based online bike retailer as cycling increases in popularity. According to a recent article published in the renowned UK newspaper The Guardian; the growing interest in cycling is spurring Wiggle’s growth. The company’s 2010/2011 turnover in the year to 31 January, reached GBP 86.8m (100.9m euro) and more than quadrupled in the last five years. Profits surged 43% to GBP 10.2m (11.9m euro) in 2010/2011. The article in The Guardian notes: “Even without the buzz generated by high-profile wins such as Mark Cavendish's recent triumph in the world championships road race, the sport has a growing amateur fan base with sportives – cycling competitions – popular fixtures. Britons are also queuing up to compete in triathlons, with last month's event in London, which attracted 13,000 entrants, the world's largest.”

Thursday, October 27, 2011


It’s finally possible! Driving a car inside Amsterdam without the high costs of owning a car or the bother with parking. And with hardly any CO2 discharge. Electric driving is going to get a big boost in the coming years, partly thanks to ‘Amsterdam Elektrisch’. Logical, because it’s cleaner, quieter and saves energy. No wonder that Amsterdam is the first city in Europe where 300 car2go electric smarts are used. Where you can now use them 24/7. The basic point is clear: electrical car use in the city without bother. Reserve a car? Not necessary. A subscription? Not necessary. Take the car back to a depot or to where you got in? Not necessary. Bring it back before a certain time? Not necessary. You just get in where you want and drive off. You can also park anywhere, completely free. Car2go means flexible car use inside the operating area. You only pay for the number of minutes you use the car. Everything is included in the fee, electricity, parking, service costs, insurance and road tax. You move about quickly and comfortably with a car2go. And you contribute to a better quality of life in our city. Is this what you want as well?

NRGSPOT Amsterdam

The JCDecaux city furniture operator and energy company Eneco have deployed a new kind of information kiosk in Amsterdam’s Rembrandtplein. The kiosk also serves as a charging station for electrical bicycles, mopeds and scooters. Consumers owning a so-called “OV chip card” or some other RFID-pass are able to recharge their electrically powered vehicles there free of charge. If this pilot turns out to be a success, the city can be equipped with many new charging stations which won’t require any extra municipal space . The installation of this commercial information kiosk, named NRGSPOT, is part of a pilot-project of  JCDecaux en Eneco. The increasing popularity of electrically powered transport requires a growing need for charging station in the capital city. The NRGSPOT makes the most efficient use of public space since it combines various functions in only one object. Thus hundreds of new charging stations can be created without requiring extra space. Amsterdam has been chosen as a suitable municipality for implementing this pilot since it leads the country in the area of electrical transport. Read more here.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Minneapolis versus Portland!

Despite its cold weather and spread-out development patterns, a Midwestern city beat Portland, San Francisco and Boulder for the title of #1 Bike City. Jay Walljasper explains how. People across the country were surprised last year when Bicycling magazine named Minneapolis America's #1 Bike City, beating out Portland, Oregon, which had claimed the honor for many years. Shock that a place in the heartland could outperform cities on the coasts was matched by widespread disbelief that biking was even possible in a state famous for its ferocious winters. But this skepticism fades with a close look at the facts. Close to four percent of Minneapolis residents bike to work according to census data. That’s an increase of 33 percent since 2007, and 500 percent since 1980. At least one-third of those commuters ride at least some days during the winter, according to federally funded research conducted by Bike Walk Twin Cities. Even on the coldest days about one-fifth are out on their bikes. Minneapolis also launched the first large-scale bikesharing sytem in U.S.—called Nice Ride — and boasts arguably the nation's finest network of off-street bicycle trails. Read much more here in Planetizen.

Friday, October 7, 2011

30km per hour maximum speed

Today marks a decisive day in the push for 30 km/h speed limits throughout Europe. The European Parliament adopted a resolution in which it “strongly recommends the responsible authorities to introduce speed limits of 30 km/h in all residential areas and on single-lane roads in urban areas which have no separate cycle lanes. This resolution is part of a wide range of measures to halve Europe’s 31,000 annual road fatalities by 2020. The number of kids that walk or cycle to school has decreased from 82% to 14% within the last 30 years. Injuries fall by 25% when 50 km/h zones are redesigned for 30 km/h according to the Dutch research institute SWOV.  An EU-wide survey conducted in 2010 showed overwhelming support for 30 km/h zones with 78% of EU drivers citing excessive speed as a major safety concern.  The Institute of Advanced Motorists from the UK released a poll last month in which two thirds of its members supported the adoption of 20mph (32.19km/h) speed limits. As for enforcing these speed limits, the Parliament has also requested the European Commission draft a proposal and timetable to fit vehicles with “intelligent speed assistance” (ISA). Read more here.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Floating Dutchman

The amphibious bus, Floating Dutchman, has made its maiden trip between Schiphol and Amsterdam.  The amphibious bus called Floating Dutchman, on which tourists can travel from Schiphol to Amsterdam finally made its maiden trip. The Ministry of Infrastructure and Environment blocked the approval for a long time, thinking there were still some technical problems with the vehicle. As of now, the bus sails and drives three times a day from the Airport of Schiphol to Amsterdam. Tourists can take the bus at 9am, 12 or 3pm. When there’s enough time, the bus can make a fourth round trip, depending on weather and water conditions. The bus, owned by shipping company Lovers, cost €2.5 million which is three times more than originally thought. A ticket costs €39. The city of Amsterdam hopes to attract more tourists to the city. Whether you have a transfer at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol or want to start your holiday with a splash, the Floating Dutchman is the most spectacular way to experience Amsterdam. The bus leaves from the airport to the city. Once there, it will 'splash' into the canals and show you highlights of the city, before taking you back to the airport!

Velo Mondial proudly presents

Cycling For Everyone from Dutch Cycling Embassy on Vimeo.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Glamour, Velo Mondial's key word

‘The Global Sport Market Estimate’ is now also focusing on bicycles as well as bike parts and accessories. NPD’s survey on the 2010 bike market shows total retail sales (after VAT) valued at 32.9 billion euro (45.8 bn US dollar). This includes the sale of bikes parts, accessories, rental, maintenance, cycling shoes and cycling apparel. In 2009 the value stood at 29.9 billion euro (39.5 bn US dollar). The NPD data, provided exclusively to Bike Europe, further notes that the average price of a bike stood at 179 euro (249 US dollar) in 2010. NPD’s 6th survey ‘The Global Sport Market Estimate’ further deduced that cycling is the number 1 sport market in the world in terms of revenue, ahead of any other sport. It is accounting for 15% of the global sport market in 2010; was 14% in 2009. The survey further says: “Electrical bikes have yet to prove that they are a mass market product in Western Europe. We believe what is missing is a touch of glamour on the bikes and they are expensive in comparison with traditional bicycles. So the interesting question is at what level of price will we observe that the demand for hybrid technology products will start to rocket and hit the mass market.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Portland The Next Phase

Portland is nationally recognized as a leader in the movement to create bicycle-friendly cities. About 7 percent of commuters here travel by bike (the national average is under 1 percent) and the city has an ambitious plan, adopted last year, to increase that proportion to 25 percent by 2030. Until recently, Portland’s bike initiatives focused on improving the transportation infrastructure. But as businesses awaken to the purchasing power of cyclists, “bicycle-supported developments” are also beginning to appear around town. These are residential and commercial projects built near popular bikeways and outfitted with cycling-related services and amenities. The change is coming from the private sector.  But not everyone is unreservedly enthusiastic about the district’s new orientation. In some neighborhoods businesses and many residents see bicycles as a symbol of the gentrification taking place in the neighborhood. The city’s Bureau of Transportation is considering working with the Bureau of Planning on bicycle-oriented developments, possibly connected to “cycle tracks” — physically separated bike lanes that have some of the permanence of a streetcar line. Read more in the  NYT

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Workplace Travel Plans.

The European project COMMERCE has developed standards and guidance for the delivery of successful workplace travel plans across the EU. This constitutes a benchmarking tool to compare travel plan quality as well as a management tool for self improvement. They have been designed to be relevant to public and private sector stakeholders. The criteria to be fulfilled are organised under the following headings: Strategic focus, Stakeholder commitment, Site audit and Travel Survey, Objectives and targets, Actions and measures, Monitoring an evaluation, Costs and cost benefits. The criteria belong to either a basic, an intermediate or an advanced level of workplace travel planning. In order to achieve a certain level, the business should be able to demonstrate compliance with all criteria from that level. The glossy publications of the Travel Plan Standards are available in English, French, Romanian, Bulgarian, Lithuanian and Hungarian. The Pan-European Workplace Travel Plan Awards (PEWTA) awarded best practice in Travel Plans. They proved to be a real success attracting 111 applications over 3 years, and extended awareness to countries where the value of travel plans was not well known. Read more here.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

New York gets it's Bike Share

New York City Department of Transportation (DOT) Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan and Deputy Mayor Howard Wolfson today announced the selection of Alta Bicycle Share, Inc. to develop and operate a privately funded bike share system in New York City, the first step in the process of bringing a low-cost and accessible 24-hour transportation option to New Yorkers. The New York City bike share system will launch in 2012, and will include approximately 10,000 bicycles, distributed at 600 stations in Manhattan south of 79th Street, as well as in Brooklyn neighborhoods from Williamsburg, Crown Heights and Bedford-Stuyvesant to Park Slope and Carroll Gardens. Options for additional stations in other boroughs are also being explored.  “With bike share, we’re reinventing the wheel by providing an affordable transportation option that’s there when you want it,” said Commissioner Sadik-Khan. “Whether it’s covering the last quarter mile from the subway or reaching that dead zone between stations, bike share offers a great, new way to get around in a New York minute and will bring needed jobs and revenue to the city.” In addition, DOT is launching an online Web portal VeloMondial congratulates New York, TA and Alta Planing.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Cargo Hopper Utrecht

In the Dutch CIVITAS MIMOSA city of Utrecht a partnership between municipal agencies and a company called Hoek has lead to a new type of truck delivery appearing on the streets. In both Utrecht and Enschede, retailers in the core of the inner city agreed to have needed goods shipped by large freight trucks to a depot ten kilometers outside city limits, then trucked by Cargohopper tiny electric "truck train" delivery vehicles directly to shop locations. This solves two problems - no more huge trucks idling in the shopping streets during peak hours (there are already strict rules in place in the Netherlands limiting delivery times), and less need for shopkeepers to have big loads delivered, as the Cargohopper can make smaller, more frequent deliveries from the depots each day. The Cargohopper is a long and narrow "train" that easily maneuvers Dutch inner cities' cramped streets. It has a maximum speed of just 12 kilometers per hour, which is deemed fine for the deliveries the Cargohopper makes. The Cargohopper can go do about 60 kilometers of deliveries each day and each of the truck trains can reduce diesel fuel use by 20,000 liters annually, and cut CO2 emissions by 30 ton. Have a look for yourself at this video.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

'We Need Safe Footpaths'

A study that benchmarks the pedestrian infrastructure of six Indian cities was released by the Clean Air Initiative for Asian Cities (CAI-Asia) in a publication titled ‘Walkability in Indian Cities’. The walkability study serves to help decision makers prioritize planning and investments to improve non-motorized mobility in India. In addition to the availability of pedestrian footpaths, it also includes other parameters such as accessibility to crossings and amenities and road safety issues, such as motorists’ behaviour towards pedestrians. Pune scored the highest walkability rating (54 out of 100) followed by Rajkot, Bhubaneshwar, Indore, Surat and, Chennai with a score of 40 out of 100. Demonstrating the challenges ahead, the walkability rating at bus stops and railway stations scored the worst in all six cities, with an average score of 39. Residential and commercial areas averaged 52 and 57 respectively with Bhubaneshwar and Pune scoring the highest among the cities. It is pertinent to note that Indian cities were way below their Asian counterparts. Improving the pedestrian facilities significantly reduces the shift from non-motorized transportation to two wheelers and cars.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Accessible Utrecht

As the website behind an initiative entitled Accessible Utrecht,  will use the Google Traffic ‘live map’ to show real time traffic information on the city's roads. Joint communication about major road construction from all the city’s transport infrastructure bodies is one of the main goals of “Accessible Utrecht”. The Accessible Utrecht website provides local citizens, commuters and companies with an overview of planned road works in a dynamic map. The website services over 150,000 visitors a year and is also accessible for smart phones. The ‘Live’ map provides a full view of what’s happening in and around the area. Information can be seen on all major road works planned by the various authorities (municipality, province and transport administration) in the Utrecht Region. Plus, people can find information about special events, public transport schedules, webcam views on major roads, Park & Ride locations, train stations, traffic jams, bicycle services, bike rental and car sharing services. For more information see

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Cycling worth £2.9bn to UK economy

Dr Alexander Grous, a productivity and innovation specialist in the Centre of Economic Performance (CEP) at the London School of Economics has published a report that shows cycling produces £2.9bn every year in total benefit to the UK economy. Titled The British Cycling Economy ‘Gross Cycling Product’ Report the 17 page document shows how the the growth of cycling over the last five years, with high profile sporting success in Beijing besides, is continuing to effectively pump real money into UK plc's bank balance. The report is sponsored by Sky and British Cycling with Sky's Group Director of Corporate Affairs Graham McWilliam starting off plainly in his welcome, "We believe this is the first-ever attempt to chart the full extent of cycling’s contribution to the British economy" with Dr Grous continuing in the introduction that having attempted to quantify the contribution of all aspects of cycling, he's calculated that each individual cyclist's personal contribution as a result of their riding is £230 per year. Certainly sections like "more cyclists equals less time off work' should see this report zinging into the inboxes of bosses and human resources departments across the country. Read on here.

In a hurry? Slide in Overvecht (NL)

Monday, August 22, 2011

Ultra @ Heathrow

ULTra vehicles are rubber-tyred, battery-powered vehicles, easily capable of carrying 4 passengers and their luggage, and are fully accessible to prams and wheelchairs. With a turning radius of only 5m (16 ft) and an empty weight of 850kg (1,870 lb), the vehicles can navigate complex routes with lightweight infrastructure, and are virtually silent when running, producing little or no external vibration. The innovative design of the ULTra system combines a lightweight guideway with a highly  manoeuvrable vehicle to allow great flexibility in both infrastructure design and positioning. ULTra can operate below-grade (e.g. via cut-and-cover tunnelling), at-grade, or above-grade (elevated), and the quiet, emission-free nature of the electric propulsion allows routes to be run internally through buildings if desired. A low loading footprint means that the system can be carried by conventional building structure with no need for structural strengthening. These features allow the ULTra stations to be positioned in optimum locations, allowing the system to be fully and effectively integrated into the area it will serve. And as a bonus: ULTra vehicles are spacious enough to carry multiple bicycles on-board

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

For 35,000,000 Europeans

Commissioned by the European Union, the Gallup Organization held a survey among citizens of the EU-27 countries. The bicycle is the primary means of transport for more than 35 million Europeans or 7% of the total population. Not surprisingly, the car is by far the most popular way to go from A to B for 53% of the Europeans. Initially the survey examined the current means of transport that EU citizens used to get around on a daily basis. These ranged from a car or motorbike, to public transport, cycling and walking. Not surprisingly a third of respondents in Netherlands (32%-34%) said that they mainly got around on a daily basis by walking or cycling. Besides the Netherlands cycling is also taking a substantial part of the non motorized mobility in other EU member states.Cycling is definitely not a matter of limited income proven by the fact that in Cyprus, with the lowest average income in the European Union, 89% of all mobility takes place by cars while the portion of people cycling is neglectable.  Statistical results were weighted to correct for known demographic discrepancies. For the complete survey click here. Read on in Bike Europe. Picture Copenhagenize.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

How the Dutch get out of a car

As an American who has been living in Amsterdam for several years, Russell Shorto is struck, every time he goes home, by the way American cities remain manacled to the car. He wrote an article about this in the New York Times: While Europe is dealing with congestion and greenhouse gas buildup by turning urban centers into pedestrian zones and finding innovative ways to combine driving with public transportation, many American cities are carving out more parking spaces. It’s all the more bewildering because America’s collapsing infrastructure would seem to cry out for new solutions. Geography partly explains the difference: America is spread out, while European cities predate the car. But Boston and Philadelphia have old centers too, while the peripheral sprawl in London and Barcelona mirrors that of American cities. More important, I think, is mind-set. Take bicycles. The advent of bike lanes in some American cities may seem like a big step, but merely marking a strip of the road for recreational cycling spectacularly misses the point. In Amsterdam, nearly everyone cycles, and cars, bikes and trams coexist in a complex flow, with dedicated bicycle lanes, traffic lights and parking garages, thanks to a different way of thinking about transportation. Velo Mondial is promoting this way of thinking in the Amsterdam Mobility Embassy that will be set up in the fall.

Friday, July 15, 2011

San Francisco holds the wrong debate

San Francisco drivers know that to travel east or west through much of the city, Fell and Oak Streets offer a rare path of progress: up to four lanes wide, one-way, fast-moving and laced with synchronized traffic signals, otherwise known as “light karma.” The good times, however, could soon be over. The San Francisco Municipal Transit Agency is in the early stages of a plan that could squeeze cars on these popular routes to make room for bike lanes — by eliminating travel lanes or by removing street parking spaces. The project is emerging as the biggest showdown to date between automobile drivers and those who advocate greener travel options.  The project would add bikeways connecting the Lower Haight’s popular Wiggle bike route with the Panhandle park. Advocates say bikeways are safer for cycling, which has grown in popularity in recent years; some 7 percent of city trips are now by bike, according to the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition. There are fears that removing a travel lane will increase automobile congestion. Read on in the NYT. Velo Mondial adds that this is the wrong debate; it should not be car lanes versus bike lanes, but about accommodating all and making the corridor more efficient. The experience proves that this is very well possible; we are ready to help out.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

NY's Teething Problems

Bicyclists trying to get legally from one side of Central Park to the other have long faced a challenge: because the park’s pedestrian paths are closed to cyclists, they have to either ride the looping vehicular drive south and then head north again. Now, in an experiment hatched by the Central Park Conservancy and the city’s Department of Parks and Recreation cyclists will be permitted to share with amblers and dog walkers one of two crosstown paths as long as they ride slowly. Really slowly. Like five miles an hour. Given the state of New York City’s bike wars, the announcement of the plan has stirred fierce debate. It is being hailed by bicyclists and pro-cycling organizations and denounced by anti-bike forces, particularly on the Upper East Side, where some residents fear collisions. The Upper West Side may indeed be more bike friendly, with several members of the pro-biking group Transportation Alternatives also being on the community board. By contrast a leader of the Defenders of the Historic Upper East Side, said, “We have an older population in Community Board 8 and they complain they’re already terrified by the population of bicyclists going in the opposite direction on one-way streets.” Read more in NYT.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Sustainable Mobility Plans for Oxford

OXFORD is to trial its own “Boris Bikes” cycle hire scheme in the hope it will be rolled out in a city-wide scheme. Visitors to Thornhill Park and Ride will be able to park up and hire a bicycle under the plans, which mirror a scheme introduced by Mayor of London Boris Johnson. Oxfordshire County Council chiefs say the trial will go to the city’s four other park and rides if successful. It is part of a Government cash boost that has also given the green light to a 500 space expansion of 850-space London Road park and ride for 2013. Two new buses will also connect it to hospital sites and the city centre. The £3.5m plans were hailed as a key move towards cutting congestion and street parking, particularly among Oxford Brookes University and hospital workers. Rodney Rose, cabinet member for transport at Oxfordshire County Council, said of the bike scheme: “It will be so much quicker for workers to get to work that way and relieve congestion for everybody else.” The news was welcomed by residents, who said park and ride users often leave their cars across her drive and on grass verges: “If it has the desired affect then I will welcome it with open arms. The idea of supplying bikes is absolutely brilliant.”Read on in The Oxford Mail.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Life without cars?

While American cities are synchronizing green lights to improve traffic flow and offering apps to help drivers find parking, many European cities are doing the opposite: creating environments openly hostile to cars. The methods vary, but the mission is clear — to make car use expensive and just plain miserable enough to tilt drivers toward more environmentally friendly modes of transportation. Cities including Vienna to Munich and Copenhagen have closed vast swaths of streets to car traffic. Barcelona and Paris have had car lanes eroded by popular bike-sharing programs. Drivers in London and Stockholm pay hefty congestion charges just for entering the heart of the city. And over the past two years, dozens of German cities have joined a national network of “environmental zones” where only cars with low carbon dioxide emissions may enter. Like-minded cities welcome new shopping malls and apartment buildings but severely restrict the allowable number of parking spaces. While some American cities — notably San Francisco, which has “pedestrianized” parts of Market Street — have made similar efforts, they are still the exception in the United States, where it has been difficult to get people to imagine a life where cars are not entrenched. Read on in NYT.
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Thursday, June 9, 2011

Cheap and efective; test site example for VM partner cities

Knitting Graffiti in Tallinn

Part of Tallinn public transport will undergo a dramatic make-over which will bring a smile to many faces. Already a big hit internationally, Knitting Graffiti has its eyes firmly set on revitalising the public transport travel experience in Tallinn. Pillars of the underground bus terminal and one regular bus will be soon wrapped in coloured woollen knitted scarves along with a central park in Tallinn. The bus will literally be wrapped both inside and out. Scarves will cover seats and a sticker imprinted with knitted scarves will cover the outside of the bus. The wonderful colours and textures of the handmade crafts will make the bus terminal and vehicle warm, friendly and inviting. To make sure the event remains a big surprise; all that can be said is that the launch day will take place some time in June. Stay tuned for further updates! To learn more about the Image of Public Transport, CIVITAS MIMOSA Tallinn will be hosting a workshop on this topic on June 17th  featuring a number of experts in this field. Admission is free and open to: CIVITAS members, transport professionals, business interests, local government, students and environmental organisations.  Find out more or register here.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Dublin sends message to Melbourne

China adopts European Standard

Is it because of big ambitions on rising exports of e-bikes to Europe? Fact is that the Chinese government wants all e-bikes made in the country to meet EU standards as from June 1, 2011. The end of May announced government plans are about phasing out e-bikes that exceed speed and weight limits published 12 years ago. These standards state that e-bikes can weigh no more than 40 kg and cannot go faster than 20 km (12.4 miles) per hour. However, the bulk of the estimated 120 million e-bikes in China have designed capacity of 30-40 kph and typically carry four batteries, which by themselves weigh at least 16-28 kg. Factories whose products do not meet the standards would be asked to close, while owners of e-bikes would generally be asked to stop using e-bikes that do not meet the standards. The government plans stirred widespread fears that more than 2,000 e-bike factories would close, affecting millions of users. 60% of the e-bikes in EU market today come from China. And not all of them are low-end e-bikes equipped with speed sensor for supermarkets and sports chain stores. Read more in Bike Europe.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Road Safety: Follow the money

Of all the organisations controlling the global “road safety” programmes, the key player is the FIA Foundation for the Automobile and Society, a UK based charity set up with a basic donation of $300 million made by the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA), the federation of motoring organisations and the governing body of world motor sport. This comes from FIA’s sale of the rights to ‘commercial exploitation’ of Formula One racing to Bernie Ecclestone and his bankers for about $350million plus an undisclosed annual fee. From this fund, itself derived from the advertisers in Formula One, comes the funding for WHO and World Bank “road safety” initiatives. Trustees include the former FIA President and representatives of national motoring organisations. Formula One, the international motoring organisations, the motor and associated industries literally drive initiatives such as the UN Decade for Road Safety, through bodies such as the Campaign for Global Road Safety, Global Road Safety Initiative, Global Road Safety Partnership, RoadSafe. Read on in the Road Danger Reduction Forum

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Car driving on the reverse in Britain

The decline of driving in Britain may have reached a tipping point. At least that's the idea behind the theory of 'peak car'. Something weird is happening," says Phil Goodwin, professor of transport policy at the University of the West of England. "Car use in Britain is on the decline, but no one is exactly sure why." Goodwin says we have reached "peak car". If he is right, this has important implications for how we design our towns and cities, and where public money gets allocated. Goodwin has been building his argument for peak car in a series of articles in Local Transport Today. His evidence includes that fewer young people are learning to drive. Between 1992 and 2007, the number of 17- to 20-year-olds who held licences fell from 48 per cent to 38 per cent, and for 21- to 29-year-olds, the number fell from 75 per cent to 66 per cent. Also, there has been a decline in private transport's share of trips from 50 per cent in 1993 to 41 per cent in 2008. And, according to Lynn Sloman, director of Transport for Quality of Life, between 2004 and 2008, car trips per person went down by 9 per cent. Of course, this doesn't amount to incontrovertible evidence of the beginning of the end for cars but it would be foolish not to have this debate now. Velo Mondial sees more evidence that the Holy Cow is on the way out. Read on in The Inependant.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Cycling promotion in Amsterdam

The Fietsbazaar project challenges entrepreneurs to make a plan to promote bicycle use among residents of Nieuw-West and simultaneously train youth as bicycle repair people . The project seems to be part of a small boom in social bicycle projects. The entrepreneur with the winning plan will receive 10,000 euro in seed money, plus coaching and affordable shop premises for one year. Bureau Beehive explains that the idea is not to pamper the entrepreneur: “The award is meant to give the entrepreneur an opportunity to develop under favourable conditions during the first year. However, candidates will eventually be judged by their expertise and sound plan, but of course also by their original plans for the (new) role of cycling within the district. The entrepreneur will have to manage on his own, and we’ll judge him on that.” The main objective is to get more people on bicycles in the district, where bicycle use is much lower than in the more centrally located districts. In addition, the entrepreneurs are expected to achieve social goals. The Fietsbazaar is not the only project that wants to combine bicycle services to social objectives. Read more in Nieuwsuitamsterdam

New Ways of Working

A revolution that is taking place in the way we work and commute. The very nature of work is changing: it is no longer a place we go to, it is something we do. For numerous knowledge workers in our society, the job can be done independently of time and place, thanks to modern communication technologies. Through measures like teleworking, flexible hours and tele- and videoconferencing, our need to travel and the moments we choose to travel can be radically influenced. This results in benefits for employees, employers and society, as the work-life balance improves, productivity increases and congestion is relieved. Communication technologies also make it easier for self-employed people to start up a business and work from their homes or from work-hubs close to their homes. Some regions explicitly try to attract these creative talents as a boost for their local economies. The EPOMM e-update is the monthly thematical newsletter of the European Platform on Mobility Management (EPOMM). It is available in EN, FR, DE and IT. Sign up here.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Smart measures in ITS

The latest edition of the EPOMM e-update focuses on Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS). Not only do these systems provide the means to monitor and manage motorised traffic, they also have several promising applications for the "smart measures" of Mobility Management. In the first place, the information gathered through ITS can feed directly into passenger information systems and multi-modal journey planners. In this way, travelers can choose the transport mode that best suits their needs. Also, sustainable modes obtain a level of convenience that allows them to compete with the car. Another major evolution is the development of e-tickets, smart-cards and mobile payment - an evolution that makes public transport meet modern passenger expectations. Did you know for instance that in some cities, you can pay your bus ticket by simply holding your cell phone against a sign at the bus stop? The e-update contains many good examples and web links on ITS. The EPOMM e-update is the monthly thematic newsletter of the European Platform on Mobility Management (EPOMM). It is available in EN, FR, DE and IT. Sign up here. (

Friday, April 22, 2011

Standalone cycling plans: risky enterprise

At a public forum last week at Mission High School in San Francisco, Al Lopez, 71, rested on his cane and addressed a panel of city leaders and department heads, including Mayor Edwin Lee and Nathan Ford, the city’s transit chief.“I’m a cripple,” Mr. Lopez said, and felt endangered by the proliferation of cyclists on streets and sidewalks. Dr. Frank Gilson had a grueling encounter with San Francisco’s bike plan: he found a $65 ticket on his car. The city recently reversed plans to remove 199 automobile parking spaces along 17th Street in the Mission to make way for a bike lane. Some merchants worried that removing parking would hurt business, and they objected to how they had been informed. Instead of notifying residents and businesses by mail — the standard procedure for nearly every other planning matter in the city — many in the neighborhood got the news when someone spotted a nondescript flier taped to a utility pole. Dr. Gilson, a former triathlete, thought the issue was larger. He said that cyclists had become a powerful political force, and that city leaders had forgotten that most people did not bicycle. The debate is fierce and gathers the same type of comments as in New York where cycling policy is under fire.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Guide by cities for cities

The NACTO Urban Bikeway Design Guide is based on the experience of the best cycling cities in the world. The designs in this document were developed by cities for cities, since unique urban streets require innovative solutions. Most of these treatments are not directly referenced in the current versions of the AASHTO Guide to Bikeway Facilities or the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD), although many of the elements are found within these documents. The Federal Highway Administration has recently posted information regarding approval status of various bicycle related treatments not covered in the MUTCD. To create the Guide, the authors have conducted an extensive worldwide literature search from design guidelines and real-life experience. They have worked closely with a panel of urban bikeway planning professionals from NACTO member cities, as well as traffic engineers, planners, and academics with deep experience in urban bikeway applications. A complete list of participating professionals is included here. The intent of the Guide is to offer substantive guidance for cities seeking to improve bicycle transportation in places with competing demands for the right of way.

A Tsunami of cyclists in Tokyo

Over the past 20 years, more commuters in urban areas like Tokyo have been switching gears and choosing to bicycle to work instead of using trains and cars, citing concerns for health, environment, costs and an escape from packed trains. The catastrophe last month has now converted some of the holdouts by proving one more benefit to cycling: you have a means to go home when the trains stop moving. Since March 11, when an earthquake devastated northern Japan and rattled the Tokyo metropolitan area, the streets of Suginami ward have teemed with wobbly bikers pedaling their way to work. On that fateful day, millions of workers were stranded in the middle of the city when virtually the whole Tokyo train and subway system — which together shuttle nine million people in and out of the megalopolis daily — ground to a halt. Railways stopped trains for fear of aftershocks. While most of the trains and subways resumed service toward midnight, hundreds of thousands walked home or took shelter in their offices or public halls. Recently, electric-powered bicycles have also seen something of a boom in demand, particularly in the aftermath of the March temblor. Read more in NYT.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Dutch traffic casulaties down again

640 people were killed in traffic accidents in the Netherlands in 2010. This is 11 percent fewer than the 720 deaths in 2009, and continues the downward trend observed in the last few years. The number of fatalities among people aged under 40 in particular decreased, as well as the number among cyclists and people in cars.  Victims in their twenties do still account for the largest number of traffic deaths. Most of the decrease in the number of traffic deaths is accounted for by cyclists and car drivers and passengers. There were 50 fewer car deaths in 2010; at 246 this was 17 percent lower than in 2009. This group does account for most of traffic deaths however. The number of cyclists killed on Dutch roads fell from 185 in 2009 to 162 in 2010.  Pedestrians were the only group of road users for whom the number of deaths did not decrease. The number of fatal victims in this group has been stable for years now. The number of fatal casualties on Dutch roads has been decreasing since the mid-1970s when it became compulsory to wear a seatbel tand people on mopeds were required to wear a helmet. Since the year with the highest number of traffic deaths, 1972, the number of people killed yearly has fallen by 80 percent. It is anticipated that the number will not go lower than 550 ever. Source: CBS; read more here.


Momo is a European project supported by IEE - Intelligent Energy Europe on car sharing: moreoptions for energy efficient mobility through Car-Sharing. The key objective of Momo is to contribute significantly to sustainable mobility patterns by establishing a mobility culture which is based on using various transport options instead of car ownership. Car-Sharing has a great, but mostly unexploited, potential in Europe. Being a kind of decentralised car-rental service, Car-Sharing complements the sustainable transport modes of walking, cycling and Public Transport – thus giving an alternative to car-ownership without any restriction on individual mobility. With Car-Sharing as a market-based service, transport can be organised more rationally and more resource-efficiently. The European Momo project wants to increase awareness, to improve the service of Car-Sharing and to increase the energy-efficiency within the existing Car-Sharing operations. Momo has the ambitious target of 20,000 new Car-Sharing customers – with significant impacts on transport patterns, energy consumption, CO2emissions and on the reallocation of urban space through the replacement of private cars.

Monday, April 11, 2011


EPOMM is the European Platform on Mobility Management, a network of  European governments engaged in Mobility Management. The network currently consists of Austria, Finland, France, the State of Hessen (Germany), the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Sweden and the United Kingdom. Velo Mondial is member of their Quality Assurance Focus Group for evaluation and dissemination. The monthly EPOMM e-update provides actual highlights and topics within the field of Mobility Management in Europe with topics like: “Innovative Mobility Management Solutions”, “Parking Management”, “ECOMM 2011 – Economic Recession: A new dawn for Mobility Management”. The latest newsletter EPOMM addresses the topic of car-sharing and its role as an essential alternative to the individual motorized vehicles for trips that are difficult to make by other modes of sustainable transport. In this e-update many developments and trends are presented, especially by using the example of the European project MOMO. For more information take a look into the latest e-update. Subscribe to e-update for receiving more information each month automatically. Find all the newsletters also in different languages on the EPOMM website.