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