Thursday, March 22, 2012

Pas-Port to Mobility

NYU Public Bike Pilot

For the past two years, New York University has had a 30-bike pilot program with 10 locations for its students and employees. The program is but a fraction of the 600 rental stations and 10,000 bikes that will make up the city’s ambitious program, which is to begin this summer. But N.Y.U.’s program does suggest that bike-share programs can work in New York City. On Wednesday, the university added 45 bicycles and made the program permanent. “The demand was very quickly outstripping supply,” said Jeremy Friedman, the manager of sustainability initiatives for the university, who has been working with students to organize the bike-share program. The program started in 2008, when Julia Ehrman, a student and cycling fan, sought to repair old and used bicycles for students to ride. But the cost was too high, so Ms. Ehrman applied with a friend for a grant from the university, and they were given $13,000. After they found that the used bikes were too expensive to repair, they reached a deal with Hudson Urban Bicycles to purchase 30 Biria bikes that the shop had bought for the city’s Summer Streets events. Despite the program’s popularity, it is still a bit of an unknown quantity to some students. Read on for much more in NYT here.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Wisdom of the Crowds

Amsterdam has 881,000 bicycles. The estimate is based on using the Wisdom of The Crowds. This is the average of the estimates obtained from experts, being in this case the Amsterdam cyclists themselves; 2600 panel members who filled in a survey about cycling policy made by the Research & Statistics department of the City of Amsterdam. The average of all the responses came out to 881,000 bicycles. The survey also showed that seven out of 10 Amsterdam citizens find it enjoyable to cycle through Amsterdam (23% found it very enjoyable), and just over 1 in 10 find it (very) unpleasant (11%). The rest give a neutral response (neither pleasant nor unpleasant, 19%). The cyclists that find it pleasant add that it is a fast an easy mode of transport (50%), that they enjoy the surroundings while on the bicycle (19%), and that is sportive and healthy (19%). The good bicycle lanes and facilities and low costs are mentioned less frequently (respectively 9% and 6% of the respondents who find cycling enjoyable). Less pleasant aspects mentioned by cyclists are antisocial traffic behaviour, insufficient safety, and scooter nuisance. Some locations in the city are avoided because of the difficulty of parking bicycles there. Most often mentioned in this context is Amsterdam Central Station. Read on.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Bike your own bus to school

In the Netherlands, bikes abound. And now, they even take kids to school. Behold, the bicycle school bus. The Dutch are bicycle fanatics. Almost half of daily travel in the Netherlands is by bicycle, while the country’s bike fleet comfortably outnumbers its 16 million people. Devotees of the national obsession have taken the next logical step by launching what is likely the first bicycle school bus. Built by Tolkamp Metaalspecials, and sold by the De Cafe Racer company, the bicycle school bus (BCO in Dutch) is powered entirely by children and the one adult driver (although there is an electric motor for tough hills). Its simple design has eight sets of pedals for the kids (ages 4 to 12), a driver seat for the adult, and three bench seats for freeloaders. The top speed is about 10 miles per hour, and features a sound system and canvas awning to ward off rainy days. Co.Exist spoke with Thomas Tolkamp who built the BCO about its origins and how the idea is catching on around the world for the sets of 11 lucky kids who get to arrive in school pedaling their own school bus. People from all around the world like the idea and the Bus Bike got lots of positive interest from the press all over the world and Velo Mondial likes it too.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Horse behind cart ....

Since early 2009, the SaveCAP consortium, led by the Netherlands Organization for Applied Scientific Research TNO, has been developing in-car intelligence to protect cyclists and pedestrians in crashes with passenger cars. The method consists of a sensor on the vehicle which operates a windscreen airbag or the application of automatic braking. According to the SWOV Institute for Road Safety Research in the Netherlands crash tests and computer simulations show that a cyclist often sustains serious injury in a crash with a car when his head hits the windscreen. The airbag will therefore cover the most important parts of the windscreen. The airbag inflates automatically when the cyclist or pedestrian makes contact with the front of the car. SaveCAP is conducting a yearlong sensor field test. Five passenger vehicles participate that are fitted with video cameras that register the different types of interactions and near-crashes with cyclists and pedestrians. The sensor algorithms that are developed will be used for both the airbag and the automatic braking system. A prototype of the airbag is expected to be introduced in the course of 2012. Several parties, among whom car manufacturing industry and EuroNCAP, have already shown an interest in the method.