Thursday, December 17, 2009

Piazza Times Square?

When the department of Transportation closed seven blocks of Broadway to cars this summer, New Yorkers were offered an object lesson in how profoundly urban space can be altered by a few traffic barriers and a bucket of paint. Within hours, the newly pedestrianized Times Square was colonized by wanderers, nearby office workers, and tourists calling home (“You will not believe where I am standing!”). But what, exactly, should replace an avenue formerly filled with cars? Three design firms were invited to suggest visionary ideas for the street’s future. None is particularly ... practical. But then again, this time last year, who would have expected to see our most famous boulevard transformed into a piazza? Dutch Designers West 8 created some ideas: It is crucial that Times Square not be further transformed into a theme park or playground: It must be robust, substantial, urban, and timeless, while amplifying the neighborhood’s singular reputation. To make Times Square a true public square, we propose repaving it with an LED-lighted “carpet” whose pattern suggests fireworks, spinning ticker tape, Champagne bubbles, and the New Year’s ball drop. Times Square is dedicated to the idea of verticality. How to add green in such a place? Make high, elevated places for solitary trees—“tree pedestals” that synthesize the Olmstedian lanterns of Central Park and the neighborhood street tree. Read more in NYMagazine.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Amsterdam European Green Capital Finalist

The City of Amsterdam has made great efforts to promote greener means of transport, and successfully. The citizens now prefer bicycles over cars. With roughly 750,000 residents, Amsterdam is the biggest city of Holland and part of the great metropolitan area ‘Randstad’. The Dutch are fond of biking, and Amsterdam has always been a popular city for cycling. And now bikes have overtaken cars! Studies show that in the period 2005 to 2007 residents used their bicycle an average of 0.87 times a day and their car 0.84 times. Approximately three out of four of Amsterdam residents own a bicycle, and bicycles are the most commonly used means of transport. Over the last thirty years, the municipal authority of Amsterdam has worked hard on encouraging bicycle use by providing cycle paths and lanes; bicycle and pedestrian friendly roads and an extensive network of parking facilities for bicycles.The main bicycle routes through the city are part of the ‘Hoofdnet Fiets’ bicycle network. A complex network of bicycle routes through the entire city, which ensures all of Amsterdam is safely and comfortably accessible by bicycle. With this project description and this presentation Amsterdam is running for the European Green Capital Award.

Friday, December 11, 2009

New York leading the way

Bikes will soon become a more familiar sight around office cubicles in New York City. Today a new bike access law takes effect in the city, stipulating that buildings with freight elevators must allow employees to use those elevators to take their bikes upstairs. Passed in July, the law aims to encourage bicycle commuting by eliminating worries about the security of street parking. One company that does offer employees showers, bicycle parking and even a bike-sharing program is the advertising agency Ogilvy & Mather North America. When it moved to a new office on 11th Avenue in Midtown Manhattan, bike parking was a priority, said Gunther Schumacher, Ogilvy’s chief operating officer. The company’s previous landlord had been unwilling to accommodate bikes, as were public garages that Ogilvy had approached about renting space. Now, the agency has racks for 150 bikes in its own garage, including 50 that Ogilvy bought for employees to ride to meetings or run errands. On an average day, about 75 people cycle to work, Mr. Schumacher said. “We’re in a very young industry, and we depend on people who have fresh new ideas on a daily basis,” he said. Read on in the New York Times.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Connectivity for Sustainability

Traffic jams, overcrowded inner city roads, parking problems, environmental issues: it is clear that the city wants to move employees towards alternative means of transport for the car, like public transport, the bicycle or to get there on foot. By using the Personal Travel Assistant (PTA), a next step in accomplishing this goal within urban regions could be made. PTA combines available transport information with a social network, in which the personal diary is shared with other users of the system and their companies through the internet and mobile services. With PTA,commuters can make smart combinations with the travel routes of other participants. A meeting can be scheduled to take place in the metro or a seat on the bus can be reserved. CT-enabled mobility solutions include the Personal Travel Assistant, a service designed to resolve complex, frustrating experiences within urban transportation environments. PTA integrates urban transportation services, experiences, and transactions, providing travel information and support in a convenient format through various information channels and devices . PTA will be pilot-tested in Seoul and Amsterdam to take advantage of those cities many PTA-centric provisioned services, which can be easily integrated into PTA’s Web-based services model. See the movie below and read more here.
video

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Kilometer Charge per kilometer

The Netherlands is set to become the first country in Europe to replace road tax with a kilometer charge for all motorists, over 10 years since the idea was first put forward.If the legislation is passed by parliament, motorists will start paying tax on every kilometer they drive, which the government hopes will reduce traffic jams and pollution. On Friday, ministers agreed that the tax will be three cents a kilometer when the charge is introduced in 2012, rising to 6.7 cents by 2018 - for the greenest cars . But if revenues generated by the tax are not in line with expectations, the tax can be adjusted. The tax will be higher during the rush hour and for more polluting vehicles. To make sure motorists are not worse off, road tax will be scrapped and the purchase tax on new cars will be reduced. Some 60% of drivers will be better off, the government claims. The transport ministry said on Friday it expected fatal accidents will fall by 7% and carbon emissions would be down by 10%. Traffic jams will be halved and the amount of kilometres driven will go down by 15%. Each car will be fitted with a GPS device which will use satellites to monitor where and when the car is driven and send the information to a central billing point.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Support 'Motion for Women' petition

Sustrans Northern Island asks us to pass on the following message: Of the 2% of journeys made by bike in the UK, only a quarter are made by women. Compare this to the Netherlands where of the 27% of trips made by bike, over half are by women. Sustrans surveyed over 1,000 women to find out what they believed would most persuade them and other women to cycle more. Overwhelmingly women wanted more cycle lanes separated from traffic, so Sustrans has launched our Motion for Women petition calling on governments to prioritise the creation of environments that encourage and support cycling, including cycle paths separated from traffic, as a way of enabling many more women to travel by bike. We want as many people as possible who support the petition to sign it at www.bikebelles.org.uk by the 29th November 2009. We will present the petition to governments in December and ask them to extend the choice of cycling to millions of women by investing much more in making cycling safer. Please do pass this e-mail on to others who may be interested in supporting Sustrans’ Motion for Women petition.
Read more here.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Booklet on the New Amsterdam Bike Slam

While the Bike Slam teams were hard at work, leading experts from urban planning and design, transportation policy, cultural anthropology, and advocacy gathered on September 11 at the Center for Architecture to discuss “Global Trends in Sustainable Urban Mobility,” especially as they pertain to New York City. Throughout the day, the primarily American audience was treated to perspectives from a multitude of exceptional speakers who offered opinions wide and varied, including how Dutch cities integrate economic benefits with the planning of space; population groups who are harbingers for significant mode shift (women and elderly); and the strong connections between growing cycling and lowering carbon emissions. Perhaps most inspiring is the consistent theme that benchmarks are not indications for achievement and mark the end of the project, but are markers for improvements and going further. Special guests of the day included Christopher Ward, Executive Director of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, and Janette Sadik- Khan, New York City Department of Transportation Commissioner. Download the booklet here. Have a look at some of the many pictures taken.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Also in Uganda important role for women

Also our friends from the First African Bicycle Information Organisation (FABIO) engages in the contribution of wmen. In their newsletter they write: ' There is no time for delay if the world is to achieve the Millennium Development Goals by 2015. Gender equality and women’s empowerment – the Millennium Development Goal 3 (MDG) – is core to accelerating progress on all the MDGs. Why? Unless the situation of women is deliberately, purposefully and radically improved, we will never eradicate hunger, educate all our children or achieve any other MDG. Only a joint effort will enhance gender equality and women’s empowerment - and thus contribute to achieving all the MDGs. Women are the key to reducing poverty. With programs such as the Bicycle Credit, the Health Care Project and our engagement regarding the challenges of climate change, FABIO aims to accelerate progress. The Bicycle Credit Scheme offers women the possibility to own bicycle paid in installments. With the help of the bicycles they have easier
access to working places, gardens, water sources markets, other villages or schools.There have been steady improvements in many of the world’s poorest countries, but still there is a lot to do…

More cyclist on the road? Target for women!

In the U.S., men’s cycling trips surpass women’s by at least 2:1. This ratio stands in marked contrast to cycling in European countries, where urban biking is a way of life and draws about as many women as men—sometimes more. In the Netherlands, where 37 percent of all trips are made by bike, 55 percent of all riders are women. In Germany 12 percent of all trips are on bikes, 49 percent of which are made by women. “If you want to know if an urban environment supports cycling, you can forget about all the detailed ‘bikeability indexes’—just measure the proportion of cyclists who are female,” says Jan Garrard, a senior lecturer at Deakin University in Melbourne, Australia, and author of several studies on biking and gender differences. Women are considered an “indicator species” for bike-friendly cities for several reasons. In the cycling arena, risk aversion translates into increased demand for safe bike infrastructure as a prerequisite for riding. Women also do most of the child care and household shopping, which means these bike routes need to be organized around practical urban destinations to make a difference. Vlo Mondial agrees: if you see an elegant woman cycling to work or theater you know life is good in that city. Read more here

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Bike Racks for Dubai

Approximately 2,000 parking slots for bicycles have been constructed by the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) and another 4,000 are in progress across Dubai. They have been constructed to encourage road users to also use bikes as part of a daily routine. Maitha Bin Adai, CEO of RTA Rail Agency, said: “RTA has completed construction of 2,000 parking slots for bicycles, 200 of which have been opened with the launch of Dubai Metro. The step is part of a comprehensive plan to prepare parking slots for thousands of bikes in all parts of the emirate, particularly in the vicinity of commercial centers. “Construction of these parking spaces is carried out according to top quality specifications and standards to ensure that they will be easy to use, with maximum safety and minimal risk of causing injury to users and pedestrians or sustaining damage to bikes during parking. Velo Mondial's friends from RTA are keen to have in place the required security & safety standards for bicycles and cyclists, and protect the beautiful setting of Dubai such that cyclists will be tempted to park their bikes at the designated places rather than randomly parking them on roads and squares. Read more here!

NOISE MAP EUROPE

The European Environment Agency (EEA) has launched the most comprehensive map of noise exposure to date, revealing the extent to which European citizens are exposed to excessive acoustic pollution. The NOISE (Noise Observation and Information Service for Europe) database provides, at the click of a mouse, a picture of the numbers of people exposed to noise generated by air, rail and road traffic across Europe and in 102 large urban agglomerations. Noise is ubiquitous but its role as a key form of pollution with serious human health consequences is still underestimated. Prolonged exposure to even low levels of noise can trigger hypertension and disrupt sleep. A first glance at Europe's noise exposure map is far from soothing: it is estimated than half of the population in urban areas with more than 250 000 inhabitants endure levels above 55 dB as a result of ambient road noise. Just over 41 million Europeans are exposed to excessive noise from road traffic alone in the largest cities. Users of the NOISE database can view the extent of data reported in accordance with the directive on a colour-coded map. Enter the NOISE Viewer here

Monday, October 26, 2009

Dublinbikes

DUBLIN CITY Council is to increase the capacity of its Dublinbikes rental stations in the coming weeks because of the huge popularity of the scheme. The council also has longer-term plans to introduce new station locations and increase the number of bikes available to users. More than 16,000 people have subscribed to the scheme since it was introduced just six weeks ago, making it the most popular city bike scheme to date in Europe, according to the council. “More than 11,500 people have registered for annual passes and around 4,000 for day or three-day tickets, so we’re absolutely chuffed with it,” council communications manager Michael Sands said. There is also a very fast turnover of bicycles with an average usage time of 16-17 minutes. Rental is then free for half an hour and costs 50 cents for the first hour, rising to €6.50 for four hours. However, the popularity of the bicycles and the rapid turnover has resulted in a shortage of bicycles at many stations and a shortage of free spaces to return bicycles at others. The additional spaces will be paid for by JC Decaux, the out-door advertising company which won the contract to provide the bike scheme in return for advertising space in the city. Read more.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Transport Month in South Africa

The October Transport Month campaign is a national initiative that seeks to profile public transport services, highlight socio-economic and environmental benefits from the use of public transport and informing the public about measures to reduce congestion on the roads. Themed 'Safety in all modes of Transport: System readiness for 2010, Sisonke siyaphambili akujiki' the campaign will be focusing on the user, operator and infrastructure in ensuring safety of commuters. Car Free Day takes place on the 20th October 2008 and is one ofthe flagship activities of the Public Transport Month campaign. The Car Free Day concept is still a pilot project in South Africa and its success is largely dependent on the commitment and support of the citizens. The support role that the people can play will go a long way in ensuring that as citizens of the world we take responsibility for the environment, not only for ourselves, but for future generations. Car Free day should provide an opportunity to discover another way to practice mobility while at the same time offering a reflection process on what is at stake in terms of the environment when it comes to the air and noise pollution in cities. Read More here. The picture was taken on the predecessor of Car Free Day: The first Vehicle Free Event in 2003.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Italy takes cycling serioulsy

On September 25; just two hours after the start of Italy’s second bike buying incentive scheme already 2,000 bicycles were sold with a total government subsidy of 230,000 euro! On September 18, at the opening of the 67th EICMA International Bicycle Exhibition show Italy’s Minister of the Environment Stefania Prestigiacomo announced that the government has allocated another 7.6 million euro to spur consumer purchases of bicycles; earlier the Italian government granted in total 11.4 million euro as incentives for buying bikes. These millions (which were also allocated to spur people to buy new and more environmental friendly scooters and motorcycles), resulted in about 40,000 bikes extra sold in Italy. The extra 7.6 million is however expected to raise an even much better sales score of 70,000 bikes. Italy’s Minister of the Environment Prestigiacomo stressed at the start of the campaign the importance to dedicate government funds for the development of cycling paths and routes. She pointed to the fact that most of the thousands villages and cities in Italy have old city centers which are ideal for bicycles and e-Bikes! Read on.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

And the winner is ......

It was Saturday night in the meatpacking district. The velvet ropes were out; a rumbling bass pulsed out of every club. Well, nearly every club. At Cielo, which says on its Web site that it is “purpose-built for dancing with a centrally located sunken dance floor,” no one was shaking it. Instead, a rapt crowd, many of them sitting on the purpose-built dance floor, watched two teams of Dutch and American designers make pleas for their plans to improve bicycle riding in New York City. A slow-turning disco ball cast speckled light across the audience, but all eyes were on a pair of monitors on a stage and Team Amsterdam’s presenter. “You think that’s enough greenways?” Michael Mandiberg, a Brooklyn-based artist and designer, asked the crowd as he pulled up a map of Manhattan, its West Side and East Side bike paths highlighted. Mr. Mandiberg and 11 other designers, architects, planners and bike thinkers from the United States and the Netherlands were in the final competition stage of the New Amsterdam Bike Slam. After days of touring the city on bikes and brainstorming to create a vision to spur a million more cyclists onto New York’s streets, the two teams were coming into the final stretch and pitching their plans.

Monday, August 31, 2009

New Amsterdam Bike Slam Part 5

New York City is changing, and safe and abundant cycling is part of the new face of the city. It's one thing to hear about it from those in the middle of the often painful process, but it can be bracing to ask an expert from outside to have a look and report what they see. This is a celebration of active transportation in NYC – how New York is leading the way to the post-Motordom city. With an interesting comparison to Portland and Vancouver. Visit New York City with Gordon and his camera, and check out the state of play as things stand as of summer 2009. Gordon is Director of the City Program at Simon Fraser University. A former six-time City Councilor in Vancouver, he has written extensively on Vancouver and transportation issues. Cycling NYC 2 presents 34 pages of photographs and commentary on what works, and what is causing friction as the cycling agenda gets pushed ahead by a strong team with high, consistent commitment from the highest levels of local government, with vigorous support from transport and environment groups, the non-profit sector, academics and specialized consultants, citizens and increasingly the media. Read more in World Streets.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

New Amsterdam Bike Slam Part 4

The New Amsterdam Bike Slam is a high-profile, positive public event which offers an open collaborative way for helping New York and anybody else who is ready to learn from their experience to move together from old to new mobility. The Slam approach offers a number of interesting and useful characteristics which those of us who care deeply about the transition to sustainable transportation have not always given sufficient play in the past. At the end of the New Amsterdam Bike Slam, one team will emerge the winner for having the most creative - and practical - vision for making New York Harbor a bicycle friendly area with good quality of public space. The winning team will present convincing solutions combining a host of disciplines, including but not limited to urban design, marketing and traffic safety. On September 13 (the day after the battle), Mr. Job Cohen, Mayor of Amsterdam, will convey the prize to the winning team on the waterfront in Manhattan. The movie you see here is about another big American city, but could have been about New York. The movie shows the challenge for New York and other major cities.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

New Amsterdam Bike Slam Part 3

New York and Amsterdam, like many other global cities, face challenges regarding mobility and requiring immediate solutions. An urgent look at necessary changes in mobility is the objective of the symposium ‘Global trends in sustainable mobility.’ For that purpose we have invited speakers to debate ideas that would further our thinking about cities and mobility. How did Amsterdam and New York get to where we are now with regard to mobility and what analyses can we bring to the table? What are the systematic differences in urban planning between New York and Amsterdam? Do these differences only exist in the field of mobility or has it other psychological and cultural backgrounds? What makes cities not only livable, but attractive to live in, and what good can mobility bring or bad by making things disappear? Can cities live with less or no petrol cars at all and what does such an idea do to the economy? How will public transport play a role in the triangle with emission rich mobility and more sustainable modes of transport? This issues will be discussed in the Symposium: 'Global Trends to Sustainable Mobility' September 13, 2009 in the Institute for Architecture in New York. Read more here.

New Amsterdam Bike Slam Part 2

Four hundred years after Henry Hudson's arrival in Manhattan, two teams of Dutch and American planners & designers face off in a battle for the future of New York City transportation. Their challenge: find ways to bring NYC cycling up to the level of the Netherlands, the only country in the world with more bikes than people. The New Amsterdam Bike Slam is being organized in New Amsterdam (sometime also referred to as "New York City") from 10-13 September 2009. It is an initiative of Amsterdam Cycling to Sustainability, produced by Vélo Mondial and Transportation Alternatives, with funding from Transumo and the City of Amsterdam. After three days of preparation, the New Amsterdam Bike Slam teams face off in a live debate “battle,” and compete to provide the most compelling vision for making lower Manhattan and Brooklyn a bicycling area on par with Amsterdam. The battle begins at 10:00 pm, followed by a late night dance party at the renowned Meatpacking District club, with DJ John Julius Knight. Full background on the program: http://newamsterdambikeslam.org/.


Saturday, August 8, 2009

Autolib: Paris' Electric Car Sharing Plan

A plan to make 4,000 electric cars available for Parisians to pick up and drop off at rental stands still has some kinks to be worked out. Could the City of Lights soon become the City of Electric Cars? Paris Mayor Bertrand Delanoë, building on the success of the city's popular Vélib curbside bike rental scheme, is planning to deploy a fleet of 2,000 electric cars that customers can pick up and drop off at rental stands around the city. Another 2,000 vehicles will be offered in two dozen surrounding cities. The green scheme, dubbed Autolib (short for "automobile" and "liberté"), is scheduled for launch as early as the end of 2010, although city officials say the startup date could be closer to mid-2011. Advocates say the system would reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 22,000 tons a year while improving traffic congestion as fewer Paris residents would need to own cars. It would be the first major city to offer such a service. "This could revolutionize transport," Delanoë told French radio station RMC when he first proposed the program in June 2008. Now, after numerous delays, Autolib is finally going forward, with the formation this summer of an intergovernmental council for Greater Paris that will oversee the scheme. Read more in Business Week.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Amsterdam Cycling to Sustainability in context

Velo Mondial works with many partners towards sustainable mobility plans. programs and policies. Sustainability policies in Amsterdam however do not limit to mobility but also range to Energy, Waste, IT, Design, Finance, Food, Built Environment. Last year, the Amsterdam Innovation Motor facilitated, initiated and coordinated a number of promising projects: Amsterdam Smart City: to promote smart energy and applications related to smart energy; AIM to Sustain: a network that connects all the companies in the field of sustainability; Amsterdam Cycling to Sustainability: in which knowledge about sustainable mobility is spread as widely as possible. All of these projects contribute to a more sustainable working and living environment - at companies, knowledge institutes, government institutes and, of course, with the inhabitants of Amsterdam. The synergy between the various sustainability projects of the municipalities within the Amsterdam Metropolitan Area radiates energy. Collaborating, inspiring one another, and learning from each other are the keys to creating a more sustainable environment. Velo Mondial is happy to be part and parcel of all this. Read on here.

Monday, August 3, 2009

EyeStop

Imagine if your local bus stop allowed you to check your e-mail, share community information on a digital message board or monitor the local air quality? And perhaps best of all, what if it could tell you the exact location of that bus that you're waiting for? MIT architects and engineers just unveiled a design for such a bus stop this past Saturday, at the Genio Fiorentino festival in Florence, Italy. (A more formal prototype will be unveiled this October.) Called EyeStop and developed by the MIT SENSEable City Lab, it takes the tedium out of waiting for the bus and showcases the potential of next-generation urban transportation design. The EyeStop is partially covered with touch-sensitive e-INK and screens, and features state-of-the art sensing technologies and a variety of interactive services. Riders can plan a bus trip on an interactive map, surf the Web, monitor their real-time exposure to pollutants and use their mobile devices as an interface with the bus shelter. Unlike the typical mass-produced bus stop, EyeStop is designed to fit the physical characteristics of its surroundings. A computer program generates a unique design for each bus stop, providing both optimal sheltering for users and maximum sunlight exposure for power generation. In addition to displaying information, the bus stop also acts as an active environmental sensing node, powering itself through sunlight and collecting real-time information about the surrounding environment. Read more here.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

E-bikes is about revenue and profit

It’s safe to say that e-Bikes are a genuine trend in the Netherlands. In the past few years electric bicycles have become so popular that even car brands are using them nowadays as incentives to sell their 4-wheelers. In case The Netherlands is setting the trend for the whole of Europe (and who is denying that?) then the bike sector is in for a treat as in The Netherlands e-Bikes now count for 26% of all the money dealers make from selling new bicycles.“With e-Bikes a market opened up that is not to be looked upon in terms of volume as with regular bikes; it’s about revenue and profit.” This quote is from a spokesperson from GfK Retail Tracking - the company whose retail panel is able to pinpoint exactly how many e-Bikes were sold in Holland last year through various distribution channels. That number stood at 124,250. The majority, about 80%, were sold through dealers at an average sales price of € 1,945. Of the total of 124,250 e-Bikes sold last year in Holland, 97,800 were sold through dealers, where they accounted for 17% of total turnover. About one third of sales are Gazelle and Giant while at fifth place stands Koga-Miyata.” Read more in Bike Europe.


Tuesday, July 28, 2009

NOWAITTRANSIT: high tech approach to sustainable mobility

Today about 3 billion live in cities, and the transport in the cities will increase by 200% till 2050. The increase is particularly high in developing countries that also produce most of the population growth. These markets have serious financial limitations and current mass transit solutions are too expensive. The NOWAITTRANSIT ® track is constructed as a closed loop filled with cars individually coupled to each other through a distance beam. Each vehicle consists of an 8 m long car beam, an 8 m long distance beam, two bogies and a passenger compartment. Hence, the NOWAITTRANSIT ® vehicle is 16 m long and 1,6 m wide. Each bogie consists of two conventional railway wheels and three guide wheels, which precludes derailment. The passenger compartment is located on top of the car beam via suspension system. Due to the factor 10 relation between vehicle length and vehicle width the speed is reduced by the same factor 10 as the vehicle rotates 90 degrees while entering a station. As the vehicle leaves the station it is rotated back to its initial position and the speed is regained. Much more can be read here.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Non-motorised transport, sustainable yet vulnerable!

In 2007 I had the honor of addressing the World Road Congres with a speech on the vulnerable road user. Benoit Beroud of BB MobiliT France (ex-Saône Alpes Mobility Consultant), and I prepared this speech with a research document. In 1990, road accidents were the 9th most common cause of death in the world. If no action is taken, they will become the 3rd most common cause by 2020. In 2002, according to the report of the WHO1, there were 1.2 million deaths and between 20 and 50 million people injured, a very sad track record for road accidents in the world. 90 % of these road accidents take place in developing countries, and around 90% of the victims are vulnerable people: pedestrians, passengers or bicyclists2. How can we better their traffic conditions and improve their safety? The users of “green” transport do not expose themselves to the same risks as with motorised ones; the twin needs of safety and comfort are therefore partly at odds. First of all, their resistance to collisions with vehicles is insignificant. Secondly, they do not reach the same speeds. Thirdly, they look for the shortest way in order to save energy and reduce their efforts sometimes at their own risk and peril! Read the article here, both in French and in English.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

10 measures to promote cycling

Annually some 4 million kilometers are covered by car for trips within 7,5 kilometers in the Netherlands. These short trips generate extra emissions of pollutants since the engines are cold and consistent driving behavior is often impossible in cities. Local authorities are therefore particularly interested in decreasing the number of short car trips.The bicycle is a powerful tool against short polluting car trips in towns, as demonstrated by a study within the framework of SOLVE (fast solutions for air and traffic) of CROW research institute. The result is a list of the ten most likely measures. No fewer than five of the ten likely measures are based on promoting bicycle use. The following 10 measures are included in the shortlist: - priority for cyclists at traffic lights - make a town impossible to traverse by car (segmentation) - providing good and safe bicycle routes - improve accessibility of schools for cyclists in comparison to motorists - decrease number of parking places - parking at a fee/higher parking fees - maintenance of bicycle parking facilities - free/high-quality bicycle parking - delivery services - promote independent cycling by children.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

New Amsterdam Bike Slam Part 1

In 1969, architect and urban planner Ulrich Franzen articulated, through the film below, a bold vision to reclaim Manhattan’s congested streets as open space free from cars and trucks. Forty years later, our sense of urgency about the ecological imperative of transforming how we transport goods, information and people from place to place has increased, but the terms of the debate about how to accommodate the various competing uses of our streets have not changed much. Road-based, limited-occupancy vehicles still provide the most flexible and often most comfortable routes around the city. Critics who pit cars against people often seem to forget that people drive cars, buy the products trailer trucks deliver and produce the waste that garbage trucks remove. These days, the policy prescriptions that aim to limit city-dwellers’ reliance on cars tend to take the form of disincentives and prohibitions, such as congestion pricing or restrictive parking. Recent design initiatives in New York City, most visibly the Department of Transportation’s appropriation of street space for quiet zones or bicycle lanes, represent pro-active steps in a positive direction. Read more here.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Bus Rapid Transit System: an above-ground subway

Like most thoroughfares in booming cities of the developing world, Bogotá’s Seventh Avenue resembles a noisy, exhaust-coated parking lot — a gluey tangle of cars and the rickety, smoke-puffing private minibuses that have long provided transportation for the masses.But a few blocks away, sleek red vehicles full of commuters speed down the four center lanes of Avenida de las Américas. The long, segmented, low-emission buses are part of a novel public transportation system called bus rapid transit, or B.R.T. It is more like an above-ground subway than a collection of bus routes, with seven intersecting lines, enclosed stations that are entered through turnstiles with the swipe of a fare card and coaches that feel like trams inside.Versions of these systems are being planned or built in dozens of developing cities around the world — Mexico City, Cape Town, Jakarta, Indonesia, and Ahmedabad, India, to name a few — providing public transportation that improves traffic flow and reduces smog at a fraction of the cost of building a subway. Read more in the NYT



Friday, July 3, 2009

The best public bike system in the world?

Adam Cooper writes in World Streets why he thinks Canada's BiXi is the best public bike system in the world. He says: Watch out world, the city of Montreal is on the move: this time powered by pedals. The second largest city in Canada is now home to North America’s largest bike sharing program. The BIXI system (Bicycle + Taxi) is Canada’s first attempt at large scale bike sharing; and from my initial experiences I will say it is extremely well done, maybe even the best in the world. Beginning in the summer of 2008, Stationnement de Montreal, the City’s parking authority, was mandated to design, build, operate and maintain a bike sharing system, by the Montreal City Council. Less than one year later (May 12, 2009) the BIXI program was up and running. Operated by a non-profit company (the Public Bike System Co.), BIXI provides 3000 Canadian designed and manufactured bicycles at 300 stations located across the core of Montreal. The system can be reconfigured for large public events and stations not functioning at their maximum utility can be expanded or contracted to meet the supply and demand constraints.Although BIXI is still in its infancy, there is no doubt in my mind that this technology will be exported to other cities in Canada. Read more here.

New Cycle Racks for Amsterdam

Amsterdam is preparing for more new and better bicycle parking facilities. At the moment the center of Amsterdam has 10.241 bicycle parking facilities, catering for 33.839 bicycles. The demand for bicycles has however staggered in recent years. To alleviate the situation Amsterdam is planning for a number of bicycle parking garages and many more bicycle racks. There are many options for bicycle racks and therefore the city has organized a test situation with 19 different racks. The users of the racks can vote which one they like best. It can already be seen who will win: the ones that are occupied all the time have obviously the preference. Have a look at the variety of options and if you read Dutch go here to read more of Amsterdams ambitions regarding bicycle parking in a city where more people ride a bike then people drive a car into the center of the city. In 2007 56% rode a bike when entering the city versus 24% a private car and 20% public transport. These figures have already altered in 2008 and 2009 and as soon figures become available you will read them in this blog.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Cycling in The Netherlands NEW EDITION

Information about the organisation and substance of Dutch bicycle policy is so often requested that a new actualised brochure was produced.
English: Cycling in The Netherlands 2009
Deutsch: Radfahren in den Niederlanden 2009
Français: Le vélo aux Pays Bas 2009
Español: La bicicleta en Países Bajos 2009
The brochure offers compact information about a broad range of subjects, like: Bicycle use, Traffic safety, Motives for cycling, Why is cycling so successful in the Netherlands, The Dutch approach, Ways to promote bicycle use, How to find more information?, Who cycles in the Netherlands?, Success and fail factors for bicycle use, Arguments pro cycling, The Dutch approach, Effective cycling policy, Organization and responsibilities regarding to cycling in the Netherlands, The bicycle as a vehicle for common everyday use for every purpose, Bicycle education, Concrete measures, 27 examples from all over the country , Many photos.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Amsterdam moet veilig worden voor onze fietsende kinderen!

Wij, bezorgde ouders van Amsterdam, constateren: Steeds weer worden Amsterdamse kinderen slachtoffer in het drukke Amsterdamse verkeer. Dat is absoluut onacceptabel. Er moet nú iets gebeuren. Onze kinderen móeten veilig van en naar school kunnen fietsen. Nog steeds is fietsveiligheid geen speerpunt van beleid en door gebrek aan centrale aansturing krijgt dit onderwerp niet de aandacht die het in Amsterdam verdient. Met doden en gewonden tot gevolg. Daarom hebben we, als bezorgde ouders, een tienpuntenplan opgesteld. Met deze maatregelen willen we van Amsterdam een veiligere fietsstad maken. Wij roepen u op deze maatregelen met de hoogste prioriteit uit te voeren. In het belang van de Amsterdamse kinderen, in het belang van Amsterdam. en verzoeken Maak de veiligheid van onze kinderen speerpunt van uw beleid. En ga over tot het uitvoeren van het volgende tienpuntenplan

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

New York, Paris new bicycle cities

Word Streets interviewed Paul White from Transportation Alternative and concluded the interview with some lessons for New York from the Paris experience with Critical Mass Bike Rides over these last years. And even though the basic cultures are so different, here are a few thoughts that come to mind:
1. Transportation professionalism.
2. Iron discipline
3. Be there or be square
4. Have your man in City Hall
5. Be your own good cop
6. Communicate like a winner
At the same time New York's Commissioner for transport Janette Sadik-Khan closed off part of Times Square, a brave act with a massive impact. Read more in the New York Times. Also the Summer Streets Program 2009 will give New Yorkers a chance to see carfree streets. Much of the Park Avenue will have no traffic at all on three Saturdays this summer, as the city shuts down 6.9 miles of Manhattan roadway in a reprise of last year’s Summer Streets program.
The Battery Park at the tip of Manhattan will be using Acorn Cycles “bakfietsen” (Dutch for “bucket bikes”) to turn the park into a “green zone”, with less unnecessary green house gas emissions. By doing this the park wants to set the example for a sustainable solution for transportation in all US parks.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Finally a World Health Report on Road Safety; long overdue

The World Health Organization (WHO) announced on Monday its first global report on road safety worldwide. The news is grim. The report is based on data drawn from a survey of 178 countries. It concludes that something on the order of 1.3 million people are dying in traffic accidents each year, that this number is accelerating, and that anywhere from 20 to 50 million people are injured as a result of traffic crashes. If you check out their five minute video on this page, you will hear them reminding us that these numbers sum to one person being injured in traffic every second, and someone dying -- being killed rather is a more accurate way to state it -- every thirty seconds. Of these totals roughly half (46%) of the victims killed on streets and roads worldwide are pedestrians, cyclists, and riders of motorized two wheelers – the most vulnerable road users. Dr. Kelly Henning, director of global health programs at Bloomberg Philanthropies, the foundation that has sponsored and paid for the work behind the report, recommends that the answer lies in more laws and better enforcement of them. Read more here or go to the WHO page for details. You can also click on the picture.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

New York here we come

Luud Schimmelpennink, the winner of the first Amsterdam Cycling to Sustainability Pioneer Award wrote a nice article in Worldstreets. His opening paragraph: "Back in the 1960s, when I was young, and I thought smart, the idea occurred to me and some of my friends that bicycles were surely the best way for people to get around cities. We could see that for ourselves every day on the streets of Amsterdam. However as we thought about it, it struck us that something was missing. So we came up with something we called the White Bicycles. Free bikes".He ends with writing: "But here in closing is my final, respectful and a bit less direct message which I should like to share with all of you in Washington who have been charged by President Obama with the responsibility of creating sustainable transportation projects, sustainable cities and sustainable lives for people of all economic and social classes across the United States. Do not shy away from an idea just because it may at first glance strike you as a bit crazy. Sometimes that is the way it is with a new idea that really could make a difference. So before automatically saying no, just because the idea strikes you at first as untenable, get comfortable, sit back and think it through from the beginning. You may find that within it are the germs of a great idea. A benevolent virus.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Velib Paris changes more than just Paris

The JCDecaux Vélib bike scheme in Paris was responsible for what had almost every Capital in the world contemplating about public bike hire schemes. Since July 2007 Paris was all of a sudden the world capital of rental bikes. Once again the bicycle was in the spotlight as the healthy, zero-emission alternative for the traffic congestion most big cities are struggling with. The first statistics show the success of the Vélib in Paris: every bike is being rented on average ten times a day and around 300,000 people, mainly Parisians, have already taken annual subscriptions. There is more to come as a growing number of cities are setting up self-service rental bike schemes. Chicago is interested, as well as Moscow, Washington, Geneva, Roma, Beijing and Sydney. Read more about the public bicycle in 'Cycling on the rise' by Spicycles. The public bicycle system is also having a huge effect on the sales for bicycles around the world. The offering in bikes is dominated by sports orientated bikes like MTBs and road racers. With the biggest cities in the world implementing rental bike schemes, the demand for City, Trekking and folding bikes is growing and with that also the demand for hassle-free transmission systems. Also the 'standard rental' bikes market is increasing. Read more in Bike Europe.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Shopping by Free Bike in San Sebastian

To promote cycling as a normal means of transport for shopping, the city of Donostia-San Sebastián, is giving away 170 free bicycles to people that shop in the city centre. The campaign was launched on the 20th of May when shops in the city centre started handing out “scratch & win” cards to customers. On the 6th of June, 170 happy cyclists ride off on their new black bikes equipped with a useful basket to carry their groceries. The “go shopping on your bicycle” campaign is an initiative of the city of Donostia-San Sebastián and the shopkeepers associations of Zaharrean and Centro Erdi. The shops that are members of the associations are handing out scratch & win cards to their clients. The bicycles are handed out to the lucky winners during a joint event on Saturday morning 6th of June at a time when there are lots of people shopping in the city centre.The campaign supports the package of CIVITAS measures on cycling being implemented in the city of Donostia-San Sebastián. Within CIVITAS the bicycle lane network will be extended and new bicycle parking facilities will be developed. In 2009 450 meters of new exclusive bicycle lane was added on Xabier Lizardi street. Read More.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

'Bikes And Chill’ By AAArchitecten & UQ Design

AAArchitecten together with UQ Design have received first prize in the Poly Products Competition for their project ‘Bikes and Chill’. Constructed from fiber reinforced composite material the covering hides a semi recessed bicycle parking facility, whilst the outside has the shape of a bench where people can rest and relax. The bike bench consists of separate components that can be connected to form a curving pattern. ‘Bikes and Chill’ was initially conceived for the square outside The Hague central station, the Netherlands but it can also be used in other environments such as schools and parks. With the winning design ‘Bike & Chill’ the designers were not only the main design requirement: the application of a fiber reinforced composite. The jury praised the winners because of the multiple functions of the product. The plastic casing houses a bicycle, while the exterior is designed as a bank. Here, people can relax, read a book or just enjoy the Sunday. The design is also of value as a form response element in the public space. Read more in archiCentral.


Tuesday, May 26, 2009

The Ultimate way to Vanmoof

As one of the densest and flattest countries in the world, The Netherlands has a long tradition of using bikes for transportation means. The bicycle has been our vehicle of choice since the 19th century and the Dutch are leading experts ever since. The world is catching up and discovers the advantages of going around town by bike. In NYC alone commuting by bike went up 34% from 2007 to 2008 and 170 miles of new bike lanes are created. An increase in clogged up traffic and fuel prices stimulated this trend. But the bike innovations did not keep up with the urban needs. Creating a stylish, comfortable, urban-proof bike became the challenge of VANMOOF. “We were inspired by the good old-fashion Dutch bike”, explains the 28-year old Dutch designer Sjoerd Smit. The result is the first bike that is so smooth that it fits your image and yet so functional it makes you go to work whistling. It is the bike you want to be seen on, the car of the future! The VANMOOF has a striking aluminum rust-free frame with a highly advanced solar powered LED light system built inside its tubes. To turn them on, you simply wipe the keychain over the frame.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Cycling fashion on the streets of Amsterdam

On Saturday 30 May, 2009 again a fashion show for cyclists will be held on the streets of Amsterdam. The designs are a selection from the entrants in a competition that aimed to make cycling safer and more fashionable, organised by the Nuova Accademia di Belle Arti (NABA) in the Milan shopping district in September last year. This year the show in Amsterdam is an initiative of the Italian Institute of Culture in Amsterdam, in collaboration with the NABA and cyclists’ organisations. More than 60 designers took part in a competition and in September 2008 a cycling fashion show took place in the shopping district in Milan, arousing great attention from the press and the public. A number of selected articles will now be shown in the streets of Amsterdam, as a contribution to a safer mobility and to more comfortable cycling. Saturday, May 30, 2009 – From 10.30 to 12.30. Itinerary: Muntplein, Amstel, Magere Brug, Kerkstraat, Reguliersgracht, Rembrandtplein, Kloveniersburgwal, Oude Hoogstraat, Damstraat, Dam, Damrak, Beursplein. Velo Mondial will take pictures and show them here after the event.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Safety? NOT my Problem!

Safety is often deemed the Cinderella of the transport and travel world, especially in relation to public and collective transport. Car manufacturers and airlines are ahead of the game, but public authorities seem less inclined to spend on preventing events that may never happen! Buses travel at the same speed as cars, but with standing passengers; whereas car occupants are strapped to their seats! Perceptions of safety whilst travelling have become of increasing importance to travelers. Indeed safety issues often act as a barrier to walking on street for even short trips, cycling and using public transport. The loss of revenue, missed health improvement opportunities and positioning the car as the preferred mode of transport is the result, but the real cost to the community is hidden. The CIVITAS MIMOSA consortium has decided to confront these issues head-on in an open workshop in Gdansk on 5 June 2009. If you want to hear set-piece presentations on wonderful solutions to problems then this workshop is NOT for you. Instead we want to present and discuss problems; maybe you have some of the same too? Experts will be on hand to advise, and the outcome will be real plans for tackling the issues in cities.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Famke Jansen rides her Oma Fiets in New York

Bakfiets en meer reports: 'Actress Famke Jansen rides her WorkCycles Omafiets through the streets of New York. Actually it concerns me less that she’s a semi-famous celebrity type (former Bond-girl etc.) than that it’s just a cool photo of a good looking Dutch woman nonchalantly riding her good looking Dutch bike through Manhattan. Yes, the bike is a WorkCycles-Azor Omafiets, purchased from WorkCycles dealer Dutch Bike Seattle.'
One comment Velo Mondial likes reads: 'Famke looks like an ordinary, albeit very pretty, New Yorker getting from one place to another by bicycle. She’s not geared up or sweating, nor is she yelling at anyone, violating traffic laws, praying for anarchy, or nearly running over hapless pedestrians. She’s an effortlessly cool, clean-showered, law abiding bike rider. And, knowing she’s a movie star adds more: she could have anything and she’s choosing a black Azor over a black Escalade and making life easier on everyone else. Thanks, Famke!'
We would like to add: If you see a scene like this in a city, you know that life is good there.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Master Class Sustainable Urban Mobility

Amsterdam: 14 -16 September 2009
How can sustainable mobility contribute to quality of life in urban areas? This is the key question in the international master class ‘Sustainable Urban Mobility’ in Amsterdam. The modern city is confronted with many challenges concurrently: air pollution, noise, spatial segregation, congestion and a lack of accessibility. In the master class urban planning, economics, psychology and sustainability are integrated into the common fields of mobility, transport and traffic management. Participants are introduced to a new approach to sustainable urban mobility: the most optimal blend of economic, environmental and social solutions to the myriad of challenges we face. Nicis Institute, Amsterdam Innovation Motor, Delft University of Technology, Transumo and Velo Mondial have joined forces in the development of this master class. The master class is supported by ‘Amsterdam Cycling to Sustainability’. In the three-day programme 14 -16 September 2009 - the expertise of the various partners is combined to offer the participants state of the art knowledge on the conceptual and practical implications of developments in the field of sustainable mobility in Europe’s cities.
Read more here in the brochure in preparation of the Master Class. Email Bart Nijhof or call him at NICIS: +31703440513. Click here for the registration form.

Catch them young

Healthy habits have to be established at an early age. This is not rocket science, but common sense. Introducing children to cycling in schools as both a way of getting to and fro and a leisure pursuit is therefore key. This is what Bike It does so well. The Bike It officers that we have worked with have inspired children and our own projects, and been a wealth of knowledge. The Bike It project works directly with schools making the case for cycling in their school travel plans, supporting school champions who want to promote cycling, and demonstrating that cycling is a popular choice for children to get to school. The project adds to local investment in cycle routes and bike sheds by involving pupils, teachers and parents and enabling them to take the small steps which are necessary to make a real difference. During 2005/06 Bike It built on the success of the previous pilot year. By June 2006 an average of 10% of pupils in Bike It schools were cycling regularly to school. The National Travel Survey shows that the national average is 1%. Counts of parked bikes during the year show a near trebling of cycle use from a base of 3.7% of pupils cycling in September 2005. Read more about this succesful SUSTRANS program here.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Bike Europe endorses Spicycles

Bike Europe, a leading European magazine on cycling, endorses the succes of the work done by the Spicycles cities Barcelona, Berlin, Bucharest, Gothenburg, Ploeisti and Rome with their partners Velo Mondial from The Netherlands, ISIS from Italy, Goudappel Coffeng from The Netherlands, DB Rent from Germany, CPI Progetti from Italy, the University of Rome and ATAC from Italy. Bike Europe writes: The huge popularity of public bike rental schemes like Velib in Paris didn’t escape the attention of the EU government. The European Commission initiated an extensive study to the implantation of public rental bike systems in Europe over the past two years. The outcome of this study was recently published by SpiCycles that carried out the study. SpiCycles discusses nine subjects in its final report. These are; finances, the implementation of bicycle measures, the future orientation, institutional cooperation, human resources, bicycle parking, users’ acceptance and preferences, communications and awareness, local partnerships.

Batteries Not Included

Shai Agassi stood in a warehouse on the outskirts of Tel Aviv one afternoon last month and watched his battery-swapping robot go to work. He was conducting a demonstration of the curious machine that is central to his two-year-old clean-energy company, which is called Better Place. Agassi’s grand plan is to kick-start the global adoption of electric cars by minimizing one of the biggest frustrations with the technology: the need for slow and frequent recharges. The robot is the key to his solution. Unlike most electric-car technologies, which generally require you to plug your car into a power source and recharge an onboard battery for hours, the Better Place robot is designed to reach under the chassis of an electric car, pluck its battery out and replace it with a new one, much the same way you’d put new batteries in a child’s toy. Electric cars have long been a fetish object for environmentalists: electricity can be produced from wind, solar or nuclear sources with little or no CO2. But now even the auto industry seems to be taking the idea of the alt-car seriously. When the Big Three filed their restructuring plans earlier this year, all aggressively emphasized their intentions to begin producing electric vehicles and hybrids. Read more in The New York Times here.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Sitting up straight, Glamorously! 2

Are New Yorkers ready for the Dutch bicycle? Some see the World War II-era bike as so retro that it’s become fashion-forward. 200 Dutch-style bicycles are coming to New York as part of the 400th anniversary of the Henry Hudson’s landing in New York City. Not just any Dutch bicycles, orange Dutch bicycles. “Very orange,” as the deputy mayor, Robert C. Lieber, put it at a ceremony introducing the bicycles. They were presented by the Dutch government to the city on Thursday morning on Queen’s Day, essentially the Dutch equivalent of the Fourth of July. The Dutch take their bicycles very seriously — so seriously that they are the only country in the world where there are more bicycles than people in their country, said Frans Timmermans, a Dutch cabinet minister at the ceremony. There are 1.1 bicycles for every person. About 27 percent of the trips are made by bicycle, and it is a standard way to get around their country. And since there are essentially no school buses, children bike to school. Read more in The New York Times.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Making streets safer for seniors

Transportation Alternatives' Safe Routes for Seniors campaign started in 2003 to encourage senior citizens to walk more by improving their pedestrian environment. Funded by the New York State Department of Health's Healthy Heart program, this was the first program of its kind to address the needs of elderly pedestrians. In 2008, the City of New York launched its own Safe Streets for Seniors initiative based on TA's Safe Routes to schools. Focusing on 25 areas with high senior pedestrian fatalities, this program is paving new ground. Yet, some including seniors not in these zones are asking, is it enough? Stats released by Transportation Alternatives show that: People aged 65 years and older make up 12% of the population, yet they comprised 39% of New York City's pedestrian fatalities between 2002 and 2006. The fatality rate of senior pedestrians is 40 times greater than that of child pedestrians in Manhattan. This video is an overview of what Transportation Alternatives, New York State Department of Health, NYC DOT, community groups, and elected officials are doing to promote safe streets for seniors.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Sitting up straight, glamorously!

Cycling sitting up straight while wearing normal clothes, on a city bike with chain guard, fenders, a rack and a dynamo. This way of cycling has been promoted by Velo Mondial many years now. According to the New York Times, it is now becoming a trend. The newspaper quotes the owner of a vintage bicycle shop who says that not car culture, but bike culture is the problem, meaning that “the discourse about city biking is dominated by cycling zealots who don’t have the desire, or the skill, to attract people who don’t see themselves as cyclists, just as people who ride a bike to work”. Marketing bicycles as fashion items may be the way to save cycling from the cycling zealots, the New York Times suggests. Fashion store Club Monaco is selling somewhat dull Gazelle replicas of an 1892 ‘grandma’ bicycle. Incidentally, a similar approach was taken by bicycle mender Joep Salden from Utrecht, who designed a bicycle (pdf) that is only sold in fashion stores and interior design shops. In some bicycle stores, city bikes are now the biggest growth area. Meanwhile, bicycle commuting in New York rose by 35% from 2007 to 2008. Read more in News from Amsterdam.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Amsterdam Going Green, Smart & Fast

Among Amsterdam's 17th century town houses and meandering canals, big changes are afoot. On Utrechtsestraat, a major shopping avenue in the center of the Dutch capital, street trash soon will be collected by nonpolluting electric trucks, while the electronic displays in local bus stops will be powered by small solar panels. Elsewhere, 500 households will pilot an energy-saving system from IBM (IBM) and Cisco (CSCO) aimed at cutting electricity costs. An additional 728 homes will have access to financing from Dutch banks ING (ING) and Rabobank to buy everything from energy-saving light bulbs to ultra-efficient roof insulation. The projects, all getting under way over the next few months, represent Amsterdam's initial steps toward making its infrastructure more eco-friendly. The move comes as governments worldwide set aside billions of dollars to create so-called "smart cities," or towns that mix renewable projects, next-generation energy efficiency, and government support to cut overall carbon dioxide footprints. Yet, unlike cities that could take decades to upgrade their infrastructure, Amsterdam aims to complete its first-round investments by 2012. That makes it one of the first and most ambitious adopters of the smart city concept, attracting attention from policymakers worldwide hoping to glean lessons from the green experiment.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Velib Challenges vandalism

Despite the vandalism problems not only a new and more vandalism-proof Vélib bike is now being developed but also that the scheme is expanded with another 300 hire stations and 3,300 bikes. Vélib is currently being rolled outside the city for the first time. Recently the first of 29 suburbs was plugged into the network. Before the end of the year the cycle hire scheme is to be extended to the suburbs surrounding the French capital. Paris mayor Bertrand Delanoe, who championed the original scheme and who lobbied for it to be extended to the suburbs, recently inaugurated the Boulogne network. The expansion of the network is costing Paris city € 8 million. JC Decaux, the advertising group that covers the cost of Velib, picks up the bill for labour and local authorities for roadworks. The fact that Paris city is paying for the Vélib stations and bikes in the suburbs is part of a new deal called “Avenant no. 1” that was negotiated with JCDecaux. According to Vélib’s project manager Mathieu Fierling, it is agreed in the new deal with the outdoor advertising company that the Paris city will pay more for by vandalism damaged bikes. Read more in Bike Europe

Monday, April 6, 2009

BCYCLES

Velib with 20,000 shared bikes in the streets of the most spirited city in the world literally changed the face of Paris - overnight. B-cycle is the American answer. B-cycle is the zero-hassle, zero-emissions way to get around town. It's a bike sharing program that meets the transportation, health, and environmental needs of our communities. One that adapts to any size city, corporation or campus. It's wind in your hair, air in your lungs and bugs in your teeth. It's free and spontaneous but also organized and practical. B-cycle is the only "next"-generation bike-share program. Integrated data tracking will automatically capture information such as your distance traveled, equivalent calories burned and carbon offset after each ride. It will then upload this data to your personal user profile on Bcycle.com. B-cycle is the future of bike sharing, and it's available to your city now. B-cycle is a collaboration between three major players in three industries. • Humana • Trek Bicycle Corporation • Crispin Porter + Bogusky. All three share one common goal: cultural change. B-cycle will change the way you get around. And that will change our communities. So grab a B-cycle from the nearest B-station and we're on our way. Have a look here

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Cycling on te Rise

When the Spicycles project was launched in 2006, cycling was not the “hot” mode of transport that it has become today. Spicycles wanted to gather experience related to specific areas of cycling policy and was keen to explore how key elements such as communication and awareness raising, and the building of local partnerships,might increase the modal share of cycling. The big expectations at the beginning of the project regarding cycling planning could not have predicted the explosion in the popularity of public bicycle systems that has taken place during Spicycles. In the course of the project, cycling became increasingly relevant to city policy makers and transport planners, as well as to citizens. As the project comes to an end Spicycles can conclude that huge strides have been made. Spicycles’ results can be read in the report 'Cycling on the Rise' and on the website http://spicycles.velo.info, which also features an innovative inter-active map for cycling planning, a benchmarking tool and a pool of consultants.

Monday, March 9, 2009

New York's Sustainable Street Index 2008

Enhancing transportation choices and encouraging the use of sustainable forms of transportation are core goals of both PlaNYC, New York City’s long-term sustainability plan, and Sustainable Streets, the New York City Department of Transportation’s strategic plan. Achieving these goals means facilitating walking, cycling and mass transit through a set of varied and mutually supportive measures. These include making streets and squares into more people-friendly places; providing fast, reliable and comfortable bus and train service; better managing curbside parking and delivery regulations; and ensuring the safety of all users of city streets and sidewalks. Delivering on these goals requires a comprehensive understanding of how New Yorkers currently use the city’s streets and transportation systems, and current and historic trends in mobility and travel choices. By bringing together data on motor vehicle, transit, bicycle and ferry use, this report shows how travelers are changing the ways they travel in the face of the population and employment growth of recent years and of changes in transportation systems and operations. Have a look at the full report.

Utrecht obtains second clean beer boat

The beerboat navigates through the canals of downtown Utrecht to supply hotels, bars and restaurants with goods. The first boat is such a success, that a second one is required. This second boat will be a special one: completely electric, without any damaging emissions. On Saturday January 31st the building contract was signed at the VOC-museumship in Amsterdam, in the presence of Utrecht Alderman Robert Giesberts. Already in 1966 the City of Utrecht introduced the first beerboat to save the monumental bridges and roads near the canals from heavy freight traffic. Because of the increased demand for waterborne transport, it was decided in 2008 to introduce a second beerboat. This second boat will be the first electrically driven ship of the Netherlands where even the (off-)loading will be done electrically. An electric crane will rack heavy goods, such as barrels of beer, from the ship to the shore and vice versa. The boat will yearly emit 16,5 tons of CO2 less than regular freight traffic would. This is the equivalent of eleven football fields of forest. The electric beerboat is charged with ‘green’ electricity and can navigate for eight to nine hours at a time. Read more about Utrecht's sustainable mobility approach in CIVITAS MIMOSA.