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.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Solid Gold from The Netherlands

Despite the increasing distances covered by the Dutch, the bicycle has retained its popularity. The bicycle is used for more than a quarter of all journeys. In fact for distances up to 7.5 km, the bicycle is the most popular means of transport. In 2007, 34% of all trips up to 7.5 km were made by bicycle. Bicycle use very much depends on the distance covered. As 70% of all journeys in the Netherlands are still shorter than 7.5 km, the strong position of the bicycle over short distances (35%) also extends into the total modality split (27% bicycle). At the same time, it is interesting to note that the bicycle is regularly chosen above 7.5 km: 15% of journeys in the category 7.5-15 km. In the Netherlands, the use of bicycles is not restricted solely to school-going children. The high overall cycling proportion (26%) is far more due to the fact that the bicycle achieves a more or less comparable share in all travel motives – and particularly in the most important motives in terms of scope, such as commuter travel and shopping. Many people do not make absolute choices between using the car or the bicycle over shorter distances. The latest version of Cycling in The Netherands gives you a peek in the Dutch Bicycle Kitchen.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Boost for E-Bikes

The Italian Government is currently examining a proposal by the industry organization ANCMA for a major tax incentive on e-Bikes. Like in all EU countries, the Italians are looking for new means to cut emission rates in their urban areas. In order to stimulate the use of sustainable forms of mobility as alternatives of motor vehicles the Italian Government wants to grant 30% restitution on all e-Bikes. It is generally expected that this incentive will boost the sale of e-Bikes tremendously. When successful it might even be a good example for other national Governments within the European Union as a means to reduce emission rates. The e-Bike meant in the proposal is limited to a “pedal assisted bicycle equipped with an auxiliary electric motor with a maximum power output of 250 Watt whose power is gradually reduced and stopped at 25 km/h or when the cyclist stops cycling.” The 30% restitution is limited up to € 700 of the retail price including VAT. All applicable e-Bikes will be specified by the Ministry of Environment in advance and updated annually. Have a look at some of these YouTube films