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.